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Viewing Blog: Carrie Jones, Most Recent at Top
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Please be warned. If you are going to read this blog, you have to understand that I'm a little bit weird. John Wayne is my internal editor. Grover the Muppet is my internal cheerleader. I know! I know! Weird. I'm the author of Tips on Having A Gay (ex) Boyfriend (May 2007/Paperback May 2008), Love and Other Uses For Duct Tape (March 2008), Girl, Hero (July 2008), Need (January 2009), Moe Berg's Story (Spring 2009).
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1. My tweets

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2. Creepy Story!!! My own.

So, in honor of almost-Halloween, I am sharing a creepy real-life story. Please, please, please feel free to share your own creepy real-life stories, because I adore them. And it would be really nice of you. Good karma. :)

So, I grew up in this house my dad built in Bedford, New Hampshire. It was on a hill. There'd been another house there about 100 years before but it had burned down.  And after that some people from Connecticut built a camp in the woods and would come there in the summer. That was in the early 1900s, I think. But those were the only known houses on the site before ours.

Anyway, we had this great big picture window in the living room. My dad and mom were arguing at the kitchen table, so I toddled off and went into the living room. It was night time. I know I was really little, probably around three, because my parents were still married. I really hated them fighting so I waddled over to the picture window and decided to blow on it, so I could make those hand footprints in the mist that comes from your breath.
So, I started to blow on the window to see if it would frost up, but then I noticed something outside on our front lawn. Our front lawn was a big grassy hill that sloped down to the road. I cupped my hands around my eyes so I could see better and peered out. There was a woman wearing a long, white dress walking across the lawn, from left to right.
That was weird. Nobody ever walked across our lawn at night. We were really rural, up a long driveway, up a hill.
I was little, but I knew it was funky.
But something else was wrong, too.

The lady was trudging right above the hole for the septic tank. It was a big hole about three feet deep that was covered with two granite slabs. I knew it was there because my mom was always warning me about falling in and breaking an ankle. My mom was really, really worried about my ankles. I grew up thinking pretty much anything could break my ankle --- holes, bikes, skis, horses, soccer, hamsters, the simple act of walking....

So, anyway, even though there was a hole there, the lady walked right over it.
She did not fall down. She did not break her ankle.

I yelled for her but she and my dad just kept arguing. The woman kept walking. She lifted her arm and waved. She seemed nice.

"There's a lady in the lawn."
"There's a lady..."

My mom and dad both rushed to the picture window.

"There's nothing," my dad said.
"I thought I saw something..." my mom interrupted. She turned me around to look at her. "What did the lady look like?"
"She was a lady... she was wearing white... you could see through her dress..."

My mom put me to bed, right away, but my parents stopped arguing, at least for that night. I looked for that lady all the time, especially when my parents got grumpy at each other. I thought maybe she'd save us. She didn't. She never came back if she was even there at all.

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4. When Boys Catch Boys on Fire How Do You Find the Good?

Eleven years ago, I was a newspaper editor for a really small local paper, working out at the YMCA in an attempt to not be a slug when my phone went off.

“You have to get to the high school quick,” Bobbi, my office manager said. Her voice was high, urgent. “Something horrible’s happened.”

Instead of taking my car, I ran over to the high school still in my gym clothes, shorts and a t-shirt. It was about 40 degrees out but the sky was clear and blue and beautiful.

The alarms were screaming off in the school and students, sobbing students, were streaming out of the building.

Teachers hollered at them, “Get into the parking lots. Keep moving. Keep moving.”

Some of the teachers were crying, too. Teachers don’t cry a lot. They certainly don’t cry in groups in public or in front of their students.

Everything inside of me fell.

I hated being a newspaper person because I hated these kind of stories, the tragedy stories. I couldn’t even take pictures of people whose house had just burnt down. I was a horrible newspaper person, honestly. I liked the happy stories, the fun stories, sports games, kids volunteering, people reunited, unanimous town council votes.

I didn’t like the crashes, the house fires, the sudden deaths, and I knew that whatever this was, I wasn’t going to like this.

A soccer player I knew came up to me.

“He was on fire,” the boy said. I didn’t ask him what happened. I didn’t ask anyone anything because they were in pain. Like a crappy newspaper person, I just waited. The boy who was a high school superstar thanks to his soccer skills just crumpled. He pressed his hands to his face. “Jesus. He was on fire.”

The fire trucks came, an ambulance, a TV news crew, more newspaper people who were much better at being news people than I was, a Lifeflight helicopter that would end up bringing a boy to Brigham and Women’s hospital in Massachusetts.

