[Bold is the prompt, not bold is my response]

Choose one or more of the following thoughts and create a story as if you were the last word in each phrase:

  1. Be the WORD.
  2. Be the DAWN.
  3. Be the SOIL.
  4. Be the HEART.

 From soil to the dawn, all hearts should beat as one. The one thing that has changed the world, as we know it is I. I am… the “word”. It is thanks to me people can speak. Thanks to me, we have books, newspapers, songs, TV shows, movies, plays and even musicals. I am changed around to help give meaning and purpose to everything around us. If I were not created, those of one color would be dominant over others. I help police slowly put an end to crime and doctors help prevent death. I am the one creation that is the most taken for granted. Everyone should appreciate what I have done for us. I have been truly helpful to all. I am… the “Word”. (previous wording by: Adrian Drower)

Write a story (as if you were a news reporter) about one or more of the following headlines:

1. The World Population Approaches 7 Billion

2. The November Elections

3. Protests Spread Here and Abroad

4. Marriage Continues its Downward Spiral

5. Global Warming

6. Breakthroughs in Science and Medicine Give Hope

Marriage; Give Gays the Right!

By: Adrian Drower

“Help! I need somebody, Help! Not just anybody, Help! I need someone, Help!” these are the starting words to a famous Beatles number. They also speak on a large scale to cover the Gay community. Those of us who are Gay just have different likes than the straight population. That doesn’t mean we should place restrictions on Marriage for them. I know the definition of Marriage is the union of a man and woman, but that definition goes far back in time. It may have been 100 years or longer since the term “marriage” actually started.

Let’s look at this in another way. We know that education has changed so everyone has equal rights. We also know that technology has changed the way we get information, so why can’t the marriage laws change for the better? People have always wanted to change the world, so let’s start small. Helping those who need it is a great way to begin. Let’s make people happy by providing the right services.

Now picture two people getting married. They are the same gender, but are very happy. That’s what life is all about, making people happy. Why should we get in the way of destiny? People are destined to be together, so let’s start with removing the ban and being Gay marriage fan.

Change was our past, made our present and will continue to make our future. So let the marriage laws… CHANGE!!


  1. Though I am much older now I still remember my very first airplane experience. I was twelve years old and…
  1. A few of my friends and I came into the city last Saturday night for some fun and discovery. Unfortunately things did not go as planned. As soon as we started to…
  1. I love to express through the written word but I am also very passionate about…
  1. As I get older and know myself much better, I really believe my future will…
  1. Late at night when everything is quiet and peaceful, my mind wanders from one thing to another. Though recently I cannot stop thinking about…

A few of my friends and I came into the city last Saturday night for some fun and discovery. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. As soon as we started to party, my friends got seriously wasted and turned on me! Three of them pulled out knifes and my best friend, that I’ve known since I was twelve pulled a gun on me. I figured they were joking until he loaded the weapon.

“Hey dude, come on!” I said with my hands up.

“Dude, even though we are much older now, I still remember the day we met. I still remember my very first airplane experience. I was sitting in that cozy pad of fear shaking like the leaves in the trees. I was waiting for my mom to come back when you looked my way. You told me “as you get older and know yourself so much better, you would really believe that your future would be what you take from your past and apply to your present”. You gave me a piece of gum and said to use it when we start taking off. My mom came out, but the attendant said we were moving and sent her to the back. She argued, but the attendant won. I started freaking out again and with her back turned, you came to me. Remember, you got me saying, I love to express myself through the written word, but I am also passionate about helping out”? I ended with. He put the gun down, told the others off then drowned himself in decaf coffee. After returning from the bathroom, we sat down just the two of us to talk. It was late at night when everything finally turned quiet and peaceful, our minds wandered from one thing to another. Though recently I cannot stop thinking about what happened an hour ago. Starring down that gun barrel made me realize how short life is.  (previous wording by: Adrian Drower)

1. Plan a party… any type of party

2. Create a game… any type of game

3. Begin a story with “The sky began to turn”…

4. End a story with… and trust me I will never do that again”.

 The sky began to turn black as the thick thunderclouds rolled in. I had originally planned an outside party for a bunch of people, but now I needed to change my plans. Something didn’t seem right about this, but I dismissed the feeling and moved on. The party I planned was for 7:00 tonight for about 2,000 people. So I got started right away. My house was large enough to fit all these people fortunately. I cleaned, cooked, decorated, brought in wood for the fireplace and so much more.

I was flying around my house like a witch without a broom, then all of a sudden, I was on one and my house was gone! “What the”? Was my thought right before I almost hit an incoming plane! Phew! I don’t want to be the one who created the game “Flying Chicken” I thought. Then I looked straight ahead and almost hit a bridge! “I’m dead”, I repeated three times before I opened my eyes to see I was on a beach.

I was in Hawaii sitting next to the girl I have always dreamed of. I looked at myself and after seeing a muscular body my thought was wow! Then I looked at her and she was wow! Curves in all the right places, strong assets and just plain hot! Then right before we kissed, I was in the middle of a horror movie being chased by some monster.
    “You couldn’t have given me one more minute”, I said right before I had to duck a blow from the monster. As I was running, I ran into the middle of an open field.
    “Now where am I”… BANG!!! I dropped to the ground as a bullet flew over my head. More came after that and I was trapped!

“Help, help, anyone… HELP!!!!!” I screamed then I woke up. My body was sweating like a waterfall. I looked all around me and saw pizza crust all over my bed. Eating pizza in bed, trust me, I will never do that again.  (previous wording by: Adrian Drower)

Describe how it feels to:

    1. Sit around a campfire

    2. Balance on a circus high wire

    3. Be caught in a spider’s web

    4. Stand on top of a mountain’s peak

    5. Be alone on an elevator stuck between floors

    6. Sit in the first row of your favorite singer’s concert

    7. Celebrate the wedding of your best friend

I remember the first time I sat around campfire. The sky was a medium blue color (like in the book, “Good Night Moon”) and the full golden moon was set center stage. It was engulfed by an ocean of shiny silver stars and out in the distance atop of a mountain peak, an eagle rockets towards the ocean. Just before the water’s surface, he opens his large and mighty wings in time to glide gracefully over the water.

Someone told a story on how he was actually stuck in a 120-foot spider web! Hundreds of hairy and scary wolf spiders came towards him. He said it was like being stuck in an elevator between floors. Lonely, scary and the feeling of being abandoned came across his mind.

A light, cool breeze blew through the going bald trees while we sat upon a rainbow of leaves. The night birds were jumping from one circus high wire to the other simultaneously. Their wings functioned as gliders to save them when needed. We ended the night by all agreeing that it would be fun to sit front row at a Barenaked Ladies concert. The last thing we said before crawling into our sleeping bags was we would all enjoy celebrating each other’s wedding when it came time.  (previous wording by: Adrian Drower)

Write a short story on one or more of these song titles

  1. Life in the Fast Lane
  1. Lean on Me
  1. If I Were a Rich Man (Woman)
  1. In the Still of the Night
  1. Fly Like an Eagle

Write a story or poem on ANY subject you choose

Look, the shadow land dances. Though the birds are sleeping, it is still lively. Underneath the starry sky and below the golden moonlight, garden eaters dance. Though the night stands still, bats take to the skies. Eagles soar through the endless sky as the streetlights dimly flicker on below. While the rodents dance among the shadows, a couple walks hand- in- hand enjoying this sixty-degree weather. A light, cool breeze blows through the streets and says to the couple lean on me. Their hearts fly like an eagle as they walk the calming streets together. Life is not in the fast lane for these two, for they are in love and like the pine trees in the distance, they will last forever.  (previous wording by: Adrian Drower)


Take us on a journey through the endless sky

Take us on a journey through the bottom of the ocean

Take us on a journey through the wilds of the jungle


Take us on a journey through your mind/ thoughts

Take us on a journey through your heart/ DNA

Take us on a journey through your spirit/ spiritual being and or self

Write 2 stories only… one from Category A and one from Category B

Flying through the endless sky is the majestic Bald Eagle. Watch as it glides effortlessly through the calming blue empty space. The bright, blazing hot sun is out and its light illuminates even the heart of the jungle. In the stream that stretches from one side of the ocean to the other, different fish swim. The croaking frogs on lily pads enjoy a buffet of jungle insects while deer drink from the stream. Proud lions prowl the grasses while many kinds of monkeys swing through the trees. Mice, rats and other rodents dance among the grasses while birds of the hunt take flight. Tigers play with their young by dancing around the multi- colored, different types of trees. Rainbow colored flowers are spread throughout the grasses and cover the base of each tree. The minds of these incredible animals are set on calling this wonderful place home. The spirits of the animals past relatives settle their restless selves as the golden sun starts setting. Watching the sunset’s dancing colors, even I can call this home. Lying under the shining silver stars, I am enjoying my camping trip. The scene is so beautiful and peaceful. As I drift to sleep, my mind hears the words, “In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle, the Lion Sleeps Tonight”. Good Night.  (previous wording by: Adrian Drower)

Begin a story (real or fictional) with:

     1. On the beach after midnight…

     2. After a walk in the forest…

     3. The newspaper headline made me…

     4. At the end of the rainbow is…

     5. At the top of the mountain I…

     6. On the ocean’s floor was…

     7. Down in the basement things really began to…

     8. Describe a favorite childhood memory/ experience. (Inspired by Jorie)

Clink, clink. Clink, clink went the chain against the rocks. I was nowhere near half way up, but I was already out of breath. “I really need to lay off the pizzas”, I said to myself. Clink, clink. Clink, clink. Clink, clink. I looked around, it is a beautiful day, and then I looked down…

“Woah! I wish I did not do that”, I said to myself. I was on a roll, fortunately, not really. I was close to the top. Clink, clink, clink. Clink, clink, clink… Finally!

At the top of the mountain, I was hot. Sweat was pouring off of me like a waterfall, but I did it! I looked into the distance and my mind recalled a real memory from my childhood. I was scared out of my mind my first day at the overnight camp Kodiak up in Canada. I started out not liking it, but it turned out great! It was like Allen Sherman’s song “Camp Granada”. I even remember meeting the famous kids writer Robert Munsch (the one who wrote the book “I’ll Love You Forever”).

After absorbing all of the beauty, I climbed down the mountain. “Going down is a lot easier than climbing up”, I thought. After a walk in the forest, I had cooled down enough not to be hot after cleaning myself up. The forest is beautiful as the sun shifts towards setting. I look up and at the end of the rainbow… are more rainbows. It’s like the planet was wearing a multi- colored hula-hoop. The cool, light breeze picks up a bit, leaves dance to the ground and on it as well.

The sun is setting; the dancing colors are so beautiful. I lean against a tree and take more notes. I’m glad the pen I have has a built in light. I walk towards the ocean slowly so I could take it all in. I look at my watch and count down in my head: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…on the beach after midnight, the sight is spectacular! The full moon is out, millions of stars are in sight and I begin to take notes. I jump into the ocean after placing my notes on a close by flat rock and clean my self up. On the ocean’s floor, is truly amazing and colorful coral. Fish dart to hide as I swim through their home then I get out, let myself drip dry for a bit and then grab my notes.

I get home and down in the basement things really begin to get busy. The next day the newspaper headline makes me very well know. Thanks to where I work, World Writers, my writing will finally be heard.(previous wording by: Adrian Drower)


  1. A group of small kids at the beach
  1. A cruise trip to Alaska
  1. A walk through the jungles of Africa
  1. A time travel experience… To the past or the future
  1. A story about you when you turn 65
  1. Working on a farm in Wisconsin
  1. An escape to the movies

Dreaming in a Movie

One dark night, I decided to go see a movie. It was just myself at home and all my friends were busy. So I grabbed my umbrella and took off. When I got there, all the movies were sold out except for one. “Great, just my luck”, I thought to myself. The movie was called The Traveling Man so I expected a documentary on travel. Boy was I wrong! The movie was about one mans path to enlightenment. “This should be a boring one, I hope I don’t sleep …” snore, snore. I was out like a light! The last thing I remember was a citywide power outage.

I woke up in the middle of a farm in Wisconsin. “What the heck am I wearing”? I said when I saw myself in the stereotypical farm attire. “Look out”! Screamed a man on a tractor. I stood up and ran and before I knew it, I was in an African jungle. I took the time to walk around and take in the beauty. Monkeys in the trees the birds were calling other birds and the nature was spectacular. My clothes were back to normal or so I thought. Until I saw some African tribes, then I looked back at myself. “Oh, come on”!

My walk took me onto a cruise ship that was heading towards Alaska. My clothes were different again. “Alright, what gives? What is this a gradual time travel? From the past to future, oh come on”! I thought. Then the boat passed out from behind a waterfall and I was all wet. “Now where am I”? I thought. My head surfaced at a beach and I saw a bunch of kids playing. Some one called my name and I went over.

“Isn’t it nice honey, to see the grand kids playing”?
“I have grand kids”?
“Well you are sixty five and we are married”.
“Wait, what? We’re married? So what’s your name?”… Then I woke up.
“You couldn’t have given me one more minute”? I said to myself.

It was still a dark room, but I felt like people were watching me. Turns out, they were. I guess I talk in my sleep. They were clapping so I guess my dreams were more entertaining than the actual movie. I get out of the theater and meet someone. We talked and we have a lot in common. We head back to my place under the umbrella I brought. We have dinner and just talk. After I get her name and number, she leaves. Right before I turn in for the night, I think to myself she could be the one from my dream. Outside is very dark, but I have just found a light. Moving to Chicago may have been the right move after all.  (previous wording by: Adrian Drower)

  1. Create a T- Shirt design that can say anything. Write what you would want to tell the world on that shirt. Front side, back side or both.
  1. What does the term “Citizen of the World” mean to you?
  1. Give 3 examples of situations where “Silence is Golden”.
  1. What Image or picture would you like to see on a dollar bill and why?
  1. Who is the biggest influence in your life right now?

I decided to go on a hike through the forest. Deer drinking from a stream pop up right in front of me. I take out my camera and take a picture… There is absolute silence. I step backward quietly in time to avoid being trampled when a chipmunk spooked them. I continue my hike and I come across a massive waterfall. White wolfs come on both sides as an eagle spreads its wings on the top. I quickly get my camera out and I got lucky. As silence surrounds me I think how cool it would be to see that on a dollar bill. To symbolize power, mystery and peace, that would be cool. I continue on and climb up a mountain… The silence makes it beautiful. I get the feeling of being the “Citizen of the World” like no one else exists… Just me. I reflect on my life and how my brother is my biggest influence. He got me a blog for my poems; I’m still working on it today.

My idea for a shirt would be: on the front the planet earth with a big bold question mark covering it. Below would read: “What really is NORMAL”? On the back would be the word NORMAL with a big bold question mark over it and the same phrase would be under it. I have always liked nature I find its great inspiration.  (previous wording by: Adrian Drower)

1. Write a short paragraph on each of the following subjects from your own point of view:

Politics, history, space, sports, food, human rights, romance/ relationships, religion/ faith, science, the arts

2. Describe a squirrel’s life, day in and day out.

I Am Squirrel

3. “We all shed the same tears, but smile and laugh differently”
Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Explain either way.

I Am Squirrel

Though you may ignore us, shoo us away or set your dog to come after us, 90 percent of the time we get away. We are the acrobats of the animal world. I’ll admit it; sometimes you get us, but not always. Our world is the same as yours. We have politics like you do because we usually watch how you do it. The only difference is we don’t let power get to our heads or find ways to hurt others.

Like humans, we have a history too. Are history goes further than yours does so ha, ha. Sorry, we also have hearts so if I offended you I apologize.

For sports, well… Does hide and seek count? What about tag? I know we are good at that. Any other sports like the ones you have we are excellent spectators. We don’t yell or scream so pass the peanuts. Food wise, we are probably the healthy version of humans. We don’t really eat meat, but we do eat some plants, but mostly nuts. Heck, you might as well call us nuts. We will eat your stuff if it falls to the ground though. It’s a free for all.

Human rights? Why would we care about human rights? We’re squirrels. We also don’t care for religion and faith. All squirrels were made to have the same rights unlike humans who always point the finger at someone or place the blame on one another. Come on guys really? Even we know you are acting like babies. “We all shed the same tears, but we smile and laugh differently”. We agree and… Sorry, I guess this interview is time sensitive so in a nut shell…

Science, space and the arts, we look at the human kind even though it would be nice to see the first squirrel in space. It may be cool even to see some famous artist to draw or create a squirrel painting. We all have romance and relationships like humans do so really, we’re not as different. I hope that was what you needed. Thank you.

1. Write a “Thank you” note to a special person in your life.  Thank them for being in your life rather than something they did.

2. Pick one of the following careers: Music DJ, restaurant chef, firefighter, banker, scientist or real estate agent.  This will be your job for the next six months.  Why did you choose it and what benefit do you think you will gain from it?

3. Make a list of 10 simple things that bring you joy.

4. Have you ever felt stuck?  What made you feel that way and how did you get ‘unstuck’?

5. Do you believe every cloud has a Silver Lining?  Explain. 

Poem covers all which is with the other poems.

1. Make a list of at least 4 positive things about you.

2. Make a list of at least 4 things that you want to improve on or change to become a better you.

3. Would you rather work/ volunteer helping the elderly or helping the very young?  Why?  Also, specifically what would you do to help?

4. If you could help animals, which type would you choose and why?  Also specifically what would you do to help?

5. Write a short story (real or fictional) about navigating through our bitter cold Chicago winters.

I combined numbers 1,2 and 5 into a story I call…

Chicago’s Cold Center Warms

The frostbitten wind throws the soft, white snow that most people hate all around like a winter ballet.  The eight inches of snow swirl in the arctic air as people in Chicago settle in for a long winter.  As the snow keeps falling, I admire the beauty.  Most people don’t like  the snow, but I do.  It gives me a chance to concentrate on myself, so I get a workout in.  Aside from my weight, I would also like to keep improving my handwriting, be able to manage any important appointments myself and read more about anything other than religion.  Seeing as how I am proud to be an Atheist and I am not one for confrontation, I would like to avoid saying something or doing something to offend anyone.  Anyway, after I clean myself up, I start to think of many positive things about myself.  The four that stick out that people have said about me are: I’m helpful, I’m a good listener (I give good advise, so my friends say), I have a wide taste in music from the oldies to some recent and not only am I creative, I am even very good at writing,  So as Chicago’s freezing cold winter makes most people feel like prisoners, I am one of the few that find the inner warmth.  I am one of the few that enjoys Chicago’s Cold Center.

1. Create your definition of love.

2. Has modern technology strengthened or diminished the concept of love in relationships? Explain

3. Make a list of all things (other than people) that you truly love.

Now write a story about one of those.

4. With the presidential election coming up this November, what qualities/ attributes do you feel the leader of our country should have to be a respected and effective president? Explain

4. a) Also, would you ever want to participate in politics and or be a candidate yourself on any level? Explain

Love’s Lower Level

“Dad, stop! I love him! I don’t care about your political platform. I also don’t care for your attitude. If you want me to keep calling you my dad, you will back off now”!

“In local news, presidential candidate Rob Sawyer holds an incredible lead over his opponents. However, there is one part of his speeches that causes riots every time. He always makes jokes about guys liking guys and girls liking girls and people just get very upset”, said the television news anchor.

“My dad is such a jerk. He will never understand love and how it’s defined simply as a way of showing the person you’re with how much you care”.

Anyway, I would never be a part of politics because it’s rarely based on facts and honest answers. People who should run are people who have a lot of patience, can stand strong no matter the situation and can creatively use words to not only convey their message, but at the same time land blows that are soft yet effective.

I’m a person who enjoys the simple things: being there when I’m needed, helping those who need it and I even enjoy writing. My name is Max Sawyer and I hate my last name. I believe technology has positives and negatives when it comes to love and relationships. I met this guy online, we’ve met in person many times and we have a lot in common.

When it’s time, I’m running away with this guy and changing my last name. My dad will never understand like most people. It’ too bad people are still stuck in the past, let’s look to the future and keep making improvements. It’s like my friend always says, “Love is a universal human emotion that everyone should have, so why be selfish when we can spread the love around”.

Explain these concepts/ thoughts/ sayings

  1. The Black Hole
  2. United we stand/ divided we fall
  3. Dare to be different
  4. Team approach
  5. Nothing but the truth
  6. Liberty and justice for all
  7. Positive attitude
  8. Open mind/ open heart
  9. Willing to take a risk
  10. The meek shall inherit the earth
  11. A quiet confidence
  12. The more the merrier
  13. Making lemonade out of lemons
  14. You go to bed with dogs you wake up with fleas
  15. Walk a mile in someone’s shoes
  16. When the going gets tough the tough gets going
  17. Making the best out of a bad situation
    1. Describe these in detail
    2. Which of these do you agree/ disagree with and why
    3. Create a short story using one of the above

      I combined 3, 7, 9, 11 and I added one of my own 17.

    Making the best out of a bad situation:
    This is something I’ve always been good at. If a situation comes up that is tough or forces someone to make a tough choice, I will admit that it’s challenging. However, I have always been able to improvise.

    When it comes to being willing to take a risk, depending on the risk, I would probably go for it. I’ve taken many risks or challenges in my life and they have gotten me where I am today. Heck, I wouldn’t be a published poet if I didn’t take that risk.

    Dare to be different, like me, people with disabilities do this almost every day. We may not know what we are doing, but just by living life the way we do, we show people with out that we are not much different than they are. We are not afraid to show our positive attitudes or our talents so really we are a quiet confidence. We may be soft spoken, but like me, we are not afraid to speak our minds.

