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I Went to a Writing Group Today - September 10th, 2019

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A picture and an assignment concerning gnomes. That was our prompt for the day.


The picture had two similar looking gnomes. One had a green hat. The other had a blue hat and sunglasses, and was giving the peace sign. The prompt read:

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Good writers bring their story characters to life. Choose one of these gnomes and give a detailed character description. Include physical characteristics as well as character traits, and likes and dislikes. Use your senses and vivid adjectives to bring the character to life.

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One of the most important things in writing, as in any art, is to know you can break the rules. They're more like guidelines. In the picture of the gnomes there is another gnome slightly visible in the background of the picture. I took this to be the mother of the two gnomes. You'll see how that works out in my short glimpse of a story.

I recently read "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave", and it's a great b…

Leading a Writing Group - Session 8

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I had four cards, each with a single word: King, Queen, Prince, Princess. Each of the kids drew their card, and then I was left with... Princess. I didn't particularly want to write a princess story at that moment, so I made her a bit unique. But, before we did the writing we covered an important writing subject.


When writing there are two basic sets of tools that you can choose from. You can use narrative devices like flashbacks, foreshadowing, and framing. These are tools that help you to structure your story. You can also use rhetorical devices like rhyming, alliteration, and assonance. These are tools that help you to structure your sentences and paragraphs. The best writers are good at using both narrative devices and rhetorical devices.

Bella drew the Queen card. She wrote a story about a princess that was shortly going to become queen because the queen was passing her position and power on to her daughter. But, the princess's aunt wanted power and was seeking to make bo…

I Went to a Writing Group Today - August 28th, 2019

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The prompt today was to create a poem based on the idea "Where I'm From".


I did two poems. The first one is light, the second one is a bit darker.

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Stranger in a known land
far from home
estranged from my clan
apart from my tribal band.

Surrounded by the unknown
cement, glass, steel, and stone
longing for home.

Sun through the tree leaves
the smell of bark.

Home in a forest.

Easy to find if you're looking
but difficult to see.

Follow your nose
that's where we'll be
cooking nothing nutritious.

Come visit the fudge game
Kenny the Elf's my name
the art of delicious
that's where I'm from.

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I didn't use punctuation at the end of the lines because I was reading these out loud at the meeting so it didn't matter at the time, and I just left them.

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Return
to the land of the lost

Forgotten
in darkness

Abandoned
by their host

Hope
evaporated into mist

Dreams
disintegrated into dust

Wishes
reduced to nothing

Red …

Leading a Writing Group - Session 7

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A crazy conversation. That was our prompt for the day. I went over the idea of dialogue attribution, or dialogue tags. That's where you make sure the reader knows who is saying what.


Lexi took us on a tour of a garden full of personified flowers. The different types of flowers had different personality characteristics. It reminded me a little of Lewis Carroll.

Xavier became trapped in the confines of his own mind and stalled out. We had a talk about it afterward.

Bella wrote about a student trying to convince his master, Master Fufu, to go to war. But the master didn't want to.

And, here's what I did.

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"Just jump, dude! Come on!"

"No."

The cliff wasn't that high, but the space at the bottom was narrow. Maybe too narrow. Jack was understandably hesitant. "I think you should go first, and then I'll go," he said to Jill.

Jill gave him a look. A look that said she didn't believe him, that she wouldn't take no for an an…

Poetry Bubbles Up From Within

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Some people claim that they can generate poetry when they want. It doesn't work that way for me. Poems just spring into my mind from I know not where. And, if I don't write them down then they float away just as fast, like waking from a dream that has been carried to you on the wind, and just as quickly goes forth into new lands.


A little poem struck me while I happened to be near one of my notebooks last week.

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Time is a mold,
into which we pour,
our heart and soul.

To fill up space,
with our lethal loves,
or suffer disgrace.

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I had recently seen "Antony and Cleopatra" by Shakespeare in the Rose Theatre at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Maybe that's why another one hit me.