We waited and stared at the high school. We waited and waited and the TV news people started putting microphones in people’s face. The school superintendent came out. He was crying. He looked at me and cried some more. He was a chubby, jokey guy with ruddy, Irish cheeks. He wore a maroon Ellsworth letter style jacket.

He shook his head at me. I didn’t ask him any questions.

We waited more.

I started turning blue and shivering because not only was I a horrible newspaper person, I was a wimp about the cold. A TV camera guy gave me his jacket.

“I don’t want to be here,” he said.
I shook my head. “Me either.”

That day, Donny, a boy I knew, who hung out with one of my best friend’s sons, had gone to school in costume for Halloween, for a kind of school spirit day. He had made the costume himself with some help from his family, working for months, collecting pieces of it, sewing it together. It was a sniper outfit with leaves and camouflage stuff. The boy sitting behind him during assembly allegedly kept flicking his lighter. People told him to cut it out. He supposedly said something threatening like, “I’ll bet you’ll burn.”

The boy allegedly flicked the lighter up one more time and lit the edge of Donny’s costume on fire.

It was flammable, so flammable.

Donny ran down the bleachers, somehow he remembered or people got him to drop and roll in the middle of the gym floor. Other students screamed. Others thought it was a stunt. Others didn’t know what was going on. It’s the same gym where graduation happens. It’s the same gym where all the basketball games are played. It’s a place of community, of cheering, of happiness. It’s a place where good stories happen. The horror of Donny on fire didn’t connect. It couldn’t be real. But it was.

The school nurse saved his life. So did the assistant principal. Everyone agrees about that. Donny was Lifeflighted to Boston with burns on at least 35% of his body. He missed months and months of school. He had terrible, terrible burns and the pain that went with them. When he finally came home, there were parades and balloons and articles. He rode in a limo. He could barely walk out of it and get to his house, but he did.

Donny is a hero for surviving. No matter what else he does in his life, he has proved how incredibly tough he can be. He proved that he is strong.

So is the community. A lot of kids had nightmares, a lot of kids’ lives were affected, especially Donny’s, especially the boy who set Donny’s costume on fire. But gradually, that gym has lost its horror feel, and we walk in there for events and games and every time something good happens, our community gets a little tighter, a little stronger.

What worries me is that some people have forgotten.

People talk a lot about gun violence in schools. That’s important. But violence comes in all shapes and forms. It comes with knives, with fists, with hammers, and with lighters.

Peace isn’t about a lack of violence, a lack of hate. Peace is about pushing those urges back and away, about overcoming your own hateful impulses or your own indifference and embracing empathy. Promoting peace is about loving despite differences, loving despite jealousy, loving despite the want for power or greed.

I’m not sure if anyone learned that eleven years ago, but that was one of the pivotal times in which I realized that I wasn’t meant to write hard news, that reporting is necessary but sometimes doesn’t do enough to promote peace or goodness. Who can find goodness in the hard facts of that newspaper story: A 15-year-old boy set a 14-year-old boy on fire. There is no love in that story, but in some of the stories that came after it, there is love and peace and good. In some of the chapters that came after that story? There is the opposite.

The thing is that we choose what stories we want to write, how our actions and interactions guide us. We can’t stop evil from happening, but we can manage our reactions to evil, to disaster, to horror, and in that way we became the heroes that we want to be.

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5. My tweets

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6. My tweets

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7. My tweets

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8. My tweets

  • Fri, 00:28: Having been stalked, #haleno is super personal for me. Help others. If there is one thing I wish people would retweet http://t.co/i5ub100xhl
  • Fri, 00:31: And in happier news, today I head a kid in the children's room of the library yell, "I AM HERE! BOO BOOKS! BOO!" Then she kissed the book.

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9. My tweets

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10. I Declare I am not at War or War Between Authors and Readers? Seriously?

So, I am just a random author in Maine. That's about it. I'm the daughter of a truck mechanic and Welcome Wagon hostess (They did switch jobs a lot, but that's pretty much what I think of them as). I'm not a super-connected author who gets to hang out anywhere super cool and be hip. And I am pretty much a bystander about the big things that happen in the world of writing for children and young adults.

Other authors don't speak for me. I don't speak for other authors. I can't even imagine it.

Mostly when I witness negative interactions, I feel badly for everyone involved. I feel for reviewers who are attacked by authors. I feel for authors who are attacked by reviewers. I feel for any profession, any group of people that are lumped together, stereotyped and attacked because of what they do, their ancestry, their gender identification, their religous identification, ethnic history, employment history, or political party or sexual orientation or income level. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.

