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126
126
Review of Nightmare  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, Mimi,

My name is Bob and I thoroughly enjoyed your poetic monologue about the nightmares that invade our sleep. I'm quite new here at WDC myself, so here's a warm welcome to both of us *Smile* When I had only read the first couple of lines of your work, I knew I would be reviewing it because it reads smooth (in a scary kind of way) and your descriptions not only cover the subject, but do so in a clever and compelling fashion.

By capitalizing nightmare and making it Nightmare, plus keeping it singular, you give life to what is otherwise just a word describing a restless, disturbing kind of sleep. The Nightmare in your story/poem/essay is a character as real as any person or demon, and readers will appreciate what you've done.

If you compare your original version with my slightly revised version below, you'll find a few minor changes here and there. These changes do not express my personal opinions, but rather incorporate some basic grammar and punctuation corrections that neither you nor I have much control over.

I did move one sentence (Nightmare gradually envelops you until your body is immobilized) from its original location to another paragraph where it fits better, but see what you think. Otherwise, this item is now not only near perfect, but it is a beautifully written piece of work, even before my corrections were added. *Smile*

You'll also notice how I broke your work up into several paragraphs instead of just the two you had originally. While there is no specific "rule" that says you have to do it the way I did, I hope you can see how much clearer things are by splitting the work into multiple paragraphs. The exact beginning and ending of a given paragraph is always a subject for debate, so you can take my suggestions, or put the breaks where you think they should be.

Be that as it may, welcome to WDC, and as far as I'm concerned, and if your other work is as good as this first piece, you're a very nice addition to the membership here. Please let me know if this was helpful, and when you have another work or two posted for us to read.

Bob

A shared group image

Nightmare, a wicked entity, envelops you at night when you fall deeper into an exhausted sleep. It teleports your mind into a place where darkness and malevolent entities prowl in the dark, ready to strike you with fear and force.

Nightmare loves to play tricks with your fragile mentality. It provokes your darkest secrets, sins, and fears, to diminish your courage and pride. It creeps into your past and memories and spoils their purity and innocence.

The surreal elements that Nightmare utilizes to formulate a scene are so vivid and factual. The screams, the pain, the physical movements, and what you witness within Nightmare are nothing but fictitious beings and feelings.

When you are being chased by an unknown entity, your fear increasingly dictates over your strength.

Nightmare gradually envelops you until your body is immobilized. You feel scared, and you try to move your leg muscles but you cannot. It seems like you are immobilized and chained. You turn around and attempt to swing your arms with the hope of defeating that unknown entity.

However, Nightmare knows and plays you like a puppet. It lets you slip and fall deep into the oblivion. The void instantly consumes you, and you only see nothing but darkness.

Nightmare's amusement concludes and you wake up, drenched in your own sweat.

Your body feels heavy, your heart beats faster, and your muscles ache. Nightmare withdraws its cloak of fear from you and disappears. Again, you fall into an exhausted sleep.

Do not forget that Nightmare will come back whenever it pleases.



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
127
127
Review of Ode to Flora  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Mauren,

My name is Bob and I'm always attracted to well written poems about nature. But they need to be well written, or else nature poems tend to leave me just tired and bored. Yours, on the other hand, made me feel like coming alive, as if Springtime had arrived early, delivered by your delightful verse. *Smile*

Two quickies stand out:

All Earth's flowers are her clothes

And full of color, like shiny jewels

I suggest you consider these two small changes. I think they'll work for you. Otherwise, the rest of the verses seem fine to me. There is such an overall lack of punctuation, it seems a shame to use any. If it were me, I'd even drop the commas, like the one after:

As we frolic play and promote creativity

or:

As we frolic and play and promote creativity

or as in:

The grass is green everything sprouts

versus:

The grass is green and everything sprouts


See what you think. I probably prefer adding "and" then dropping all punctuation. But if you want to just leave it all out, that's fine with me *Smile*

My only other comment is that now you need to do the companion piece: Ode to Fauna *Smile*

If you went that route as well, it might be fun to see the plants and flowers "welcoming" the animals and insects with the same exhuberance as was seen in Ode to Flora.

A beautiful piece of work, regardless. I really liked it.
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
128
128
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hi, Shannielle,

Oh, this is strong stuff you've penned here. And it gets stronger as it gets longer. I really like it. I hate bullies, and those who mistreat spouses, girlfriends or boyfriends, are the worst of the worst. They torture and destroy under the cover of love, which is like a sociopathic cop, beating someone under the color of authority. It's the very definition of abuse.

Hi, my name is Bob, and when I came across your poem, it kind of stopped me in my tracks and I decided, well, here's one that deserves some high praise. Maybe I can find a missing period or comma so it looks like I did a review *Smile*

There's only one thing I would add at the very bottom, which will make this near perfect poem, absolutely completely perfect. Seriously. See what you think. It's not a bad addition.


They judged you from afar, but I,
I know who you're with. I know the pain of
not knowing what you're looking at in
the mirror when he's standing behind you,
calipers in hand. You can leave him, you know?

He's less than a man.

And you're more than a woman.


Hi, I'm back. Don't you agree that this adds just a pinch more relevancy? More pride that's been regained and restored since she got away from this bum. Anyway, I hope you like it. If you don't, I still love this almost absolutely *Smile*

It's a great piece and you're to be congratulated. Really. No other criticisms, not from me. And if I praise it any more, people will think we're related *Smile*

Thanks for sharing and listening.
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
129
129
Review of 1000 steps  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Catalyst,

First and foremost, I really liked your little tale. I think it is charming, and to a large extent, well written. To another extent, it needed a lot of fixes. If you will compare, word for word, and punctuation, mark for mark, my revised version with your original, I think you will see some magic happening. Not because I am some great writer and you're not, but rather how nice a piece of writing can become when the basics are applied to a work which is somewhat rough around the edges, so to speak.

It's always risky for a reviewer to just jump into someone's writing and make all kinds of changes. I agree. It's not a good idea if what the reviewer is doing, is supplanting your original concepts with his or her own ideas. I hope you can see that this is not what I've done here.

If what you built was a bridge across a flowing river of ice, then I'm like a building inspector who found that your bridge was unsafe to travel across. And so I pounded in a few more nails, strengthened a support beam here and there, and otherwise tightened things up. The bridge is now safe and secure for the heaviest loads *Smile*

There are, however, many different ways to write the same thing. I tried to stay as close to your original as possible, but I'm sure you will, and rightfully so, still want to word things in your own way. Hopefully, I've given you a stronger framework on which to build. So see what you think.

Speaking personally, I like your story three times more now than I did at first. And I liked it a lot a first. A lot. Even I was amazed at how good it got with all the changes I made. That's a compliment for what a great job you did to begin with, however, and something for which I cannot take any credit. And don't want to.

Let me know if you have any questions. Especially about the greatly increased number of paragraphs, which represents the most dramatic (and I think, powerful) change of all. But you tell me, my friend.

Thanks for listening.
Bob

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1000 steps from door to door didn't seem far for a young man to walk.

But on this winter day the vespers creeped by unnoticed, and night had surreptitiously appeared. The moon at perigee had exposed most shadows for what they were, but distant objects cloaked with the ambiguity of darkness, still found their way into his mind.

