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Later, Chris.

     Rome. 2016, March. Hadn't seen him since the '90s. Drunk on being away from the States, drunk on red and white wine, and a stomach gorged with in-house pasta, bread, and anything else I could get my hands on. Alley, restaurant. Trevi fountain checked off. Young Italian girls waving Americans in to their restaurants. A brothel feel. I want to go into the story about the two Italians fighting over the check. The owner and a drunk patron. I want to go into the gelato after, the air of Rome, the bricks of the alleys. But I can't. Rare to see this profile written in first person, but this is different. Like Rome is different. Lost there. Must gaze upon the Pantheon during the first rays of moonlight. 

Lost there. Around a blind corner I nearly walked into Cornell. The man was tall. I'm 6'1 and he loomed over me. We glanced at each other, I registered the situation, and kept moving. GPS called me a moron in code, so I followed Cornell and his wife, and their little girl. I wasn't listening but I was. He was telling his girl about how life is in Italy. I heard, "In Italy..." then the crowd around us absorbed the rest. A few people took fast second looks, and then went back to their tables, their drinks, their own trips and lives.

     In Rome no one cares who you are. 

     Quite a beautiful feeling.    

     Rome is different.

    Crossing back toward where I had to go. Losing light. The Sun becoming the Moon, and I'm standing there then, staring at the street that I would cross to my hotel, to give up, but I'm feeling too fine, and I'm in Rome. I'm in fucking ROME. Not to sound incredulous. I put my phone to my ear to hear the directions, looked down the street. Cornell. Giving me a skeptical but not-so-sure stare, a sideways check. It would appear I was following them, but I wasn't. It didn't bother me. I laughed ahead. Rome is different. He disappeared down the street with his family, and I realized I'd been going the right way the whole time. Turned back, walked and thought about it. I could have had a conversation with him, I could have dropped one name. His parents lived next door to my friend's parents here in West Seattle. He'd skated with Cornell, and once told me he and his parents would watch Cornell mowing his parents' lawn from upstairs, even after Soundgarden took off. We could have had a conversation away from the music, the words, just two dudes from here laughing about the suddenness of meeting in Rome with such far-reaching connections to the past. What stopped me from shaking his hand? I would like to fall back on ego, but it was only ego in the sense that I didn't want to be a fan, a number, even with a rare connection. 

     But the truth is I am a fan. And though I don't believe in regretting something you've already done, I should have shaken his hand. I didn't have to tell him that his lyrics were brilliant, his voice one of the most distinctive in all remembered time, or any of that bullshit people like him, the few of them, hear and have to deflect or appropriate when they're out in the world. I also simply didn't want to interrupt him or his family while they walked in peace as the Moon rose over Rome. 

     

     I found the Pantheon, young moonlight. Breath stolen. 

     This morning I awoke to a text from my buddy, Dave. Four words and an abbreviation: Dude, Chris Cornell died. WTF?

     Tap google. 52. Suspected suicide. No matter, he's gone. They all go, they don't live long enough to see themselves shine like the rest see them. And they don't care. Sitting here now, blasting Louder Than Love, and sending my best thoughts to his family. 

     Bukowski once said in a letter, "Death isn't a problem for the deceased, it's a problem for the living." Or something like that. Looking back on the dead artists of the last few years, Cornell hits pretty hard. 52 years old.

     Much love to his people. Hands All Over just started. I need more coffee, and to kiss my dogs. 

     Outside it's grey and bright and warm. 

     

     

     