    Inspire us. Write a story, poem or essay using at least one of the prompts below:

    1. Spring is coming

    2. Make believe you win ONLY $1,000 in the lottery? What would you do with the thousand dollars?

    3. We build too many walls and not enough bridges. Isaac Newton

    4. What did the crocus say to the daffodil? (Or if you prefer, what did any sign of spring say to another sign of spring?)

    5. Create a new dish. Name it. Write down the full recipe. (Include all the ingredients and all the steps to make it.)

    6. If you were trapped in an elevator for an hour with a stranger, what would you do? Explain in detail.

    7. Make up a writing prompt of your own. Now respond to it. (But before you read back your response, tell us what your prompt is.)

    As the white winter world comes to an end, we start to come out of our walled homes. Though there are not enough bridges, I have found one that transports me to a beautiful new world.The sun is up as early as the birds every morning. You can hear the melodies flying throughout a sky so soft that a bunny would be jealous. I can see plants and flowers starting to bud. What did the crocus say to the daffodil? Well, considering I don’t speak plant, I wouldn’t know. However, like the other nature, they might say they can’t wait to bloom. Nature here calls this world spring. I walk this path for a while and take in the natural beauty. I find a… House? I look again and move a basic bush to see a fork in the road. I get confused when I see an actual fork on the road, but I ignore it and move on.The house was on one side and the other leads deeper into the spring world’s forest. Like the last lines in Robert Frost’s poem “A Road Not Taken” “[…] two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I, I took the one less traveled by […]” So I do and it takes me to a clearing with a massive waterfall. A long and winding stream stretches further than the eye could see and now I’m wishing I had more time to explore all of this beautiful land. I would love to have followed the stream to see where it went. It’s a popular place among the animals because in seconds, deer come to drink from the stream. Monkeys begin to jump from branch to branch and tons of other animals come too. I’m glad I brought my camera, pads of paper and pens. I got some great shots of the wild life and nature and took many notes. I even wrote about four poems. So it is like how the Robert Frost poem ends, “[…] and that has made all the difference”.

    1. What is the most magical thing you’ve ever experienced?
    2. What do you wonder about?

    3. Where would you like to wander?

    4. Describe life in, on or around the following… From any perspective/ point of view:
    A) An open highway
    B) A farmland country road
    C) A tree- lined Suburban Street
    D) An alley
    E) A big city downtown street
    F) A ghetto war- torn street
    G) A path near the ocean in a vacation setting

    5. How do you feel about the following statement? Explain.
    “It’s not easy to be happy, but it is too easy to be sad”.

    I combined the first four:

    As I wander the empty streets, I wonder about my life. I could have chosen not to say I had these powers, but I did. Now I walk a lonely road, the only one I have ever known. Oh great, now I have Green Day’s song Boulevard of Broken Dreams in my head… I like that song, never mind.

    Anyway, I remember when I got my powers, but that’s a story for a later time. I am what most people would say as the ultimate super hero because I am half Alien, half human, part magic and part ghost. With every super power at my disposal, I am the ultimate super hero. I can even transform into anything so I can give some interesting perspectives.

    An open highway would say: “FREEDOM! Just watch out for the cops pulling speeders over.”
    A farmland country road would say: “This is the life, relaxing… Watch out for horse… Never mind.”
    A tree- lined Suburban Street would say: “What a beautiful summer day… Get lost you pesky seagulls.”
    An alley would say: “Please take the garbage, it’s starting to smell.”
    A big downtown street would say: “Too many people, bad driving and people who don’t pick up after their dogs. It’s a mine filed out here. Yikes! Watch your step.”
    A ghetto war- torn street would say: “I don’t know. I’ve never been that before.”
    A path near the ocean in a vacation setting would say: “That’s the life for me.”

    It’s time for me to do what I need to do. I need to go back in time and change that one event. … … … …
    Finally. Back to the way it was, a team effort. I no longer walk a lonely road. My secret is still a secret. I will continue to save the world as Blue Crystal not Adrian Drower because Adrian had a great life. Sometimes fame or popularity is over rated. I’m happy not being in the spotlight.

    You have a magic rock. It can remove one thing you don’t want from your life and add one thing you do want to your life. What do you remove and what do you add? Why?

    2. Paint a portrait of yourself using at least eight of these categories: Explain

    Color              Animal           Plant

    Number          Season          Day of week

    Food                Shape             Weather

    Flavor             Sport              Passion

    3. You are wearing a suit of armor, what are you protecting yourself from?

    Suit of armor is a metaphor for being street- wise (improvise)

    4. When you meet someone for the first time, what is the one thing you want to know about him or her?

    5. You win the “Citizen of the Century Award”. What did you do?

    6. Your cup is half full, what’s in it and what will you fill it with?

    7. What is your favorite celestial object and why?
    I combined 1,2,3,6,7 into a poem called I Am Human.

    1. What is the most beautiful part of nature to you? Why?

    2. Describe the contents and what types of articles and photos it would feature.
    Create 5 one word magazine titles (example: People) that are not currently in use.

    3. If you were trapped in an elevator for an hour with a stranger, what would you do?  Explain in detail.

    4. Make a list of expensive things that you feel people waste their money on. Also, what do you sometimes-waste money on?

    5. Name something you’re afraid to try but really want to. What makes you afraid to try it?

    6. You are the coach/ manager (pick any sport) and your team is losing an important game. Write a speech to motivate your team to a win.
    I took the second one and made five one word magazine titles based on the other five prompts.  The following are what I came up with:

    Magazine 1: Fearless   Based on prompt 5
    If a story is too personal, won’t be used.
    This magazine is designed to give people the chance to help others through their own experiences. It will give people who were hurt a chance to legally stick it to the people that hurt them without using names.

    Magazine 2: Moti- Sport   Based on prompt 6
    A motivational sport magazine
    This magazine is designed with the idea of using famous sport players throughout history and their words of wisdom. It would be geared toward the power of positive words and give people the chance to see that even famous people are still humans.

    Magazine 3: Priceless   Based on prompt 4
    A magazine based on money
    Would give lists of items people spend money on and give advice as to how to save money.

    Magazine 4: TRAPPED!   Based on prompt 3
    A magazine based on the feeling of being trapped.
    Ever felt like you were stuck?  Weather it is actually, emotionally, mentally or any other?  This magazine would give you real life experiences and advice to avoid being trapped.  This would show people we are all human.

    Magazine 5: Sight   Based on prompt 1
    A nature based magazine.
    That would help the traveler. It would highlight popular tourist sights and show the natural beauty of all areas around the world. It would even give descriptions on all that is in it plant and building based.

    1. Create a place called WONDERLAND

    2. Define each of the following words: creation, journey, vision, devotion, courage and skill.

    3. How would you describe your ‘sense of humor’? Give examples

    4. Share with us one thing nobody (in our community) knows about you

    5. Create/establish a brand new holiday. Give it a name, date and purpose. Also tell us how and when your holiday will be honored/ celebrated. Provide all the details.

    I combined 1, 3, 4

    A place that can only be accessed by people who are not afraid to act a little silly and are not afraid to show their imagination. Wonderland to me would be a place where religion and political views are not recognized. No one is judged for any reason. It’s a place where in the spring rain does not give more than 2.4 inches. In the summer the temperature ranges from a low of 58 and a high of 78 degrees. In autumn, the temperature slowly goes down and the only thing we would have to worry about aside from occasional rain is the wind. Winter would be a mild one. It would be cold enough for snow, but nothing below zero and the snow amount would stay at about four inches.  A more specified wonderland, for me has the above and also I’m more fit. It would also have a digital camera that could never run out of space and has crystal clear sight. It would even have a zoom booster to allow pictures to be taken at a distance of 1,000 football fields in length. I remember back when I lived in Northbrook, every now and then, I would bike around and take random pictures of any item or part of nature.I would say my sense of humor is interesting. Someone would really have to get to know me before they could get the full effect. So I don’t need to be Alice in Wonderland, I just need to be Adrian, who created a wonderland.

    1. Why do we celebrate Halloween?  Why on October 31st?

    2. Why is everything orange and or black?

    3. Why monsters, ghosts, witches and bats?

    4. Name your favorite Halloween treat and your favorite Halloween trick.

    5. Do you enjoy celebrating Halloween?  Why or why not?

    6. Name every food or drink made with pumpkins.  Which is your favorite?

    7. Create a Halloween stew or potion, then describe in detail the ingredients.

    8. What scared you the most as a child and what still scares you now as an adult?
    My family and I love the pumpkin tortilla chips that Costco usually has. We actually got the Costco sized candy bags for the trick or treat kids in our neighborhood. To be honest, I am a fan of the 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, heck I’m a chocolate fan. So really, I’m a fan of the treat not the trick. Why do we celebrate Halloween? That- is a good question. I may not be able to answer it, but I can comment on the colors.

    Orange and black are the colors of choice probably because Black and White maybe too much Michael Jackson. I do like Halloween, mostly because it’s the one day every year where adults can finally show their inner child without being judged. Plus, my imagination can run wild. Has anyone heard of the Disney movie Halloween Town? That’s your answer to why monsters, ghosts, witches, bats, and may other creatures. You can even enjoy movies such as Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas and even Steven King’s IT. Those are three of my favorites. To this day, I am NOT a fan of the Tower of Terror ride in Florida’s Disney.  Now, on to a spooky story I call…

    The Eyes of Halloween

    95 years ago, there was a band called All Eyes Everywhere. They had a very interesting sound because they were composed of a fiddle, violin, guitar, electric guitar, keyboard and a drum set. They survived thirty years without problems until they were executed for using their music to commit and get away with all crime. They used to be scientists experimenting with a potion that would help those who are blind so they could see again. However, something went horribly wrong and instead of helping others, their bodies became able to see in every direction. They decided not to share their ingredients with the public in fear the government would turn it into a weapon.

    Any way, they then turned an old warehouse into a club that became highly popular. With eyes hidden everywhere and their speakers plugged into them, their hypnotic music would control their minds, hearts and bodies. They would use these people to steel money and anything else they needed. Once someone caught them in the act, they were publicly executed. Before they were killed, they put a curse on Halloween. That is why Halloween is spelled with two E’s as in… Two Eyes.

    “No matter what the situation, remind yourself, ‘I have a choice.'”
    – Deepak Chopra

    Today’s theme is about choices.  Our lives are a series of choices- little or big- that we make every day.  If we view our lives like a tree, each choice creates new choices that draw the branches and leaves of our daily life.

    1. Do you believe life is a series of choices or that fate determines the path of our life?  Or is it a mix?

    2. In your opinion, do people make choices based on: what is right, what feels right or what is best for them?

    3. Is being happy or sad a choice?  Do we choose to be happy?  Do we choose to be sad?  If we are sad, can I change how I feel?

    4. Imagine you and a close relative or friend were arguing about something one day.  Imagine that the person made a remark that was unkind.  How would you respond?  Do you remember the last time you had an argument?  Did you choose your words wisely or did you say hurtful words?

    5. Imagine you made plans with a new friend for a day of fun.  An old friend calls you upset and needs you to comfort them.  What would you do?  Would you cancel your plans with your new friend?  Or would you find a way to visit your old friend later?  Have you ever faced a situation like that?

    6. Finally, imagine a magic genie offered to make you very talented in one skill, like singing or dancing or painting or really anything!  What would you choose?  Would you choose to share your talent with the world?  Would you help others learn that skill so that they could be as talented as you?

    I took the intro and turned it into a poem called Have a Voice, Make a Choice.  (Poem on posts with others)

    1. Agree or disagree with any or all of the following statements and explain:

    Money brings happiness
    Live only for today and you ruin tomorrow
    Honesty is the best policy

    2. Is it worse to fail at something or never attempt it in the first place?

    3. Is it easier to love or be loved?

    4. Can we have happiness without sadness?

    5. What makes you, you?

    6. Write as many questions about the world as you can that do not have answers.

    ( I combined 2,3,4 and 5 into a poem that is with the other poems called There’s The Trick)

    1. Begin a story with one of the following:
      A. Another hot, humid summer day begins and…
      B. I wanted to experience something new so I…
      C. Last night I awoke to a dream filled with…
      D. I never before believed in miracles until…
    1. Make a list of all things you…
      A. Believe in
      B. Hope to happen
      C. Want to change
      D. Get angry/ annoyed about
    2. How important is it to always tell the truth? Why?

                Do you always tell the truth?

    Are there any situations/ circumstances where NOT telling the
    truth is actually the better choice/ course of action? Explain

    1. You are walking alone in a park and you witness a young person bullying, disrespecting and being rude to an elderly person.
      A. What do you actually do, if anything?

      B. What is the right thing to do, but you don’t do it because you’re afraid of what might happen to you?
      C. If you were with others, would that make a difference in how you react/ respond?

    Another hot, humid summer day begins and
    I sweat. I have never liked the intense heat. Walking in the direct sunlight on a day like that, I feel like I’m walking in a desert on the sun. Don’t get me wrong, I like summer, but I would prefer a range of 58 to 78 degrees and no humidity. Summer nights would have to be my favorite time during summer. Walking the streets with a temperature of 74 and a light, cool breeze is nice. If you look up and are greeted by an ocean of stars surrounding Moon Island that makes it more beautiful.
    The next day,
    I wanted to experience something new so I open the door. It’s raining, great. A least I have an umbrella and my headphones. Lucky for me, my walking music playlist has at least sixty songs in it. I like to sing as I walk. I know I’m not a pro, but I’m decent and it’s fun. I like to see peoples’ reactions to when I sing. So far kids seem to like it and some teens too. As for adults, either they don’t react or they smile. Either way, it’s fun. After walking several hours, I’m home.
    Last night I awoke to a dream filled with… I’m not going to tell you that one because it’s personal. Instead I will say every so often I get the same dream on a loop. This is kind of strange, but I’m going somewhere on the “EL” (the Brown Line train) and someone is bothering a kid. Well, let’s just say I end up the hero in the kids eyes. Other dreams are either family related, funny some are where I’m either flying or have super powers and some are very… Well let’s just say you don’t need to know ALL my dreams.
    I never before believed in miracles until… Does the movie Miracle on 31st Street count? If not, then I’m at a loss. May be… Oh, what’s the point? The concept of a miracle could be over rated. Life is a beautiful thing over all any way.

    1. Describe the nighttime sky… Creatively and thoroughly

    2. Write a letter of encouragement to a sick friend in a hospital

    3. Tell us about the one person in your life who has made you a better person.
    Explain how/ in what regards?

    4. Finish these thoughts:
    Life is full of…
    Nobody knows that I…
    By next year at this time I hope that…
    If I were very rich, I would…
    Though I cannot stop time, I can…
    I think a lot about…
    When I am wrong about something I…
    At the end of the day my mind…
    There is a place in my heart where…
    It’s important to make…

    5. What do you remember about September 11th, 2001?
    (Who were you with, where were you, how did you feel, etc.?)

    Flying through the black darkness of night, with billions of stars and full silver moon in sight, I am free.  The world’s shadow land all around me and soon the great powerful eagles join me. As we fly across the many lands, I see the world from their eyes and it’s just beautiful.  I also think of my life and how my speech teacher from Oakton has made me a better person.  In high school, I couldn’t speak in front of five friends so after his class, I’m speaking in front of 200 people at the Down Syndrome Society.  I’m planning to write him a poem to say thank you.  Life is full of mystery to me because I find it makes life fun.

    Nobody knows that I will sing while I walk around my neighborhood to see how people react. By next year at this time I hope that I’m not only living on my own (away from my parents) but my weight will be in the mid to low 170’s. If I were very rich, I would hope social security would give me a break; otherwise I would help my parents get their summer home in Hawaii. Though I cannot stop time, I would choose to live in the moment so I can be a part of helping others and my family (like my little cousins). I think a lot about what would make a fun and good song, story or poem to write. When I am wrong about something I may not want to admit it, but I will.
    At the end of the day my mind a majority of the time wants to go blank, but I’m usually good at bringing it back. There is a place in my heart where family (like my little cousins) will always be. It’s important to make connections because without them no one would meet anyone. Flying through the black darkness of night, eagles by my side and the beauty in sight, I am free. True Freedom.

    1. Write a story, poem or essay using a prompt below:
      A) Sadly, I have learned my lesson; there are rules for a reason.
      B) A little voice inside me said, “Break the rules.” Thankfully, I listened to it.
      C) I followed the rules and what a mistake that was!
    2. Brag on yourself, or someone else by reacting to the statement: “It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up.” Dizzy Dean
    3. Complete the following thought with something different:
      “Hi Ho. Hi Ho. It’s off to…”

Write a story using as FEW words as you can; yet it still contains the meaning and feeling you are trying to convey.
(For example: For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.)
A little voice inside me said, “Break the rules”. Thankfully, I listened to it. This is what happened: I was at the park with some friends and we were playing tag. The sun was out and it was just beautiful. Some older kids thought it would be fun to tackle us as we were running around. They got my friends, but they couldn’t get me. I improvised a new path. It’s something I would never do, but I did and I’m glad. I out ran those kids, was never tackled or touched and by the time I reached my friends, they were glad I was with them. My friends have always said I’m good at improvising.
So, “Hey, Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to brag I go.” I’ve always been good at improvising, writing, being creative, being helpful and I’m a good listener. My friends and my family would agree that I am all of those. They would say I give good advice too. So hi ho, hi ho back to writing I go. Thanks, you ho!

1. Three goals you have set for yourself before the end of next year are… Why?
Weight, writing, reading

2. List five things that make you feel good.
Writing, being with family, being with friends, helping others and just being myself.

3. Write about a difficult decision you had to make.

4. Your fairy godmother or father just appeared. What do you ask for? How will this make your life different?

5. “Uh oh. I think I broke it”. What did you break? How did you break it? What did you do?
6. What random acts of kindness might you do tomorrow?
Life is full of difficult decisions and the most difficult decision for a person with a disability is accepting it. Yes I have Down syndrome, but it’s a mild case. I gave a speech in my speech class and the opening line defined Down syndrome and then I said, “Now looking at me I know what you’re thinking, he looks hot! How could he possibly have Down syndrome? Well this just means my life has more challenges than most people.” There are many things I’m good at just like there are many things I can’t do. However, setting goals can help. For me, by the end of 2017 I’d like to be at least down to 170 in weight. Considering I’ve lost a total of 30 pounds since January, I’m well on my way. I would also like to get more people to check out my writing blog or get my poetry “out there” (what ever that means). A while ago, while sorting through boxes, I unearthed about 6 to 10 books that I have not read, but would still like to. So I now have maybe 15 books to get through. I feel good when I’m writing, helping others, when I’m with family, when I’m with friends and just being myself. Since I can’t be anyone else, I will just be me. So in the words of Billy Joel, “Why Should I Worry”?

1. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said,“The ultimate measure of a man [or woman] is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”How have you seen this exemplified in your own life or exemplified it yourself?

2. Write about a time you changed.

3. Some people need their cup of coffee every morning. Some people need a hug from their mom every night. What is something that you “need” every day and how would your life be different without it?

4. What is your “spirit”
a) Animal
b) Food
c) Movie or TV character
d) Kitchen utensil
e) Board game
f) Piece of furniture

5. If you could live in any historical context, which would it be and what would your life be like?

6. If__________, is the destination, then_______________ is the vehicle.

7. Finish one of the following phrases with a story:
a) I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t believe that…
b) Everything was under control, but suddenly…
c) They were so excited when they realized…
d) When I opened the door this morning, I was surprised to see…

When I opened the door this morning, I was surprised to see… nothing? My apartment was completely empty! It looked like it did before any construction started. Then I heard banging and other strange noises coming from nowhere. People appeared and were working on the place. Something came and took over my body and walked me out the door. I saw my old house for a second then I was rushed to the hospital. I saw my mom holding… me?  Then I saw my very first place in the city.  The board games Monopoly and Life were floating as if taken over by a spirit.  My body moved again and this time I saw my brother and I watching TV.  We were watching the movie Oliver and Company. When it ended, he hugged me and took off.  I put on Pokemon the TV show and continued to watch.  The movie and the TV show floated like spirits. Then a couch floated… I guess I’ve always watched TV on it, so it makes sense. I was moved again and this time I was watching my mom and I cooking and baking. I’ve always liked lending a helping hand when needed. So naturally a pair of hands floated like a spirit.

Then I was moved again… Tell me why I can’t control my body? Come on!  Finally!  This time I saw myself eating pizza… well I do love pizza. Then a pizza started floating like a spirit.  I moved myself along the same path and I saw a story I am working on called The Nature Ninja. My little cousins are in this story and Caden (the oldest of my little cousins) and I become very close in this story. At the end, I became a White Wolf; a super hero animal. Now a White Wolf starts to float followed by a pen both as if spirits took over them. Then I let the force take over me and take me back and I see my new apartment completely changed and finished. The floating items converge here in front of me and all three of my little cousins appear. The run to me, hug me and say they love me. A voice says to me, “If the future is the destination, the small and large steps that I choose to take are the vehicles”. I guess I have always been always changing sometimes without knowing it.

I get the feeling I’m being watched… Since I volunteered to be part of a movie it makes sense. Though my body is still sleeping, I smile. A story I’m working on called From 2 Steps Behind is becoming a movie? I smile. “Why Should I Worry, why should I care”, Billy Joel sings on my alarm clock. I wake up, I can dream can’t I?

1. If the world had a suggestion box, to see how we can make it better, what would your suggestion be and why.

2. Write your best horror story in 2 sentences.

I touched my head with both my hands, but only my left hand showed up with blood so I wiped my hands, searched them well; there were no cuts. I touched my head one more time… my right hand had blood so I wiped my head with a cloth and there was nothing; one final touch with both hands… both had blood.

3. If we all were forced to wear a warning label, what would yours say?

Mine would say, “Warning, obviously I’m good with words”.