The howls of the night wind seemed ominous, and created an unsettled fear deep inside. Each pace closer seemed to draw him farther from the safety of where he had walked earlier. His feet grew heavy as his steps rang out against the ice and snow in which he trod.

The sounds of wind and falling leaves had all but ceased when something new made its way to his ears. Another set of steps sounded not far behind.

They were just an echo, he reasoned, as his gait became more purposeful, despite his not fully believing his own excuse. A sudden stop aimed at quelling his fear and proving himself paranoid, only furthered his horripilation when the other steps failed to hault.

His heart raced as his body ran towards his door and climbed the snow-covered steps. Slipping, he could feel his imagined assailant's icy hands grasping at his coat.

Quickly running inside and slamming the door behind him, he pulled aside the curtains of the nearest window and peered outside. He yearned to see the evil which had taken upon itself the cold design for his demise.

A moment later, he spotted only a little red fox as it curiously trotted along the niveous lane.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
130
130
Review of The sun is asleep  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Insane,

My name is Bob, and part of my job is to troll for new material that catches my eye -- and imagination. There is something about this work that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. It's rough in places, and needs work here and there. The two main paragraphs need to be broken up into many smaller ones. And if this was a first draft, say, then I would expect about a dozen more would be needed before this thing was ready for prime time.

Given all that criticism, all the things wrong with it, most of them small, I absolutely love this piece of haunting, superbly thought out work. It's powerful, chilling, and mysteriously wonderful. It captures almost perfectly, if even unintentionally, a magnificent native American flavor that saturates all of one's senses, filling them with sorrow, melancholia, a deep, reverential joy, and other emotions and ideas that I haven't even finished realizing yet.

This is some kind of minor epic, a saga in miniature that doesn't allow us to easily forget its piercing tale. If and when the piece is fixed, revised, corrected, punctuated properly, its grammar smoothed out and so forth, it's hard to imagine how good the work could be in a more polished, refined state. In a word -- tremendous. And that's saying a lot for such a small, diminutive piece.

For now, I'd like to break this into much needed multiple paragraphs which is a good place to start. That's all I want to do for now, because the rest will be up to you, my friend. I need you to tell me that you're interested in seeing all the corrections that are needed. But more than that. There's not that many grammar problems -- not really. It's more a matter of how to write this in such a way that all the beauty that's there, is given a chance to breathe and realize its full potential. There are a few different ways to go, and I want you to see what I'm talking about -- if you're interested. If not, that's fine, too. Even leaving it as is, a certain, albeit smaller audience will always enjoy it. Some will love it. And others, like me, will simply dream about how much more glorious this might have been, given half a chance.

So let me know. In the meantime, here's how the paragraphs break down better, as I see them. Even then, this is a first go around, but you'll get the idea.

Thanks for listening.
Bob

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It was dark, the sun resting behind the mountains so that it could shine bright in the morning. That's what her ma used to say to her when she asked why the sun went away at night.

Silver ears rested in a mass of silken hair a dark black color. Grey eyes looked to the mountain where the sun had set. "I wish you'd skip rest tonight," she told the sun as if it could hear her whispers.

Her mother flushed in the face from fever but shivering from cold. The little girl stayed by the side of the bed watching the unsteady rise and fall of her mothers chest counting the wheezy breaths and looking to the grandfather clock in the room.

The pendulum swung in time but though it was the same as ever it seemed to be moving so slow. The girl could hear her own rapid heart pitter patter in her chest but her ma's breaths were coming out slower.

Again the girl looked out the window to the mountains begging the sun to wake up so the doctor would come.

Time passed and hot tears of liquid emotion fell from the grey eyes of the child. She pawed at her mothers blankets despritly, "Mama hold on the suns coming," she said in a thick and shaking voice there was no reply from the woman. The girl counted the ticks of the clock 'tick- tock tick- tock' Her tail swung in time with the clocks.

The little girl fell asleep that night. Waiting for a morning that would not come, as the sun had faded and its magic died.

put hiatus here

The morning doctor saw a black and white marbled fox laying upon the dead woman. The fox was still and cold with wet cheeks and glassed eyes.

After the doctors task was done the cause of death for the woman was the illness in old age the fox, of a broken heart. Both were buried in the yard where the sun first woke and shinned.

The old woman, a grandmother to all in heart had no children of blood. There were many who came to greive the woman but none cared for the fox, her pet fox who was to her, the only child she ever had. The one person who even in death would never leave her side.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
131
131
Review of Wish Mix  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, August,

This poem is fabulous. Okay, so let's get that out of the way. It's beautifully written, I love it, it's one of the best I've read in a while, and it should win a prize of some kind. So why am I troubled by it, and what's bugging me?

Hi, my name is Bob and I'm always happy when I come across work that is especially well written and poses a challenge for me in one way or another.

My guess is that Sam is around 5 or 6-years-old. If that. My problem is that Sam is too good a poet for his age. He writes with the acumen and wisdom and humor of an adult. More like you, the author. Are you beginning to see where I'm going? And I'm just getting started *Smile*

I tried thinking of the "work around" on this. You and most others may not consider my concern to be a problem whatsoever, in which case, you're home free because the poem, as I I said, is otherwise virtually flawless. It's wonderful. So I should quit while we're all ahead?

Well, just for the sake of being a nag, let's see what my big ideas were for a "fix". Who knows, maybe you'll agree and like one or the other of my two "solutions".

My first idea was to re-approach the poem from the following POV:

"There once was a boy who wanted a brother instead of the sister he got." In this scenario, the author tells us a story about Sam, instead of Sam telling us the story himself. You can keep 90% of what's already there and simply re-word a bit of this, a fragment of that, and voila! The whole thing still works, and grumpy grouches like me, who go around just looking for trouble, will go away happy. That's one remedy.

My second answer -- all of these are offered free of charge, by the way -- is my wife's idea. Pretty much. In this situation, Sam is a grown man looking back, which we don't find out until the end.

Oh, and by the way, in all cases, we keep your delightful (albeit somewhat predictable) ending, whereby Sam is thrilled to have a sister, of course.

At the end, the adult Sam tells the Stork Man how he would have had things no other way. Yada, yada, yada.

I'm not sure which version I like the best -- probably the second one, where Sam is now an adult. But the first one is pretty good, too. That one was mine *Smile* I suspect you'll go with neither and stick with the old axiom: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Which is okay by me. Pretty much. It's the difference between 4 1/2 stars and 5 stars. Big deal, I guess.

Let me know what you decide. My feelings won't be hurt if you don't change a thing. Well, only because they don't have an emoticon for "tears".

Thanks again for sharing this adorable gift of fluff'n'stuff with the rest of us *Smile*
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
132
132
Review of Fight  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hi, Warrior,

My name is Bob and since I write about dragons, I took a quick look at what you self-describe as a rare attempt on your part, to write poetry. I read your other portfolio piece and noticed that you're a pretty good writer of prose, but I wanted to focus on this poem -- for obvious reasons. And what I mean by that snide remark *Facepalm* is to state what you already suspect is true -- which is how poetry is not exactly your strong suit -- not right now anyway. But I have good news if you're interested *Smile*

I have no real idea what you're really talking about in this piece. But you do. And that's all that matters, of course. The idea is to let others in as to what's on your mind. There is an easy solution here -- a fast and easy fix -- if you're interested. And it will work for any future poems you might also want to write as well.