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'Tis possible to lead,
even in a life of strife.

To plant the seed,
even when we bleed,
nay because.

To take a zero,
and not by multiply,
or regenerate,
but to create,
life;
which grows,
therein are born,
heroes.

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I had a meeting to get to ab…

A Moment on the Lips with Lord Byron

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It was recently pointed out to me by a friend that there is a chocolate bar that has a poem inside of the wrapper. The poem that I took notice of was "To M" by Lord Byron. I decided to extend it just a bit.


First, this is from Lord Byron.

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Oh! did those eyes, instead of fire,
With bright, but mild affection shine:
Though they might kindle less desire,
Love, more than mortal, would be thine.

For thou art form'd so heavenly fair,
Howe'er those orbs may wildly beam,
We must admire, but still despair;
That fatal glance forbids esteem.

When Nature stamp'd thy beauteous birth,
So much perfection in thee shone,
She fear'd that, too divine for earth,
The skies might claim thee for their own.

Therefore, to guard her dearest work,
Lest angels might dispute the prize,
She bade a secret lightning lurk,
Within those once celestial eyes.

These might the boldest Sylph appall,
When gleaming with meridian blaze;
Thy beauty must enrapture all;
But who can dare thi…

What does your perfect day look like 5 years from now?

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Matt Baxter of The WedgeCast podcast asked me a few weeks ago at a meeting what my perfect day would look like 5 years from now. I didn't have an answer, and he told me to get him one.


Here's the response that I came up with, although my certainty about it varies from day to day.

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And, I've been thinking about that day. Here's my attempt: one group meeting in person centered around some type of individual/social improvement, a couple of 1 on 1 meetings centered around individual development, some writing in philosophy and/or fiction, some reading in fiction and non-fiction, time outside such as a walk, motorcycle ride, or horseback ride, an episode of television, and time with my romantic partner. A warm shower and some decent food would be nice too.

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When I sent him that response he asked me why I couldn't do that now. I had been thinking the same thing. On certain days I do basically hit all of those points. And yet, I'm still not fu…

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 14 of ?

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What do you do if the government protects corrupt officials? I don't rightly know. I'll demonstrate some of the corruption, point out some of the broken laws, and some more lying. But, near the end I will include a fun poem.


First of all, let's look at what you can do when you have the corrupt government on your side. This is a post that Hidden Creek Farm put up yesterday. Brought to you by Tony Barnes and friends.

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Okay everyone,

Lee and I would like you to meet our neighbor Kenneth Wentworth 1148 W River Rd. 49445.

We have been quietly and kindly dealing with his stalking and harassment for months now. He disrespects our privacy on a regular basis. He didn't even have the dignity to let up with the picture taking while our best friend and companion Sophie was leaving this world, even though he was nicely asked.

While we are just going about our daily chores we will look up to find him parked and taking pictures of us and our farm. This commonly happens w…

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 13 of ?

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Why pursue a Recall? Why do it twice? Why do anything at all in the face of government corruption? I have been asked these questions many times over the last few months, and the answer is simple: guilt. I will explain that in a little bit. First, let's look at the Recall.


I proposed three options to the Concerned Citizens of Dalton Township Facebook group. Here's my post.

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Let's think about new Recall wording.

On May 8th, 2019 Dalton Township sued Hidden Creek Farms. On May 17th, 2019 Dalton Township Supervisor Tony Barnes stated to Fox 17 News, "Dalton Township has not filed any litigation against Hidden Creek Farm..."

On May 8th, 2019 Dalton Township sued Hidden Creek Farms. On May 17th, 2019 Dalton Township Supervisor Tony Barnes stated to Fox 17 News, "Dalton Township has not filed any litigation against Hidden Creek Farm seeking to shut them down..."

