Category Archives: Communication

The choices you make today could irrevocably change the course of your entire life…

The choices you make today could irrevocably change the course of your entire life. Left or right? Sleep in or go on time? Speak up or stay silent? Even the seemingly insignificant decisions could alter your world and not always for the better.

To be now at a junction in my life where every moment counts and every choice seems to have no middle ground is a scary place. The weight of what you (I) must do presses down on your shoulders until even Atlas would admit his burden be less.

But you’d never let anyone know this, would you?

Never complain. Humanity hates it when you complain.

No one can really understand what you’re going through, can they?

Now is the road that splits between childhood and maturity, between the beginning of your life and the end. It’s always just when you think you find a middle road that the path disappears and all that’s left is wilderness. Left to fight every step of the way, your breath being choked out by the branches that found their way around your neck.

So now do you believe me when I say every moment counts? How do you know when you’re going to hit a dead end and be choked out of life?


Guys? I just found this handwritten in an old notebook. I wrote this when I was 16 and depressed as hell but struggling to find a way back out of it and whoa. When I typed it up here, I tried to leave it almost exactly like 16-year-old me wrote it.

Remembering moments like this is what makes me so mad when people say that young adult books don’t matter, that creative writing classes aren’t important. That protecting our kids from unpleasant or controversial topics is better than exposing them to the troubled reality of our world.

Fuck that.

I was too scared and embarrassed to talk to anyone about what was really going on in my head when I was a teenager. Reading and writing probably saved my life. It’s not just important to give our kids books that touch on every single topic under the sun and to teach them how to muddle through their thoughts and express it on paper, it’s vital.

Give a kid a book that reflects what they’re going through. Teach a child to put their thoughts and emotions into fiction or non-fiction. Encourage art and creativity and questions. Do it.

You just might save a life.

Via:: Tumblr to WordPress

The internet is not your private diary, kay?

Tooootally meant to post earlier than this but… obviously that didn’t happen. I’m here now, though! So let’s see if i can get my thoughts together enough for an actual post.

Black Notebook With Pencil (c) Typofi

With a few things I’ve read online recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about posting and the internet and people. Not necessarily in that order. This is partially because of two articles, one, of course, from

The Cracked article is actually about why you shouldn’t post embarrassing pictures of your friends online, but in my experience people don’t need their friends’ help to embarrass themselves. A lot of people do it on their own and post things in public I wouldn’t even share with my closest friends. All I can ask myself is, WHY?!

I am naturally shy, so maybe that’s one of the reasons over-sharing on the internet has never appealed to me, but I seriously question some people’s sobriety when I read or see things online. Yes, I know being an idiot or embarrassing yourself can get your internet fame, but is it really worth it? Even after you take something down, once it’s posted, it’s out there. Maybe someone saved it to their computer. Maybe Google archived it. You never know when that picture or video or story you thought was long gone suddenly comes back to bite you. And that’s a threat that won’t disappear until something like Revolution happens.

Celebrities and other public figures have to be even more careful than the general public. Just look what happened when poor Prince Harry let his guard–and his pants–down for a while. Even though it may not feel like it sometimes (like when you’ve been locked in your office drafting for six months), authors are public figures. We gather fans and people listen to what we have to say. This means you have to think about what you post online and make sure most people are going to read it the way you meant it to he heard. The internet isn’t always the best place for sarcasm, especially if you can’t remember some jokes don’t translate well without inflection. Sometimes, though, it’s not a joke. Sometimes authors can inadvertently (I’m giving the benefit of the doubt here) start a war just by talking.

A friend of mine sent me a link to a post by a blogger and book reviewer named Corey Ann. This post (which is kinda long) details an entire series of events that blew my mind. What happened here is the exact thing I’m talking about above, something everyone in the public eye has to watch out for. Basically, Corey Ann got caught in a flame war between various factions surrounding author Emily Giffin. Whether or not she meant them to be, Emily made some comments that, ON THE INTERNET (please note the emphasis), came off in a very negative way. Maybe she was joking. Maybe she didn’t think about how the lack of tone would translate. Maybe she meant exactly what she said. I don’t know. All I know is that inadvertently or on purpose she ended up siccing her fans on Corey Ann and another reviewer. Things got so out of control Corey Ann actually received threatening PHONE CALLS. Which means people tracked her down in person to yell at her. That is crossing the line so far you’re not even in the same county as the line anymore.

The point is, things like this can happen. In an age where all it takes is a couple of tweets or status updates to start a riot, you have to be EXTRA SUPER DUPER CAREFUL about everything you post online. The internet is a tool. Use it like one. And also, no matter how private your privacy settings, don’t count on privacy. The next generation of hackers is always smarter than the last and you never know when something meant for your eyes only ends up being public fodder. Basically, just try to remember the internet is not your diary, kay? That’s what bookstores sell journals for.

Stories can control minds. No, seriously.

(c) Andrew Schmidt

Movies, television, and books all present stories to an audience. Obviously. That much is kind of a given, right? But what we forget is that stories have always been used as a teaching tool. Myths, legends, and (please don’t kill me) religion were all developed in story form to make them more memorable, to give them a beginning and a middle and an end for people to hang onto, and for crowd control, aka mind control. Stories were used for centuries (and still are used) to impart wisdom, lessons, and history and even though we’ve kind of lost that tradition in a sense–at least in modern American culture–stories still teach us things whether we want them to or not. They shape the way we see the world and sometimes work to point us all in the same direction. Whether we realize it or not.