If you were willing to work with me, I'd ask you to do me a personal favor. From one dragoneer to another *Smile*

I'd ask you to write this poem as a very short work of prose. When done, each stanza would be it's own brief paragraph, and your end result will be a short story that tells us pretty much what's going on here.

Once you show me what this would look like if you'd written it as a "tiny tale" of sorts, then we can talk about doing it as a poem. I think this would be a real eye-opener for you. And you would be amazed, I think, at how much easier going back and making it into a poem again, would be. Really.

And I'll be there with you every clawstep of the way *Smile* -- if you should want. This could be real fun if you got into the spirit of it. Or not.

Let me know if you want to come out an "play" *Smile*

Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
133
133
Review of Her Garden  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Kit,

I really liked your story, where I could smell the flowers and the fruits, feel the sunshine streaming through windows, and just the whole "feel good" tone and tenor of the entire work. This is a good piece if you're feeling down and need a quick wake-up, like a cup of coffee or in this case, a fresh glass of morning cheer.

Hi, my name is Bob, and among my wanderings, I happened upon your brief story and decided to rest awhile, take a load off, relax, and smell the roses, some fruits and vegetables, and dew-dampened soil *Smile*

My only criticism (and even that sounds too harsh) is that your exuberance shows just a tad too much here. What do I mean by that? Well, sometimes when we get excited about life and living, and in this case, the joy and abundance of emotion associated with your mom and all that represents to you, the words just come gushing out. Almost anything, if it's an adjective, fills the bill, so to speak *Smile*

For example, in the opening paragraph below:

Every morning, the sun splashes our windows with golden paints, and the lacy cobwebs and dust sparkled and glowed under the warm light. But the warm light becomes a raging, old lady with a stick. With her long, thick stick, she whips and pokes at our skin and eyes, until we can not bare the heat anymore. Blankets thrusted aside, we swing our legs out of the bed and begin our morning routine.

That's your original above. Allow me to do a minor rewrite below and show what I'm talking about. Colorful adjectives are great, but it's important that they kind of all fit together, which emphasizes that we're flowing through the same river of thought, and not taking little side trips into separate streams along our way. Too much of a good thing is sometimes the problem, or too much all happening at the same time. Important also, is the idea that "my" words and phrasing are just that. Meaning they aren't intended to be superior to your own, but rather show you some added alternatives that are open to you, if you wanted to explore different possibilities. And when it comes to vivid descriptions, as you no doubt realize, they are endless in the choices of how use them. See what you think about my choices, and I'll finish up afterward.

Every morning, the sun painted our windows with golden pigments, while lacy cobwebs and particles of dust sparkled and glowed under the warm, forenoon light.

But the heated rays soon became a raging old lady, with a stick no less. Whipping the air with her long, thick rod, she would poke at our skin and eyes until we could no longer bare the warmth anymore. Blankets were thrust aside as we swung our legs to the floor, ready to begin our morning routine.

Hi, Kit. Two things are happening in my version. First I broke the paragraph into two pieces. This is always a good idea because it "opens" up paragraphs which are too stuffed otherwise. You'll want to do more of that with the paragraphs that remain. Secondly, you'll see how I changed the "tense" from your present tense, to past tense. I think you'll see how this lets the words read smoother, and our "frames of reference", so to speak, seem more connected.

I also moved adjectives around and sentence structures. By now you probably feel like your writing is like a carrot where the knife chops it into a hundred pieces *Smile*

There is so much goodness here, like a big stew pot filled with all the right ingredients -- you've got fruits and veggies, flowers, sunlight, gardens and all the rest. We just need a good "recipe" to go by, which guides us in putting it all together.

Just in case you're interested, I put the last paragraph into the past tense as well, so you could get another "feel" for what I'm suggesting. See what you think: (I made a few other small changes, also)

Had a witch -- perhaps the old lady -- flown by and cast an enchanting spell upon my mother's garden? Though I knew it was no witch's spell, but beauty that was created by hardworking hands. My mother's hardworking hands.

Even with her fingers blackened by dirt and fingernails stained with mud, my mother's hands were the most wondrous and lovely things in that dew-glistening garden.

Kit, this is one of those pieces where a thesaurus is your best friend. And a dictionary. They should already be your two best buddies *Smile* I know I gave you a lot to deal with here, and patience is certainly the name of the game. It's a slow, step-by-step process that pays off big-time in the end. If you're game to play.

Let me know if you have any questions and I'd be happy to help out in any way I can. Thanks for letting me dig around in your garden.
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
134
134
Review of The Epiphany  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi, Burney,

Take a look at the horrible things I did to your writing. I hope you'll see what I saw, and like what I did about it.

Hi, my name is Bob, and here's your chance to maybe see this work in a whole new light. Putting our words into a different structure -- in this case converting it into a nice-looking poetic format -- can make a dramatic improvement in our writing. I think that's particularly true in this case. I hope you agree.

I changed some words here and there, and while nothing I did should be taken as absolutely correct or necessary, you can begin to quickly see the possibilities that are at your disposal. I really like the way this piece broke into evenly matched stanzas and dramatic one-line entries.

This could still be made over again in a dozen different ways. This version's not too shabby, though. It certainly should give you food for thought as they say. Unless you're on a diet like me.

Let me know how you feel about this, and whether it is helpful. And especially if you have any questions. Your message is a good one, and I like how there's just a smidgeon of humor mixed in with the rest. Take what I've given you here and have some fun with it, all over again. Or keep it as is.

Thanks for listening.
Bob

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Lying on the road,
blood running down my chin.
Legs broken, but I was satisfied.

Don't get me wrong,
I'm not suicidal,
but it seemed a good enough death.

It wouldn't be a suicide,
but an end to my miseries.
I longed for the reaper to appear.

Instead came the epiphany.

My life wasn't over.
After experiencing every
horrible thing possible.

Losing my job,
Losing the love of my life.
My body was apparently useless.

Yet, I was alive, more alive than I had ever been.

I realised my strength
to face whatever life throws at me.
Now I'm ready!

Ready to embrace my life.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
135
135
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hi, Jerry,

My name is Bob and your poem caught my attention for any number of reasons, some of which gave me pause, a need to catch my breath, and inquiry what you truly had in mind when you wrote this *Smile*

I must admit, to begin with, that this is first time I've seen smiley faces -- with big smiles yet -- used in conjunction with scenes of death and destruction. You get some points for originality for that one. Though I'm not sure I mean my comment as an encouragement for you to continue doing so.

There are so many little, nitpicky things wrong with your poem, that it's hard to separate out the relevant and interesting parts and pieces that are poignant and both worth reading -- and commenting on.

Before I jump all over this and point out every little flaw, and they are both numerous and small, I need to take that pause again and ask if you care to know what I'm referring to. Sometimes writers just jot stuff down for later reference, or they consider a given piece of work unworthy of further attention, but nonetheless a piece of their personal history.

In a highly revised and corrected form, this work could come out of the workshop with new paint, new tires, and full engine tuneup, and have something to say which is truly worth listening to.