4. Finish the following prompts with your own ending…
a) I woke up to hear a knocking on glass. At first, I thought it was the window until I heard it come from the mirror again…
b) You dig up a time capsule you buried years ago. Instead of memorabilia, you find a modern phone and it starts to ring…
c) I can’t imagine life without…
d) It seemed like a good idea yesterday, but…

I woke up to hear a knocking on glass. At first, I thought it was the window until I heard it come from the mirror again. I went to take a look, but all I saw was myself. I move my body and the mirror did the same so I figured there was no problem. I turned to leave and out of the corner of my eye I saw myself in the mirror knocking. I got curious and decided to go back and take another look.

I looked closely and this time the knocking fist became a hand that pulled me into the mirror. I looked out and saw an anti- Adrian!
    “Hey! I’m yelling at you!” I screamed from the mirror. He stopped, turned around and said,
    “What do you want?”
    “I want to know what the heck is going on? I want to know who the heck you are?” I said.
    “Isn’t that obvious… I’m YOU!”
    “I can see that caption obvious. That doesn’t answer my question”.
    “Fine! If you must know, I’ve been trying to get your attention since you started talking in full sentences. You just thought you were seeing or hearing things. Now that I am free, I can undo all the good you’ve done. I can turn people against you and make them see the real Adrian. That Adrian is a person who cares only about himself and not anyone else. I will even make your little cousins HATE you!” he ended with an evil laugh that would send chills down the spine of winter.

I pounded the glass in anger and screamed,
    “Noo! Come back! Let me out of here!” I was so horrified that everything I worked so hard for was about to come crashing down. Then I remembered what he said as to what he was going to do. He wasn’t just an anti- Adrian or a reflection… he was me! Everybody has a good and a bad side, but depending on who we are, we choose which side we want the world to see. To be continued…

(Alternate ending)

Continued… With that being said, I turned anger into concern. I turned hate into worry and fear into love then I took a breath. I turned around and saw a massive new world that was set in darkness. I smiled and watched as the blackness lifted and a sun came out. What I saw completely shocked me: people dying, people in pain, people stealing, breaking anything and everything, garbage flooded everywhere like a million oceans in one and there was no nature in sight. It was terrible. I had to do something to help.
    “ADRIAN! Please be careful! Your powers can do much more than change the weather!” said someone.
    “What do you mean… my powers?” I said. He went into this whole speech on how I can control earth’s natural elements, time and space and how I can move things with my mind and body. He also said I can shoot energy beams, bombs, heal people, produce energy shields and any items and I am able to even control shadows in the light and dark world.

    “Then maybe I can change all this and make it better”, I said.
    “Why? You’re the reason there’s no law and no legal system. You’re the reason our world was in the dark”, he replied.
    “Not anymore”, I said as I healed a group of fifteen people with one hand. I then started using my energy beams to clean up the streets. With every good thing I did, a two-way mirror appeared giving me a way to communicate with my other world. I did not realize until later that I could fly. So I took to the sky and flew faster than light into outer space. I closed my eyes, opened them and they glowed a crystallized white.
I put my hands out, focused and let out a powerful blast of energy. In seconds, all the garbage around the world vanished and the planet needed water badly, so I gave it water. I created an energy shield around myself and made it rain nonstop around the world. This should help all the nature return to its glory.

I reach my cousins place in time and after some talking happens, the bad version of me smiles, nods his head then vanishes. I get it now, he only showed up to show everyone that I was hiding more thoughts and feelings than I let people see. Once those thoughts came out into the open, he disappeared. I saw a flash and I knew my life was restored, but the memories are still there. My little cousins are hugging me, my eyes glowed a crystallized black and a dark shadow came under me. I was a literal living shadow. So it’s settled. I will become… The Living Shadow!

If you want the (Alternate emotional ending), I will send it in a separate message.

1. Make a list of all things that have, hold or contain water.

2. When you are thirsty, what do you like to drink? Why?

3. What are your favorite things that live in the water (sea, lake, river, steam, ocean)?

4. What is your favorite part of nature? Why?

5. What do you do/ think about when you’re alone? Explain.

6. Where do you go to find some peace and quiet? Explain.

7. What do babies need to grow up strong, happy and healthy?

8. List at least 3 positive things about you.

I combined 5 and 8 into a poem that is with the other poems.

a) Write a letter to a soldier currently deployed overseas.

b) Inspire us with your feelings about any of the following thoughts and words:

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
2. America the Beautiful
3. Crown thy good with brotherhood
4. Veteran
5. Hero

c) Abraham Lincoln reminds us, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Tweet the new president- elect advising him on how he can best heal/ lead/ govern our strongly divided country for the next four years.

d) Answer any of the following questions asked by Adrian Drower:
1. What if… I don’t find “the One”?
2. What if… I die alone?
3. What if… I think positive?
4. How am I so good at this?

e) Describe what the phrase “realistic hope” means to you; how would you practice realistic hope and engage others in it?

Brave, bold, caring, helpful… the list can go on for a long time on what makes a hero. While some people look at famous people, relatives or friends that are older, I look at people who are younger. The truth is a hero does not need an age; a hero is someone that has done something good for another person. By that statement, we are all heroes… well all of us in HeartWords I know are heroes. I can’t speak on behalf of the world because I know there are people out there who are the opposite. I like to think of my friends as heroes because they are not afraid to speak their minds. I also like to think my family members are heroes. That includes my little cousins who are 10, 9 and 7. Everyone has a talent that they are very good at and if they can use that talent to help others, in my mind, that’s a hero. By that, my friends Kate, Steven, Nick, Jorie, Andy and others of my friends are heroes. For my family members, my little cousins Caden, Owen, Tyson, their parents, my cousin Laurie, my parents, my brother and others are heroes. What Is A Hero? It’s not just one person. The people who think they are not heroes are the real heroes. So I guess that makes me a hero, what’s funny is… sometimes I don’t feel like one.

  1. Can you recall someone or something that caused you the kind of sadness or inner discomfort that you later felt truly grateful for the experience (When was it, would you ever share the event with anyone today and would you be grateful, are you still grateful today and if not why?)?
  2. Do you believe that deep learning is the true opportunity for each of us as the result of deep discomfort/ disappointment (yes or no and why)?
  3. What is your immediate experience/ reaction to the following statement: We owe the most to those who cause us the most pain. Some say because happiness can not drive you as deeply into yourself as does the opposite and because of this you see that you have more strength, resolve, compassion and understanding of yourself and others than you had previously imagined.
  4. Do you believe the statement in number 3 We owe the most to those who cause us the most pain is true for you and why?
  5. Do you believe this statement We owe the most to those who cause us the most pain is false and why?
  6. Should the essence of Thanksgiving be a global celebration of gratitude (yes or no and why)?
  7. If you could create a new the original story of Thanksgiving, that has become the inspiration for the Thanksgiving we celebrate today, what would your story be?

A) What is your happy place and why?

B) It’s a beautiful sunny day and in the 70’s outside. Do you go inside or stay outside? Why?

A) What’s your favorite place to go on vacation and why?

B) If you had to choose between living in the big city or living on a tropical island like Hawaii, which one would it be and why?

8. Inspired by Michaela Moran: Create your own future world with schools, rules and laws. Could we celebrate being thankful more with each other and if so, in the spirit of Adrian, what do you think would happen?

I combined numbers 6 and 8:
If someone had told me when I was a kid that I was going to have two poems published in a book and a blog with 148 poems, I would have said no way. If someone told me when I was a kid I was going to be a decent public speaker, have writing published on a website and told me I was going to work in a tile showroom in downtown Chicago, I would have said no way. So, aside from being thankful for the great family and friends in my life and the ones who helped me get to where I am today, I am also thankful for myself. I made all those great things happen. OK my brother Ethan got me set up on the blog and for that I am thankful. Since I came this far in life, my thanks will go out to everyone in my life (that includes myself).  Then I combined numbers 3 and 4: into a poem called Through The Pain.  Poem with others…

  1. Do you believe animals have feelings/ show emotions? Explain
  2. If you were any animal, would you choose to life safely in a zoo for 30 years or be free in the wild for only 10 years? Explain
  3. Describe in detail Nature’s… might (strength), magic, beauty, destruction, violence and lack of sentimentality.
  4. Which is your favorite genre of living beings… birds, mammals, fish, insects, reptiles etc.? Explain
  5. Write a short story or poem about trees… one, a few or many.

I combined all five into a poem called Nature’s Window which is found with the other poems.

1. “The only constant in life is change”.

What does that quote mean to you? How has change affected your life? How has your life stayed the same?

2. Do you believe that people truly change?

Yes. Depends on if the person wants to change.

3. “Be the change you wish to see you in the world”.

How do you interpret this quote literally and figuratively? If you could be any “change”, what would you be? If you could create any change, what would it be and how would you do it?

4. “O, swear not by the moon, th’ inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circle orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable,” says Juliet to her Romeo in Shakespeare’s famous play.

What does it mean to be “inconstant?” Do you know someone or something that is “inconstant” like the moon? Do you know someone or something that is the opposite—steady and constant—in your life? Just like the moon is necessary to earth, how can you appreciate these different people in your life? Why is it good to be inconstant? What is good about being constant?

5. New Years Resolutions often center on a hoped- for change. What do you hope to improve on this year? What do you want to stay the same?

6. What are some positive habits that you practice? Why are they important to you?

(I combined 1,2,5 and 6 into a poem called Changing Times.  Poem is found with others.)

  1. Using as many different words as you can, fully describe winter. ALL the colors of winter, its sounds, the feel of winter, its tastes its smells AND what winter means to you.
  2. Write a winter tale that begins with the words: “It was a dark and stormy night. Winter blew in my face, snow crunched beneath my feet and the cold threatened to…”
  3. James M. Barrie said, “God gave us memory so we might have roses in winter”. Now imagine it’s the winter of your years; what are the memories you will share with others?
  4. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  5. Imagine and describe the parts of the universe (big and small) that are still unknown.
  6. Stir; a blue stroke, a dash of pink; the brush flies; work quickly; splatter. Stop. Stare. Mix; paint again; race against the sun; work quickly; stroke the brush some more. At last, write your name across the lower right corner; step back; take a look. WHAT DO YOU SEE? Inspired by Tali Haberkamp.

It was a dark and stormy night. Winter blew in my face, snow crunched beneath my feat and the cold threatened to freeze the sun. Well, that’s how I felt hiking through this sub zero snow desert. I was fully covered though: three layers of long sleeves and my winter jacket. Pants: sweat pants and snow pants covered my legs while two pairs of knit gloves were under my think winter gloves. I had a face mask, scarf, earmuffs and my hood was on, yet I still felt somewhat cold. The snow is falling in sheets of crystal rabbits, the wind swirls the snow around my thick, waterproof boots and I just made it to the town. My usual five-minute walk turned into a four-hour hike. The streetlights are on, some places are dark, but most stores have lights on. I’m the only one in the streets and the more I walk, the more I see.

Families are gathered around fireplaces, couples snuggle up together and friends enjoy each others company. I smile and keep walking. As I walk on, I keep thinking. I reach my destination and for some reason my little cousins recognize me even when I’m fully bundled. I’m greeted with a three-way hug that turns me into the sun. My cousins must have very warm hugs. The thoughts from my walk and now are really getting to me. I don’t know what’s in my future, but I wish I had a family. At least I have my little cousins as cousins, but I do think of them as brothers. I will always help them, even if it may be too late for me. What can I say? They’re family… I love them. The snow is still falling, it’s cold, but thanks to my little cousins and my family I am warm.

  1. What is behind the door and why is it closed?
  2. If you could have any pet in the world, what would it be?
  3. Imagine you are someone’s shadow for a day and write about it.
  4. You suddenly grow a pair of functioning wings. How does your life change?
  5. The world is a bit crazy at the moment. What suggestions do you have to resolve some of that craziness?
  6. If you could invent something to help mankind, what would it be?
  7. Thinking back, what happened to you on the “best day” of your life?

I was walking in a hallway and there were no doors. I felt like I was walking for days, well my feet were hurting so no wonder. Then I reach the end and nothing was there. I turn around and I’m trapped! I turn around and there was a door. It’s locked! Great, I finally get an exit, but I can’t leave. How ironic is that? I hear strange sounds from the other side so I lean against the door to listen… It swings down and I’m falling. Ah! Well, at least I had a nice trip!
I see a cloud coming fast and after I fall through I see the sun. What the? Then I stop falling. I look around and I see flapping wings. I turn around and the wings follow. Ha, ha, I get it; I’m like a parakeet… more like a pair of wings. Well, at least I can get to places rather quickly. So I monkey around for a while and discover some device. I land on the ground and people start coming. Naturally, I want to hide my face, but someone recognizes me. Well, so much for having a secret identity. It turns out I don’t need one because I’m know around the world as the Friendly Flyer. Apparently, I’m a psychologist and a great one because everyone wants me to help. I fly somewhere only to realize I invented a comfortable tank top, short sleeve and long sleeve shirt that puts itself together when you attempt to put the sleeves on. When pared with a belt, it creates wings that are controlled by the mind. A ring… It’s a wedding ring? Well, it’s about time. I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I started to loose hope.

It turns out the clothes were invented to help mankind. I had called them Repair. Anyway, I fly home only to realize I don’t live in Chicago anymore. So I fly around trying to figure out where I belong. I hear a kid calling for dad, but I don’t see anyone else. He’s looking at me? I fly down and he hugs me followed by another boy. Then a woman comes out. Wow! Beautiful!
One kid asks if I can go wolf for them so I give it a shot and transform into a white wolf. They hop on me and I walk them into the house. Right before I’m introduced to the woman, I wake up. You couldn’t have given me one more minute? I can dream can’t I?

1. “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart”. Cesar Chavez

2. Tell us about the best thing you have ever made to eat.
A) Did you follow a recipe?
B) What kinds of special tools did you use (knives, measuring cups, an oven, the stove etc.)?
C) Do you have a favorite cookbook? What is it called?

3. Tell us about the best meal you have ever had in your life.
A) Where were you?
B) Who was eating with you? Was it a special occasion?
C) Who cooked?

4. Describe something you ate. How did it look, smell and taste?
A) How did the occasion make you feel (cheerful, relaxed, refreshed, cozy, excited etc.)? Why?
B) Write a question to ask us about food.
C) Write a suggestion to give us about cooking.

5. Make a list (with all details) of…
A) Your favorite breakfast
B) Your favorite lunch
C) Your favorite dinner
D) Your favorite dessert

A day for me food wise starts out with Honey Nut Cheerios. The rest of the day, depending on the day, is usually a toss up. In the past I’ve had some, let’s just say my choices have not been good. I went through a pizza thing where I would buy three large pizzas at a time, put them on plates and hid them in my closet. Then I would snack on them throughout the day. Unfortunately, due to a naturally slow metabolism and the fact that I like to eat a lot, it adds up… in weight.

In January of last year, I maxed my weight at 213. For someone of my height and disability (being Down Syndrome), that’s not good. For a while I stopped the pizza trio, then started it up again in 2013 after my family moved to Chicago. The last time I did a pizza trio was… I don’t remember. It’s been that long. I also started increasing my workout routine by going three times a week to a place by me called Victory Training. Now I am doing more cooking for my parents like for example, last Valentine’s Day. I made steak, potatoes and an onion spinach blend. It turned out better than I thought. What else turned out well is my weight. Last time I checked I was 181! So from 213 to 181, that’s good. I would like to get down to 160 though. My question to ask is what do you recommend I use to remove body fat? I ask mostly because I think that is what’s holding me back.

My favorite thing to make is a family favorite burrito bowls. My family has three versions: ground turkey, tilapia and chicken. We add rice, beans, corn, cheddar cheese and lettuce. My mom is also big into cooking and baking. I have done chocolate chip banana bread though. That’s also a family favorite. So as you can see, my family like others is big when it comes to food. Even though I still want to loose more weight, I still like pizza.

A Tribute to Chuck Berry

Choose and ‘muse, anyway you like it:

1. I’m gonna write a little letter/ Gonna mail it to my local DJ

2. You know, my temperature’s risin’

3. Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news

4. It was a brown-eyed handsome man that won the game

5. It’s gotta be rock and roll music, if you want to dance with me

6. So I hitch hiked to Chicago/ Just to hear Muddy Waters play

7. Speaking little, saying a lot

8. Get your kicks on Route 66

9. Well it’s Saturday night and I just got paid

I combined 2, 5, 6, 8 and 9

Well, it’s Saturday night and I just got paid, Rock on! This trip to Chicago should be great. I just need the money I saved and I’m off. It will be a long drive, but I’ve got a great music selection: The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel and, can’t forget good old Chuck Berry. I have others, but the list would take up two hours or more of your time.
Well, let’s just say I’m glad all that music is on my phone because my car broke down somewhere near Route 66. So I walled… more like danced down the road.
Get your kicks on Route 66? I definitely got mine and some people even applauded so I bowed thanking them. Some girls asked and offered to give me a ride and I said yes, so I hitch hiked to Chicago just to hear Muddy Waters play. I’ve heard this blues musician is just as good as Muddy Waters, but I can’t remember their name. My memory goes nuts every now and then it drives me nuts. These girls were very nice and one of them seemed to like me.

You know my temperature’s risin’ ” sings Chuck Berry on my phone. My body temperature was definitely rising because my phone was somehow on speaker. Talk about embarrassing. Fortunately, only her and I get it, not her friends. I got really lucky and we were all going to the same place. It’s gotta be rock and roll music, if you want to dance with me is the opening song and we are all dancing together. Until it slows down and I normally would be a little hesitant to ask, but for some reason, I feel like I can do anything. So I put my hand out she looks up and I ask her to dance with me. She takes my hand and we just click. The song has ended, we stay in a pose for a moment and we are about to kiss. I hear a beep and my alarm clock wakes me up. You couldn’t have given me one more minute? What a strange, but fun dream. Too bad it hasn’t happened in real life, I wish it would though.

Write a story or poem inspired by at least one of the following of Dorothy Fontaine’s phrases that describes:

1. The song in my heart that longs to be heard

2. The expression of everything I hold dear within my soul

3. The words I write to let ME be heard

4. The mood I am in

5. The real person that I am

6. The power of poetry

I combined 4,5 and 6 into a poem called:
The Power of Being You.  The poem is on with the other poems.

1. Save the Earth with the swipe of your mighty pen:
A) List as many ways you can think to protect the earth and its environment.

2. Choose at least one of the following and inspire us to be better stewards (protectors) of nature:
A) “When you tug at a single thing in nature, you will find it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

3. “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from out children.”- Native American Proverb

4. “In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways and they’re still beautiful.”- Alice Walker

5. “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”- Albert Einstein

6. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”- Walt Kelly

My responses to number 1:
All street corners should get trash cans/ recycle bins hopefully with more pick up times.

Using your own reusable water bottle instead of buying regular plastic water bottles or using your own reusable bags.

Putting a law in place that hopefully forces dog owners to pick up after their dog.

Maybe some filter on cars exhaust systems or buildings exhaust.

Maybe we could do something with the ashes from burning wood. Like a fuel or turn them into something useful.

Maybe come down harder on bikers and put an even stronger law into place to force them to obey the same laws as cars. They want to be treated like cars, then punish them like you would a car.

Possibly use a push lawn mower over a gas/ electric one. It may take a while, but it’s a good work out.

I also created a poem based on numbers 2- 6 called The Green Path.  Poem is with other poems.


Today I am inviting us to share our connection to selection of treasured memories. I would offer that we extend the experience our lives, through a kind of shared mosaic of our memories. Like tiny pieces of glass that when looked at up close are sparkling and many faceted. Then when looked at from a distance can become, for example; the Mona Lisa, a sunrise, a lightening strike that split the old oak tree in the back yard. So today we shall create our shared mosaic… our sunrise!

1. The first question is would you agree with the statement above and why would you agree or disagree?

2. When remembering someone or something impact full is it remembered more in the head or heart… if you picked one why is it true for you?

3. If you could select from the world of your memories just 3 that you believe would help those you meet along the way to experience the world as you experience it, what would they be?

4. If you could select from the world of your memories just 3 that you believe would help those you meet along the way to experience you, what would they be?

5. Have you noticed that when you are remembering something or someone how long it takes for your selected memory play out… like a day at the beach when you found your first seashell? What do you notice about how long each memory takes to play out?

6. If you are open and agreeable, please share your favorite memory about meeting or creating a memory with our Barry the Keeper… keeper of the Light.

I combined 2, 3 and 4 into a poem called From My Heart and Head.  Poem can be found with others.

1. Name something you’re afraid to try, but really want to do. What makes you afraid to try?

2. If you looked into a crystal ball, what would you hope to see?

3. Describe a perfect evening under the stars.

4. It’s a rainy day.  What would make it perfect?

5. What was the last event you attended that was worth the price of admission?  What made it special?

6. Do you tend to follow the crowd or walk to the beat of your own drum?

7. You’re a guest speaker at an elementary school and you’re there to address a class of first-graders.  What will you talk to them about?

I combined 1 through 4 and 7 into a poem called: A Crystal Ball.  Poem can be found with others.

A) Agree or disagree with ONE of the following bits of advice from Tracy K. Smith and say why:

1. On Changing Anger into Success: “I am hurt, sick and sad, but I have always felt that anger isn’t a productive emotion.”

2. On Finding a Like-Minded Community: “Three are so many more resources now for finding the community that will nurture you.”

3. On Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone: “Continue to read what you love, but push yourself beyond the bounds or limits of your own taste, because it helps you to grow.”

