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42 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
Every word we put to paper comes from someone else. We learn from parents, teachers, books, movies, idle conversations - our entire life becomes our source material. The only thing that's original and unique is our choice of how we put the words together. To be 100% honest, we'd have to credit the Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Google for every poem and story. I may suggest changes in my review. This is not meant as 'serious' literary criticism (I’m no expert). It's merely my record of the ‘bumps’ I encounter as I travel through your words. If I'm thrown by a typo, an awkward word, or a line that doesn't scan, then it's likely that others will be as well. My intent in giving a review is to applaud your work and maybe help you to improve it. A review is merely another reference to consider. If the suggestions prove useful, then use them. If I ‘just don’t get it’, then by all means ignore me! Only the author can take credit for the final words, no matter what the source.
I'm good at...
My co-workers used to call me a 'typo savant'. Apparently, I read letter by letter instead of word by word. This is both a gift and a curse. I am often distracted by a typo when I should just move on in the story.
Favorite Genres
Science Fiction, Mystery
Least Favorite Genres
I'm not a big fan of romance writing.
Favorite Item Types
Poetry
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of Felini's Beanie  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Sharkdaddy,

Groan! *Laugh*

Well done, sir! The groan is my salute to your excellent limerick. The meter is good, the rhymes work well, and I'm impressed by the cover image. Your alliterative usage of 'la' provides a fun flow in the final line and ties in the image perfectly.

I don't find anything to critique.

Keep 'em coming!



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2
2
Rated: E | (5.0)
Miranda,

I've seen you popping up on the site a lot recently, so I thought I'd take a look. BTW, thanks for showing an interest my posts! *Smile*

I like this poem a lot. There are some strong images here, I especially like 'Our words are thinly veiled knives'. I agree that you are the dreamers, but you are also the dreams of those who came before and came up short.

Your hopeful tone is balanced nicely with the recognition of difficulties ahead. Keep in mind that history is cyclical, not linear. We progress by two steps forward and one step back (although it seems like three steps back right now). Evil exists to be overcome and there's always another evil waiting in the wings. Take satisfaction in the struggle more than in the victory.

Oh well, please forgive the pontificating . . .

Keep writing and stay positive,


Words Whirling 'Round

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3
3
Review of Resignation  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Diane,

Good job on torching a not so good job. Talk about burning your bridges! I got several good laughs out of this piece.

Seriously, this is well written and a lot of it rings true for those who have experienced the corporate cubicle nightmare.

I once spent a couple of hours distributing my obsolete business cards among dozens of file folders in multiple filing cabinets. I'm sure they remembered me for years afterward!

I don't really find anything here to critique, so again, well done!

Keep writing,


Words Whirling 'Round

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4
4
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Kåre,

Well done!

I enjoyed reading this one. It gave me a smile, especially the first verse. I especially like: 'bought tickets for Hilo to hula'. That line has a great rhythm to it. Your structure and rhymes are all very good. The coffee/Kona juxtaposition is cleverly done.

The only line that tripped me up was: 'with stiletto at hand'. I don't associate stiletto with bread knife? But maybe I'm missing your point. *Smile*

Full disclosure, I had to click on anything from Missoula. I grew up near Flathead Lake and we visit our daughter in Missoula every summer. Then I saw the subject of your poem and laughed out loud. My wife just received a refund for her canceled trip to Hawaii that had been scheduled for last April.

Regards,


Words Whirling 'Round

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5
5
Review of Masterpiece  
Rated: E | (4.5)
JMariah,

A cute scene, perhaps it will become part of a larger story some day? I thought you did a good job of capturing the five year old 'vibe'. The imagery is clear and vivid. I think it's just right for this piece.

Your technical aspects of spelling, grammar, and punctuation are good. I did find one little nit to pick: "hair away from eyes" should probably be "hair away from her eyes".

Keep writing!


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6
6
Review of Wild Cat  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Jatog,

Nicely done. You've captured the essence of the older wooden coaster rides and the emotional swings that we felt while riding. There are some strong images here and a number of good lines. I especially liked 'till intensity’s ride was done'. The third and sixth verses don't match the structure of the other four, but that's a minor nit from someone who's slightly OCD. *Smile*

Keep writing!


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7
7
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Dear Sz, the Poet,

This collection of poetry ranges from good to excellent. My preferences lean toward traditional forms with structure, meter, and rhyme, but I really enjoyed reading these.

I especially like 'I dream of genie', your haiku, and the one about your bed. There aren't any that I dislike.

I didn't find any technical problems with spelling, grammar, or word usage.

Your use of white space and line separation works well to establish the desired flow within each poem. I did not feel a sense of flow from start to finish of the entire collection, but maybe that's not your intent or maybe I just don't see it.

I think this book is intended as a collection of stand-alone poems, rather than multiple glimpses of a single concept. I believe that the ellipses separate the individual poems. Some of the poems have an explanatory tagline, but their usage is not consistent. That initially created confusion for me about whether the tagline was intended to be part of the poem. Of course, it's your vision, so your choices are correct.

I would suggest adding a cover image. A good choice of cover image can help to set the tone and put the reader into a receptive frame of mind. Even a mediocre image is better than the ugly WDC default. The WDC stock images are OK, but they're only available for use on the WDC site. I've found a number of good public domain images on openclipart.org.

Overall, it's a nice collection of poetry with strong images and some original expressions that evoke a real emotional response. I hope you continue to write and share your poetry.

Warm regards,


Words Whirling 'Round

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8
8
Rated: E | (4.0)
Oddman,

Welcome to WDC!

This is a nice little meditative piece. I like the idea and your images flow well. Your technical aspects of grammar, spelling, and punctuation are mostly good.

I have two suggestions:

The phrase "comes on the way" seems awkward to me as a reader. I can't say whether it's right or wrong, just that it doesn't flow as well as the rest of your piece.

The sentence "Then proceed your day to day bulls*** works." seems to be missing a word, maybe "proceed with" would be more clear?

Keep writing!


Words Whirling 'Round

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9
9
Review of Home  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Jacky,

This is a cute piece and I enjoyed reading it although I suspect that the 'grandchildren' might overrun the entire house!