I actually like the sarcasm, the wit and wisdom you've injected into the work. You just need to aim your humor in a direction opposite the death and destruction parts *Smile*

The main question as to whether science is a boon or a bane is an excellent one. And it can't be asked too often. But in a poem filled with "devastation", "ISIS terrorists", and "daily death", the division between humor and pathos needs to drawn without vagary or inappropriate "jokes".

Please let me know if you'd like to explore this work as a more general piece of writing, where we take a look at what's wrong and what's right about it. If you're curious, I'd love to help. These things can be tricky sometimes, and that's why my reviews are always intended to be helpful first, and sadistically cruel second *Bigsmile*

Thanks for listening.
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
136
136
Review of Do I?  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, Heather,

I once heard a famous psychologist give a definition of the term, resentment, that I really liked. She defined the word as meaning, "When we begrudge someone for not feeling guilty that they did something wrong." Something "wrong" further referring to an affront made against us personally,

Hi, my name is Bob and I almost dismissed your sneakily (stealthily) powerful poem and moved on too quickly. I'm glad I didn't and instead lingered around just long enough to think, "Whoa, this is really good."

Can you guess what single word caught my attention? And when it did, and I analyzed its meaning both via its standard interpretation and by the one I came to like even more, then you begin to see how the poem itself can be interpreted in a way that made me love it all the more. Seriously.

It will be interesting for me to see if you gave the same weight to that word, generally, as I did. In such a short piece, every single word and punctuation mark carries great weight. There's no room for mistakes or second-guessing. For me, the work passes with flying colors on all levels, but particularly because of the power and meaning of "resent" -- including how it's used and where.

Naive now fits perfectly because the prince is, in theory, not aware of his admirer's feelings, or their intensity at least. And it's the prince's very passivity that is a cause for passion, which itself carries two distinctly different meanings -- one of which refers to pain and sufferring.

The woman (or indeed the man) is torn as to how to proceed. Pride is involved, and of course, the resentment felt as a result of one's love being unrequited to some extent. "What should I do?" is precisely the right question. But does the question ask what should be done to gain the prince's notice more, or is the question more directed towards quitting the relationship altogether?

My guess is that she (or he) hangs in there for the long run. For better or worse.

Please write another poem so I don't have to toss and turn tonight fretting over what eventually happens *Smile*

A lovely, delightful work for many reasons.
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
137
137
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, Kvetha,

I like your name; it's kind of poetic all by itself. My name is Bob -- a little more ordinary, but that's what they gave me. *Smile*

I like your poem, also. It says a lot. A lot of really good stuff. It's so well thought out and makes so much sense, that I found myself wanting more. These are great ideas and ideals you speak about, and poetry can sometimes make too brief, those things which deserve more expression, more explanation.

Much of what you talk about, or your poem, rather, is so deep and so profound, that a lot of readers will "gloss" over the words, giving more attention to the cleverness of its rhymes, than to the meanings themselves.

I'm not sure whether this makes your work successful for the right reasons, or less powerful due to the wrong ones. I sense that the poem loses some of its potential impact because the second stanza makes the point of where our true priorities ought to be focused. And then the piece concludes without a return "wrap around" that brings us not only back to that second stanza, but fails to emphasize it with a repeat (and final) mention of how the mind and soul -- the intellectual and spiritual duality of our existence -- lies at the very heart of everything else in the poem.

The second-to-last stanza tries to get us there, but then ends with a cliche about feet on the ground and keep your eyes open. Good advice for someone standing guard duty *Smile* but a bit of an anticlimactic conclusion to all the preceding profundity.

Which is exactly why the second stanza is so important and needs additional repetition at the end. Not the exact words again, of course, but the idea that it is precisely through our intellect and heart that we make sense out of the rest of it, out of what is essentially just information -- just data that a robot might otherwise make use of.

One of the tricks to making these kind of things work is to write them a straight prose. This piece is so well conceived and presented, that writing it as a monologue or a straightforward article or essay would be a snap. Especially for you.

A real test of your mettle would be to see if you have what it takes to write this as a short essay, but one which is about 3-4 times longer than the poem version. Doing so would force you to use and find words that more precisely describe what it is you're talking about, without the restrictions or limitations forced upon you by the poetic format.

At which point you can always revert back to a poem, but one which would be even better than this original. Which is almost not possible, but I know you could do it *Smile*

So give this some thought. It's like a big jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces there and none missing. The real challenge is putting the puzzle together in its 2-3 different possible ways and see what you like best. If it were me? I'd do it as both. I'd reduce the poem to a shorter version and add that to either the beginning or end of a longer essay or monologue that takes the poem to a next higher level, which is where it wants to go, anyway.

Let me know if any of my mental meandering makes sense and if you have any questions as a result.

Good job, excellent work, my friend.
Bob

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138
138
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi, there, LiveToWrite,

My name is Bob and really enjoyed your poem. It's tough to read, both physically and emotionally. Can we fix the physical part first? The piece is too good to be lessened by the all that unnecessary space between lines. When you have a beautiful work of writing, it doesn't need any window dressing or any dolling up to help it along. It's solid and terrific just as it is, in its most standard and typical format -- because the writing itself is anything but standard and typical. It shines without any added polish or dramatic touches *Smile*

I quickly realized that while the poem is about a woman, it is totally universal in nature. It's about all of us, and all the trials and tribulations we go through, whether it's from aging or trauma, or just sheer fatigue. It's about how two powerful forces are at work. The one being a strong, irresistible desire to feel and think and do the things that motivated us when we were younger, or at a different place in life. Like a calling, in reverse, to return to being a person we loved more, whose company we enjoyed more. And had everything to live for.

The other force or forces are those things that hold us back, keep us in prison cells of our own making, maybe forced upon us by circumstances, but which have nonetheless turned dreams to nightmares, turned love to hate, to self -loathing and otherwise brought us to a place where if we are to survive, we must be born anew, as the person we used to be. Or should have always been.

I don't care who you are, you'll find yourself inside the words of this powerful poem. You'll see the denial, the lies, the self-deception, the withdrawal , failures to act and to do the right thing -- by ourselves, for ourselves. Wake up. It's not too late. Do the Bucket List before a doctor says you have to. Save your sanity before a psychoanalyst says you're losing your grip. It's all there. In this deceptively little poem. Read it and weep. Then stop your crying -- and dying -- and live again.

Be the real you. And do it right this time *Smile*

So did I like this? Yeah, a little. Did I love it? Yeah, a lot. I'm glad somebody put this into words. I was going to, but I got sidetracked by rescuing homeless orphans -- in Bangladesh. Otherwise I'd've been right on it.

Thanks for a great chunk of reality.
Bob

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139
139
Review of Caterpillar Hero  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, MichelleP,

This is a great message for adults as well as children. Hi, my name is Bob, and I decided to review this little masterpiece precisely because it is so childlike and profound, both at the same time. Of course an entire essay or a much longer poem could be written on the topic you touch upon (or that touches upon you) *Smile* but for what this is, it says a lot. I want children to read this, and wish that more adults would also. Yeah, they think you're weird because they're not smart enough to realize or understand the connection between caterpillars, whales, and their own children. Wake up, people! *Smile*

Except for Black Widow spiders and scorpions (and cockroaches), I'll usually capture most anything else, take it outside, and let it go. No doubt many of my friends consider me weird as well. But their opinion not only doesn't matter in this regard, but I actually feel sorry for them; I pity their inability to understand how sacred life is, regardless of size or beauty.