B) React to any of Tracy K. Smith’s poetry with your own poem, story or thoughts:

1. Sometimes an old song would fill the car like a ghost.

2. I won’t change. I want to give everything away. To wander forever.

3. They say you’re leaving Monday, why can’t you leave on Tuesday?

4. Time never stops, but does it end?

I combined from part B 1 and 4:

“Time never stops, but does it end?” a strange voice over voice says. A time line appears out of nowhere and unfolds right before my eyes. I stare transfixed by the line that keeps going forwards and backwards as if taken over by a spirit. It slows down, but never stops moving. I see myself from now going back, but it stops when I’m born… I would like to know more about my family history.

Anyway, my time line goes towards now, but I can’t see my future. I know the future is what we make it, but I would like to know if I find a girlfriend. I feel like I’m running out of time… My kitchen doesn’t have thyme either? This is just great, so much for having a family of my own. Any thing is possible I guess… even though I wish.

The next thing I know, I’m in a car. I go to leave, but the doors locked and I’m trapped! I don’t panic, instead I lie down and try to kick the windows… no luck. The car starts moving… is there a ghost? If so, who you gonna call? I laugh then start playing “Why Should I Worry?” by Billy Joel on my phone. I hear this Twilight Zone song and I’m hoping I’m not part of the next episode. My alarm clock wakes me up, but not before I hear a strange voice over voice saying,

“Sometimes an old song would fill a car like a ghost.” Then I see… A ghost? I briefly see land that I know doesn’t exist… or does it?

1. Love: … make a list of all words that are part of love.

2. Dance: … make a list of all the dances you are aware of. Which is your favorite and why?

3. More love: … can you love your pets as much as you do your family members? Explain

4. Siblings: … do you and your siblings get along? Explain

5. Orphan: … if you were an orphan how would you make sure you had a good life ahead of you?

6. Family: … if there were 5 children in your family, would you rather be the oldest, the youngest or somewhere in between?

7. Family: … if you were or are an only child in your family, please share with us how that feels both positively and negatively. Explain

I combined the first four into a poem (poem with other poems [When I Think])

1. The leaves are starting to change color, the air is getting breezy and pumpkin spice lattes are on the menu at Starbucks. What’s your favorite part of fall?

2. There has been a lot of hurricanes recently- Harvey, Irma and Jose. If you could write a letter to a person affected by one of the hurricanes, what would you say?

3. September always makes me think of the start of the school year- freshly sharpened pencils, tightly packed lunch boxes and new outfits to wear on the first day of class. What are some first day of school memories you have? Try to be descriptive and use all five senses.

4. Seasons are spaced so that one season meanders nicely into the next. Summer turns into fall then into winter and lastly into spring before starting again. What if summer went abruptly right into winter or spring into fall? How would that change the world and the weather?

5. We’re in the 9th month of 2017. As you think about the things you wanted to accomplish at the beginning of the year, what things have you accomplished? What are you still working on?

I combined 1, 3 and 4 into a poem (poem with other poems [Nature’s Five Senses])

Today we are going to explore family. What are the situations in our lives that constitute family? For some people that may be biological family for others it is the people with whom we choose to associate.

1. List all of the ways you experience family.

2. If you cold pick one thing in the world family needed to improve on, what would it be?

3. Does family have to be blood related… why or why not?

4. What was the time, if you can recall and choose to share, that you needed your family the most or the needed you? What was your experience of this moment to need them or for them to need you?

5. Define the groups of people who could be considered family of some sort- people we know- even people we don’t, but share a common thing?

6. How do you sort these relationships into “family groups”.

7. People are considered family because they make a place in your heart. Tell us a bit about that.

8. When you need comfort, where do you go and whom do you turn to?

9. If you live in a neighborhood for many years, are neighbors your family?

10. People in need are an important part of the human family. What are some of the ways you help people in need?

11. Family is whom you love, who you look up to and whom you do things with. Who are the important parts of your family (relatives, friends, pets, etc.)?

(Poem with other poems [The Family Heart])

A) Comment on, write about, react to, interpret any of the following thoughts by Leonard Cohen:

1. Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be

2. They ought to give my heart a medal
For letting go of you

3. I was fighting with temptation
But I didn’t want to win

4. Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

B) Describe the ideal way to honor or reach out to a veteran and his/ her family who: 1) is currently serving in the military; 2) has previously served; 3) was injured or killed in action.

C) Inspire us with your description of thoughts about any of these words: 1) Veteran; 2) Valor; 3) Duty; 4) Honor; 5) Service; 6) Peace.

(I combined 1 and 3 into a poem.  Poem with other poems[I’m Just Thinking])

Today’s two themes are about 1) changing the political landscape and what you would do if suddenly you were our U.S. Congressperson of Illinois State Representative and 2) giving thanks.

1. Write your maiden speech for delivery on the floor of the House.

2. What’s the first piece of legislation you would introduce? What problem are you trying to address?

3. What’s in your health care bill?

4. What’s in your tax plan?

5. How do you address immigration issues including Dreamers?

6. Do you propose any amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? If so, what would you change?

7. How can the kindness of words and the power of Thanksgiving change the world?

8. (Every Thanksgiving, we are inspired by Adrian Drower’s poem, “Just Give Thanks”.) So, Let’s give thanks:

a) For what we have, and or
b) For whom we have in our lives.

(I combined 7 and 8 into a poem.  Poem with other poems [I Am Thankful])


  1. Most of reality is not what you think it is.
  1. I only regret that I have but one life to live.
  1. Write a plan for changing and improving your life.
  1. Do you believe in afterlife? Why or why not?
  1. How does one win or lose in the game of life?
  1. What is the meaning of life?
    (I wrote three poems The Game, The Win and The Loss are with the other poems)

    Dealing With Disabilities
    1. What is your disability, how has it impacted you and how has it affected others?
    2. How do you feel about other’s disabilities?
    3. What are your biggest strengths and what are your biggest weaknesses if you have a disability? Why and why not?
    4. How does your disability affect your relationships with family and friends?
    5. What’s the easiest and hardest thing about your disability?
    6. What career do you think bests suits your disability and why?
    7. Please create at least one or more writing prompts on any topics and submit it/ them with your name on it, to Joe Jackson. We will try to use it/ them at future heARTwords Workshops.

(Poem with other poems called The Ability in Disability)

  1. How do you feel when you say or hear the words, “We love it”?
  1. What does “Don’t live life little, live a little life” mean to you?
  1. Why are the letters A R T in the word “heARTwords capitalized?
  1. “The heARTwords workshop is a playground for the mind and a sanctuary for the heart.”
    Agree or disagree and tell us why.
  1. What does the original slogan “Be the art” suggest to you?
  1. Finish any of the following statements in as much detail as you can:

a) Feel like…
b) Think about…

c) Create like…
d) Write for…

e) Share with…
f) Celebrate like…

g) Imagine that…
h) Inspire so…

I combined 3, 5 and all of 6
Poem with other poems (HeartWords or HeARTwords)

  1. Make a list of ALL the places where you hope to travel one day. Now, pick ONLY ONE of those places and tell us why you chose it.


  1. How do you communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the same language that you do? How do you order food when you don’t understand what is on the menu?


  1. How do you live in a foreign country…
    a) That is more beautiful than words can describe
    b) With no street signs and only a few paved roads
    c) With wild crocodiles, monkeys and 850 different species of birds
    d) With clouds, forests, rainy seasons and dry seasons
    e) When you miss your friends and family

4. What do you prefer to do on vacation and why?
a) Visit family, take a stay-cation or go camping
Stay in an Air B n B, hotel or resort
Visit the mountains, beaches, other:
Travel by airplane, train, bicycle, bus or automobile

5. What souvenirs do you bring back from your trip?

6. How do you feel when airport security confiscates and item from you?

7. Please submit one or more writing prompts on any topic (for use at future HeartWords workshops) and remember to put your name on them.
(Story idea by Adrian Drower)
It’s a story about four friends, two guys and two girls traveling together around the world. They travel by plane, train, bus, car, bike and even roller blades. They meet many new people, make friends and even, unfortunately, some enemies. They see nature that is more beautiful than words can describe and wildlife that sometimes gives them a real rush. They visit mountains, beaches, forests etc. as this trip really tests how strong of a bond they all have. This story is action packed and includes drama, suspense, thriller, legal drama and friendship drama. They have said that they have always been close, but going on this trip without their parents is the ultimate test. They have some seriously rotten luck: they get lost, into legal trouble, fall in with some bad people, get sick and accidentally fall into an active FBI case that is on a global scale. Their three-month trip turns into a six-year FBI investigation and their parents don’t even know and they can never know. That makes telling people about their trip impossible. They would have started high school after their trip, but the FBI has unfortunately robbed them of that. What the future is for these kids is going to be a challenge and is also unpredictable… or is it?

  1. Kermit the Frog says, “It’s not easy being green.” However, today is St. Patrick’s Day. Do you agree with Kermit? Tell us why.
  1. Inspired by Kelly Jackson: A) Why does the Universe exist? B) What caused the Big Bang Theory?

Well, when someone gets a good idea for a TV show… The Big Bang Theory is born.

  1. Inspired by Shelby Marcus: If you could change anything in the world, what would it be and why?
  1. Inspired by Zachary Farber: A) What do you love about spring and summer vacations? B) What do you love about St. Patrick’s Day? Explain your answers.
  1. Stephen Hawking said: “I want to show that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit”. Describe how have you unlocked or tapped into your own spirit.
  1. Stephen Hawking said: “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at”. What is your success?
  1. Please submit one or more writing prompts on any topic (for use at future HeartWords workshops) and remember to put your name on them.

I took the first one and it turned into a poem. (Poem with other poems)

1. Inspired by John Doetsch:
a) What games do you like to play?
b) What are your favorite movies?
c) What is the best gift you ever got?

2. Inspired by Dave Thompson & Jorie Lesk:

Who is your favorite musical group or favorite singer and what is your favorite song? Why?

3. Inspired by Adrian Drower:
a) List as many of your favorite songs as you can
b) Now choose one or more from your song list and create your own song, poem or story using the titles in it
c) Does your favorite song remind you of anything or anyone?

4. Inspired by Jorie Lesk:
a) What is your favorite ice cream? Why?
b) What is your favorite animal and why?
c) What is your favorite part of science?

5. Inspired by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rogers:
Tell us about your favorite things and how they make you feel

6. So we can continue to be inspired by all of our writers and volunteers:  Please submit one or more writing prompts on any topic (for use at future HeartWords workshops) & remember to put your name on them.

I combined 1c, 2, 3a and 4b into a poem called Music Connects (poem with other poems)

1. Inspired by Nick: What career would best suit you and why?

2. Inspired by Dina: Tell us about your job experiences? 

3. Inspired by Jenna: I would enjoy teaching people in a cooking class on how to make pasta. What would you like to teach others?

4. Inspired by Sandra: If your pet could talk, what do you think it would say to you, tell you or say to others about you?

5. In honor of Earth Day: “The poetry of the earth is never dead.” John Keats

6. Please submit one or more writing prompts on any topic (for use at future HeartWords workshops) and remember to put your name on them.

I took 5 in a different direction:

Planet Earth: Dead or Alive

In what ways are we dead? People who are extremely selfish or full of themselves? People who constantly impose their beliefs or force you to do something you don’t want? What about those who like guns and any attempt to change their minds get metaphorically and or actually shot down? Those are only a few reasons why we are considered dead.

In what ways are we alive? People who are selfless or care what happens to others? People who recognize and respect other peoples’ choices/ beliefs even though they may think differently? Those are only a few reasons why we are considered alive… but wait,
What about technology?

Since there are so many gray areas, it’s both alive and dead. Every time new tech comes out, new problems and or laws surface. Which is understandable because sometimes the laws are there for our own protection. Since technology is such a big topic, so many sub topics are open for debate. So if it’s not alive or dead, then what is it? It’s drama, horror, science fiction, fiction, non-fiction, romance and thriller. It’s also deception, truths, lies, facts, opinions, cyber bulling, photo shop (making some things or some ones pictures or videos look like something completely different) robotics, sciences, shopping and so much more. In fact, it can cause some serious debate on many topics like gun control, politics, religion, discrimination and the list goes on. Sometimes I wonder if our world fell into a dark world. So maybe technology is a shadow. It’s not light or dark; it’s in between. I wonder if there is a psychology for technology? It may be an interesting book just like turning what I wrote into a book possibly called: Planet Earth: Dead or Alive.

1. Inspired by Ted Gram-Borini: What is your favorite cover band of all time and why?

2. Inspired by Lauren Miller: What do these words mean to you? How have they impacted your life?


3. Inspired by Brian Reed: What does friendship mean to you and why?

4. Inspired by Pamela Molitor: What inspires you to write?

5. Inspired by Jonathan Shuman: What is your favorite mammal, bird and reptile? Why?

6. Please submit one or more writing prompts on any topic (for use at future HeartWords Workshops) & remember to put your name on them.

I combined 2, 3 and 4 into a poem called Part of Life (poem with other poems)

1. Inspired by Dina Bergman: If you could go to any wedding past, present or future, whose wedding would you go to and why?

My own because that would show I don’t wind up alone in life.

2. Inspired by Mollie O’ Connor: What is your favorite Disney movie, Disney princess/ prince, Disney character, Disney anything and why?

3. Inspired by Sarah ST: Do you think aliens exist? Why or why not?

4. Inspired by Kathy Oher: If you were a ventriloquist:
a) What would your puppet look like?
b) What would you discuss together?
c) How would you both be dressed?

The Dummies Guide to Ventriloquism

 5. Please submit one or more writing prompts on any topic (for use at future heARTwords workshops) and remember to put your name on them.

The title is a work in progress, but for a fill in, I’ll call it Adrian’s Imagination. In this story, I’m half alien, half human, part magic and part ghost. So I am basically the ultimate superhero. I have every superpower in the universe including demonic ones, time and space control and heart and mind control. Oh and did I mention I can never die? My body even can regrow parts/ limbs every time they are removed.

Anyway, this story is a mix of things. Some have happened in my life, some things I wish would happen, like a love life and some things are currently happening. Throughout this story, I use my powers to help people and save the world. It’s the longest story I’m writing; currently at maybe 68 pages typed and still growing. All right, so I have it double-spaced, but it’s still my longest story.

I actually have a list of 30 stories/ story ideas. On that list is a story called High Class Heist. It’s about… well; you’ll have to ask me at another time. Let’s just say I have many ideas of where I want each story to go.

1. Inspired by John Doetsch, Brian Reed and Jonathan Shuman:

2. Inspired by Jorie Lesk and Brian Reed:
A) What are your top 10 favorite colors and why?
B) What color describes your personality the best?

3. Inspired by Jorie Lesk:
A) What are your favorite ways to workout? Please describe.
B) What are 5 of your favorite things to do in the summer that you cannot do any other time of year and why?

4. Inspired by Shelby Marcus and Sarah ST:
A) Who is your favorite author and why?
B) Which kinds of books do you enjoy reading and why?
C) What are you reading now? How do you like it?

5. Inspired by Dave Tompson, Jorie Lesk and Shelby Marcus:
A) What qualities make for your favorite or least favorite teacher? Tell us about your experience with both kinds of teachers.
B) What was your most and least favorite subject in school? Tell us why?

Inspired by former U.S. Poet Laureate and writer Donald Hall (1928-2018):

“For better or worse, poetry is my life.” How important is poetry to you?

I combined 2B, 3A, 4B, 5B and 6 into a poem called An Adrian Like No Other (Poem with other poems)

1. In loving memory of Susan Henderson: If you could “Walk on Sunshine” or attend the perfect “Zumba class” or create the perfect “Game Night”, describe how that would look and feel to you and others.

2. Inspired by Adrian Drower: 100 years in the future, will humanity finally be free or will the struggles continue on? React and comment.

3. Inspired by Nick Betsoleiman and Rickey Gooden:
A) If you could wish, what special power would you want your disability to give you?
B) Create your own superhero. What would be some characteristics? What would be the weakness of the superhero?

4. Inspired by Lauren Miller:

5. Inspired by Jonah Polansky: If you can travel, where would you go?

6. Inspired by Denis Berkson:
Complete this thought: Sometimes I just wish…

Please submit one or more writing prompts on any topic (for use at future HeartWords workshops) and remember to put your name on them.

 I combined 1, 2 and 3

If you could “Walk on Sunshine”, does that mean you can walk on water? If you can walk on a surface that no human could, does that mean you’re a superhero? If you’re a superhero in the future does that mean the struggles are still there? It must be because the other half Aliens have called me in. My powers make me the ultimate superhero because I’m half Alien, half human, part magic and part ghost.

I have every single superpower in the universe, control over time and space, mind, heart, body control and yes, even the demonic powers. I do however have control over them and my emotions. My disability only makes me stronger, for it keeps my human side humble. It is also a way to show that I too have things I need to work on. I guess Rag ’N’ Bone Man has it right, “[…] I’m only human after all”. My only weakness is getting to me by attacking or hurting my friends and or family. My name is Blue Crystal and I am the world’s last chance of survival. I will do my best to help anyone and everyone who wants my help. Maybe one person can make a difference after all.

1) You are walking and come to a fork in the road. If you go to the left, the path will be safe and predictable. If you go to the right, the path will be unsure, not as safe, but an adventure. Which road do you choose and why?

2) Don’t say who it is, but tell us about your best friend. Describe them and how they make you feel.

3) Imagine you have a touch of magic and can make impossible things happen. What would you do?

4) Thinking back, what happened to you on the “best day” of your life?

5) Without reference to any political party, tell us what your platform would be if you were running for president of the United States.

I usually take the safe path. Even though I know the more challenging path is the more rewarding. I’d like to make some changes in my life, but I sometimes feel like I can’t get out of my comfort zone…
“So what do you think?” I asked my cousin.

“I think that would be great. You and your second cousin…” Buzz, buzz my Fitbit says and I’m getting a call from my best friend. This guy is amazing. At one point he actually said that he would trust me with his life. He even trusts me with certain details about him. Anyway, he said that he was on hold with someone about a writing convention at the McCormick place in Chicago. It will be this coming weekend from 8 am to 5pm and there will be 100’s of professional writers there.

My eyes go wide. I’m honored, but I promised my young second a weekend in the city, just the two of us. So I get creative and ask if I can have a plus one. Since I know my second cousin wants to be into writing. My best friend asks, they said yes, so it will be a cousin’s weekend after all.  After the first day of the convention, my second cousin and I hit the streets and go for a walk.

We grab some dinner then continue our walk. Someone is out shooting people with a multi- colored beam of light and I get in the way. My body starts changing colors and my cousin gets an idea. He grabs my hands and our bodies start changing colors. When we change pink for the second time, after our bodies circulated through every color all ready, we hug and now I know why he joined me.

We may get superpowers out of it and that is something I can do with him too. Nothing happens right away, but I have a feeling I know what each color will represent…
The next day, our powers showed themselves and I was right…

1. Inspired by Dina Bergman: Do you believe in love? Why or why not?

2. Inspired by Jessica Martin:
a) What interests you about life?
b) What is the purpose of life or more importantly, what is the purpose of your life? 

3. Inspired by: Pamela Molitor:
a) When you look into a child’s eyes, what do you see?
b) If you could see yourself being born, what would you say and why?

4. Inspired by Michaela Moran: How would you feel if you didn’t have a disability or the world would see you as just you… without any labels?

5. Inspired by Mollie O’Connell: Who is your favorite pet? Describe it and why you love it so much.

6. Inspired by Kathy Oher: Is there a movie, book or play where you didn’t like the ending? Write a new ending and tell us why.

I combined all of 3 and 4

Draw a picture of a kid free- handed, what do you see? Imperfection. Take a picture of a kid, what do you see? You see the same thing. As the same questions about a baby, teen, young adult, adult and senior citizen and you will see a pattern. Perfection doesn’t exist. We live in an artistic world where nothing and no one is perfect. If you could see yourself being born, what would you say? Why? I would say there’s another artist to draw, sketch, paint, etc. on his life’s canvas.

Any form of art is expression, opinions and getting out how you feel. Most kinds of emotion or lessons that you can teach kids are derived from the art world. If it’s a team building skill, it comes from the element of trust. Trust comes from honesty and people have drawn or written about that. Bet most people didn’t know that.

Anyway, if we looked in a mirror into our own eyes, we would see our own imperfections. Some need help with weight, organization, addictions or even certain habits. We all have at least one thing that we want to change, remove or improve on. That’s why no one is perfect. Those who say they are, they’re lying to themselves. This is because they refuse to see that they need help. They are too attached that they can’t get out of the Nile or rather denial.

This is why perfection is overrated; experience is the new perfect. Why try to reach something that is actually impossible to reach? No one can actually achieve perfection, so why try? What we should be saying is practice gives you experience. Since we never stop learning, we might as well keep going. The more experience you gain at something just makes you better. This is why experience should be the new perfect. After all, practice doesn’t make perfect, practice gives you experience.

1. Inspired by Steve Harhaj:
Why do we talk about the weather all the time?

2. Inspired by Kelly Jackson: What do you think will occur if you reach the event horizon of a black hole?

3. Inspired by Tim Masello: George Santayana said, “Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Agree or disagree and why?

4. Inspired by Zach Farber: Tell us about the last movie you saw:
A) What did you like or dislike about the movie?
B) Who was your favorite character in the movie and why?
C) Is there anything you would change about the film or the plot?

5. Inspired by Jenna Hardacre and Jorie Lesk: What’s your favorite or best memory EVER and tell us why?

6. In memory of Lorraine H. Morton: The family of longtime educator and Evanston Mayor, Lorraine Morton, Suggest performing an act of kindness for someone and to make a charitable donation to honor her memory. If you are so inclined, what act of kindness would you suggest doing and what organization would you suggest making a donation to?