You have a clear and direct style here that makes for an easy read. The technical aspects of grammar and punctuation look good to me.

You could add a bit of tension by having the humans succeed briefly at being 'clean'. The mice would deplete their store of food and feel more desperation before the inevitable backsliding comes to their rescue.

Keep writing!


Words Whirling 'Round

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10
10
Review of The Dance Of Dis  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Angus,

An interesting and entertaining piece that brought me a smile. I learned a little something with some rhythm and rhyme to accompany the lesson. There are a couple of rough spots, but the meter works well in most of your lines. Most of the rhymes are organic and flow with the subject matter.

Overall, a good poem.

Keep writing!


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11
11
Review of Mr. Gray  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Flip,

I like your story a lot. It's a good premise and you've handled it well. There are some great images here and the dialogue sounds natural to my ear. There are a couple of rough spots, but the grammar and punctuation are good overall.

Keep writing!


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12
12
Review of Swan Lake  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Aritsou,

I like your images and the way the words flow down the page. My poetic preferences lean towards traditional rhyme and meter, but I enjoyed reading this one.

One suggestion: If the first line "Swan Lake" is intended as the title, then it might be better to underline or put it in bold to set it off from the body of the poem? If it's intentional, then never mind this nit.

Keep writing!

Words Whirling 'Round

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13
13
Review of Trivial Pursuits  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Sophy,

Nicely done! I like the way you've used the physical layout on the page to show the interplay between your characters. This is a scene that is all too familiar, yet also timeless. You've done a good job of capturing both points of view and you've provided a hint that 'green' applies to more than just a finger.

Regards,

Words Whirling 'Round

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14
14
Review of A WINDING ROAD.  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Monty,

Nicely done, as usual. Well deserving of the Poetic Traditions contest award. You've included some good images here and captured a bit of that wistful regret for the roads not taken that most of us feel from time to time.

Keep writing my friend!


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15
15
Review of A MANLY THING?  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Nicely done! I very much enjoy this sort of thing, putting an old joke into a fresh form. Your rhymes and meter work well for me. The images are great and the story flows well.

I have only two tiny nits to pick. A colon might work better after 'boasted drunken dude'. Also, I wonder if 'was . . piqued' sounds better than 'has . . piqued'.

Overall, it's very good and I applaud your wit.


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16
16
Review of Suicide Note  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
This is a powerful and personal piece of writing. I hope it's more literary than literal. Suicide has touched our family and the emotional impact of your poem rings true for me. There are several strong images, I especially like 'better is only another dozen cuts'.

I'm not good at free verse and it's difficult to give a meaningful critique. I don't see any spelling or grammatical problems. I will say that the line 'I just always imagined her pulling the trigger' didn't flow freely to my ear. And you might consider putting a break in the line 'Don’t name the sound of my sister’s laughter, or unconditional love in my dog’s eyes. Don’t show me what I have to live for. Please, don’t make me fight.'

Overall, this is a good piece of writing and I thank you for sharing it.


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17
17
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Laurafu,

First, I hope you looked at my ‘review style’ and requested a review from me because you are looking for suggestions and technical corrections as well as encouragement. Let me emphasize that my experience is in technical writing, so mark-ups are what I do. You are the sole judge of whether my suggestions have any value. I offer them freely; you decide whether to use them or ignore them.

With that out of the way, I think you have something good here. An open, honest memoir of dealing with challenges is always interesting to read. I think your style works, even if it is a little rough in spots. I can easily see you improving your style as you gain experience with writing.

You have several good images that catch the reader’s attention, such as “Like he should have been working in a vape shop.” I especially like the observation “The sun rests on my skin like a warmed silk blanket straight out of the dryer.”

I think you have done well in giving a sense of ‘strangeness’ in some places. You’ve made some of the text a bit choppy and discordant to reflect your state of mind. That works for this type of story and I wouldn’t tell you to change it.

General thoughts:

I think a lot of us struggle with keeping a consistent point of view while writing. This also applies to the consistent use of present or past tense. I suggest taking a look at each scene and paying attention to what your character is doing and/or describing. We should probably maintain a consistent usage of past or present tense throughout the scene.

I would suggest using double quotation marks only for direct quotes and single quotation marks to set off text for other reasons.

My own preference is to write dialogue with ‘perfect’ grammar, but it is also legitimate to have your characters speak more like real people. By that, I mean we all tend to use incomplete sentences and we often grab the wrong word when in spirited conversations. As an author you get to choose, but it is a challenge to strike a good balance between readability and reality. An expert writer might even use an ‘excited utterance’ to show a strong emotional state.

Specific suggestions:

WDC doesn’t seem to have very good tools for doing mark-ups, so I have highlighted the areas in your text that seem awkward to me. My suggested changes are in parentheses:


I arrive at 9:30 a.m. I’m thirty minutes early as requested by the text reminder I received on my phone the day before. And as requested on (in?) the reminder email that I received the day before. And for the cave-man in me, the business card that is clipped to my refrigerator.

This is my first appointment with my E.M.D.R. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) specialist.

I was referred here by my recent psychiatrist and It’s taken every bit of three months to get my foot through the door. But before I made the appointment, I did a little research on the doc‘s recommendation. With a quick “Google” search, I came across a website, nonetheless, it (that) provided the bare bones. The “About” page of the website listed the doctor’s referral first. Her name is Atonia (give both first and last names? Is it supposed to be Antonia?). Her thumbnail-sized portrait portrayed (shows) a round face with an ear to ear smile. Blonde hair. Lighter eyes. Late 40’s to early ’50s, maybe. Her basic life interests were listed followed by a bio. Essentially, it was a resume written in full sentence structure. It was boastful. But impressive. She’s worked with both adolescents and adults with PTSD. This is what I need.

So here I am.

As I pull forward, over the slightest bit of hill and onto the street that’ll connect me to my destination, I frown instinctively at the scenery. Cookie-cutter townhome rentals are suddenly scattered throughout. Businesses come and go all too often in places like this. It is simply too expensive and they shut down causing me to start all over again. This doesn’t resonate with me very well. I’ve had enough of this.

But I’ve waited long enough.

Everyone has waited long enough.