On May 8th, 2019 Dalton Township sued Hidden Creek Farms. On May 17th, 2019 Dalton Tow…

I Went to a Writing Group Today - August 14th, 2019

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Analiese pulled the writing prompts out of a hat today. Each prompt was different. The hat was a glittery Irish hat, one of those festive ones for St. Patrick's Day. I made a few jokes about Leprechauns, that caught on, a few more people talked about Leprechauns, and then I couldn't get it out of my head. Yes, I mentioned the speech I gave about my family being descended from Leprechauns and winning the frog trophy.


Here's my entire prompt.

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What if...

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The three dots are an ellipsis. That's the important part of this prompt, it's where the mysteries and the possibilities lie.

I sat staring at my blank sheet of paper for a few minutes. I didn't want to write about Leprechauns because I thought someone else might because of our discussion, and... it was just too obvious. But, nothing else would come to mind, so I began.

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"Alright McDuffy, I see that you're upset, and maybe that's reasonable, but I think we can …

Leading a Writing Group - Session 6

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Our prompt went through three evolutions. First, I proposed the idea of interstitials. That's where a sentence has dialogue, then description, then dialogue again. I just think they're cool, and therefore feel like everyone would be interested in them. I also think it lets you see how much a single sentence can really do. Since it didn't seem popular I went to option number two, a scene where the hero and the villain meet for the first time. But, I was asked if the scene could be people other than the hero and the villain meeting. And, of course, I think artistic creativity must necessarily be flexible. Our prompt ended up being, a meeting of two characters.


Xavier did well. We had a small discussion last time about how I don't expect a certain thing to come out of the writing, I don't require anyone to follow the prompts, but I do expect effort. That turned out well. He came up with this story where the names were a mixture of crazy letters. I think that comes fro…

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 12 of ?

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When I was laying on my deathbed in Africa I had a few regrets. One was that I hadn't written anything. That's why I write. Not many people get a chance to lay on their deathbed twice. And when I am laying on my deathbed next time, I don't want to have regrets.

I would regret not having the courage to stand up to a corrupt government official like Tony Barnes. I would regret failing to defend individual rights. I would regret bowing in fear before a petty tyrant. That's why I take action.


I received the official rejection letter for the Recall on Saturday, although I think the hearing went fairly well.

Judge Pittman read the Recall that I had written. I was then allowed to speak for 2 minutes. The clock was started before Pittman had even finished giving me the instructions to state my name and address, so he had the clock restarted. He made several good adjustments like that. (Tony tried to speak after his lawyer and Pittman said that the lawyer had already presented …

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 11 of ?

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David was never supposed to win against Goliath. David (a citizen of Dalton Township) is standing in the middle of this field looking at Goliath (the corrupt Dalton Township government officials), and thinking "I'm pretty sure this thing is rigged to be an unfair fight."


The favorite weapon of corrupt government officials is the legal system. They buy lawyers as champion mercenaries and unleash them on you, with the idea of crushing you underfoot.

This morning I woke up with an email from The Curcio Law Firm. They are representing Tony Barnes at the Recall hearing tomorrow. Nick Curcio attached a 7 page document to the email, a "Letter to the Election Commission" stating that there shouldn't be a Recall on Tony Barnes.

The election commission is three people: Muskegon County Clerk Nancy Waters, Chief Probate Judge Gregory Pittman, and Country Treasurer Tony Moulatsiotis. Judge Pittman is the Chair of the Election Commission and responded to the email statin…

88.9 Hey Radio, Ledger, and Me

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"Jennifer Carole Ledger (born 8 December 1989) is an English drummer and co-vocalist for the American Christian rock and hard rock band Skillet, and a solo alternative rock project: Ledger." That's the breakdown from Wikipedia. Today we're looking at her new song "Iconic". Today will be different.


I often break down the lyrics stanza by stanza. Today I'm going to give you some things to look for, and then the lyrics. See what you notice.

First things first, we need to look at the word icon, because she didn't name it "Iconic" for no reason. Here are the first two definitions from Google.

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a painting of Jesus Christ or another holy figure, typically in a traditional style on wood, venerated and used as an aid to devotion in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches.

a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.

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This song talks about the experience of being touched by charisma. I …

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