I turned 2 into a story

“From beyond the realm of time and space,
Appear now before my face.
Come to me beyond the grave,
Black hole again, blackness rises through the end”

A black hole appears out of thin air and it creates a body that begins to fall from it. Something goes wrong… the black hole explodes and its power is transferred to that body. It falls super fast and they can’t get to him in time.
“I told you we should have used a different spell”, said one of them.
“ Will you shut up?” said the one who looked annoyed. The body entered earth’s gravity and started to flame up.

I see something falling and go to check it out. When I get there, I see a kid who looks like he’s 10. I see he has no scratches on him and I hope he’s not dead. As I get closer, his eyes open and I could see he looks scared. So I slowly approach as I talk to him. I show him I mean no harm and we start talking. He calms down and we kind of click as friends. He smiles and I do the same then we walk away. I figured he should be far away from here in case the police come, so I orb us away.

I take him to my place and we talk. I tell him about my powers and he shows me his powers too… my place goes boom! He’s apologizing up and down, but I tell him it’s ok.
“Look” I say as I channel by power through my Alien vision.
“Reparo Maxima” I say and my place repairs itself instantly. Then he asks me if I can help him control his powers and I say yes. I put on my TV in the background and they’re talking about the big impact he made. They’re talking about him and I’m teaching him to control his powers. I’m glad I’m helping him. It feels good to be needed.

1. Inspired by Brian Reed: What do you do when you lose a loved one?

2. Inspired by Jonathan Shuman: If you could live in any country in the world besides the United States, where would you like to live? Why?

3. Inspired by Dave Thompson: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

4. Inspired by Janie Baskin: What do Beauty and the Beast have in common? Explain your answer.

5. Inspired by Becky Fields: Antoine de Saint- Exupery, author of The Little Prince, said, “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart”. Describe something that is beautiful to you and that you feel in your heart.

6. Inspired by you: Please submit writing prompts on any topic (for use at future HeartWords workshops) and remember to put your name on them.

I don’t remember too much of me as a kid. I think I wanted to be a vet (you know, for animals), but I’m not sure. I can be sure of what I’m doing now. I work at The Fine Line (a tile showroom in down town Chicago) and I live in Roscoe Village. I live walking distance from a bus stop and the Addison brown line stop on the “EL”. I’m also a little over a mile from the Ravenswood Metra stop and Wrigley Field. It’s a fun area with many restaurants and is easier than you think to get to. I like the area I live in, but if I could live anywhere else, it would be Italy. I have family out there on my mom’s side.

Just about everyone here knows I write poetry. In fact, I have two published in a book and my own blog with over 200 poems on it. I write fictional stories and song lyrics as well. Even through JJ’s List I’m bringing back an advice column called Ask Adrian Anything. For those R rated people, keep it PG.
Anyway, where I love is a fun setup. My parents bought a four flat (meaning four apartments) that is set up with two one bedroom and two, two bedroom apartments on top of each other. We renovated and my parents combined a two bedroom and a one-bedroom apartment to make a master unit. The other two-bedroom place is my brothers and I have the final one- bedroom.

I’m also a big family person. I love my family, first and second cousins. In fact I’m passing on the gift of music to the oldest of my second cousins. He listens to and loves them all. I have given him 157 songs already and I will be giving him more soon. I’m always looking for ways to help my second cousins out. That’s just who I am.


1. Think back at how times have changed, which of the following practices from the past would you like to come back? Explain your answer:
a) Baseball Doubleheaders; two games back- to- back with only one admission price
b) If you call the doctor or a store, etc. a live person always answers the phone
c) Movie theaters would show two movies for one admission price

2. Use all your instincts and powers of awareness to understand your surroundings. What do you see, feel or sense?

3. As humans, how do we relate to each other and to all the creatures of earth and to the earth itself?

4. William Bruce Cameron said, “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted”. What is important to you that cannot be counted?

5. Would the plane have been invented if there had been no birds or insects that flew?

6. Inspired by you: Please submit writing prompts on any topic (for use at future HeartWords workshops) and remember to put your name on them.

I did a different take on number 2

This one is an extension of when we did the prompt,

“Imagine you have a touch of magic and can make impossible things happen. What would you do?”

“[…] So what do you think?” I asked my cousin.
“I think that would be great. You and your second cousin going…” Buzz, buzz my Fitbit says and I’m getting a call from my best friend. He mentions he’s going to a writing convention in Chicago and wants to invite me.  I’m honored, but I did promise my second cousin a weekend in the city. We talk and my second cousin gets to join us. After we meet up and day one is very fun, my cousin and I grab an early dinner at Al’s Beef. We continue our walk and I get in the way of a multi- colored beam of light.
“[…] My body starts changing colors and my cousin gets an idea. He grabs my hands and our bodies start changing colors.
The next day, our powers showed themselves and I was right…”

The colors represent different emotions/ movements/ actions/ thoughts etc. For example, blue is the color of movement enhanced like super speed. Purple is the color of flexibility enhanced like Mr. Fantastic… or Elastic Girl if you don’t know him. Red is the color of anger, aggression, fire throwing, super strength… you get the idea.
Any way, the next day my cousin and I get an early start. I leave my friend a note and us cousins hit up the breakfast bar. Then day two of the writing convention continues. We check out the people and books he recognizes and then it’s my turn. He got some contact info for some people like I did, the only difference is I brought an outline of all the stories I have.

After words, we hit up Al’s Beef again. So sorry I got you hooked cousin, I say to myself. We go to an alley that opens up to a space between buildings that no one knows about. Is it a hidden gem or space? Who knows? Then we play around with our new powers and we are having a blast… literally. I had no idea our powers can do certain things. For example, through the blue motion power, we have binocular vision. Also through pink, we become very empathic and when combined with white, we can read peoples’ minds and hearts. It’s cool that we have these powers. I love that I can do something with him. Helping my second cousins is something I will always do.

1. Inspired by Lindsay Tonyan: Now that it’s Fall:
a) How do you feel about the fall weather, the clothing you wear and  any other things you enjoy doing in the fall?
b) What memories do you have of the past with family or friends in the fall?

2. Inspired by Carrie Newman and Michael Leibowitz: Advice:
a) What is some of the best advice ever given to you? Did you follow it? Why or why not?
b) What common piece of advice would be BAD to actually follow all the time?

3. Inspired by John Doetsch and Adrian Drower:
a) What’s your favorite computer program, video game, TV show, movie or book? Why?
b) If you could live in any video game, computer program, book, TV show or movie, which one would it be? Explain.

4. Inspired by Lauren Miller and Ann Losoff:
a) If you were a time traveler, what period of history would you like to visit?
b) What people would you especially NOT want to meet there?

I combined 2a and all of 3

“I think I’m going crazy, but I don’t know how to explain it. My body is living in the real world, my mind is living in a book, my emotions are living in a TV show and my actions are living in a video game”.
“Calm down Adrian. As a professional psychologist who also minored in computer science and engineering, I will help you. This device will allow me to watch what ever you think up and or dream about. It’s my newest invention and I call it Dream TV.  Just put this on your finger, this goes on your wrist and these headphones go… well, you know where. Close your eyes and try to sleep”.
My eyes close and for the first time in my life, I actually fall asleep right away.  My mind opens the TV with…

“In the criminal Justice system sexually based crimes are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad know as the Special Victims Unit.  These are their stores”.
I appear as a detective trying to solve a case of a young boy.  The emotion behind how this kid was affected really gets to me and that drives me to solve the mystery.  As I’m searching for clues, a lead sends me to central park.  Then people started shooting at me so I run.  I jump over logs, swing on vines and then for some reason I’m on a cliff over looking a river.  I hear people coming, but I also hear Victor Sullivan talking to Nathan Drake from the video game Uncharted.  They see me, are confused, but continue to talk.
“After you Butch” says Drake.
“See you in hell kid.  Yahoo!” says Sully.  They jump and so do I.  My mind is screaming as I fall, but when I land I’m on my feet with a blue light saber in hand.

“What the?” Then I’m attacked by… Lord Vader?  Then Darth Maul comes in followed by Kylo Ren and I’m fighting them like a Jedi master… and I’m surviving!?  How?  I don’t understand… Oh, it’s because I’m reading Star Wars Psychology: The Dark Side of the Mind.  Then that kid from SVU runs to me and I’m fighting the bad guys and protecting this kid.  When I have won, the person who was after him confesses and I’m this kids hero.  I wake up and the therapist asks me about what I thought.  I say what I was thinking and he’s impressed that I sound like a psychologist.
I explain that it’s a running joke with my friends that I function like a free therapist.  I then talk about that I’m doing an advice column through jjslist.com.  He’s interested and after we talk more, I write down Ask Adrian Anything and the link to it.  It turns out my dreams are so vivid; I’m actually living in my dreams.  It’s funny, that last sentence is a true fact.

1. Inspired by Steve Harhaj: Write about wars:
A) How they get started
B) Who serves in them
C) How do you get to peace

2. Inspired by Jonah Polansky:
If you could work anywhere, what would be your dream job and why?

3. Inspired by Clymo: What do you do when there are nights you can’t sleep?

4. Inspired by Carrie Newman, Nick Betsoleiman and Jorie Lesk:
A) What challenges you in life?
B) How have you coped with or overcome the challenges you’ve faced?
C) If you could challenge yourself to do something in your life what would you do and why, then explain?

5. Inspired by Jorie Lesk:
Here is your challenge. Take the first letter in your first name, using only positive words that start with that letter, describe yourself. Be creative!

I did 5 and then combined 4 a and b into a poem called Challenges

5. Adaptable to a point; can improvise
Atheist is my religion
Advocate… well I can be
Abnormal, who wants to be normal, when abnormal is the future?
Abstract, I can think in many ways and I’m very creative
Author (somewhat) I have poems published in a book and on a writing blog
Accepting of people no matter who or what they are
Active, I workout three times a week
Advice, I’ve been told I give good advice and I have an advice column on jjslist.com
Advanced for my disability, being Down Syndrome, I can function at a higher level than most, but not all
Agreeable, I’m patient and I’m more of a follower than a leader, but I could lead
Alive, well that speaks for itself

1. Inspired by Jonah Polansky, Jorie Lesk and Brian Reed: Make a list of your favorite Thanksgiving Day foods. What makes them so special to you?

2. Inspired by Dina Bergman: On Thanksgiving Day, how do you feel about:
A) The fortunate who get to spend Thanksgiving with their family and friends
B) Those who are alone on Thanksgiving not because they want to be, but sadly because they have no one to spend Thanksgiving with.

3. Inspired by Steve Harhaj: Talk about the little things in your life that you are thankful for.

4. Inspired by all of us: Can the kindness of words and the power of deeds change the world? If so, how and if no, why not?

5. Inspired by Adrian Drower and Louis Armstrong:
“I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”   Louis Armstrong sees the Wonder in the world. So what do you see in the world? Explain.

I combined 1, 3 and 5:

I see help needed- everywhere you go. Like people in The Office, many need to grow, up. I hear kids crying, bullying must stop. Mass shootings cause dying, we really need a cop. And I think to myself, what a corrupted world.
I also see:
I see nature’s beauty, music in the sky. Dragons driving cars, with hatred in their eye. They show a bird thinking they’re always right, until they’re slain by a knight.
I even see:
I see parents teach, and kids that grow. What will they do, with the knowledge they know? I see kids getting help, learning what to do. Expressing their feelings with something new. And I think to myself, what an emotional world.

Like most people, I am thankful for friends and family. However, looking more towards the little things, I am thankful for my talents and the talents of my friends and family. I’m also thankful for music… the real music like the Beatles, The Rat Pack and even the Big Band era. Rap is not music to me. I extend my thanks to the people at CIF like Barry, Paul and Joe and the people at JJ’s List like JJ Hanley, Tricia and Jenny. I thank the kindness of family like my second cousins and of friends like people at HeartWords. I am thankful for my life, so mom and dad thank you.

Thanksgiving this year will be at the Drower house. We’re doing it split level meaning turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and more main dishes will be up at my parents place. Drinks of many and appetites will be in my brother’s place and I’m heading up dessert with a personal favorite. They’re a combination of peanut butter (smooth), dark chocolate and ruffles potato chips. It’s a smaller crowd this year, but I still like the winter holidays. They won’t be there, but I always look forward to seeing my little second cousins. I should see them for Christmas this year and similar to Louis Armstrong, now “I think to myself… what a wonderful winter”.

1. Inspired by Jenna Hardacre, Adrian Drower and Ann Losoff:
What’s your favorite holiday movie? Why? 

2. Inspired by John Doetsch:
What gift do you hope to get for Christmas or Hanukkah?

3. Inspired by Ann Losoff:
What’s your favorite gift you ever gave to someone and why? 

4. Inspired by Ann Losoff:
Write a letter to Santa.
A) What do you want for yourself?
B) For your family
C) For the world

Inspired by Ann Losoff:
What’s your best memory of Christmas or Hanukkah from your childhood?

 (Poem with others: Tis’ The Season)

1. Inspired by Claudia Joehl: Write about an experience you’ve had in life.

2. Inspired by Zach Farber: Where do you see yourself in the year 2019? Tell us where you are, who you are with and what projects you are working on. Please explain.

3. Inspired by Pamela Molitor: If all of our instincts and senses (like sight, sound, smell, taste and touch) were gone, how would we navigate in the world we live in today?

4. Inspired by Mollie O’Connell: What do you like most about HeartWords?

5. Inspired by Denis Berkson: Are you brave enough to listen to your heart? Explain

6. Inspired by you: Create writing inspirations on any topic (for a future HeartWords workshop) and remember to put your name on them.

I combined 5 with a different twist on 3 into a poem (with other poems “My Heart”)

1. Inspired by Michaela Moran: Which dessert is your favorite?

A blend of dark chocolate, peanut butter and Ruffles potato chips 

2. Inspired by Jena Hardacre: What is your favorite season and why?

3. Inspired by Brian Reed: What new idea can you imagine? 

4. Inspired by Dave Thompson: If you could leave planet Earth, where would you travel to and why?

5. Inspired by Janie Baskin: We all have many different attributes (aspects, traits, characteristics) we need to express: what are yours?

6. Inspired by Becky Fields:
A) Identify 3 words or phrases that are often linked together. Write a story, poem or essay using them: (for example: “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”; “Moe, Larry and Curly”) Or
B) Create your own new group of words or phrases and use them in a story, poem or essay.

I took 4 and 5 in a different way and turned them into a poem birthday gift for one of my second cousins. (poem with other poems “Outer Space Personality)

1. Inspired by Jonathan Shuman:
A) What are the funniest and saddest movies you ever saw and why?
B) Who is your favorite film director and why?
C) Who is your favorite actor/ actress and why?
D) Name 3 movies that you think are over- rated and name 3 movies that you think are under- rated. Explain
E) What was the first movie that you actually walked out of because you thought it wasn’t any good and why?

2. Inspired by Lauren Miller:
Which movie character or characters are you most like? Why?

3. Inspired by Adrian Drower:
If you could be a movie, describe the type of movie you would be. (For example, a sports movie, a couch potato movie, a feel good movie, some other type of movie?) Why?

4. Inspired by Jorie Lesk:
If you could see the same movie again what movie would that be?

5. Inspired by Ann Losoff:
A lot of classic movies are remade. What movie would you like to see remade? OR
What movie should never be remade because the original is so ideal? 

6. Inspired by Kathy Oher:
Make a list of movie titles with colors in them.

I did number 3

[…] “So what do you think”? I asked my cousin.
“I think that would be great. You and your second cousin…” Buzz, buzz, my Fitbit says as it tells me my best friend is calling. He tells me of a writing convention at the McCormick Place in Chicago. We had a great time and went to dinner at Al’s Beef. Then for dessert, we got a little flashed… I meant by light not the other kind. After being exposed to colorful lights, we gain super powers.
“[…] My body starts changing colors and my cousin gets an idea. He grabs my hands and our bodies start changing colors. The next day our powers showed themselves and I was right…”  The colors represent different emotions, movements, actions, thoughts etc. Finally, something I can do with my cousin just the two of us.

If I could be a movie, pizza and food would be a part of it… so maybe a couch potato movie. I already have the gut for it. However, all joking aside, I would like it to be a fusion of feel good, romantic, some action and mostly real life. If I could be a super hero, it would be of my own design; Blue Crystal is half alien, half human, part magic and part ghost. The above story could be a movie possibly called: Colors Light Up Chicago… ok, so it’s not the best title. Any suggestions? Or maybe I could use the title Neon Skies. The heroes in the colored light story, my second cousin and I could give the police a hand to shed some ‘light’ in tough situations. So if this story became a movie, I would for sure be a part of it. We would help take a bright out of crime.

With this story/ possible movie, I would for I would be a family movie. It would have some elements of action, comedy, suspense and hopefully some element of romance. My life could be improved in many aspects/ parts/ ways, but the parts I would not change are my friends, family, job, where I live and my writing. Since I have a blog with over 200 poems, 2 poems published in a book, some blogs on jjslist.com and an advice column through the same site, my writing will always be part of my life.

1. Inspired by Lauren Miller: In honor of Women’s International Day:
A) How, from your view, have things become more inclusive or not based on gender?
B) Is there someone you look up to who is a woman?
C) If so, how has she had an impact on you?

2. Inspired by Jonah Polansky: If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and would you hibernate in winter? Why? 

3. Inspired by Dina Bergman: How long have you been living in Illinois? What do you love about living here? 

4. Inspired by Steve Harhaj: Why do people put labels on others and why do you think so? 

5. Inspired by Nick Betsoleiman: What do you like most about your exceptionality and what challenges you the most about it?

6. Inspired by Zach Farber: What do you love about:
A) Springtime
B) St. Patrick’s Day or any other holiday you prefer to comment on
C) The color of spring… green

I combined 2 and 3

There are many sides of me, for example I like mysteries. Wolves are very mysterious creatures by nature. They can be very powerful, they are very fast, they tend to stick to the shadows and are very protective of their own. When they feel like their being stabbed in the back, they act on it and usually with a hint of vengeance. So in some ways, I am like a wolf.
I can usually rise to any challenge and my confidence level varies low to high like the mighty eagle and his flight pattern. Eagles are also a symbol of strength, both physical and internal. I am working on my physical strength, but my internal strength knows no limits. So in some ways, I am like an eagle.

I can swim very well. People have said I’m like a fish. I can be very forceful and like most people on the planet possess a killer instinct. I do pick and choose my battles carefully and only the ones I know I can win. This is very similar to the orca (killer whale).
I also like the dolphin kick swimming technique. I’ve found I am very smart and I know dolphins are very smart. They are also top swimmers and I know I’m no Michael Phelps, but I am good. So in some ways I’m like an orca and a dolphin.

I am loyal and would never talk about someone behind that persons back. I’m a people pleaser, but I know I can’t please everyone. So in some ways I’m like a Great Dane.
Cats are very empathic like myself. The Maine Coon is very protective and loving. So in some ways I’m like a Maine Coon.
The Panther can fight with a passion. Sometimes I am very passionate about my writing and my rights. So in some ways I’m like a panther.

I have lived in Illinois all my life; born in Chicago, I was raised in Northbrook and brought back to Chicago. I prefer Chicago anyway, but that is who I am. Who am I? I’m a white wolf with human emotions, traits and I can see in color.

1. Inspired by Clymo: If you were interested in someone else’s religion, what about it would you like to learn and why?

2. Inspired by Carrie Newman and Adrian Drower:
A) We are all talented at something. What are your talents and how do you use them?
B) What is your best personality trait? Explain

3. Inspired by John Doetsch:
What is your favorite video or board game and why?

4. Inspired by Kathy Oher:
Agree or disagree with any of the following and explain your position:
A) Seat belts are not as confining as wheel chairs
B) It takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night. Why is that?
No one ever says, “It’s only a game” when their team is winning.

I answered all of 2 and 3

As Adrian Anything, ask me anything. On jjslist.com there is an advice column I do that is called “Ask Adrian Anything”. Anyone can see them, just go to the website and check out their blog. Or if you just want to see what I’ve done, I have links to them on my own writing blog. I’ve used my writing skills in many ways:
I write poetry (over 250 poems on my blog), song lyrics that I create (I think I have 37) and I write fictional stories (I’ve got 40 plus). I cook a lot too; it’s funny, I do more cooking now than when I lived in Northbrook. City life is great! I live waling distance from Wrigley Field and Roscoe Street. I walk a lot out there and I sing as I walk. I know I’m not a pro, but I’m decent enough to get good responses from complete strangers.

An elderly couple thanked me for a concert, a woman walking said I sound awesome, another woman said she likes it when I sing and at one point the parents of a young kid said we like you, you’re known as the singing man.
Anyway, I guess my best personality trait would be my caring attitude towards friends and family. Also, it takes a lot to get to me. As anyone, they will tell you they have never seen me get angry. I’m also very patient. I also play PlayStation.

I’m a fan of the Uncharted, Infamous and Tomb Raider games however; my all time favorite is Sly Cooper. Fun fact, my brother likes the Cooper games, but he doesn’t play. I’ve gotten back into reading and when it comes to music, I’m a fan of the classic oldies. Fro the Big Band era and Frank Sinatra to The Beatles and some newer ones like Drift Away by some guy called Uncle Kracker or Feel It Still by Portugal, The Man. I’m always looking to help because it’s like Rag’n’Bone Man sings, “[…] I’m only human after all”.

1. Inspired by Mollie O’ Connell and Brian Reed:
What is your favorite or best Disney experience:
A) Theme park
B) Musical
C) Movie
D) Board game
E) Villain and Hero
F) Character

2. Inspired by Adrian Drower:
If you could be any character in one of your favorite Disney movies, cartoon or feature, which is it and describe your character?