The lines in the parking lot didn’t exist. There’s an unnaturally large spot that's closest to the entrance and with no otherwise indications (otherwise), I deem it a legitimate parking spot and park. I gather my items, open the door and place a single boot onto the concrete and then whoosh. An unsettling wave came crashing in from the top of my head and then settled (washed down?) into the soles of my feet, causing a warm pressure in my calves as if they were heavily blanketed. I clambered (scrambled?) back into the car, my head exploding with answers to unwavering (insistent, irrelevant, unsettling, compulsive?) questions.

Is this a parking spot? It’s not a parking spot.
Am I crooked? I’m crooked.
Did I deserve this spot? No.
Will I get towed? I’ll get towed.
Will someone kick my car? Someone will kick my car.
Will I feel safe, walking to my car? Not if someone wants to get me.
Will someone be waiting at the entrance? Yes. I’ll need a chance to run.

I moved my car further (farther) back and all was forgotten. I cut across the parking lot to make my way onto the sidewalk. The sidewalk swirls to the side of the building where I see the entrance is to my left. But my gaze carries to the right. I linger in the colors before me. The sun touches it all, exaggerating the blues of the sky, the reds, and yellows of the hibiscus plants and the greens of, well, the greenery. Brightly (lit?) and crisply cut hedges sit along with (alongside?) the privacy barriers made out of brick. Two benches sat opposite, so simply placed just off the outer edges of the sidewalk. The seats are made of chocolatey wood-grained slates (slats?). Perfected metal swoops on each side of the benches served as armrests. They made me want to say the word “Classico.” The sun rests on my skin like a warmed silk blanket straight out of the dryer. I close my eyes and lock this picture in my head. A gentle floral note perfumes the sun-shining morning.

I enter the building. I’ve always pictured places like these to resemble the looks and smells of a clinic. I expect the smell of floor treatment at minimal (a minimum). But only the sliding glass window that separates the employees from the patients mildly appears that (gives the appearance) of a clinic. In fact, it is the only reminder that I am here with an insurance card.

I was greeted by the weird guy behind the glass window. We exchanged awkward pleasantries. He looked so out of place. Like he should have been working in a vape shop. Thickly black-rimmed glasses, an unkempt beard, gauged earlobes that hung loosely… at least he wore a short-sleeved checkered shirt. Still, he could have worked anywhere besides a doctor’s office. “Have a seat in the waiting room please and meanwhile, please fill out this paperwork,” he taps the pen to the paperwork, making accidental ticks. The ticks annoyed me. But It was the way in which he motioned (moved?) the pen, pecking down at the surface, that pulled back (alarmed?) my senses. I heard every implication of a bad day in those three taps. My mood quickly shifted, mirroring his, and I seized the clipboard with all of the (its?) contents.

I glance down… Name, Birthday, Sex, Referred by, etc. I already filled out these forms through the online patient portal, sent via email, months ago. Begrudgingly, I snap around, scrutinizing the lack of uniformity down the hall. There were six doors in the hallway. White noise machines were set on the floor just outside of every door. The power cords lay disheveled (in random tangles). Three were powered and plugged in from the hallway. Three were powered from within their respective rooms. These should be mounted to the wall and the power cords should be concealed. Everything should be orderly. This isn’t professional.

I open the door to the waiting room. (I move?) Moving slowly, methodically, trying to avoid pulling or pushing the door the wrong way, making loud noises, dropping something, and/or tripping over myself. I do not close the door. It’s entirely too stressful.

I sit across the room (room sounds redundant here?) from the only other person in the room. He’s old. 70’s maybe. He has grey hair and glasses. He’s dressed in a plain white shirt. His shorts are entirely too short and I’m slightly amused. He sits up straight, both palms resting on a cane. I wonder what he is here for. PTSD? His hat suggests he is a veteran. The TV is on. The instrumentals of Sylvester The Cat cut harshly into my bones. The dramatic ups and downs, fast and slows. It’s loud with absolutely no speaker range. The treble makes me tremble. I drop my pen, pick it up, and minimally fill out this paperwork for the second time.

The therapist calls for me. *I jolted at the sudden change in noise direction.* There’s an urgency in her voice. I feel it. Matching her determination, I scramble, ensuring everything is secured on my person. I do this awkward skip thing and I catch up to Mrs. Atonia. I can smell her (shampoo?) as air wafts around the edges of her hair. Spiced vanilla. She hums and despite her perfectly rounded frame, she walks with finesse in her ballerina flats.

She makes her way through her office doorway and gestures me to the couch, “Go ahead and have a seat.” I press my lips together, smiling thinly. I sit in the middle of the three-seater couch. I shiver. My arms are wrapped well enough around my torso and I am legitimately hugging myself. “Would you like a blanket?” she asks me. I feign relief after I run my hands up and down my arms. “Nah, it was just a chill.” But my arms remained crossed. I would have normally set my hands gently into my lap masking my uncertainty. But I needed to see if she could read the basics of body language. How good is she, truly?

“Ahemm…,” the therapist was seated in front of me all of a sudden. Pen and paper in hand. She was trying to get my attention. I raised my eyebrows instead of my eyes. My eyes are drawn (to) the patterns that ornament the area-rug. Paisley, tear-drop patterns collide with unnamed shapes. I’m analyzing the print. Do the colors provide enough contrast? Are the patterns symmetrical at any point? I revel in the formation. The decorations grow and shrink. The rows of woven fiber move upwards like credits at the end of the movie. My brain is messing with me. I’m losing it.

Out of my peripheral view, I notice Atonia while she sneaks a glance at her smart-watch and it annoys me enough that I actually lift my gaze. That’s when I realize the room is missing a coffee table. It would have been nice if she had one here. So that I could have placed my coffee on the table. (the coffee reference seems out of place, did you leave out an earlier reference to getting coffee?)

She’s wearing an oversized yet short-sleeved cardigan. It looks amazingly comfortable. I need one of those.

Atonia breaks the turbulent dead-air (turbulent and dead-air clash, is that intentional? It sort of works somehow), that is my brain, “How’s your morning been?”