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Later, Chris.
     Rome. 2016, March. Hadn't seen him since the '90s. Drunk on being away from the States, drunk on red and white wine, and a stomach gorged with in-house pasta, bread, and anything else I could get my hands on. Alley, restaurant. Trevi fountain checked off. Young Italian girls waving Americans in to their restaurants. A brothel feel. I want to go into the story about the two Italians fighting over the check. The owner and a drunk patron. I want to go into the gelato after, the air of Rome, the bricks of the alleys. But I can't. Rare to see this profile written in first person, but this is different. Like Rome is different. Lost there. Must gaze upon the Pantheon during the first rays of moonlight. 
Lost there. Around a blind corner I nearly walked into Cornell. The man was tall. I'm 6'1 and he loomed over me. We glanced at each other, I registered the situation, and kept moving. GPS called me a moron in code, so I followed Cornell and his wife, and their little girl. I wasn't listening but I was. He was telling his girl about how life is in Italy. I heard, "In Italy..." then the crowd around us absorbed the rest. A few people took fast second looks, and then went back to their tables, their drinks, their own trips and lives.
     In Rome no one cares who you are. 
     Quite a beautiful feeling.    
     Rome is different.
    Crossing back toward where I had to go. Losing light. The Sun becoming the Moon, and I'm standing there then, staring at the street that I would cross to my hotel, to give up, but I'm feeling too fine, and I'm in Rome. I'm in fucking ROME. Not to sound incredulous. I put my phone to my ear to hear the directions, looked down the street. Cornell. Giving me a skeptical but not-so-sure stare, a sideways check. It would appear I was following them, but I wasn't. It didn't bother me. I laughed ahead. Rome is different. He disappeared down the street with his family, and I realized I'd been going the right way the whole time. Turned back, walked and thought about it. I could have had a conversation with him, I could have dropped one name. His parents lived next door to my friend's parents here in West Seattle. He'd skated with Cornell, and once told me he and his parents would watch Cornell mowing his parents' lawn from upstairs, even after Soundgarden took off. We could have had a conversation away from the music, the words, just two dudes from here laughing about the suddenness of meeting in Rome with such far-reaching connections to the past. What stopped me from shaking his hand? I would like to fall back on ego, but it was only ego in the sense that I didn't want to be a fan, a number, even with a rare connection. 
     But the truth is I am a fan. And though I don't believe in regretting something you've already done, I should have shaken his hand. I didn't have to tell him that his lyrics were brilliant, his voice one of the most distinctive in all remembered time, or any of that bullshit people like him, the few of them, hear and have to deflect or appropriate when they're out in the world. I also simply didn't want to interrupt him or his family while they walked in peace as the Moon rose over Rome. 
     
     I found the Pantheon, young moonlight. Breath stolen. 

     This morning I awoke to a text from my buddy, Dave. Four words and an abbreviation: Dude, Chris Cornell died. WTF?
     Tap google. 52. Suspected suicide. No matter, he's gone. They all go, they don't live long enough to see themselves shine like the rest see them. And they don't care. Sitting here now, blasting Louder Than Love, and sending my best thoughts to his family. 
     Bukowski once said in a letter, "Death isn't a problem for the deceased, it's a problem for the living." Or something like that. Looking back on the dead artists of the last few years, Cornell hits pretty hard. 52 years old.

     Much love to his people. Hands All Over just started. I need more coffee, and to kiss my dogs. 

     Outside it's grey and bright and warm. 
     
     

     
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Get Your Words Discovered

Good Morning, Prosers,

The way publishers find new authors might have just changed forever.

We are pleased to announce that we have joined forces with publishing giant Simon & Schuster, whose legacy includes Ernest Hemingway, Carrie Fisher, and Stephen King.

Simon & Schuster’s editing team hopes to discover the next generation of great authors by utilising our challenge feature and our social community, initially through a 500-2000 word writing challenge that ends June 1, prompting you to, “Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by Simon & Schuster’s editorial staff for consideration.”

This challenge stipulates a minimum of 500 entries and a maximum of 2,000.

We will announce the top-50 entries on June 21, 2017.

Here is the challenge URL: https://theprose.com/challenge/5367

We hope you are as excited about this as we are. If you know people who would like to get noticed by Simon & Schuster, spread the word(s).

Until next time, Prosers,

Prose.

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Get Your Words Discovered
Good Morning, Prosers,

The way publishers find new authors might have just changed forever.

We are pleased to announce that we have joined forces with publishing giant Simon & Schuster, whose legacy includes Ernest Hemingway, Carrie Fisher, and Stephen King.

Simon & Schuster’s editing team hopes to discover the next generation of great authors by utilising our challenge feature and our social community, initially through a 500-2000 word writing challenge that ends June 1, prompting you to, “Write a story, chapter, or essay about whatever you like. The 50 best entries will be announced by Prose and read by Simon & Schuster’s editorial staff for consideration.”

This challenge stipulates a minimum of 500 entries and a maximum of 2,000.

We will announce the top-50 entries on June 21, 2017.