3. Inspired by Barbara Kozdron:
A) If you are in Disney World, describe your perfect day.
B) If a Villain or a Hero defeats you, which side you want to be on?

4. Brad Baskin thought we should explore further something Barbara Kozdron said at our last workshop: Can you find magic in valuing yourself?

5. Also inspired by you: Create writing inspirations on any topic (for a future HeartWords workshop) and remember to put your name on them.

I combined 2 and 4

Anytime I see a Disney movie, I see parts of myself in some of the characters. For example, in the movies Mulan and the DreamWorks movie Shrek, I found Mushu and Donkey have a similar sense of humor to me. From the movie Ratatouille, I found that both Remy and I like to cook. I like mysteries so Basil from The Great Mouse Detective relates to me. From the movie Oliver and Company, I relate to Dodger in the sense of being protective of friends and family.

In the movie Lion King part of me relates to Simba. Since it’s easy to get lost, however, it can be very hard to find your way back, especially if you have personal demons to deal with. Finally, one of my favorite movies, Balto, I relate to him in the sense of the struggle to find who you really are. However, if I were to put myself in any Disney movie, I would be a white wolf with supernatural powers in the movie Balto. So can you find magic in valuing yourself? Well, yes for me. I can find magic in many things, just like I can find inspiration for writing poetry, song lyrics and fictional stories anywhere.

I remember one time my dad had a business trip in Florida. So my mom pulled my brother and I out of school to go to Disney. We were there and there were no lines. We went on our favorite ride the Rock and Roll Roller Coaster three times in a row. I also remember when I was seven; we got to try driving these little speedboats. The instructor was telling me, a seven year old, it’s just like driving a car… How the heck would I know how to drive a car? Anyway, I’ve always been a fan of Disney like the movie Oliver and Company. So in the words of Billy Joel, “Why Should I Worry?”

1. Inspired by Lauren Miller:
Think of the simple things you like or are inspired by in life. (For example, a cup of coffee/ tea or a sunrise):
A) What does this simple thing feel like?
B) Where are you?
C) What does it look like?
D) Give the simple thing human qualities.

2. Inspired by Sarah Schechtman- Thale:
If there was one positive thing you had to give up for good reason and you knew you couldn’t get it back, what would it be?

3. Inspired by Ann Losoff:
What’s your favorite gift you gave to someone and why?

4. Inspired by Shelby Marcus:
A) Would you rather sing or dance or tap your foot to a song?
B) Would it be with friends or alone? Why?

5. Paul Fields suggests exploring an observation made by Shelby Marcus:
Several workshops ago, Shelby noted that HeartWords Workshop does not have a theme song.
A) Should HeartWords have it’s own theme song? Why or why not?
B) If you think so, what song and most importantly, why?
C) Or do you believe the music of many hearts, created with enthusiasm, is music enough?

I combined all of 1, 3 and 4

Wake up. Open your eyes. Stretch like you’re moving in slow motion. Get out of bed. Get ready for the day… It’s a do nothing day! You finally finished all your big and small projects! There’s nothing left to do, but relax. Oh, Yeah!
The sun shines. Green grass waves. Clouds are out… just the right amount. You look at your phone and the weather says 75 degrees with a light breeze. On a day like this, I like to go for a long walk.

I look outside. I see kids playing. Dogs are walking their owners. People are washing cars. People are just talking. It looks like the entire city is upbeat and happy. It also looks like thousands of people are out. I see dust dancing like ghosts.

I step outside. Some kids say “hi”. I say “hi”. They smile. I smile. I lock my door. Hook up my headphones and select my workout playlist. The outside noise… is gone! It’s like I’m the only one on the planet. I start to sing, “Tommy used to work on the docs, union’s been on strike, He’s down on his luck, it’s tough” sings Bon Jovi in my ear. I sing as well. A few hours later, Avicii sings Hey Brother in my ear and I sing it out loud.

I walk around. I see nature. I feel nature… ok, mostly the wind. A few more hours later, I hear Bryan White singing, “Someone Else’s Star”. I sing that song out loud. At this time, I’m home. My Fitbit says it’s 2:00 pm and I have 25,000 steps! I take off my headphones and people come back.

I have a late lunch. I have a cool down time. Then some I play video games. A great thought. I have given music to a second cousin. He loves it. I love my second cousins just like I love my family.
The sun sets. The moon rises. The stars shine. I’m inside. I’m on Skype early talking with friends and updating my writing blog. My friends get off early, as do I. I go outside. I bring a pen and paper.
There’s a grassy space. I lay down. I do some writing. My days was relaxing…
My day was simple.

1. Inspired by Joseph Jackson:
Write about what “Commitment” means to you:
A) Are there any limits to what you would do in the service of a friend or for a cause?
B) How important is it to you to feel you can count on others?
C) Have you decided on the things that one would consider “Commitment Guidelines” that guide you in life? If not, why do you think you have not?

2. Inspired by Jessica Martin:
If you had no limitations placed on you (and I mean none- no cost, no job, no school and no family commitments) how would you spend a month, a year or potentially all the days you have remaining?

3. Inspired by Dave Thompson:
If you could perform on any famous stage, which would you perform on? What would you be doing, for how long and why?

4. Inspired by Zach Farber:
Why do dogs, cats, birds and fish need companions of the same kind or people as friends?  Please explain your answer.

I combined 2 and 4
(Adrian Drower reserves the rights to the story)

This story is about a Great Dane named Rocky and a Main Coon (type of cat) named Roxy.  They live about three blocks from each other, but do not know each other.  Both of their owners are single, have good jobs and survive in the jungle of a world we live in.  A once in a lifetime encounter puts the humans in a very committed relationship.  Like usual, the pests don’t get along right away, however, when Roxy gets cat napped, Rocky must act like his idol… Scooby Doo.

On the search for Roxy, Rocky meats Hunter, someone’s missing pet hawk and the two of them become instant friends.  They decided to team up to look for Roxy; however, the two of them get separated when a Dog Catcher catches Rocky.  Hunter tries to save him, but he can’t do it alone.

The streets are a playground and the park is a dining room table for this white wolf named Winter.  Poor pup, he ran away after his parents were killed by humans.  The humans tried to kill him too, but he was too fast and smart.  Until Max, the son of a pure naturalist found and took him in.  His parents said that the pup was his responsibility and he understood what he had to do.  When Winter got older, he idolized White Fang.  Winter went for a walk and came across Hunter and they became friends.  They worked together to free Rocky. Now Rocky, Winter and Hunter become animal detectives to save Roxy.  Detective animals or Pet Project, what would you call these committed animals?  After all, how far would you go to save family or friends?

I’m the kind of person who would go the extra mile to help anyone. I’m also the kind of person who would use my poetry skills to help. After all, how you work as a team is more important than working alone. That is the running theme in that story.

1. Inspired by Claudia Joehl:
Write about one of your best memories and or one of your most challenging memories.

2. Inspired by Pamela Molitor:
What if you couldn’t feel your heartbeat? What do you think is wrong?

3. Inspired by Denis Berkson:
Complete any of the following thoughts:
A) I…
B) I wish I knew…
C) I wish I didn’t know…

I… know what I am

I wish I knew… who I am

4. Inspired by Michaela Moran:
Create an idea for a documentary or fictional film that involves you in some way. What is it about and why?

5. Inspired by Jonathan Shuman:
Who is your favorite actor or actress and why do you relate to him or her as your favorite?

(Poem with other poems)

1. Inspired by Mollie O’ Connell: What is your favorite sports team? When did they become your favorite and why?
A) College
B) Professional
C) Chicago
D) Elsewhere

2. Inspired by Jenna Hardacre: What is your favorite type of weather? Please explain why.

3. Inspired by Paul Martino: Explain how you feel about the weather and how the weather affects:
A) Your health
B) Your thinking
C) Your feelings
D) Your energy

4. Inspired by Brian Reed: What does the word “Inspire” mean and what does it mean to you? Give examples

5. Inspired by Janie Baskin: Your clothes are torn, your shoes are wet and you smell like a pair of old socks worn for a marathon. What happened to you?

Pant pant.  Feet are moving very fast now.  Pant pant.
“Why won’t you leave me alone?”  He shouts over his shoulder, but it still gives chase.  He runs through an alley and without realizing until last minute, his shoes hit a massive puddle.  He makes it to the park and accidentally runs through a rose bush.  His clothes are torn, but somehow he has no scratches on him.  His feet are killing him, probably because it has been chasing him for weeks/ months even.  He sits down only for a few minutes because it comes again.

“Please stop!  I can’t keep running!  Leave me alone!” he shouts over his shoulder.  He is now running through massive crowds of people and no one pays attention.  Someone does say he smells like a pair of old socks worn for a marathon, he just cries.

He has to keep running because it won’t back down.  It won’t leave him alone; it’s relentless.  Finally after close to thirty years of running away… he’s had enough!  The fear that froze him in the past has thawed and magma starts to boil.  A new fire has erupted in him and he knows what he has to do.  He runs towards it back through the crowds of people who are now trying to stop him.  They slow him down, but he keeps leading the charge.  Back across the park, but mid way his personal demons attack him.  He fights back stronger than ever and does whatever it takes to win.  By now time feels like it’s going backwards even though it’s not.

It starts to get scared when one- by- one, those demons start to fall.  When he finally defeats them, he stands tall and it starts to run.  He chases it back through the alley, back over the border, back over the road and through the trees.  He is now flying like an eagle and it doesn’t stand a chance.  The eagle’s flight takes into the night and he becomes a wolf on a mission.  The wolf jumps through the window of a house and becomes a Great Dane puppy.  The puppy sleeps on the foot of the bed.  The kid wakes up in the middle of the night and turns on his desk light.

Now he knows exactly what to write for his English class paper.  That day in school, he reads to the class what inspires him.  He says his inspiration comes from the fight; the fight to improve himself.  He gets an A and discovers it was his mind.  It turns out his mind was chasing him and now… now he changes his life.

1. Inspired by Dina Bergman: Does anybody have pets and how many do you have? Tell us All about them.

2. Inspired by Clymo: Have you ever pretended to be someone else? Explain why you would or would not want to do that.

3. Inspired by Jonah Polanksy: If you could change your appearance, how would you change it?

4. Inspired by Steve Harhaj: Why do we look at other people and say that they’re different?
A) Who exactly are these “other people”?
B) How are they different form you?
C) Is this difference a negative or a positive thing? Explain why

5. Inspired by Jorie Lesk: Summer is coming and is the best time to be outside. With that said, create your own summer bash:
A) Create a fun menu for your party
B) How many guests would you have?
C) What are your favorite summer fruits that you would serve?  

6. Inspired by Lauren Miller:
A) What is your favorite 4th of July memory?
B) Explain what you like most about the 4th of July

I did 2 and 3:

Kids everywhere pretend to be someone they’re not.  They think they can be anything they set their minds to and they’re right.  Some pretend to be cops, firefighters, pirates, spies, royalty or even super heroes.  As a kid, I would pretend to be a spy or super hero.  I guess my reasoning stems from my always wanting to help side of my personality.

People may think having an active imagination is considered not helpful for kids.  However, they don’t realize how wrong they are.  There are countless studies that show creativity has many emotional and mental health benefits.

For me, I use my imagination as an escape from reality.  I can create many alter egos and paint myself as a hero/ super hero.  Since I know I’m not either one in reality, I can turn myself into anything I want in my fictional stories.  I do know when to come back to reality though.

If I could change my appearance or rather how people see me, I would drop roughly 30 pounds.  I would also bulk up on the muscle factor.  I don’t want to be a body builder; I would rather be a mild body builder.  My reason being, I do want muscle, but I also want to be physically flexible.  I would also like to change my love life… that is, if I had one.  So I would try to get one, provided I knew where to start.  Hopefully something will happen, you never know…
I like being me, but there are a few parts of me that I would change.  I know I can’t change other people, but hopefully by changing me, I can change how other people see me.  Maybe I can be a hero to someone, anything is possible…

1. Inspired by Apollo 11: The whole world listened fifty years ago to Neil Armstrong when he said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.  What would you have said if it had been you instead?

2. Inspired by John Doetch, Brian Reed and Dave Thompson:
A) What’s your all time favorite TV show and why?
B) What are your favorite TV shows in:
Sci- Fi
Other types of programming (and why)
C) Who are your favorite TV characters? Why do you relate to him, her or them?
D) What are your favorite and least favorite television commercials when you were a teenager and today? Why?

3. Inspired by Adrian Drower: If your life were a TV show, which one would it be and why? Which character would you play?

4. Inspired by Jorie Lesk: Make a list of your favorite TV shows from your childhood. Now make a list of your favorite TV shows as an adult. What does the difference say about you and how you have changed over time?

5. Inspired by Shelby Marcus: Which character on the TV show “Friends” is your favorite and why?

I did 3 and 4:
When I was younger, I would watch shows like The Wild Thornberry’s.  I like the show because I like nature and it took you around the world.  I’ve watched The Fairly Odd Parents because I’ve always enjoyed magic and mysteries.  I’ve watched Ben 10 because I’ve always liked the idea of Aliens being super heroes.  All the Scooby Doo shows because I used to have a Great Dane and I love the shows.  I’ve also watched The Flintstones, The Jetsons, American Dragon: Jake Long, Kim Possible, Code Lyoko, the original Teen Titans, Rocket Power, Aah Real Monsters, Pokemon, Doug, Darkwing Duck, Hey Arnold, Krypto the Super Dog, Jimmy Neutron, Penguins of Madagascar, Animorphs, Johnny Test, Static Shock, Drake and Josh, George Lopez, Tool Time with Tim Allen, The Nanny, Legends of the Hidden Temple and my list could go on.

However, now I’m more into the cop/ legal shows. Like for example the shows Chicago Med, PD and Fire, Law and Order SVU, CI and original.  I’ve found myself watching SVU more often than any.  So if my life was a show it would be SVU and I would be myself.  I would also want to help any way I could.  So I would be like that show Castle. He was a writer who worked with the cops and I would be the same.

I guess it shows that I’m the kind of person who wants to help.  I guess I want to use my talent of writing to help any way I could.  Maybe it says I should be a therapist.  It is a working joke among my friends that I can function as a free therapist.  So, maybe my imagination comes from the shows I watched as a kid.  With that said, no wonder my story ideas are original.

1. Inspired by Toni Morrison:
“I feel totally curious and alive and in control. And almost… magnificent, when I write”
Describe how you feel when you are writing.

2. “You can do something rather extraordinary things if that’s what you really believe.”
What are some extraordinary things that you really believe you can accomplish?

3. “… just remember that your real job is that, if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”
Tell us how you would free or empower somebody else?

4. Inspired by Carrie Newman: What is your best memory of happiness?

5. Inspired by Barbara Kozdron: Imagine an invisible ghost picks up a pen and starts writing to you.

6. Inspired by Nick Betsoleiman: What sport do you want to play the most and why?
(Adrian Drower reserves the rights to the following)
I did number 5:

Glen Winters is your average student.  He gets mostly B’s and C’s with the occasional A in school.  He’s not the type who would put himself out there.  Sometimes people bump into him and keep going as if he’s invisible.  He never really met people because he felt too nervous to try.  He also starts high school next year and boy is he nervous.

One day he was out doing some writing and some guys ran by.  The cops were chasing them so he got curious and took a picture.  The guys ran by him, a cop tackled them; some vials fell and rolled into Glen’s open backpack.  As the cops were cuffing the men, Glen was taking pictures.
On his walk home, he was flipping through the pictures and noticed the vials.  The cops looked, but came up with noting.  He got home, tossed his bag on the floor and the vials rolled out without him noticing.  His mom picked them up and he grabbed his bag.

The next day was the start of high school and his mom made him breakfast.  She poured the vials in his drink and even though he couldn’t say anything, he drank all of it.  He felt very sick after his mom left and he fell to his hands and knees.  He felt like he was going to die and like usual, no one noticed.  When he walked in, however, everyone noticed him.  He had no idea what was going on until a boy dragged him into the bathroom.

He had him look in the mirror and Glen saw what everyone was starring at.  His body looked as though he had been working out for years.  Thankfully his clothes were flex fit and he did not have to worry about people seeing him in his underwear or worse.  That day, everyone wanted to talk to him.
The following day, he developed some strange abilities that could not be explained.  At one point, a power took over him and he became invisible.  He stated writing something and the following day it came true.  He reminded himself of a ghost.  A Ghost Writer and from that point on he became a new super hero.  He made many new friends and gave himself some new activities to do.  His life from that point on became better.

1. Inspired by Brian Reed: Who is your favorite inventor of things that changed the world and why?

2. Inspired by Becky Fields: Seiichi Mayake is the inventor of the “Bumpy Tiles” that we see at crosswalks and railway platforms around the world. Do you think the invention is an important one? Explain why or why not.

3. Inspired by Jorie Lesk and Becky Fields: If you could create and describe an invention to help others in the world with diverse abilities, what would your invention be and what would you name it?

4. Inspired by Kathy Oher: If you discovered a new planet or star, what would you name it and why?

5. Inspired by Dunham Leiner: What is the difference between wisdom and intelligence?

I did 4 and 5


I went on a walk one day with some family.  We were out in Australia and no we did not Find Nemo.  It was my parents, brother, two first cousins, my three- second cousins and myself.  We went to check out the outback and we were enjoying the beauty of nature.  Most of the family went one way and my second cousins went the other way.  I didn’t want to lose them so I followed.  The next thing I know, we were in a jungle.

It was almost like we discovered a new planet.
    “Hey guys, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” I said.  Lucky for me, they have all seen The Wizard of Oz so they got a little laugh out of it.  We came across this old looking hut so we walked in.  Guess what?  The floor cracks and we fall.  What’s strange is we land on our feet.  What are we part cat?
Anyway, I’ve seen this movie before so I know what to expect.  However I don’t remember these glowing, purple, crystallized stones.  We touch them and it’s like a static shock.

As we navigate the hallways, we for some odd reason we gain enhanced abilities.  We were able to avoid all the traps that were hidden.  Boy were we confused.  Then we got zapped by purple lightning and it all made sense.  Turns out we had fallen into a very old library which was called The Story Star.  I think we discovered a new star.
    “Wow! Check out all the wisdom!” said Caden.
    “What do you mean?” I asked.
    “It took a lot of wisdom for people to write these books.  Now people with intelligence can use them to further the learning of people now.”
    “Great thought cousin” I say.  Then we found a way out and it was back in the Outback. What a massive library.

When we showed people what we found we were considered treasure hunters.  We also got super powers out of it, but that stayed our secret.  Some secrets got discovered while some stayed secret.

1. Inspired by Jorie Lesk and Janie Baskin:
A) Write about what these four words mean to you: Collaborate, inspire, normality and harmony.
B) Where does each of them show up or appear in your life?

2. Inspired by Joe Jackson:
A) How important is laughter in your life?
B) What is the funniest thing (or things) that never fails to make you laugh out loud?

3. Inspired by Paul Fields: Can you explain why some days just seem to go faster or slower than others?

4. Inspired by Sarah Schechtman-Thale: Create a new dish made up of both foods you love and foods you cannot stand. Name and describe it.

5. Inspired by Lauren Miller: You have one life to live. What do you do with it?

6. Inspired by Jonathan Shuman: Make a list of the music genres (like Polka music) that you think are over- rated/ over loved and a list of those that are under-rated/ under loved. Describe why you picked these music genres.

I did number 6 with a twist:
My life is simply put by Billy Joel as My Life.  No one else can live it because it belongs to me.  I will admit that it is nice to have someone worry about you.  When it comes to religion, I’m not Livin’ On A Prayer like Bon Jovi.  I will hope that I make good choices and put my life on the right path.  I also hope a certain psycho doesn’t screw up countless peoples’ lives.  What can I say?  I’m only Human after all like Rag’n’Bone Man sings.

When it comes to family, Avicii sings Hey Brother.  That reminds me how important family is to me.  Every now and then, the Foo Fighters sing Learn to Fly.  I guess they’re trying to say I can’t do it alone.  Nothing wrong with getting a little help; we could all use it.  Even though some refuse to admit it.

Sometimes I hear One Direction sing What Makes You Beautiful.  That says to me that even though I may have weight problems, I am still a good person.  I also believe The Beatles when they sing Can’t Buy Me Love.  Well, that means you can’t put a price on how you feel about someone or how someone else feel about you.  Whenever I hear The Beatles sing Octopus’s Garden or Sameul E. Wright’s song Under the Sea, it tells me it’s fine to act like a kid every so often.  Most adults, not all, deny their inner child and focus more on responsibility.  That’s fine, I get it; I just don’t understand it.  All work and no play, is not the right way.  There has to be a balance.

When I hear Bryan White sing Someone Else’s Star it reminds me of the love life I wish I had.  Then I hear Billy Joel sing Why Should I Worry?  It tells me that I need to stop worrying and try.  I guess you can say my life is very poetic and musical.

1. Inspired by Lindsay Tonyan, Jenna Hardacre, John Doetsch, Brian Reed, Shelby Marcus and Jorie Lesk:

What is your favorite season of the year and why?

2. Inspired by Zach Farber:
What did you do over the summer?

3. Inspired by Ann Losoff:
If you were an animal, what animal would you be and what season would be your favorite and why?

4. Inspired by Dave Thompson:
Which “Star Wars” character do you identify with the most and why?

5. Inspired by Claudia Joehl and Shelby Marcus:
A) What is your favorite kind of music?
B) Where do you listen to it?
C) When do you listen to it?
D) Do you prefer live music or prerecorded music and why?
E) Would you rather listen to a band or to an orchestra concert?