I’m racking my brain. I’m unsure of the weather. Was it cold or hot outside? I don’t know what time it is. Is it AM or PM? I don’t know what day it is… it’s clearly not a weekend, and (my) answer is subconscious as always. I shrug, “lovely.” This was my signature answer to anything remotely close to a question of the (this) sort. What a fantastic ice-breaker.

She’s ready to take notes. “Who referred you?”

I am undoubtedly doubtful after Mrs. Atonia asked that (asks this) question. Upon making this appointment a couple of months ago, I was instructed to check my email, join the patient portal, and fill out the questionnaire. I spent over an hour answering those questions. I took the time to write in complete sentences. In fact, out of the dozens of doctors I’ve seen, this was the first time I actually answered every question. And I answered that exact question. Twice now.

I ran (run) my fingers through my hair, dropped (drop) my elbows to my thighs, and collapse my chin into the palms of my hands. Have I wasted an hour of uneventful stop-and-go traffic for a test of my memorization? Or were they milking my insurance? “The IOP program just down the road, not a mile away.”

“What brought you here?”

“A series of unfortunate events. I was recently Baker Acted and hospitalized. I’m going through a divorce. I have kids that are being used against me. I’ve hit rock-bottom.”

She smiles. But her smile is warm. She’s heard this before. She looks determined. “We will discuss this more in detail. I will be taking brief notes for future visits. Tell me about the most recent counseling or therapy you have received? When and where?”

I start to ramble, hemming and hawing over the recent events as if the events meant nothing. It’s the easiest way to get it all out:

“Last year I was Baker Acted in central FL, a city located in the middle of Orlando and Tampa if you are at all familiar with Florida. After I was Baker Acted, I was admitted into a ten-day partial hospitalization program at an Orlando Behavioral Hospital. My hometown physiatrist (psychiatrist) worked with the hospital as they tweaked my medications. During this period I was on F.M.L.A. for ten weeks. When I was cleared to go back to work, I was voluntold (‘voluntold’) to step down from my position as a manager. Yeah. Harsh. That has since, absolutely crushed my ego. My pride.

And then, after two months of dating my current boyfriend, I impulsively moved here to Mississippi. I’ve been here ten months to date. I just recently finished an eight-week intensive outpatient program down the street from here. I am still trying to find a physiatrist (psychiatrist) who seems legit. I’ve been through four since moving here. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.”

“I will write you down a recommendation for the lady upstairs. She is refusing new patients, but she’ll take you in with my card.”

I’m intrigued. It’s upstairs? Convenient.

“Tell me about your experience with the Baker Act (72-hour hold) (I would put this with the first reference to the Baker Act, but not as part of the dialogue) and Partial Hospitalization Program? What was your diagnosis? What medications are you taking? What do you hope to accomplish?”

“The baker-act (Baker-Act hold) was what I imagined a prison would be. Everything was suicide foul-proof (fool-proof?). Not that I was going to attempt that again. I was literally stripped of all my belongings upon check-in, including my nose-ring. While I waited for the doctor to determine that I was no longer a risk to myself or others I read half a book and slept. They’d given me Seroquel, something I haven’t (hadn’t) taken before. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I couldn’t stand without the fog rushing into my brain. I was there for the full three days as they milked my insurance and finally released me.

Next was the ten-day partial hospitalization program, “highly recommended” by my hometown psychiatrist. It was also mandatory if I wanted to take a leave from work. This program turned out to be the biggest pain in the ass, simply because of the hour-long trips back and forth every day. I learned nothing. I repeated my past life for the 87th time to another three doctors or so. I finished the program. This was last year, a couple of months before I left.

And again, I finished the eight-week IOP program just recently. Note—this was entirely voluntary. I have a folder here of all the activities and information I was given while I attended. It’s a lot.”

I’ve taken every medication, every assortment, every cocktail. I’ve been diagnosed with everything. I’m tired. I just want to try this counseling thing and stay on the same medications. I don’t want to switch again. Do you understand?”

Atonia, “I need to list your medications and diagnosis.”

“Here is (are) my discharge papers from the eight-week program.” I hand those over. It lists everything.

Antonia, “What do you hope to accomplish?”

“I don’t know.”

What am I supposed to accomplish? A doctor and medication-free lifestyle? I’d like to rid myself of sleeping and waking nightmares. I’d like to live my life without this mulling anger, skepticism, and suspicion that lies just underneath my skin. It’s of everyone and everything. To rid myself of unhealthy, impulsive and unorthodox behaviors that led me here, to begin with. To stop screaming. Covering my ears from the sounds. Second-guessing everything I do. I want to walk through a grocery store without memories staring me down from the shelves. Without the sounds of children—happy, sad, or otherwise that generally haunt me into the night. Into my dreams. I want to work without a constant paranoia that someone, customer or employee, is here to hurt me. Talk about me. Hit me. Stalk me. Shoot me. I want the cloud that lingers just above my head to dissipate. I want to believe that I have hit rock bottom and that the only way from here is up.

“I want to get better. I want people to understand. And it sounds so simple, but I want people to believe me.”

“I understand what you mean.”

“No. I don’t think you do. I’m writing a book.”

She stops mid-word. Her eyes adjust and focus just above my head. It’s that cloud. “That sounds like it’ll be very therapeutic for you.” I’m unsure if she believes me. It’s in her tone.

“We will move on to background history and your first memories. Where were you born? Who was present during your birth? Were there any complications?”

“I was born on October 13, 1988, at Tampa General Hospital. My mother was 16. My father was 15. They must have adored me. I was told that they were over the moon with me. I saw the picture of my dad holding me in the hospital room, smiling. My mother on the bed, smiling.” Basking in the afterglow and relief of the ever-tiring and grueling process of childbirth. Proud and delighted parents. I know this feeling.

“Do you have any siblings? Tell me a little bit about them.”

“Technically I have 9 siblings, however, during this time period, there was a total of four of us. I was the oldest followed by Jacob, Paul, and Erin. We are all about 11 months apart. I couldn’t tell you much about them because we don’t communicate. There are times I check in with Jacob but it’s not consistent by any means. He remembers just as much as I do. He is aware of the book and to be honest he is scared of the book (it?).”

“Can you tell me about your very first memory?”