The whole transition business, where those scoochy little bodies will one day be magnificent butterflies or moths, adds a whole other dimension to the story, almost needless to say. This piece would also look great with one or more pictures accompanying it.

I recently suggested to another writer who had written a short, serious piece about whatever, that they combine it with a small poem. If you ever write a brief work of prose that addresses this topic from a more serious direction, this poem would make a delightful beginning or end to the piece. Very nice. I loved it.

Bob

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140
140
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hi, KeepingBalance,

My name is Bob (frequently out of balance) *Smile* and I really enjoyed your short article on computer gaming. It is an interesting mix of philosophy, social commentary, part confession, part warning, and gives us some important insights for those of us to whom "gaming" is as alien as a foreign language -- spoken by real aliens -- from outer space *Smile*

I have never once played a video game. Well, not since the days of "Pong". My personal reason was always because I knew how addictive they could be, not unlike gambling is to other people. In the worst case, not too much different from a drug addiction itself. You did a wonderful job of taking us into that world and making us realize it's not all fun and games.

The last paragraph, I think, is still missing. I'd like to see you give us a more definitive "conclusion" (your personal opinion) as to what all of that means to us -- as people, as a society, even as a community of global civilizations.

Lastly, take a look at the first paragragph of your article, that I've pasted below:

So today, I suppose, it truly hit me.

I am 24 years old and madly in love with computer games. I have been since the young age of five when I got my first games console, the Mega Drive made by Sega.

The feeling of accomplishment once you complete that game, or finally getting past its many challenging levels, captivated my innocent, naïve mind; I was addicted to the gaming industry from then on.

Now that I'm older, I've seen friends, family members, and random people -- while commuting -- all playing more and more. The gaming industry is now so huge, there seems no chance that its growth is ever going to slow.

This had me thinking about how I, too, actually use computer games and about their effects upon the world. The word play has become more and more distant -- more removed from the real meaning of the term.

When playing a computer game nowadays, instead of looking at all the cool graphics and enjoying the game's story line, I instead find myself racing to finish the game. I'm too often doing all I can to be the best at the game.

As mentioned, I don't actually play the games anymore. I used to find such games enjoyable; they could entertain me and make me laugh. But now I see some games as a way of life -- even as a job. I also believe I'm not the only one who is experiencing this revelation.

I am sure, now, that there are many people who are going through the same awakening, but have not yet come to terms with the fact that gaming has taken over theirs lives.


I hope you will forgive me, my friend, for taking over your story *Smile* Sometimes it's better just to show, than to try explaining every little change that needed to be made.

You will notice that I converted your original first paragraph into a bunch more little ones. I hope you notice how much better it reads now. If you compare, word for word, your original with my newly corrected version, you'll also see a lot of other changes, both in word choices and punctuation. All these corrections are important, as are the reasons for making them. I hope you will study what I've done, and ask me my reasons if you wish to learn why I made the changes, I did.

While it's true that there's lots of different ways to write these kinds of stories, they all need to be clear and concise, with good (not perfect) grammar and punctuation. And spelling.

I hope you won't think I am too hard on you. Instead, here's your chance to double your writing skills overnight, in one big leap. If you take my changes to heart. The story itself, as I mentioned, is not only important, but you know all the right things to say about it, based on personal experiences.

Let me know if all this makes sense, and whether or not we're still on speaking terms *Smile* I hope so. Your story is one that people need to hear.

Bob

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141
141
Review of Stuck in Time  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi, Catness,

My name is Bobness (just kidding -- it's really just Bob) and I like your poem because it really captures what it means to be depressed. I hope the piece is not too personal a reflection of who you really are. Although the work is something all of us can relate to at one time or another. But then we move on. The power of your poem is the whole idea of being "stuck", and the inability to move along with the rest of our life.

Psychologists and psychiatrists both would love this poem. It's like a mini-course in the diagnosis and description of how we can be so overwhelmed by past pain or trauma, that it's as crippling as any disease we might suffer from.

I was also curious as to whether you used both forms of "break" and "brake" on purpose. It works either way, interestingly enough, and I would encourage you to play with those two forms of the same word a bit more. They work well in this piece.

I'd like to see a last line or two added to this. I know -- what's this dude talking about, right? I'll show you, and then see what you think:

So I stay stll
Stuck in time
Because I can't move on
Until I find love again
Or it finds me

I don't know that those two new lines are the ones you want. And even if you like them, you'd want to put them into your own words. You can, however, take mine -- I won't mind *Smile*

The reason I think something like this is needed here, is because what you have is a suicide note otherwise. We don't want to leave you in the depths with no hope. And hope is exactly what is missing here. Robin Williams is a good example of what takes place when that happens.

By the same token, you don't have to get all smiley face about it, either. So I tried to give you something, equally serious, but leaves us with a small light at the end. Instead of a bottomless pit. Trust me, I'm not a big happy face kind of guy, but I know good writing and good poems.

Your poem is too good, is the problem. It's too strong in one direction only. It's all black, all dismal, and nothing in life is all anything.

Let me know if you take my suggestion and what you end up with. Seeing you like your poem even more will help lift me out of my own doldrums *Smile*

Bob

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142
142
Review of Marshall Road  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Yellow Rose,

My name is Bob and I'm reviewing this piece as part of the fulfillment of your gift package from Miss Bee. As a Vietnam vet, U.S. Army, 1967-69, I felt qualified to review your work, both for its grammar and punctuation, and especially for the quality of its content. You'll be pleased to know that I liked the piece a lot. I found it moving, stirring, touching, and poignant, which doesn't get much better than that. It has the ring of sounding both like a true story, and a fictional tribute work, which reads fine either way. It is a pleasure for me to review this.

Okay, enough of the sentimental stuff *Smile* down to brass cartridges, as they say. Well, it's really brass tacks, but empty shell casings seemed more appropriate.

You've written this lovely piece as both a poem and a work of prose. The problem for me is that I'm not sure which it is, or which it ought to be, but my instinct wants it be one or the other. In my humble opinion, I think it would work better as a straight work of prose, which would present it as a nice story, short and to the point. Here's what I mean:

It set there at the bottom of a hill. The green made it's white paint stand out and the grey roof brought memories back.

I recall the days we played in the attic while mom was fixing an apple pie. I also remember coming down the stairs sounding like a small stampede of cattle. Just to get a taste of pie, with some cold milk, was a big thrill.


The two paragraphs above represent a slightly altered prose version of your original poem format. My suggestion would entail going through and doing the whole piece in similar fashion, as if you were writing a very short story, using all your original words, and making adjustments accordingly. You can see what I did in order to make it sound more like a story.

Once you were finished, the whole work would likely need to be reviewed and edited again, this time as a short story. That may be a lot more work than you feel like doing, which of course, is perfectly fine. If that's the case, here's a better way, I think, to structure the existing work as poem:

It set there at the bottom of a hill.
The green made it's white paint stand out
and the grey roof brought memories back.
The days we played in the attic
While mom was fixing an apple pie.
I Remember coming down the stairs like cattle.
Just to get a taste with some cold milk.