What really bothers me is when opinion pieces or news stories do that. This headline in Salon? It does that.Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 3.11.36 PM

No offense to the headline writers, but I am not engaged in any war. I'm not in a war with bloggers or readers. I'm not in a war with fellow authors. Kathleen Hale is not revealing anything about me.

There is no war waging. There are no flank formations going on. There are no weapons. Even if you count words and news stories as weapons. It is still not a war.

Do you know what war is?

War is death. Homes blown apart. Children broken. Lives ripped apart. Limbs separated from bodies. War is two or more sides trying to destroy each other in an attempt to grab some kind of power. It's an organized effort.

Holding people accountable for their actions is not war. Calling people out on their behaviour is not war.

Even if you go by a more mellow definition of war, what happens between the reading community and the writing community still doesn't fit. I'm not involved in a state of conflict. I'm not antagonizing readers or bloggers or reviewers and I sure don't feel like they are antagonizing me.

I pretty much love readers and bloggers and reviewers. It's not an oppositional relationship. It's a symbiotic one.

And incidents like the one involving author Kathleen Hale, her Guardian story, and reviewer Blythe Harris are not representative of an entire community. Two people are never representative of an entire community and it is simplistic to believe so. Even 100 people aren't. And a community like this? Even 1,000 people don't cut it. Writers and bloggers and reviewers come in all ages, all genders, all races and religions. And some (Gasp!) don't live in the U.S. And some (Gasp!) don't even use the internet.

While some writers or bloggers occasionally band together to call out for what they believe is justice via a boycott or twitter hashtag, that still doesn't equal war.  It doesn't usually even count as a representative group. It counts as advocating for themselves or calling out what they perceive as an injustice. And you know what? That's pretty cool.

But the thing is...

I know people who have been in wars. I know people who have seen terror.

This is not it.

Individuals behaving badly does not indict an entire profession. Other people calling them out on it does not make a war between two groups even if those groups have different viewpoints and feelings. To think so? That's a generalization that creates bigotry. I used to be a newspaper editor. I understand headlines. I understand that hyperbole sells. But that doesn't mean we should feed into it.

I am not at war with anyone. I hope you aren't either. I happen to love the writing community and the blogging community and reviewers who take the time to read and comment about books (even when they hate them). How cool is that? It's super cool. Actually, it's pretty amazing. It's called engagement. Not war. And engagement is something our world needs more of, not less.

So, I am declaring an un-War. I hope you'll join me.

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17. My tweets

  • Wed, 14:05: My dog is walking through the house with a stolen cat food can dangling from her furry tail. Not too slick there, Gabby.
  • Wed, 14:06: RT @jlmarti1: Every time someone asks my favorite book I give a diff. answer. I'm not intentionally lying but it's such a confusing questio…

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18. My tweets

  • Tue, 21:02: This is what is happening on my desk right now. "This" is a whole lot of cutting. I should hashtag… http://t.co/95ajlIpNID
  • Tue, 21:13: I should probably carry maps when I walk through town because I am always trying to explain directions to lost tourists. Maps are helpful.
  • Wed, 01:43: I wish the guys on #supernatural had some Krav Maga training or something. Maybe? Too easy? Doesn't allow for enough unconscious times?
  • Wed, 01:44: Also, I don't care who you've shared your body with; it seems a brain should only be knocked unconscious so many times. #supernatural

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21. My tweets

  • Wed, 00:57: A singer on #thevoice just said, "I was the best pepper shaker that I could be." Some day, I shall be a pepper shaker. Just so I say that.
  • Wed, 01:44: I don't care who it is that's doing the hating, the labeling, the hurting; I want them to stop the hating, the labeling, the hurting.

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23. My tweets

  • Fri, 00:25: I just clicked on a link about MINI PIGS and now I want one. The internet is evil and I am so weak... but MINI PIGS!!!

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24. My tweets

  • Fri, 23:16: RT @thecrimson: BREAKING: @HarvardU_Police investigating a death threat apparently emailed to hundreds of Harvard affiliates Friday.| http:…
  • Fri, 23:33: Racial death threats are sent to hundreds of #harvard students, yet people are more upset about the Divinity School's all gender bathrooms.

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25. My tweets

  • Tue, 00:49: I love being a writer, but my job should really involve more mini pigs and puppies because ... Well, just because ... all jobs should.
  • Tue, 00:57: I love this girl's Where's Waldo shirt.She gets the children's book writer vote. #WatchingBlinds #thevoice

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