“We lived in Plant City, Florida. Plant City is known for the Strawberry farms and the Strawberry Festival, where artists (usually in the country genre) perform concerts. Somewhere in this small town, we lived in a mobile home park. And when you entered the park, we were located on the left side. A tall fence divided the park from the little business office (office park) next door. The homes were tucked in tight. The driveways were dusty. There was a minimal amount of foliage within the park.

My first memory comes to mind on a blazing day. Hot and sunny. I can imagine myself trooping on over, toddler style, en route for the chain-link fence. The red and pink shades (roses?) transcended beauty. On impulse, I leaned into the fence, stretched through the diamond-shaped hole, and eagerly snatched one up. Completely unaware of the defense mechanism that roses exhibit, I was then pierced. I instantly drew back, leaving cat-like scratches all the way down to my wrists, howling and screaming. Someone came to my rescue. I think it was my mother. I’m not entirely sure who it was, but I was swooped up and told to stay away from the fence.”

“Can you tell me about your second memory? Can you remember anything soon after that event?”

“My second memory occurred in that same house. Through the narrow stretch of the kitchen, our secondary door was located at the rear, in the “breakfast nook.” The door was open one day. I simply remember falling to the ground. There weren’t any steps installed.”

“What about your third?”

Memories flood my mind. It’s hard to gather anything specific. “I know that my “Nana” had the house moved onto her property. She lived in Brooksville, Florida. She wanted us all to live in close quarters. Her daughter, my biological mom was entirely too young to be without financial help.”

“What’s the first thing that comes to mind after you moved?”

“I was sleeping in my own room. I slept on the bottom of a twin-sized wooden bunk bed. The bed was positioned alongside the bathroom wall. The top mattress was supported by four slats of wood. There wasn’t much of a ladder to reach the top. At the foot of the bed (there was) an extra slat that crossed horizontally. It helped, but it wasn’t a ladder.

I remember wearing “nighties.” The cartoon pajamas (kind). Long, hot, and ruffled at the bottom. I absolutely despise those now. And only because of the material, not the memories. One night I woke up, restless. The living room lit the foot of my bed just enough for me to see the shadows move about. Roaches. I was hesitant to shift. It frightened me. But I found a bit of courage and dashed out of my room just as quickly as the roaches scattered. I wasn’t a fan of bugs. As time passed, my fear of bugs was seen as a weakness. Whoever lived in the house during that time purchased plastic roaches and would place them around the house, which I get, are funny. The first or second time. Maybe the third. As time passes, humor is lost. Things become inappropriate. I’ve dreamt about that particular night as an adult on several occasions as strange as that may sound.

I remember my “blue blankie.” That is what I called it. It was a quilted blue and white checkered blanket with Winnie The Pooh stitched on the top. The back was (solid) blue. It had the (these) blue ruffles around the outer edges. I slept with it. Napped with it. Took it on car rides. It followed me everywhere. The smell was intoxicating. I’d draw it all in, sweet and milky, I lolled in the warmth. I’m not sure why that bounced into my mind.”
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18
Rated: E | (4.0)
Dear Laurafu,

You requested a review, but the original link is no longer available. This item appears to be a newer version of the same story, so I am putting the review here.

First, I hope you looked at my ‘review style’ and requested a review from me because you are looking for suggestions and technical corrections as well as encouragement. Let me emphasize that my experience is in technical writing, so mark-ups are what I do. You are the sole judge of whether my suggestions have any value. I offer them freely; you decide whether to use them or ignore them.

With that out of the way, I think you have something good here. An open, honest memoir of dealing with challenges is always interesting to read. I think your style works, even if it is a little rough in spots. I can easily see you improving your style as you gain experience with writing, and I think it's already good!

You have several good images that catch the reader’s attention, such as “Like he should have been working in a vape shop.” I especially like the observation “The sun rests on my skin like a warmed silk blanket straight out of the dryer.”

I think you have done well in giving a sense of ‘strangeness’ in some places. You’ve made some of the text a bit choppy and discordant to reflect your character's state of mind. That works for this type of story and I wouldn’t tell you to change it.

I encourage you to continue your story and see it through to a happy end (hopefully).

Warm regards,
Words Whirling 'Round


General thoughts:

I think a lot of us struggle with keeping a consistent point of view while writing. This also applies to the consistent use of present or past tense. I suggest taking a look at each scene and paying attention to what your character is doing and/or describing. We should probably maintain a consistent usage of past or present tense throughout the scene.

I would suggest using double quotation marks only for direct quotes and single quotation marks to set off text for other reasons.

My own preference is to write dialogue with ‘perfect’ grammar, but it is also legitimate to have your characters speak more like real people. By that, I mean we all tend to use incomplete sentences and we often grab the wrong word when in spirited conversations. As an author you get to choose, but it is a challenge to strike a good balance between readability and reality. An expert writer might even use an ‘excited utterance’ to show a strong emotional state.

Specific suggestions:

WDC doesn’t seem to have very good tools for doing mark-ups, so I have used green to highlight the areas in your text that seem awkward to me. My suggested changes are in parentheses.

Chapter 2

The Present…

I arrive at 9:30 a.m. I’m thirty minutes early as requested by the text reminder I received on my phone the day before. And as requested on (in?) the reminder email that I received the day before. And for the cave-man in me, the business card that is clipped to my refrigerator.

This is my first appointment with my E.M.D.R. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) specialist.

I was referred here by my recent psychiatrist and It’s taken every bit of three months to get my foot through the door. But before I made the appointment, I did a little research on the doc‘s recommendation. With a quick “Google” search, I came across a website, nonetheless, it (that) provided the bare bones. The “About” page of the website listed the doctor’s referral first. Her name is Atonia (give both first and last names? Is it supposed to be Antonia?). Her thumbnail-sized portrait portrayed (shows) a round face with an ear to ear smile. Blonde hair. Lighter eyes. Late 40’s to early ’50s, maybe. Her basic life interests were listed followed by a bio. Essentially, it was a resume written in full sentence structure. It was boastful. But impressive. She’s worked with both adolescents and adults with PTSD. This is what I need.

So here I am.