Notice that the lines are shorter, read easier, and look better. Poems need to look good as well as read well *Smile*

The man was dressed in a dark blue suit
with a flag on the lapel.
I told dad, “This is Jeremy Mercer.”
Jeremy reached out his hand
to shake my dad's hand.
In his other hand
he held a blue velvet box
and gave it to my dad.
Jeremy then told my dad
how his own father
didn't come back from Vietnam.
So he went to Vietnam to see
where his father had lost his life.
He found something instead
that belonged to my dad
being sold by a street vender.


You can see how trying to do this as a well formatted poem poses problems in structure, because you've written it so much like a story. Read through the changes I made, also, and see if this is what you actually meant to say, about what happened. It was a bit confusing as it was.

The more I got into this, the more convinced I became that it needs to be a short story, and written as such. Which you're certainly capable of doing. So give that some thought, and if you decide to try it as a story, I'd love to see the results. Plus help you with whatever difficulties you run into, by making the switch.

See what you think and let me know what you decide. Thanks.

Bob

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143
143
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi, Jeannie,

My name is Bob, and I'm reviewing this story as part of the review package gifted to you by Elle.

This will be a mixed review, not unlike a split decision in a boxing match. In the one corner *Smile* is Jeannie, the excellent writer who put together a well crafted thriller. In the other is Jeannie Hitchcock whose story is simply too close to the original story and movies done by other people. Such work is termed "derivative" which means it contains virtually no originality of its own, but at the same time isn't a direct copy or imitation.

I suppose this is somewhat a matter of those who are familiar with "The Birds" and those who aren't. What you don't really want to happen is to lead others to think that your story is completely original, only to find out later, or from someone else, that the theme had been done before -- leaving a distinct impression that you simply borrowed (to be polite) the idea when no one was looking *Smile* Even the scene with the crows (or ravens) is an uncomfortably close "rip-off" of at least two separate movies, but more like three or four because other producers made copies of original movies. So the sheer number of stories, both written and filmed, is huge.

Thus it should come as no wonder or surprise that I feel an urgent need to push you in a direction that will take you into more original territory.

You're far too good a writer to leave this stand as a permanent part of your portfolio which is so uniquely you in so many other respects. Let me critique the work as is, however, assuming you'll make some easy adjustments in the future and quite easily, I should think, convert this story into a more original version. I'll make a couple of suggestions in that regard, also, at the end.

By the way, "paying homage" is what I think you have in mind, but the difference is that an homage piece gives us something truly original that is simply based upon an otherwise well known theme.

My first "note" is that we don't know the gender of the main character until way too late in the story, and even then after "he" is dead. Because the author is female, I wrongly assumed the main character was, also.

Instead of a TV or radio report, we don't know which, consider Michael reading the story in a newspaper, and we read along with him.

The story is chopped into two separate sections, instead of existing as a blended whole. These things work better when the POV is from one source, in this case, Michael's. We thus start out with Michael as our main character, and work our way from there. Probably as a flashback or imagining what it must have been like for his friend as he reads the news of his death. Except we don't finish the news story until the end, pretty much as you have it.

Since a major rewrite is required, in my humble opinion, the focus of this review is more properly placed on how to change it into something more original.

I could sit here and throw out a bunch of alternate ideas, but I'll give you just one, to get you started, then let you create your own version, which will belong solely to you *Smile*

In one of the Twilight Zone episodes (the original) store manikins come alive and live as real humans for one month at a time. In this particular show, a woman forgets she's a manikin and the others have to convince her to return to her normal condition and allow the next manikin to have their turn.

In your story, Michael is actually a taxidermist and is surrounded by stuffed animals of every variety. In his shop, the animals come alive and take turns roaming free once more. Dean Wilson, it turns out, was really a crow or raven who became human and forgot who he really was. Michael puts two and two together because the raven in his shop had gone missing for a long time. Mike may or may not be in on the "arrangement".

The reader doesn't know any of this until the end. Same as with the Twilight Zone show. Meanwhile, the other ravens or crows know that Wilson isn't human, and that he even killed one of his own. Everything else in the story, to one extent or another, remains the same. At the very end, of course, we see that the raven or crow (stuffed) has once again returned to its rightful place in the shop. And maybe the raccoon is missing now *Smile*

There's one idea that would make your story original, pay homage to the others, and not run the risk of being derivative.

Let me know if this helps. I'd like to see a rewrite if and when you do it. Thanks.

Bob

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144
144
Review of Dancer's rhythm  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, TR,

My name is Bob, and I just finished reading all your poems that you've posted as part of your "gift to self" package. I chose this one because it serves as an example of a general commentary I want to make with respect to all the stuff of yours that I read.

I can tell that you really enjoy writing poetry, and it obviously makes up the bulk of your portfolio. After reading your poems, I checked out your portfolio to see if you had written any prose. Just to confirm my suspicions and my opinions.

Far be it from me to suggest to anyone that they change or alter what it is they appear to love doing. But if you'll allow me to stop just short of going there with you, I found your poems crying out to be prose, which is your real strength. There is so much information and internal details in your poems, that they read, for me, much more like miniature essays, than they do elegant, flowing verses.

The sheer abundance of punctuation that punctuates all your poems, speaks for itself, somewhat. And not because it's incorrect, but more because it seems misplaced. The colorful punctuation "fights" with the poetic freedom we need in poems, but can work wonderfully well with prose, short essays, or monologues.

I found myself somewhat frustrated because the issues and themes you evoke in your poems are interesting and often profound, in and of themselves. The topics deserve more of your intellectual input, which you deny us because the thoughts expressed are couched, disguised, and made unnecessarily "blurry" by your heartfelt desire to dress them up in poetic clothing *Smile* Sort of like putting a tutu on Einstein, if you catch my meaning.

I think your work is deep and thoughtful, but your tendency to "think" in prose, while writing poetry, leaves you with an interesting mix of both, where they tend to conflict with one another, instead of bolster or support one or the other.

I get the impression you're trying to write haiku-like versions of what are otherwise solid, full-page essays. I suppose part of the solution, if you were to sense the need for one, would be to practice writing some haiku's, and taking note of how much fun it can be to reduce things to their absolute bare minimum. And then, in your case, should you still favor the poetic style, expand from simple and move outward. Instead of what it appears you are doing at present, which is "compressing" inward and squishing too much into too small (and limiting) a format.

I'd love to see one of your poems written as a small essay, where you can take your time and tell us what's really on your mind. And not worry about keeping your big ideas "tiny". At the end of such a monologue kind of thing, you could end the work with a small poem that exists as part of the rest, but encapsulates the "core" content of the larger piece. You could also begin with such a poem. And then move on to the main essay itself. This would make a wonderful combination and also present your work to readers, as a rather unique item -- a short poem that supports the story and vice versa.

If you take my advice and make a million dollars, I think you should share 10% with me. Just saying *Smile*

Otherwise, let me know if this helps or strikes you as an interesting proposal. I'd love to see the end results should you go the route I recommend.

Bob

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145
145
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hi, Shara,

Hi, my name is Bob and I'm answering your request for a review via your self-awarded gift. Once I gave this a quick run-through, and prior to a second and more thorough reading, I felt a married man was a good choice as your reviewer. So let's take a look and see what we have here.