This summer my family would have gone to Puerto Rico, but Dorian had other plans for us. So in the words of the Scorpions it Rocked us Like a Hurricane. So instead we had a Stay-cation. We went to see the movie Once Upon A Time in Hollywood at the Music Box theater in Chicago and that was actually a good movie. We also went out to dinner often. We even went to see Teatro ZinZanni. It’s a combination of dinner theater, circus and Blue Man Group. It’s a little pricey, but completely worth it.
My parents and I went to see the Peanut Butter Falcon movie and that was also a great movie. My allergies have been driving me crazy this past summer so I will be very glad when it gets cooler. My favorite season is and always will be winter. I can tolerate the low 80’s, but my ideal summer temp is mid 50’s to 78 and no humidity.

Oh and I also became a wolf… no, not on Wall Street or White Fang. I’m just your average white wolf with supernatural powers. Nothing to serious, but the doctors did say it was permanent. I did discover that I am able to change into a white wolf whenever I want. Although that does explain why I enjoy howling at the moon.
I’m still trying to learn what powers I have. I still like the winter; that will never change. I hope this doesn’t change how people see me. Maybe I’ll keep it a secret… I guess it’s too late now. So, I can change into a white wolf, I just for some reason can’t do it now. Why do I get the feeling there’s a full moon out?
Ow Woo!

1. Inspired by Denis Berkson: Three ponies live at the Imagination Ranch. One is blue. One is red. One is yellow:

A) What are their names?
B) How did they get their coloring?
C) Which one is yours?
D) Why did you choose it?

2. Inspired by Pamela Molitor: If your imagination could runaway with you, where would the two of you go? Explain

3. Inspired by Michaela Moran and Carrie Newman: Imagine a playlist for one of the following and explain what music or songs you would choose for:
A) A rainy day
B) A Halloween party
C) A dance
D) A Zumba class
E) Any other occasion

4. Inspired by Jessica Martin: What does life look like for you after you are gone from this earth?

5. Inspired by Mollie O’Connell and John Doetsch:
A) What is your favorite board game?
B) Create a brand new board game and tell us the rules.

According to the Temptations, “[…] It was just my imagination runin’ away with me”.  If I could run away with my imagination, we would go all over the world. I get inspiration from anywhere, any person, anything etc.
Poetry, song lyrics or fictional stories I write them all and my imagination has proved to be a valuable friend for all. Two poems are published in a book, I have a blog with over 250 poems and I’m working on close to 20 new ones.
I’ve never left North America. I’ve been to Canada, Hawaii and many other states, but that’s it. My imagination and I would go check out the other side of the world. Who knows what I could be inspired to write about. Maybe I could shed some light on important issues.

My imagination and I would travel the world until the end of time. Hopefully by then, I would have a family of my own. Also I would hope that I would have left this world with writing that people would enjoy. My imagination and I would leave this world together and maybe we can make a difference in the after life. If I do end up returning to earth, I would hope to be a white wolf with supernatural powers. I would also like to see in color. Maybe I can make a difference even now. Therefore, my imagination and I will never part. I will say this though, when it comes to creativity and imagination, I have a lot of ideas. Try 40 plus fictional stories. I guess you can say I’ll never stop writing.

1. Inspired by and in memory of Kate Dolan: What state would you like to visit, but never have and why?

2. Inspired by Adrian Drower: Think back to your very first appearance in HeartWords:
A) How is your life different now?
B) Has anything improved in your life since you started here? Explain

3. Inspired by Barbara Kozdron: If you were in Disney World on Halloween:
A) Which character would you be and why?
B) Would you rather dress up as Maleficent or the Evil Queen? Which of them is your evil twin? Explain

4. Inspired by Pamela Molitor: If you were a ghost, how would you get even with your enemy? Explain

5. Inspired by Dave Thompson: Who (or what) would scare you the most from the following film franchises and why?

A) Xenomorphs from the Alien series
B) Freddy Kruger from Nightmare on Elm Street series
C) Jason Voorhies from Friday the 13th series.

1. I would like to visit a stronger motivational state. Maybe with more motivation, I can lose more weight. I’ve already dropped seven pounds, but I would like to lose a lot more.

2. I remember HeartWords when it was back at the old Chicago Ave. location. I also remember channel 9 doing Chicago’s Very Own Barry Siegel. My writing/ handwriting has definitely improved in ten years. I’ve also gotten better at speaking in general. For that, I also have Barry’s cousin and my previous speech teacher Denis Berkson to thank.

(All rights for the following story go to Adrian Drower)

4. I don’t believe I have an enemy, however, if I were a ghost, I would be a literal ghostwriter. I would take ghostwriting to an all-new level. My supernatural power would be in my writing. Meaning I could write anything about anyone and have it actually happen to them. My power would allow me to break the laws of gravity, science and reality. It would prove to people that the pen really is stronger then the sword. I would also be a skilled/ master fighter even with a sword.
My main weapon is a supernaturally charged pen that lasts forever and a supernaturally charged notebook that keeps giving me paper. I would even have the power to walk among humans. This way I can study them and make my writings either to help them or to help the police. I’m not Casper the Friendly Ghost, I’m Adrian- the literal and actual Ghost Writer.

1. It’s your birthday and…
A) Inspired by Shelby Marcus: What was your most memorable birthday and why?
B) Inspired by Dina Bergman: What was your favorite ice cream and ice cream parlor for your birthday and why?
C) Inspired by Jorie Lesk: What does your birthday mean to you and what is your favorite thing about your birthday?
D) Inspired by Pamela Molitor: If you could celebrate your birthday every day of the week, how would you celebrate your day and why?

2. Inspired by Jenna Hardacre: What’s your favorite restaurant and why?  What is your favorite meal there and why?

3. Inspired by Paul Martino: What do you think life is about and explain?

4. Inspired by Adrian Drower: If you could live forever at any age with no major medical problems:
Which age would you choose and why?
How would you look and how would you feel?
What would you be doing?

5. Inspired by Jonah Polansky: With winter coming, how do you stay warm and how do you get around?

I combined 1C, 3, and 4

July 14th is my day and in 2020 I will be another year older (sarcastically) wo hoo.  Don’t get me wrong, I like my birthday, but over the years the hype kind of dies. Who remembers when they turned 10? (Double digits).  13?  (You’re officially a teen).  14?  (High school starts), there’s a fun story there.  16?  (The driving age).  18?  (Age of voting and start of college).  21?  (The drinking age), there’s a fun story there.  25?  (You can lease a car and or choose to adopt).  All your big milestone birthdays as a kid were closer together.  When you reach 30, the milestone birthdays are ten years apart.  Which means the others are just another birthday.

I’m not saying don’t celebrate your life, I’m only trying to be practical.  From the passing of a close friend (Kate) and the passing of a grandfather (my dad’s dad), comes another friend who is pregnant.  “It’s the Circle Of Life and it moves us all”.  My life does need some improvements, but not too many.  If I could live forever at any age, it would be 35.  I would be fully legal, hopefully I would have a better body/ love life and well on my way to having an improved life.  It would be about time too.

1. Inspired by Dina Bergman: Do you remember your first rainbow or your prettiest sunrise or sunset?
A) Where were you?
B) How did it make you feel?

2. Inspired by Lauren Miller: Write a letter to a Veteran (alive or dead). 

3. Thanksgiving is coming:
A) Inspired by Janie Baskin: If you were a dessert, what dessert do you want to be and why?
B) Inspired by Janie Baskin and Lauren Miller: What nice thing has a friend unexpectedly done for you recently to inspire you or to go out of the way for you?  How can you thankfully pay it forward?
C) Inspired by Jonah Polansky: What are all the different ways you can show a thank you to someone without actually saying “thank you”?
D) Inspired by Billy Rose Clymo: What is the kindest thing you did today?  Write a story about your act of kindness.
E) Inspired by Adrian Drower: Think about and just give thanks for: What you have and or for everyone in your life

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again.  Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!  The year went by so fast.  Now is the time of year to think about your life.
I have come a long way since I was a kid.  If I could go back in time to change my past, as much as I would like to, I wouldn’t.  I would go back and face all the mistakes I’ve made.  I won’t lie, for me that will be close to impossible because I have made MANY mistakes.  The end result will be worth it because I will have been able to move on with my life.  I wouldn’t be the Adrian you see before you now, if I did not make those mistakes in my past.

I have had many successes in my life.  I spoke in front of 200 people at the Down Syndrome Society’s annual conference.  I have a great job that I’ve been at for almost 5 years.  I have my own place in Chicago and a blog with close to 300 poems on it.  So it’s safe to say I have a good life.  I wish I could make some improvements in my personal life and maybe lose more weight.  I’m not saying my life is perfect, it’s not.
Perfection is over rated anyway and so is the word normal.  If you ask me, experience is the new perfect and it’s better to be not normal than to be normal.

If I could be a dessert, I would be like a truffle.  It’s something my mom found.  It’s peanut butter, dark chocolate and ruffles potato chips.  My reason being is it’s a family favorite and I love my family.  This time of year is my favorite time of year.  The allergy season goes away also.  So, tis’ the season for nose blowing, Ah ah ah ah ah, choo choo, choo choo.

1. Inspired by Joe Jackson:
A) Can you describe how love feels when you are with someone you love?
B) Can you describe how love feels when you miss someone you love?
C) If you could imagine love as a color, shape, taste or sound what would they be and why?
D) If you could imagine the loss of love as a color, shape, taste or sound what would they be and why?

2. Inspired by Dina Bergman: Love is everywhere. Do you agree or disagree?

3. Inspired by Clymo: Describe your perfect romantic date:
A) Scene; B) Setting; C) Person

4. Inspired by Janie Baskin & Jorie Lesk:
We all have many different attributes (aspects, traits, characteristics) we need to express. Name 10 things you love about yourself and explain why?

5. Inspired by Carrie Newman: What does it mean to truly have love for yourself?

6. Inspired by Lauren Miller: Think of the song, “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles.
A) What does it make you think of?
B) How does it make you feel?
C) How do you experience love?

(Poem with other poems: Gold Stars for Valentine’s Day)

1. Inspired by Jorie Lesk: Imagine and describe any of the following:
A) A world where everyone accepts you for who you are
B) Gazing at a twinkling sky filled with stars and a silvery moon
C) A day where the negative people leave your life
D) The inspiration you feel from a song (or movie or TV show) that uplifts both your heart and your mind
E) A day where you realize it’s okay to shed some tears

2. Inspired by our two new septuagenarians (70 year olds)

A) Kathy Oher: Mark Twain observed, “The two most important days of your life: The day you’re born. And the day you know why.”
If you already know the reason why you were born, tell us.

B) Paul Fields: Adam F. Goldberg said, “In the game of life, it’s not whether you win or lose, but who you take along for the journey.”
Agree or Disagree and explain why
If you agree, whom do you take along on your journey?

I took a walk one summer morning. The sun has not woken up yet, but I was wide awake. Now why would I be wide awake at 5 in the morning? On a Saturday even; it still surprises me. I put my running shoes on, get my playlist of 400 songs ready, grab my headphones, keys, water and then lock my door. I see some drunk being a jerk to someone so I roll my eyes and put my headphones on… He disappears. I start to walk and as I walk I sing. I like my voice, I know I’m not a pro, but I’m decent. As I walk, I see all the positive people out.  It’s as if all the negative people in my life were gone; it’s about time!

Whenever I walk by singing, people smile and I can just make out their words of acceptance. I smile as I know they’re referring to me… it feels good. I lose myself in the music, especially songs like “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man, “Why Should I Worry?” song by Billy Joel… you get the idea. Songs that make me feel good by showing that the world is a big place. It doesn’t take a lot to be important to someone in your life.  All it takes is a few good times, memories, talks etc. and you’re good.  I pause the music as I realize I walked from Chicago to Northbrook.  I’m only on song 175, it’s noon so I drink some water.  Fortunately, I had breakfast this morning, so I’m not starving.  I replay my music and continue my walk.

When I reach song number 200 I’m in Wilmette and the sun is getting ready to set.  I pause the music again to drink more water and say hi to my cousins who live close by.  We talk for a while then I realize it’s a good day to shed some good tears because my little second cousins are so sweet.  We say our parting words and then I leave.

I see a sky filled like an ocean with shining stars and a full silver moon.  It’s so beautiful, it gives me time to reflect on my life.  I’ve worked at the same place for close to 5 years, I have my own place in Chicago and I have a writing blog.  Then I put the music back on and I’m lost in my music again.  I finally get home, I have finished my 400 songs playlist and I let myself back in.  It’s 9:45 so I make a light, late dinner and put on Law and Order SVU.  I had a very long day and now I’m tired.  I clean myself up and go to bed at 10:45.  I had a great day, my Fitbit says more than 800,000 steps… my day was excellent.  Now, I’m sleeping and dreaming about my second cousins. Good Night Moon, soon I will say good morning sun.

1. Inspired by Shelby Marcus: Would you rather spend your time inside or outside and tell us why?

2. Inspired by John Doetsch: What movies do you like to watch from home that makes you laugh-out-loud and tell us why?

3. Inspired by Becky Fields: Write several slogans for car bumper stickers to encourage hope and a sense of community.
Which one of them do you like best, and why?

4. Today’s pizza delivery order:
a) Inspired by Sarah Schechtman-Thale: If you could create a pizza with any toppings on it, what would it be and why?
b) What would it be called?
c) Inspired by Jorie Lesk: What are your all-time 5 favorite toppings to put on your pizza?

5) Inspired by song writer Gloria Gaynor: 

React to and comment on these lyrics:
“Do you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die?
Oh no, not I, I will survive!
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive.
I’ve got all my life to live…
I will survive!”

I combined 1, 2 and 4

I’m a fan of the cooler temperatures.  During the summer, I would be wearing shorts, a tank top and sandals anywhere between 55 and hotter.  If it gets too hot, like mid 80’s to upper 90’s, I would prefer to stay inside where there is air conditioning.  So for me, the choice to spend time inside or outside depends on the weather.  When the virus hit, my choice of locations was inside even if the weather was my preferred choice.  It worked out well though, since I was not eating out so much, I cooked at home and found more time to workout.  Due to that, I’ve lost close to 12 pounds!  My pants are sliding down on me and sometimes I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I have also found time to work on my writing.  The last time I looked at my blog, I found that I have 316 poems on it.  I even have a few ideas for new ones.  I also found time to organize all my fictional stories and that gave me an impressive number of 67 total stories.  Not all of them are stories yet.  A good amount are, but many of them are not yet written.  I also found time to do some reading and I recently finished the last book in the Divergent series.  The book I’m currently working on is the second book in the Eragon series.

I have even done a lot of cooking and baking.  I have made ground turkey and tilapia burrito bowls, breaded chicken, pasta with meat sauce, shrimp with Orzo along with many others.  I did some baking too: chocolate chip banana bread, chocolate chip banana bars, chocolate chip cookies, brownies… you get the idea, I’ve been in the kitchen a lot.  I have even heated up the Costco frozen pizzas.  It gets me thinking about my favorite types of pizza: Pizza one:
Deep dish: Sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, bacon and ham on and in Named: Meatingful
Pizza two: Deep dish: Mushroom, green pepper, onion on and mushroom, green pepper, onion and spinach in: Name: The Garden of Eat In (based on the Garden of Eden)
Pizza three: Thin crust: Sausage, mushroom and onion on it
Pizza four: Thin crust: Pepperoni, green pepper, onion on it

Recently, I have spent some safe time with some of my extended family.  I know we can’t hug, but it was still nice to see them.  I wish we could have though.  I have been back to work and it started out slowly with a day a week, then upgraded to two and finally three.  I am back to my usual schedule now.  If only I could take the train again.  My parents have been giving me rides to and back from work and I’m glad, but I miss the independence.  I hope I can ride the train again sometime soon before I go stir crazy and no I don’t mean the restaurant.

Despite being trapped in my house, I’m still finding time to do things I like.  For example, watching TV (I just got myself hooked on NCIS; all of them), I’m watching reruns of Law and Order SVU, Chicago PD, movies like The Birdcage, I finally saw Lawrence of Arabia, relatively recently I saw Onwards, The King of Staten Island and Into the Wild.  I have been playing PlayStation 3 and 4 and I even found time to write up a workout guide.  I gave it to my dad as part one of a father’s day gift.  The other part was an armband for his phone.  I also sent that list of workouts to my second cousins.  Oh that reminds me, I did write some song lyrics with some humor I call it Sneezing, Blow and Ah, Choo!  (blow my nose).

1. Inspired by Lauren Miller:  Tell a funny story about a pet…it could be yours or a family member or a friend:

A) What type of pet was it?
B) What was its name and why?
C) Please describe your relationship with it.

2. Inspired by Brad Baskin:  Please tell us about the last book you really enjoyed reading.

3. Inspired by Jonathan Shuman:  Who is your favorite actor/actress and why?

4. Inspired by Dave Thompson:  If you are a fan and or familiar with Star Wars, which character do you identify with the most?  Why?  And if not, what bigger than life character do you identify with and why?

5. What do you understand the quote below to mean? Please tell us why you agree or disagree with this statement by Arnold H. Glasow:

“The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.”

I combined 2 and 4:

In the Star Wars series, for me, there is not one character I identify with the most.  There are several characters that have personality traits similar to me:

Luke Skywalker: I’m willing to give just about anything a try, I’m loyal to friends and family and I don’t give up too easily.
Han Solo: Though bravery is defined in many ways, I still have an element of bravery somewhat similar to him.
Princess Leia: My leadership skills may not be as strong as hers, but they are still somewhat strong.
Yoda: My patience level is similar to his.
Darth Vader: Similar to him, we all have a dark side and sometimes it’s easy to control.  Most times it applies to me.
Darth Maul: Similar to him, we all have a dark side.  Sometimes it’s hard to control it and sometimes it applies to me.
Rey: I can be as independent as her, but the current virus puts a hold on that.
Jar Jar Binks: Similar to him, I’m not afraid to act a little goofy, but I still have a professional side
Finn: I know the feeling of wanting to run and just get away.

A book that I remember reading is called Star Wars Psychology: The Dark Side of the Mind.  It was a good book that I would recommend.  It talks about the psychology side of Star Wars.  I also enjoyed reading the book called: As You Wish.  It is a book about the making of the movie The Princess Bride.

The book I’m currently reading is the second book in the Eragon series and so far it is a good book.  I still have several books on my list to read, such as: Mark Twain’s Roughing It, Brilliance by: Marcus Sakey, Winter World by: Bernd Heinrich, The Call of the Wild by: Jack London, Stephen King’s Joyland, the Map of Time by: Felix J. Palma and The President Is Missing by: Bill Clinton and James Patterson.  That is just to name a few, I even have a book list on the notes feature on my phone.

I even enjoy writing stories that maybe one day could become books.  Such as Don Adrianopoli (which is my twist on the classic Godfather), My Mind’s Imagination (which is a story about me becoming the ultimate superhero), The Island of Mystery (which is my fan fiction on Zoro and his long lost family) and Neon Skies (which is my take on the current virus.  The villains are Coro Virus and Rona Virus: together they’re the ultimate evil.)  I have others, but this was just to name a few.  If you would like the list of stories I created, I can send it to Paul and he can pass it along.

1. Inspired by Zach Farber:  What is the one thing, person or event that is most special to you from your days in high school and why?

2. Inspired by Claudia Joehl:  What is your favorite kind of music?
A) Where do you listen to it?
B) When do you listen to it?
C) Why do you listen to it?

3. Inspired by Denis Berkson:  When the phone rings…
Who would you like to be calling you? AND
What would you like to hear them say?

4. Inspired by Pamela Molitor:
A) If you were challenged by a large animal, how would you respond to its threat and why?  AND
B) If it were a small animal, what would you do?

5. Inspired by Michaela Moran:  When you were a young child in preschool…
A) What did you want to do when you grew up? AND
B) Did you stay with the job you said, or did it change as you got older?

6. Inspired by you:  PLEASE create writing inspirations for any future heARTwords Workshop.

I combined 1, 3 and 5

When I was a kid, my mind was always thinking.  I had so many questions about anything and everything… seems fitting given the fact I was a kid.  I even had ideas as to potential jobs: A Spy (like James Bond), a wizard (or something magical/ supernatural) and those were my main options as a much younger kid.  As time moved on more practical options came up such as an artist, an actor, a writer, a photographer or a veterinarian.  As time moved on, I found myself realizing I could never be something magical or supernatural, but I wanted to believe I was.  I guess that was when my imagination began.  I would pretend to freeze time, cast spells, throw energy/ fire from my hands, orb around the world and it was fun.  I would also pretend to save people.  Using my superpowers or just talking, I would pretend to be a hero for anyone.

My favorite groups of people to save have been and always will be kids, teens and young adults.  I would still save adults and older.  Since I knew I could never be a superhero or hero, it seemed ideal to paint myself as one in fictional stories.  When I was a kid, I sometimes had a hard time coming back to reality.  So when I started to learn how to write, my mind gave me the idea of putting my imagination on paper.  The more I wrote, the better and more clear my non cursive handwriting got and I started to create these new worlds where I could be someone magical.  Somewhere I could be the hero and people/ kids could look up to me.  I did find writing to be relaxing and a great way to relieve stress… I still feel that way and I would highly recommend it to anyone starting a new school or chapter in their lives.  It really does help.

It was maybe fifth grade when I got the idea to turn my imagination into a story and transform myself, in writing, into the ultimate superhero.  That was the time when I created Blue Crystal and I designed him to be half alien, half human, part magic and part ghost.  I also got the idea to create other people based on who I could never be.  I could now be an actor, an author, a doctor etc. all because of my new superpowers.  I created him to be undefeated; invincible, but with the weakness of stunning his powers by threatening or harming in any way, his friends and or family.  I guess I wanted the weakness to be something psychological because I felt like I may not make something out of my life.  (Presently and obviously, I was wrong.) I wrote a little bit each day and found it very relaxing.  I was able to project potential future situations into my story and try to create a way for me to get out of them safely.