As I pull forward, over the slightest bit of hill and onto the street that’ll connect me to my destination, I frown instinctively at the scenery. Cookie-cutter townhome rentals are suddenly scattered throughout. Businesses come and go all too often in places like this. It is simply too expensive and they shut down causing me to start all over again. This doesn’t resonate with me very well. I’ve had enough of this.

But I’ve waited long enough.

Everyone has waited long enough.

The lines in the parking lot didn’t exist. There’s an unnaturally large spot that's closest to the entrance and with no otherwise indications (otherwise), I deem it a legitimate parking spot and park. I gather my items, open the door and place a single boot onto the concrete and then whoosh. An unsettling wave came crashing in from the top of my head and then settled (washed down?) into the soles of my feet, causing a warm pressure in my calves as if they were heavily blanketed. I clambered (scrambled?) back into the car, my head exploding with answers to unwavering (irrelevant, unsettling, compulsive?) questions.

Is this a parking spot? It’s not a parking spot.
Am I crooked? I’m crooked.
Did I deserve this spot? No.
Will I get towed? I’ll get towed.
Will someone kick my car? Someone will kick my car.
Will I feel safe, walking to my car? Not if someone wants to get me.
Will someone be waiting at the entrance? Yes. I’ll need a chance to run.

I moved my car further (farther) back and all was forgotten. I cut across the parking lot to make my way onto the sidewalk. The sidewalk swirls to the side of the building where I see the entrance is to my left. But my gaze carries to the right. I linger in the colors before me. The sun touches it all, exaggerating the blues of the sky, the reds, and yellows of the hibiscus plants and the greens of, well, the greenery. Brightly (lit?) and crisply cut hedges sit along with (alongside?) the privacy barriers made out of brick. Two benches sat opposite, so simply placed just off the outer edges of the sidewalk. The seats are made of chocolatey wood-grained slates (slats?). Perfected metal swoops on each side of the benches served as armrests. They made me want to say the word “Classico.” The sun rests on my skin like a warmed silk blanket straight out of the dryer. I close my eyes and lock this picture in my head. A gentle floral note perfumes the sun-shining morning.

I enter the building. I’ve always pictured places like these to resemble the looks and smells of a clinic. I expect the smell of floor treatment at minimal (a minimum). But only the sliding glass window that separates the employees from the patients mildly appears that (gives the appearance) of a clinic. In fact, it is the only reminder that I am here with an insurance card.

I was greeted by the weird guy behind the glass window. We exchanged awkward pleasantries. He looked so out of place. Like he should have been working in a vape shop. Thickly black-rimmed glasses, an unkempt beard, gauged earlobes that hung loosely… at least he wore a short-sleeved checkered shirt. Still, he could have worked anywhere besides a doctor’s office. “Have a seat in the waiting room please and meanwhile, please fill out this paperwork,” he taps the pen to the paperwork, making accidental ticks. The ticks annoyed me. But It was the way in which he motioned (moved?) the pen, pecking down at the surface, that pulled back (alarmed?) my senses. I heard every implication of a bad day in those three taps. My mood quickly shifted, mirroring his, and I seized the clipboard with all of the (its?) contents.

I glance down… Name, Birthday, Sex, Referred by, etc. I already filled out these forms through the online patient portal, sent via email, months ago. Begrudgingly, I snap around, scrutinizing the lack of uniformity down the hall. There were six doors in the hallway. White noise machines were set on the floor just outside of every door. The power cords lay disheveled (in random tangles). Three were powered and plugged in from the hallway. Three were powered from within their respective rooms. These should be mounted to the wall and the power cords should be concealed. Everything should be orderly. This isn’t professional.

I open the door to the waiting room. (I move?) Moving slowly, methodically, trying to avoid pulling or pushing the door the wrong way, making loud noises, dropping something, and/or tripping over myself. I do not close the door. It’s entirely too stressful.

I sit across the room from the only other person in the room. He’s old. 70’s maybe. He has grey hair and glasses. He’s dressed in a plain white shirt. His shorts are entirely too short and I’m slightly amused. He sits up straight, both palms resting on a cane. I wonder what he is here for. PTSD? His hat suggests he is a veteran. The TV is on. The instrumentals of Sylvester The Cat cut harshly into my bones. The dramatic ups and downs, fast and slows. It’s loud with absolutely no speaker range. The treble makes me tremble. I drop my pen, pick it up, and minimally fill out this paperwork for the second time.

The therapist calls for me. *I jolted at the sudden change in noise direction.* There’s an urgency in her voice. I feel it. Matching her determination, I scramble, ensuring everything is secured on my person. I do this awkward skip thing and I catch up to Mrs. Atonia. I can smell her (shampoo?) as air wafts around the edges of her hair. Spiced vanilla. She hums and despite her perfectly rounded frame, she walks with finesse in her ballerina flats.

She makes her way through her office doorway and gestures me to the couch, “Go ahead and have a seat.” I press my lips together, smiling thinly. I sit in the middle of the three-seater couch. I shiver. My arms are wrapped well enough around my torso and I am legitimately hugging myself. “Would you like a blanket?” she asks me. I feign relief after I run my hands up and down my arms. “Nah, it was just a chill.” But my arms remained crossed. I would have normally set my hands gently into my lap masking my uncertainty. But I needed to see if she could read the basics of body language. How good is she, truly?

“Ahemm…,” the therapist was seated in front of me all of a sudden. Pen and paper in hand. She was trying to get my attention. I raised my eyebrows instead of my eyes. My eyes are drawn (to) the patterns that ornament the area-rug. Paisley, tear-drop patterns collide with unnamed shapes. I’m analyzing the print. Do the colors provide enough contrast? Are the patterns symmetrical at any point? I revel in the formation. The decorations grow and shrink. The rows of woven fiber move upwards like credits at the end of the movie. My brain is messing with me. I’m losing it.

Out of my peripheral view, I notice Atonia while she sneaks a glance at her smart-watch and it annoys me enough that I actually lift my gaze. That’s when I realize the room is missing a coffee table. It would have been nice if she had one here. So that I could have placed my coffee on the table. (the coffee reference seems out of place, did you leave out an earlier reference to getting coffee?)

She’s wearing an oversized yet short-sleeved cardigan. It looks amazingly comfortable. I need one of those.