Obviously you're interested in having this read, and my guess is that you're unsure about the ending. As well as you should be, because it is the weakest part of an otherwise very strong entry in the romance arena. And even then, the ending itself feels right and works to a large extent. But a better closing and final thought on the part of the main character is definitely needed.

By the way, thoughts don't take quote marks. Only spoken dialogue. Unless you're thinking out loud *Smile*

There's some minor word choices and a few awkward sentences that could use a redo, for example:

The clock "idly ticked away" as our labored breathing eventually faded in to even breaths.

The clock "ticked with a steady rhythm" as our labored breathing...(not perfect, but better)

Our fingers were still moving, still exploring and my heart was a fluttering mess of butterflies.

Usually butterflies are associated with stomachs. A heart would buzz, purr, or pound or beat, as a better simile, accompanied by a drum, incoming, outgoing tide, a strumming guitar maybe.

I also found myself wondering where they were located. I thought maybe a beach at first, then figured it was a bedroom? At the end, we wonder whose bedroom. If hers, this would make the scene even more "intense". In the first or second paragraph, let us know where they are, so we don't waste time wondering.

Except for the ending, the rest of the story is excellent, well written, and contains numerous sentences and descriptions which fit the theme beautifully *Smile*

We know, fairly soon, that you're leading to something specific at the end. I didn't guess what it was until the end, and felt kind of let down because of the ordinariness of the whole thing. Sort of, "ho-hum", what else is new? And then the woman wondering whether she had just sinned? Excuse me *Rolleyes* Duhh, hey, lady! So it's the actual question that's the problem.

Consider a statement or question that more clearly defines what the woman is really feeling. Most readers will find the question, as it's currently worded, more humorous than dramatic. What we're expecting is for her to ask, "Oh, God, what have I done?" But that doesn't work because, so what? The answer is obvious. We need something less cliche.

Here's an example. I'm not saying to do it this way, but to give us something as good.

Suppose the last lines read:

It was from my wife, Rita. As my eyes traced his name across the phone, my heart started beating more frantically and a single thought crossed my mind, “Oh Dear God, had I just sinned?”

Now it all makes sense, doesn't it?

If you want to keep it as is, however, you need that kind of punch at the end. Something totally unexpected. It doesn't have to be perfect, or prize-winning, but your whole story balances, rises and falls on the last two lines. So they have to be as good as you can make them.

If it were my story, I'd have something like:

It was from father Ryan. As my eyes traced his name across the phone, my eyes skipped past the nun's habit draped over a chair. My heart started beating more frantically and a single thought crossed my mind, “Oh Dear God, I am in love with two men. Is that such a great sin?”

The other man in her life is, of course, Jesus.

Anyway, I hope this is all food for thought and is helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions. Seriously.
Bob

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146
146
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Hi Danza,

My name is Bob and I'm writing a review of your story in order to fulfill the package gifted to your from Agape Novels. I noticed, of course, that this was the only piece you're offering us so far, and that you have yet to tell us anything about yourself. I'm also aware that you're even newer here than I am. So welcome aboard and I hope you'll find what you're looking for, or that it will find you *Smile*

Your Christmas story started out like a Hallmark movie, or an image taken from one of those old-fashioned holiday cards that people used to collect; I forget what they were called. Reading your words was almost like celebrating the holidays all over again. So this is not a criticism in any way.

I thought your grammar and punctuation were good enough to hardly warrant mentioning, so I won't *Smile* other than to say that your paragraphs tended to be a bit long during the first half, and the text reads a little like a newspaper report rather than a fully realized "story" filled with the sounds and smells, and other small details that help us feel like we're really hearing and seeing things "as they happen".

I thoroughly enjoyed the somewhat sudden transition of the second half of the tale, where you take us into the tributary of your dream recollection. I found the whole affair delightful and intriguing and have only one minor complaint. You give us all this wonderful imagery and symbolism and metaphor stuff, then drop the whole thing on your readers -- as if to say, "I have no idea what any of that all means, so I'll just let you try to figure it out. If you do, please let me know, thanks."

If you want a piece like this to really shine, we want to know what you made of all the stuff that happened in your garage. I don't know you or your family nearly well enough to play a kind of guessing game, and I found myself far more curious as to what all that meant to you personally. Almost like a poem, in a way. Which is really a cool accomplishment to pull off if you can, and you nearly do *Smile* You don't see that too often where a story starts out in typical albeit interesting fashion, and then culminates as a kind of free verse poem. You come so close to that, it's scary.

If you ever do a rewrite, give that concept some thought. There's few rules to most of this writing stuff, and if it works, then you've created something really special. Instead of something that Dr. Freud might have fun with otherwise *Smile* I, for one, want you to be your own psychoanalyst and let the rest of us in on what you discover.

With a stronger ending, I would have easily given this four stars, maybe more. Do it as a story that evolves into a free verse poem and I'll have to draw in a sixth star, if you catch my meaning. Not saying you should or shouldn't do as I suggest, but it is interesting to think about. Thanks for listening, and once again, welcome to a different kind of asylum. The "guards" are very nice, very helpful, and straitjackets are rarely required *Bigsmile*

Bob

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P.S.

I clipped this paragraph because I felt it should be the very first, and at the most, the second "lead-in" paragraph to the rest of the story. I wondered much too long, I felt, who was telling the story. In this kind of thing, get it out there, sooner the better. With a slight rewrite, this would work perfectly as the first paragraph.

Sometimes instead of going back home, our family would stay the night -- Mom, Dad, me, and my three sisters. We girls always had a hard time going to sleep, we were so anxious about the whole Santa Claus thing. I would just lay in bed staring in the pitch dark. I couldn't stop thinking about it all and couldn't wait till it was finally morning and time for us to see our presents.


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147
147
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, QO,

This is Bob, again, and I found this little piece to be of interest because it allows me to show you what a nearly perfect version of your original writing ought to look like. I say "nearly perfect" because there is always more than one way to punctuate (and write) a given piece of work.

The story itself relates a brief, nice-enough faux pas that we all can relate to, in one way or another. But it is the writing itself that begs for attention from a slew of minor errors and awkward sentence structure. I felt this was a great opportunity for you to see the weaknesses here, and not be too insulted or discouraged by my seemingly arrogant rewriting of your original words.

Please compare the version below with your own, and note the differences, some or which are subtle, others more pronounced. This is also a potentially viable template against which other, similar works might be judged as well. And for which there is no additional charge *Smile* I'll sign off at the very end.


Working through lunchtime one day, while I was clerking for the Supervising Department of the Superior Court in Vista California, an incident occurred that was both bizarre and embarrassing. Normally either Karen or I would lock the courtroom door at noon, and then reopen it after lunch. But on this one occasion, neither of us had remembered to lock it.

I had worked through my lunch hour, trying to get caught up on the nagging paperwork that sat piled in my in-box. I had also picked up a Substitution of Attorney document filed by counsel, who had withdrawn from representing a client and replaced the paperwork with a new counsel-of-record.

The new name which I then substituted in place of the former attorney, struck me as odd -- to say the least. The title reminded me of something from medieval England; it was straight out of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and those other legends that I loved reading about in the primary and elementary grades.