Then middle school started and I was very nervous.  I wanted to find some way; anyway, to get over my nerves and my imagination gave me the ultimate solution.  I was always a big fan of Pokemon; I watched the original shows, played the original game boy games, saw the movies, had the toys, collected the cards (there is a fun story behind the cards) and that gave me the tool to summon my courage and inner strength.

Keep in mind I was just a kid in middle school, now I use a different technique.  When I was in middle school, I would pretend to be a Pokemon trainer entering the world of Pokemon.  Middle school was the world, the classrooms were the Pokemon gyms and the teachers were the Pokemon gym leaders.  The Elite Four (the final battles) would be the end of each year.  In order for me to have a chance at the leader, I had to pass the classes.  That’s where the homework came in and ultimately, it did the trick and I was able to pass my classes.

I did not strive to be a straight A student, I preferred to be an average student.  So the most special thing for me from middle school was and still is my imagination.  High school, I had to change my way of thinking and I went with a smiling technique.  I figured other people would be as nervous as I was so my thought was to get them smiling by smiling myself.  If I could show them that I was as nervous as them, they could feel better and that would help me feel better.

Fast forward to now and I have a total of 67 working ideas for and actual fictional stories, a blog with over 300 poems, my public speaking has improved, I have gained weight since high school, but currently I have lost weight and I am now working at The Fine Line tile showroom in downtown Chicago.  Now I am able to safely and quickly pull myself out of the fictional worlds I create and bring myself into reality.

I have 3 second cousins that I will do almost anything for and I have been helping them already in multiple ways.  I have passed along actual music (classic oldies through some newer ones) to the oldest of the three and he loves the songs.  I have passed along to all three of them Pokemon cards when that craze was happening.  I have even created a workout guide that I passed to them, gave them advice about  life and I am currently working on a TV show and movie guide for them to eventually watch.  Eventually, I am planning on creating a restaurant guide of places around Chicago/ Illinois for them.  I want to help them in any way I can.

In the future, I would hope that my second cousins could call me about anything.  I want to be there for them as someone they can trust, you know, like a brother.  I’d like to be someone who can listen to problems and offer some advice, if they’re having a hard time and want to talk to someone, someone to bounce ideas off of or even just someone to hear them.  I hope they would know I would never judge or laugh at them.  I just want to make their lives easier by being someone they can confide in.  I’m not sure what caused me to want that, but it’s possible that I want to make their lives easier because mine had many issues… I’m not entirely sure though.

According to their dad, I am their Godfather which gave me the idea to appoint The Godfather theme song as the ringtone for my first cousin, their dad.  I also did that when I found out the oldest and second in command have phones.  So when my phone starts singing The Godfather theme song in the future… hopefully in the near future, I pick up and hopefully the trusting nature kicks in and I can be like a brother to them.  I know I’m not their dad, but like him, I only want the best for them.

I don’t know what my future holds for me, I can only hope there is a love life.  I would also hope there is a close connection between my second cousins and I.  I hope I can get a more independent life… stupid virus, thanks to you I’m independence light.  Can anyone talk some sense into those non mask wackos?  It’s because of them our independence has been suppressed and I don’t like it.  Enough of that, my future is and always will be a massive question mark.  That’s why I like to live in the moment, it’s better than always questioning your future.  I know no one can predict the future, but at the rate I’m going, I may never get that personal life I wish I had.  I can only… imagine.

1) Inspired by Jessica Martin:  What did you always want to do for others or yourself but felt limited in some way or another?

2) Inspired by Mollie O’Connell: What is it that you love about your favorite Disney: 
a) Board game 
b) Music
c) Movie?  

3) Inspired by Barbara Kozdron: If you went to Disney world, what Disney dream can you imagine?  Create your own Dreamland in Disney world and describe it to us.

4) Inspired by Kate Dolan’s memory:  What is your favorite place in Florida and what makes it “that special place” for you?  

5) Inspired by John R. Lewis’s memory:  

“I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.”  
a) Tell us what you truly believe the highest calling of your heart is.  
b) Why is following that call important?

6) Inspired by Peter Knobel’s memory:  React to and comment on these lyrics:

“I believe that love can conquer hate. 
I believe compassion can conquer cruelty.  
I believe that those who sow in tears can reap in joy.  
I believe that love can conquer hate.”

I combined 3 and 4 with a twist:

One day, I found out from my family that the oldest of my second cousins won some writing contest.  The grand prize was a trip to Disney World for ten people.  The five of them invited my family and one of my first cousins.  It was an all expense paid trip for the entire summer, so three months.  We took our time packing and going through the usual routines.  After we got to the airport, that’s when things got strange fast.  It started out well and I found out the oldest of my second cousins, Caden, was sitting next to me on the plane.  Airport security went from it’s usual crazy straight to full on insanity.  They were checking everyone’s bags at least three times extra.  That means they went through all our bags before we went into the airport, then they went through the ones we checked in again before checking them in.  Then it was the usual x-ray machine and after that, they went through our carry on bags one last time.  

Then, as if that wasn’t strange enough, they used the Nintendo Wii balance board as another way to determine if someone is a terrorist/ unbalanced.  If they are, then they are not allowed on the plane.  I even saw them pat down people with and without disabilities.  It was all so strange and so wrong.  

Caden then asked me if I was going to have a problem with them and I told him as long as they don’t pat me down, I should be fine.  Like always, there was a problem and they were about to pat me down.  I told them to back off, I know they are just doing their job and I respect that, but to pat me down for no reason sounds like a crime in the making.  After Caden came to my rescue, they backed off… for now.  Then we came up to our gate and the Nintendo Wii balance board.  Everyone else in my family went except for Caden and I.  He wanted to be last in case there was a problem with me; how sweet is he?  Airport security had me do what my family did with balancing on one leg for 15 seconds.   Then the other leg and I was able to do it, but they wanted me to do it again because my foot was not as high as the rest of my family’s feet were.  Things got a little heated between that guy and me and I threatened his job by saying the ADA will back me up.  Caden stepped in again and between the two of us, we forced him to back off or risk us turning the situation into a legal circus.  What an amazing second cousin I have; I love you brother.  

On the flight over, Caden and I planned out which rides/ attractions we wanted to go on and see.  We both suggested many rides; Space Mountain, the Rock and Roll Roller coaster, the one from Avatar, Pirate’s of the Caribbean, Star Wars, The Haunted Mansion and Harry Potter.  That was our starting point on the list.  We also talked about which restaurants we wanted to check out while we were there and I suggested the rule my family has.  If we can avoid restaurants that Illinois has and find some original places, that would be ideal.  He liked that because that meant trying new things.  I then sent what Caden and I talked about and planned over to the rest of our family and gave them room to play around with, add and or remove things.  Half way into our flight, we had planned out most of our trip.  

Like everyone knows, you can only plan up to a certain point because once you get there, sometimes plans change.  We had a lot of fun and on that trip Caden and his brothers wanted to spend time with me.  So I ended up being dragged all over the place; I didn’t mind.  As long as I’m spending time with them and they want to spend time with me; drag me anywhere… just about anywhere.  I felt like a Ragdoll… G, thanks Aerosmith.  I still had a blast with them.  

After a month of Disney all the time, they wanted to spend some time just relaxing so we looked around and discovered a new island.  The locals didn’t even know it was there.  There was a path from it directly back to the mainland, but it was so well hidden, no one knew it was there.  My cousins and I decided to give it a name and many ideas came to mind.  Golden Island was what the youngest thought of, the other came up with SilverSand Island because it glistened and Caden thought of Goldensand Island.  Then I suggested we combine all ideas and go with SummerSand Island.  Since it glistened like a golden summer day, it seemed fitting and that was what we ended up calling it.  It was far enough away for someone to start a fire and be outside for a long time.  The island was big so the entire family got a lot of food, many blankets and we went out for the island.  Caden and I found a house that doubled as a large bathroom.  It ended up being a massive locker room with 12 fully functioning bathrooms; six on each floor.  It was even open 24 hours a day, but only for those who enjoyed the beach life at night.  Caden and I asked a few people about it and they gave us the security passes.  

For the last two months of our trip, we spent time really getting close.  The boys ended up talking to me and telling me things they would not tell their parents.  You know, the kind of things brothers would talk about.  However, if they were being bullied, hurt, if there was anything criminal or involved drinking and or drugs, I would either get them to say something or I would tell their folks.  I couldn’t believe my luck as they were confiding in me some personal secrets that they were really embarrassed about.  They didn’t want their parents to know right away.  They are planning on telling them eventually, but they wanted to talk to me first.  It was something about getting my opinion and wanting to feel safe about their choices.  They all told me they are nervous about school and I helped them through it.  It was at that time that Caden told me he was interested in talking with me via a video chat and I suggested Skype or Zoom.  His brothers became interested in that as well and I helped them out as best I could.  We ended up becoming super close.  Then one of my first cousins came by and took a picture of the four of us then sent it to me.  Now I have a new profile picture for my Face Book page.  I smiled because of how sweet it all was.  Our trip is coming to a close, but they didn’t want it to be over and neither did I.  Then Caden was about to tell me a major secret about him, but he said it was nothing serious; nothing to worry about or tell anyone.  He was just very embarrassed about it and I understood.  Right before he said it I heard a strange beeping.  

Beep, beep.  Beep, beep.  My alarm clock spoke and I woke up.  You couldn’t have given me one more minute?  I was this close to finding something out.  I can’t believe it was a dream.  Oh man, I wish… at least the last part of the dream was real.  I would hope my second cousins think of me as a brother they can confide in.  Maybe sometime soon or in the future they will.  I will never forget that dream.  I would love for them to think of me as a personal journal.  I guess I can only dream… but, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”. 

1) Inspired by Janie Baskin: Imagine every year you get a chance to change your name. 

A) What name do you choose this year? 
B) Why?

2) Inspired by Adrian Drower: What do you want for yourself and for others in the year 2021?  Explain what you will do to be successful in reaching your goals.

3) Inspired by Helena Cherny:  Raise your glass and make a toast.  

A) What event are you at? 
B) Who is in attendance? 
C) Who or what are you toasting and why?
D) What do you say, and what is the reaction?

4) Inspired by Jenna Hardacre:  Who or what is your favorite character in a movie?  Explain why you like that character so much.

5) Inspired by Kathy Oher:  Where is the first place you would go once the Covid-19 Virus is no longer a threat, please explain.

6) Inspired by Brad Baskin: What are the top 3 priorities that you would like the new President to work on?  Why are they important for you or for the Country?

I combined 2, 3 and 5

    “It’s great to see all of you again.  I’m so glad we can do this” I said.  
“I agree.  It has been way too long” said one of my friends.  
“It has been too long.  I’m glad we can meet up and have dinner.  Your dinner looks great by the way, what are you having?” said my other friend.  
“I’m having a burrito bowl.  What are you having?” I asked both of them.  
“I’m having pizza, deep dish style” said the first friend.  
“I’m having Pork Pad Thai tonight,” said the other friend.  

I pick up my water glass and make a toast… and no not the bread.  

“Here’s to… Here’s to life.  May we eventually get back to a decent rhythm with our lives.  May we find the strength to keep our heads held high, the strength to keep moving and the strength to survive life… To life!”  
“To Life!” we all say together.  We all take a drink then the conversation keeps going.  We talked about the weather, the holidays, what we got, what we have been doing in our lives and I mentioned something new with me.  I talked about the fact that I’m trying online dating; I’m on okcupid now.  

Then we talked about places we would like to go after the threat of the virus is gone.  The first thing that came to my mind is to see my second cousins.  I would love to finally have a Christmas with all my family.  I think it would be fun to look at old pictures of our families.  It would be great for the second cousins also.  

I looked at my computer screen and realized how much life has truly changed.  I’m doing dinner with friends online… it’s alright, but it is no substitute for seeing my friends (and family) in person.  I want this virus gone, I miss people… and taking the train to work.  

We even discussed what our plans and or goals for 2021 are.  I would like to start improving my love life, lose as much weight and body fat as possible, throw in a few extra workouts in the morning, read more, maybe start learning Italian… and if other goals come up, bring it on.  Hopefully 2021 will be a much better year for me… and everyone else.  

“It will be so nice to finally spend some time with friends and family,” I said.  
“I agree.  I can’t wait to do this in person” said one friend.  
“For sure.  I’m looking forward to it as well.  It will be so nice” said the other friend.  

As the evening set in, the snow outside my window caught the streetlight.  I see it sparkle like diamonds; soft, white, fluffy diamonds.  I love that sight.  

After we all said good night, we hung up the Zoom call and they went to bed.  I stayed up; it is a Saturday after all.  I opened up kisscartoon.info and continued watching The Wild Thornberrys.  I like this site, you can also see all the Scooby Doo shows, Hey Arnold, Rugrats and that is just to name a few.  It’s a relaxing night for me.  I’m coloring, watching some old cartoons and taking it easy.  

After a while, I get a Skype call from the oldest of my second cousins.  We talk for a long while as I help him through some things.  Then around 11:55 almost midnight, we decided to turn in and go to bed.  He thanks me, we say we love each other then the call ends.  I go to bed smiling and I have a feeling he does too.  

“Good night cousin, I love you” I say to my dark room.  I lay down and finally close my eyes.  
“Good night” my apartment says to me. 

1) Inspired by Zach Farber:  Why do you think it is important to recycle, reduce and reuse?  Explain your answer.

2) Inspired by Jorie Lesk:  Pick your favorite color and create a poem about that color.

3) Inspired by Pamela Molitor:   If all the creatures could tell us the Earth was soon to no longer exist, how would you feel about it?

4) Inspired by you:  Choose only one of the quotes below.  Then explain why you agree or disagree with it:

A. “Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” — Gerard De Nerval
B.   “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
C.  “The earth is simply too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in.” — Robert A. Heinlein
D. “The earth is what we all have in common.” — Wendell Berry
E.  “EARTH” without “ART” is just “EH.” — Demetri Martin5) Inspired by Adrian Drower:   What poem represents your life best?  Tell us why.

I’m combining 2 and 5

The poem of my life- is a combination of two. Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go and Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken.  A journey I must do myself, I bid you ado.  That’s it, good bye- (turn off camera) just kidding!  Man that was fitting!

Dr. Seuss says, 

“You have brains in your head,

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know,

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go”.

I say, 

“You’re smart and full of wit,

You have love in your heart.

It’s the path you choose

that says win or lose.

You think you’re alone, but you know who is there.

Friends and family protect you from many a scare.

Robert Frost speaks to how people think,

Grab a seat, look at the poem and have a drink.

Taking his path will help you to grow

and you will learn the knowledge you need to know.

The comfort zone speaks for itself,

It tells us what is safe for us.

It is time to get off the shelf,

We know what must be done, no need to rush.

The colors of life are never ending; constantly moving

as people come into our lives.

As our choice of music plays, we start grooving,

We should keep our friends and family close.

People mostly see life in black and white,

Life is vibrant, lively, colorful, different; an intoxicating beauty.

Avoid being metaphorically color blind, it’s not right.

Though I may be swayed towards the Blues,

There are so many amazing colors.

All colors have their own beauty, it can be hard to choose.

So try something new, what do you have to lose?

My journey takes me to a deeper level,

The one that says wake up and be a rebel.

It says speak your mind and be a fighter,

It wants me to click my internal lighter.

I do want to be heard, my heart will talk,

My feet are done being stuck, time to walk.

This walk will take me far and wide

I have absolutely no reason to hide.

The sun tries to shine down on my life,

The clouds say, “You are blocking your way”.

Nature says, “find a love life and possibly in the future a wife.

After all, everyone deserves to be happy.

Robert Frost says, 

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

In real life, I don’t believe I’ve taken the road less traveled.  I may have at one point in my life, but I can’t remember it.  I’ve always chosen the safe path, it’s in my nature… I wish that would change. 
I guess you can say,
I’m still trying to find my way.
Thank you friends and family that are in my life
I can’t imagine my life without you. 

1) Inspired by Bob Lechton:   If your mom had a superpower, seen or unseen, what would it be?

2) Inspired  by Billie Rose Clymo:  If you could talk to Mother Nature, what would you say to her and why?

3) Inspired by Kathy Oher:  Of all the fictional characters from books, movies, TV, etc., who would you choose to be your mother 

(or your father, best friend, teacher, etc.)?

4) Inspired by Diana, Princess of Wales, who said:
Don’t call me an icon.  I’m just a mother trying to help.” 

Write a story, poem or essay about mothers who just try to help. 5) Inspired by Tim Masello:  What did you do during the COVID-19 quarantine that:
a) informed you;
b) lifted your spirits; or
c) helped you connect with friends, family or your interests?

I’m combining 1, 4 and I also did 5 

Mothers’ May I Say

Mother’s’ May I Say, you are absolutely amazing!  You do so much for your families as well as for the other people in your lives.  We are all better people because you are in our lives.  What can I say about you?  Take a look at this list:

Selfless with a hint of selfish (got to have time for yourself)

Thoughtful and insightful

Powerful and strong

Amazing at multitasking

Creative and inventive

Professional and personal

Loving and accepting

One of a kind and the list could go on. 

Mothers’ May I Say, you are all incredible, outstanding people.  It’s great that we have one day a year to celebrate all mothers, however, all mothers are celebrated every day of the year.  Our lives are thanks to you… and our fathers.  I’m just going to focus on the mothers’. 

Mothers’ May I Say, us kids, teens, young adults and adults will always love you.  The following statement is very true: Every kid knows, no one loves you more than your parents… ok maybe your siblings or cousins love you the same amount.  That doesn’t stop us from showing our mothers’ how much we love them. 

Mothers’ May I Say, thank you for our lives.  We are truly grateful for you and we always want you in our lives.  Even if we argue, don’t see eye to eye or say phrases we don’t mean, we still love you.  That will never change. 

Mothers’ May I Say, Happy Mother’s Day!

During the quarantine, I got a lot done.  I cooked, I baked, I worked out, I got myself hooked on a new tv show (NCIS original and LA) and I did a lot of writing.  I even started checking in with my second cousins since they have phones now as well as a few friends.  I played video games (like Uncharted, Infamous, Tomb Raider etc.), listened to music (like the song Why Should I Worry? by Billy Joel), did some word searches and I did some reading.  I’m still working on the second book in the Eragon series (hey, it’s a long book).  Like everyone else, I even spent time with my immediate family.  So I can honestly say, Happy Mother’s Day early… to my mom. 

Write until your heART is content about any of the following: 

1)   Inspired by Regina Nash:  Write a poem, song or haiku about your least favorite Season. 

2)  Inspired by Jorie Lesk:   If you could only live in one Season for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? 

3)  Inspired by Anonymous:  What do you like most about hot or cold weather and why?

4)  Inspired by Kathy Oher: 

Lauren Miller often reminds us that writers who participate in heARTwords have “exceptionalities” not “disabilities”. 

A)  Do you agree or disagree and why?
B)  Make a list of all the characteristics you can think of that best describe the responses presented by writers in the heARTwords Workshop.

5)  Inspired by Carrie Newman: 

A tribute to our wonderful Sarah S-T:  How do you avoid living a little life?

I’m combining 4 A and 5

How do I avoid living life little?  That is a good question.  Truth is I believe I already am living life little.  It’s hard to live life in general, ok I’ll admit that some aspects of life are fun.  It’s just not as easy as people think it is.  Try living with a disability… Sorry, I mean try living with exceptionalities.  It makes sense to me because if you look at all humans, we are all different.  So for people like us (including myself), having a disability, I mean having exceptionalities is a great thing.  It’s another way of saying who wants to be “normal” when you can be different?  In my eyes, differences should make a difference… that is actually a story idea that I am working on.  Speaking of stories, I’m going to separate six of mine in particular because they have one thing in common… the oldest of my second cousins.  

He turned 14 last February and very soon, he will be off to high school!  The whole family, including myself, is very proud of him.  Since starting high school can be hard on anyone, I would hope that if he needs to talk to someone, he can talk to me.  It would be nice to help him through anything I can and or tough times if any were to present themselves.  He is a very sweet, loving, kind, thoughtful and amazing kid that will grow up to be a truly amazing young man.  

So I figure a fun gift for my cousin could be a team effort to write the stories that I have of him.  I will be in Wilmette this Sunday (so tomorrow) for a family gathering.  I am definitely looking forward to seeing them again.  I’m a big family person, so I always enjoy spending time with my family.  

I had a fun dream a while back:
This part of it is true: the people in the house next to us moved on with their lives.  Now construction workers have completely demolished the house.  It’s empty now; there’s nothing there.  Enter the actual dream I had… 

My second cousins are trying to figure out their plans for after high school.  They’re asking the family where they went to college.  After seeing a pattern, Caden and Owen are choosing Depaul.  Tyson is still unsure, but maybe Depaul.  I tell them about the house being built.  Caden jokes that his dad should buy it, maybe we can be neighbors.  We all get a laugh out of it, but there might be something there.  

Flash forward to the future… 

Caden, Owen, Tyson and my first cousin Laurie moved into the house.  Every now and then, the families get together for dinner.  The boys are going to school and working in Chicago.  Everyone is smiling and feeling great, even me.  I woke up.  
What is funny about that dream is when I mentioned it to my first cousin Carlin, he said that he would buy the place.  I did send him the info on the house, but I have a feeling it won’t happen in real life.  Maybe my life is not little after all… I really can’t tell.  If only that dream would become a reality, that would be amazing.  Until then, I can only dream…