Atonia breaks the turbulent dead-air (turbulent and dead-air clash, is that intentional? It sort of works somehow), that is my brain, “How’s your morning been?”

I’m racking my brain. I’m unsure of the weather. Was it cold or hot outside? I don’t know what time it is. Is it AM or PM? I don’t know what day it is… it’s clearly not a weekend, and (my) answer is subconscious as always. I shrug, “lovely.” This was my signature answer to anything remotely close to a question of the (this) sort. What a fantastic ice-breaker.

She’s ready to take notes. “Who referred you?”

I am undoubtedly doubtful after Mrs. Atonia asked that (asks this) question. Upon making this appointment a couple of months ago, I was instructed to check my email, join the patient portal, and fill out the questionnaire. I spent over an hour answering those questions. I took the time to write in complete sentences. In fact, out of the dozens of doctors I’ve seen, this was the first time I actually answered every question. And I answered that exact question. Twice now.

I ran (run) my fingers through my hair, dropped (drop) my elbows to my thighs, and collapse my chin into the palms of my hands. Have I wasted an hour of uneventful stop-and-go traffic for a test of my memorization? Or were they milking my insurance? “The IOP program just down the road, not a mile away.”

“What brought you here?”

“A series of unfortunate events. I was recently Baker Acted and hospitalized. I’m going through a divorce. I have kids that are being used against me. I’ve hit rock-bottom.”

She smiles. But her smile is warm. She’s heard this before. She looks determined. “We will discuss this more in detail. I will be taking brief notes for future visits. Tell me about the most recent counseling or therapy you have received? When and where?”

I start to ramble, hemming and hawing over the recent events as if the events meant nothing. It’s the easiest way to get it all out:

“Last year I was Baker Acted in central FL, a city located in the middle of Orlando and Tampa if you are at all familiar with Florida. After I was Baker Acted, I was admitted into a ten-day partial hospitalization program at an Orlando Behavioral Hospital. My hometown physiatrist (psychiatrist) worked with the hospital as they tweaked my medications. During this period I was on F.M.L.A. for ten weeks. When I was cleared to go back to work, I was voluntold (‘voluntold’) to step down from my position as a manager. Yeah. Harsh. That has since, absolutely crushed my ego. My pride.

And then, after two months of dating my current boyfriend, I impulsively moved here to Mississippi. I’ve been here ten months to date. I just recently finished an eight-week intensive outpatient program down the street from here. I am still trying to find a physiatrist (psychiatrist) who seems legit. I’ve been through four since moving here. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.”

“I will write you down a recommendation for the lady upstairs. She is refusing new patients, but she’ll take you in with my card.”

I’m intrigued. It’s upstairs? Convenient.

“Tell me about your experience with the Baker Act (72-hour hold) (I would put this with the first reference to the Baker Act, but not as part of the dialogue) and Partial Hospitalization Program? What was your diagnosis? What medications are you taking? What do you hope to accomplish?”

“The baker-act (Baker-Act hold) was what I imagined a prison would be. Everything was suicide foul-proof (fool-proof?). Not that I was going to attempt that again. I was literally stripped of all my belongings upon check-in, including my nose-ring. While I waited for the doctor to determine that I was no longer a risk to myself or others I read half a book and slept. They’d given me Seroquel, something I haven’t (hadn’t) taken before. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I couldn’t stand without the fog rushing into my brain. I was there for the full three days as they milked my insurance and finally released me.

Next was the ten-day partial hospitalization program, “highly recommended” by my hometown psychiatrist. It was also mandatory if I wanted to take a leave from work. This program turned out to be the biggest pain in the ass, simply because of the hour-long trips back and forth every day. I learned nothing. I repeated my past life for the 87th time to another three doctors or so. I finished the program. This was last year, a couple of months before I left.

And again, I finished the eight-week IOP program just recently. Note—this was entirely voluntary. I have a folder here of all the activities and information I was given while I attended. It’s a lot.”

I’ve taken every medication, every assortment, every cocktail. I’ve been diagnosed with everything. I’m tired. I just want to try this counseling thing and stay on the same medications. I don’t want to switch again. Do you understand?”

Atonia, “I need to list your medications and diagnosis.”

“Here is (are) my discharge papers from the eight-week program.” I hand those over. It lists everything.

Antonia, “What do you hope to accomplish?”

“I don’t know.”

What am I supposed to accomplish? A doctor and medication-free lifestyle? I’d like to rid myself of sleeping and waking nightmares. I’d like to live my life without this mulling anger, skepticism, and suspicion that lies just underneath my skin. It’s of everyone and everything. To rid myself of unhealthy, impulsive and unorthodox behaviors that led me here, to begin with. To stop screaming. Covering my ears from the sounds. Second-guessing everything I do. I want to walk through a grocery store without memories staring me down from the shelves. Without the sounds of children—happy, sad, or otherwise that generally haunt me into the night. Into my dreams. I want to work without a constant paranoia that someone, customer or employee, is here to hurt me. Talk about me. Hit me. Stalk me. Shoot me. I want the cloud that lingers just above my head to dissipate. I want to believe that I have hit rock bottom and that the only way from here is up.

“I want to get better. I want people to understand. And it sounds so simple, but I want people to believe me.”

“I understand what you mean.”

“No. I don’t think you do. I’m writing a book.”

She stops mid-word. Her eyes adjust and focus just above my head. It’s that cloud. “That sounds like it’ll be very therapeutic for you.” I’m unsure if she believes me. It’s in her tone.

“We will move on to background history and your first memories. Where were you born? Who was present during your birth? Were there any complications?”

“I was born on October 13, 1988, at Tampa General Hospital. My mother was 16. My father was 15. They must have adored me. I was told that they were over the moon with me. I saw the picture of my dad holding me in the hospital room, smiling. My mother on the bed, smiling.” Basking in the afterglow and relief of the ever-tiring and grueling process of childbirth. Proud and delighted parents. I know this feeling.

“Do you have any siblings? Tell me a little bit about them.”