I couldn’t resist voicing an offhand thought and remarked, “What mother on earth, would be in her right mind to name her son Thor Emblem?"

As I talked, the door opened and in came this attorney who announced, “That’s me!”

Karen and I sheepishly glanced at each other, both of us motionless and speechless. What chance did I have, to be so lucky as to have been caught with my foot planted firmly inside of my mouth?

Hi, again, I'm back. As you can see, a piece like this lends itself to a variety of styles and techniques. Mine is only one which represents my own style. All of the punctuation, however, is very accurate and worth paying close attention to. If you have any questions as to why I changed the things I did, please don't hesitate to ask. I'm available 24/7, 365 *Smile*
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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148
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, QueenOwl,

I really enjoyed your article on the seeming contradictions and discrepancies found in the English language.

Hi, this is Bob, and this is the first of two reviews that will go towards fulfilling your gift package from Patrick. I have answers to the questions you raise about English, and Mr. Webster in particular *Smile* so I felt this would be a good piece to start out with.

There are some minor grammar and punctuation issues here and there, but overall, I found the writing itself to be excellent, well structured, and logical in its presentation. The conclusions drawn, while sensible, do, however, illustrate a common misunderstanding of English, both its contemporary usage and its origins.

The source of word origins is a field of study known as etymology. It is not uncommon for definitions in English to appear contradictory or strange when analyzed at "face value" as it's called. Nor does any fault lie with Mr. Webster or the other "big name" dictionary brands used as standard reference works.

Just as in science, where purely scientific words must mean the same not just in America, but in every country of the world, the words themselves are not only the same, but their pronunciation is identical. Numerals, you may have noticed, are the same the world over, regardless of culture. Math, of course, is a universal language, thus its graphical constructs -- the symbols used -- must also remain the same for everyone. But I digress *Smile*

English is an amalgam, an aggregate, and in some ways a bastardization of many different languages. And not just European. England was conquered by Nordic countries as well as Europeans, and each invading country added its own words to a common tongue. Even today, many words used in English exist virtually unchanged from the culture in which they originated.

When certain terms appear illogical, especially those which are formed by combining two or more words together to form a single word, it is inappropriate to assume that the "root" words retain their original meanings. Just as in grammar, where some rules make no sense logically, and proper usage must simply be memorized, so it is that the meaning of some words must also be memorized and used accordingly.

In the case of "spendthrift", I could make an educated guess as to how such a word came about. Or I could do an etymological internet search of the word and find the exact history of its origins. I have done such searches in the past and it is surprising how often it turns out that the record offers "guesses" only, without any real documentation.

A term like spendthrift is probably "old" English, or might come from as late as the American Depression during the 1930's. The word likely refers to the act of spending (away) thrift itself. It is thrift that is spent instead of frugality, if you catch the meaning. Thus we need to exercise caution when doing "literal" translations, which is true, of course, of almost any language.

Thanks again for a stimulating article that not only asks good questions, but phrases them in almost near perfect English. *Smile*

Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
149
149
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi, SM.

Bob, here, back for a second look as part of your review package from Patrick. Wow, and I'm glad I did, too. This is a great companion piece to the short story I reviewed the first time. This is the flip side where redemption is no longer an option -- we're well past that -- and it's pure survival until death takes its inevitable toll. This is the kid who already gave up, who can no longer be saved, whose victimization is complete, and who stalks the asphalt jungle virtually no different from the stealthy predators who wait to pounce from the overhead branches of a more typical rainforest.

This piece is reminiscent of those films and stories about demonic possession where the question prevails as to how much, if anything, remains of the original, innocent person who existed prior to being taken over. Is there anything left of the child inside the criminal? This powerful, compelling work gives us a brief glimpse into that timeless question. And provides an answer. In this case, the "boy" is still intact, despite his inability to never find his way back.

For a brief moment, the wild tiger returns to his kitten roots and remembers how there was a better way -- one which has its own honor, but is weak and vulnerable, and could never be his way. He wants the grim reminder removed for it haunts and taunts him. It's the same way someone will find him one day. And he hopes the person will make the call for him as well. And maybe he can join the woman wherever she's taken. And he can ask her to forgive him.

This is a terrific look at the dark side of street life. regrettably we know it's true. That it's authentic. And the author brings it to uncompromising life as vividly as a film in high definition.

In the paragraphs below, I found a few small glitches that I felt needed pointing out:

Moistness filled my eyes as I stared at her body.

In the line above, I questioned "moistness". An "unfamiliar wetness welled" in my eyes -- is better, I think. See what you think.

Why’d you get killed here? Why must you remind me of a past I will never return to? I "kill" people; death is part of my life.

In the line above, I change a couple of the words. See what you think. "Lifestyle" just didn't seem to fit.

"If" people don’t pay for service rendered, they die. "When" off-turf guys invade, they die.

Notice in the line above, I added "if" and "when" because it's a little unclear without them.

Other than that, this is one fine piece of writing that deserves all the recognition and accolades I can give it. Bravo.

I do have one major gripe, however.

What's up with your poetry not being available for standard reviews? OMG, I took a look and they're every bit as good as your stories. I wanted to review one or two, but you won't let me. I'll try not to take it personally *Smile*

Great work, truly.
Bob

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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
150
150
Review of Love You To Death  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi, SM,

My name is Bob and I'm reviewing a couple of your pieces as part of the review package gifted by Patrick. I like this for a number of reasons, so I'll try to be both brief and thorough *Smile*

At first glance, or first read, a short but poignant work like this is too easily and too quickly passed over or dismissed as just another "feel good" piece. Far from it. What makes this so good is that it is so much more. There is a lesson here to be learned by all of us, and if we're wise, we will heed its message.

I have to digress a moment and ask why Lethal Weapon 4 was left out of your movie list. Plus The Black Stallion and War Horse. Just wondering. We have a Maine Coon who needs a prolonged hug every night. Really. But I digress. Now where was I?

Ah, I remember thinking, if only O.J. Simpson (and other killers) had employed similar thoughts to our main character. I suppose that's what separates the true sociopaths from others whose emotional pain drives them to drastic actions, but for whom redemption is possible, right up to the last moment.

I suspect, as do you, that this scenario has actually taken place many times. In the extreme, how many suicide bombers have had second thoughts, and never carried through? Some I'd bet. Less extreme would be the rest of us, when faced with almost any decision that involves choosing between right and wrong. I always loved the idea of doing the right thing even when no one is looking. That's what our unnamed assailant did in this case, isn't it?

In the end, this is a short and powerful essay about the power of introspection, and the absolute necessity to do it -- often. Especially when doubt is present. The anti-hero of our story concludes correctly that he is a product of a defective, dysfunctional past, and that behavior based on such negative experiences can never produce a beneficial result. He also realizes, in the end, that real love is a matter of finally accepting how the happiness of someone we supposedly love is more important than our owe personal, selfish gratification.

All that is here, and more. It's an entire college course on psychology and philosophy, wrapped up into one neat package.

So what did I not like? Hmmm. Let me think a moment. I'd probably change the last line as follows:

"I've lost her, Mom." My body shook. "But he'll never do the same to us."

I don't know if that's any better than yours, but I had to gripe about something *Smile*

Bob

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