Why am I talking about stories and mind control? Blame Again.

A couple of days ago I found an article on their website called 5 Ways You Don’t Realize Movies Are Controlling Your Brain. Have I commented yet on the fact that the Cracked writers are not only hilarious but blindingly intelligent? I’m kind of in awe of them. But, anyway, not the point. The point is this article and the very valid incredibly interesting points it made about pop culture and the way the general population (especially my generation and all that have come after it) have been influenced by it. Most of us in ways we’ll never realize. One of the points the author David Wong makes is this:

You’ve seen Braveheart, right? You know that’s based on a historical event — the movie makes it clear that Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace, was a real guy who really lived in Scotland back in the horse and castle days. You also know that Hollywood spiced things up for the movie — the real Wallace probably never assassinated a dude and then jumped his horse off a balcony in slow motion.

So if you don’t mind, just quickly tell me which parts were fiction. Without looking it up.

Like the evil king they were fighting — was he a real historical figure, too? What about Wallace’s palooka friend, Hamish? Or the crazy Irish sidekick? Were those real guys? That part where Mel Gibson’s main ally (Robert the Bruce) betrayed him and sided with the English in that big battle (aka the turning point of the entire story)– did that really happen? What about the bit at the end, where Wallace has sex with that princess, revealing that the future king of England would actually be Mel Gibson’s son? That’s the most historically important thing in the whole film, surely that was true, right?

You don’t know, do you? But who cares, right? It’s not like that impacts your life at all. It’s just historical trivia. OK, now consider this: After Jaws hit theaters, we nearly drove sharks to extinction with feverish hunting, to the point that their populations may never recover.

 “Oookaaay,” you may be saying to yourself. “Interesting. But are you for or against this whole mind control theory?”

I’m neither. Or maybe both. It doesn’t matter. The lesson I’m trying to pull out of this convoluted post is that authors need to do two things: use this truth to their advantage and be careful not to abuse it.
In the article, David makes another point, one that references another article on Cracked: 7 Bullshit Police Myths Everyone Believes (Thanks to Movies). Did you know you do not have a legal right to a phone call if you get arrested. The police do not have to give you a phone call if they have a reason not to. Any reason. Want to know why you thought otherwise (unless you have cops or lawyers in your family)? Because movies and TV uses this line so often most people assume it’s true. David explains:

Now take this one step further, and think about how many other aspects of your life you’ve only experienced via Hollywood. If you’re from a rural area, how do you know what it’s like to live in the city? Or vice versa? If you’ve never been to Paris, where does your mental image of it come from? Some of you reading this very article loved The Sopranos because its depiction of the mob was so much more “realistic” than all those stylized movies that came before it. How do you know it’s more realistic? What are you comparing it to? All those real mobsters who come over at Thanksgiving?

The reality is that vast piles of facts that you have crammed into your brain basement were picked up from pop culture, and for the most part, you don’t realize that’s where the information came from. This is called source amnesia, and I’ve talked about it before — you know that giraffes sleep standing up, but you’ve long forgotten whether you heard that fact in school or in a tour at the zoo, or saw it in a cartoon. Either way, you will treat that fact as true until something comes along to counter it — this is the entire reason MythBusters is still on the air.

As an ex-psychology geek, any article that correctly references things like source amnesia makes me a little giddy, but this article brilliantly brought home both the joys and the perils of writing a book and sending it out into the universe. It’s wonderful because we can play on the perceptions of the masses and give ourselves more creative leeway to make our stories more interesting, dynamic, heart-wrenching, action-packed, whatever. However, we are responsible for the images and information we put out into the world. Even if we can’t control how one particular person interprets what we write, we have to be at least aware of the messages most people will see in the stories we present. If you play your part right, the messages will blend and people won’t quite know where fact ends and fiction begins. Then you two will have played a part in the mind control of the globe.

Sounds fun, right? 🙂

Stories: Sometimes You Don’t Need Words

Before I get into the actual reason for this post, I’m going to gloat for a minute. Somehow I managed to cut out about 4000 words of filler from my novel Sing Sweet Nightingale yesterday! I’m still not sure how the number managed to get that high, but it needs to happen again today. I have to get the word count down to around 100,000! Not an easy task…

Anywho, a while ago I posted work by a photographer that was also a really vivid story. Stories can actually be told in a million different ways, many of which don’t involve words at all. Today I’m going to share two new stories, one a short move with no dialogue and one photographer who is chronicling the childhood of his two girls. [click on the above link to see some of his photos]

I found Jason Lee through a post on and it tells the story of photographer Jason Lee and his highly energetic, and very creative, daughters. While the actual photography and technical aspects come from Jason, according to the article a lot of the photo ideas (click here to see the article or here for his personal blog) come from the girls! Each one is its own self-contained story and they’re all a lot of fun!

Second, this video is making the rounds on Facebook. I’m not going to say much about it because I don’t think it needs explanation. Once you get to the end, I believe it’ll be pretty obvious why the director produced the project this way.


Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I’m off to machete my book some more.

I just came across this secondary video about the team who made the video above. I found it really interesting, so I thought I’d share.