“Technically I have 9 siblings, however, during this time period, there was a total of four of us. I was the oldest followed by Jacob, Paul, and Erin. We are all about 11 months apart. I couldn’t tell you much about them because we don’t communicate. There are times I check in with Jacob but it’s not consistent by any means. He remembers just as much as I do. He is aware of the book and to be honest he is scared of the book (it?).”

“Can you tell me about your very first memory?”

“We lived in Plant City, Florida. Plant City is known for the Strawberry farms and the Strawberry Festival, where artists (usually in the country genre) perform concerts. Somewhere in this small town, we lived in a mobile home park. And when you entered the park, we were located on the left side. A tall fence divided the park from the little business office (office park) next door. The homes were tucked in tight. The driveways were dusty. There was a minimal amount of foliage within the park.

My first memory comes to mind on a blazing day. Hot and sunny. I can imagine myself trooping on over, toddler style, en route for the chain-link fence. The red and pink shades (roses on the other side?) transcended beauty. On impulse, I leaned into the fence, stretched through the diamond-shaped hole, and eagerly snatched one up. Completely unaware of the defense mechanism that roses exhibit, I was then pierced. I instantly drew back, leaving cat-like scratches all the way down to my wrists, howling and screaming. Someone came to my rescue. I think it was my mother. I’m not entirely sure who it was, but I was swooped up and told to stay away from the fence.”

“Can you tell me about your second memory? Can you remember anything soon after that event?”

“My second memory occurred in that same house. Through the narrow stretch of the kitchen, our secondary door was located at the rear, in the “breakfast nook.” The door was open one day. I simply remember falling to the ground. There weren’t any steps installed.”

“What about your third?”

Memories flood my mind. It’s hard to gather anything specific. “I know that my “Nana” had the house moved onto her property. She lived in Brooksville, Florida. She wanted us all to live in close quarters. Her daughter, my biological mom was entirely too young to be without financial help.”

“What’s the first thing that comes to mind after you moved?”

“I was sleeping in my own room. I slept on the bottom of a twin-sized wooden bunk bed. The bed was positioned alongside the bathroom wall. The top mattress was supported by four slats of wood. There wasn’t much of a ladder to reach the top. At the foot of the bed (there was) an extra slat that crossed horizontally. It helped, but it wasn’t a ladder.

I remember wearing “nighties.” The cartoon pajamas (picture kind). Long, hot, and ruffled at the bottom. I absolutely despise those now. And only because of the material, not the memories. One night I woke up, restless. The living room lit the foot of my bed just enough for me to see the shadows move about. Roaches. I was hesitant to shift. It frightened me. But I found a bit of courage and dashed out of my room just as quickly as the roaches scattered. I wasn’t a fan of bugs. As time passed, my fear of bugs was seen as a weakness. Whoever lived in the house during that time purchased plastic roaches and would place them around the house, which I get, are funny. The first or second time. Maybe the third. As time passes, humor is lost. Things become inappropriate. I’ve dreamt about that particular night as an adult on several occasions as strange as that may sound.

I remember my “blue blankie.” That is what I called it. It was a quilted blue and white checkered blanket with Winnie The Pooh stitched on the top. The back was (solid) blue. It had the (these) blue ruffles around the outer edges. I slept with it. Napped with it. Took it on car rides. It followed me everywhere. The smell was intoxicating. I’d draw it all in, sweet and milky, I lolled in the warmth. I’m not sure why that bounced into my mind.”



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
19
19
Rated: E | (5.0)
Nice piece with a lot of interesting facts about our favorite author! I enjoyed learning more about his background, and the questions from and about the various books are a nice touch. I taught my preschool age kids how to read with the help of the good doctor and they surprised their teachers when they went off to kindergarten. You could add something about his political cartoons, but they are definitely not intended for children!

Words Whirling 'Round


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
20
20
Review of I Miss You  
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is a beautiful poem that describes the grief of losing a loved one. It also touches on the regret of interpersonal tension and lost opportunities.

You've done a good job of evoking the recurring feelings of loss and regret by thematically repeating the last line in successive verses.

My only critique is for the line "Was I can see you no more". It doesn't seem to scan properly and interrupted the flow as I read. Perhaps your line "I cannot see you anymore" would work better?

I think you show real talent, please keep writing.


Warm regards,
Terrence Fisher


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
21
21
Review of The Struggle  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Congratulations! This is very well written.

I don't always agree with the judging in the poetry contests, but I have to agree that this one deserves the prize. I don't see anything that I would change.

I know depression is difficult to deal with and even more difficult to admit. I had a bout with depression some years ago. Medication made me functional and counseling helped, but it wasn't until I took 'control of my will' that I actually came out of it.

Thank you for sharing,
Terrence Fisher


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
22
22
Review of HEART ON A TREE  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Monty,

This is a beautiful thought and well written. I especially like the first verse.

I do have some suggestions to submit for your consideration:

1. 'much the same' instead of 'as the same'
2. 'still it remains' instead of 'still there remains'
3. 'love's old mark' instead of 'that old mark'

Please let me know if this kind of suggestion is inappropriate and I'll leave them out of future reviews.

Warm Regards,
Terrence Fisher


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
23
23
Review of No excuses  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Welcome to Writing.com! I've been posting poetry here for about four months and I've found it to be a positive experience. I hope it works for you as well.

There is some heartfelt truth here. Congratulations on putting it out there! I know it isn't easy to open up about such personal feelings. Honest reflection is the first step toward a positive change or a more peaceful acceptance of who we really are.

Good luck and keep writing,
Terrence Fisher




*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Wheel of Fortune  
for entry "March 25, 2019 II
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Well done!

You've captured something worth reading as well as adhering to the required format. The images are slightly disturbing and that's what makes it interesting. I've known elderly princesses who smell of 'boozy' perfume and your verse evokes those memories well.

My only nit to pick is the dash in 'Cinder-Ella'. To me it seems an unnecessary break? Of course it's your poem and you may have a good reason for adding it.


Keep writing well!
Terrence Fisher


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is a well constructed poem with good advice for anyone.

I'm not a big fan of free verse, but this hooked me and made me want to read on to the finish. The grammar and punctuation look good to me.

My one humble suggestion: I think "repeat past glories" is a more active statement than "relive past glories".

Either way, it's a good piece.

Keep writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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