Here is the challenge URL: https://theprose.com/challenge/5367

We hope you are as excited about this as we are. If you know people who would like to get noticed by Simon & Schuster, spread the word(s).

Until next time, Prosers,

Prose.
71
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Written by Prose in portal Prose

White rabbit.

      Austin, 2014. An idea was born into the streets. Two men walking, teeth dry from the ways of liquor. One stares in front. Downtown festival. Talks to the city ahead, but to the one walking next to him.

     I have an idea for an app. 

    Small city, the grey heat. Overcast no match. No hope to burn off the film from the damage last night. Hotel lounge, hair of the dog. The city had grown, and they were strangers now, each waiting to leave there, one by plane, one by car and dog. Talks of Prose., the font. Talks of why it would work, a family the size of a world. Strangers yet not quite. Revolt against apathy. Earned things, lost in paces too fast to retain soul, to keep their light. Drinks and words, the lobby bar turned museum for the old death of the words eaten by technology. A way out through a way back in. 

     We are all here now. 

     Thank you for being here with us. 

     Thank you.  

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
White rabbit.
      Austin, 2014. An idea was born into the streets. Two men walking, teeth dry from the ways of liquor. One stares in front. Downtown festival. Talks to the city ahead, but to the one walking next to him.
     I have an idea for an app. 
    Small city, the grey heat. Overcast no match. No hope to burn off the film from the damage last night. Hotel lounge, hair of the dog. The city had grown, and they were strangers now, each waiting to leave there, one by plane, one by car and dog. Talks of Prose., the font. Talks of why it would work, a family the size of a world. Strangers yet not quite. Revolt against apathy. Earned things, lost in paces too fast to retain soul, to keep their light. Drinks and words, the lobby bar turned museum for the old death of the words eaten by technology. A way out through a way back in. 
     We are all here now. 
     Thank you for being here with us. 
     Thank you.  
62
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Friday Feature: @Soulhearts

Somehow, it’s already Friday. This is a beautiful thing, as it means we get to hear all about another Proser in our Friday Feature. This week we have one of the most prolific Prosers on here, known and loved by many of the lovely community we have on here. You probably know her as Soulhearts, but you're about to learn much more about her!

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?

S: Soulhearts is the name I have used on all my social media. I was one of those folks that did not trust the internet when I first learned to use it (maybe that was 6-7 yrs ago) haha, don't judge. I can honestly say I am not from the techie generation. I never really divulged my real name and wanted to hide behind a pen name so the name Soulhearts stuck. But because Prose feels like family, I shall break my anonymity and introduce myself. My name is Madilyn De Leon and it's nice to meet you all.

P: Hey, Madilyn! Where do you live?

S: I live in a little corner of a country called USA , a city called Burke in the state of Virginia.

I know we have some Prosers from Virginia so ‘Hello’ to you guys! #represent

P: What is your occupation?

S: I am a stress absorber. I tenaciously bear all the stress I receive from spoiled and entitled customers everyday. Lol! Can you guess the occupation yet? If you guessed retail then you are right. I am a manager in retail for quite some time now and thus have witnessed all the blemished facets of people you wouldn't want to see. I am not complaining though. I like what I do, I just don't agree to the adage "the customer is always right" because most of the time they are not. Sshhhh! This is a secret ok? I don't want to get fired for saying this hahaha. Seriously, customers need to treat retail workers with more kindness and respect. Like the way you yourself expect to be treated.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?

S: Can I say writing is a twin that I cannot be apart from? A conjoined twin attached to my hip, heart, mind and soul. Sometimes it's like a shadow that disappears at night only to come back in the morning. I loved reading when I was younger. Started at elementary with the Golden books, Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, then on my teens with Sweet Dreams, Silhouette and Harlequin Romances. Lol. :) So eventually in High School I was exposed to literature and fell in love with Poetry. Loved the works of the great classics like Shakespeare, Eliot, the Browning's, Burns, Frost, Dickinson to name a few. So from my love of reading, I guess is where my love for writing flowed from. Unlike most of you my dear Prosers, I have not written anything in my life besides maybe a couple of assignments needed for English class back in high school. My writing adventure started around three or four year ago on an app called Heyku (name changed to Ku soon after) I saw it being promoted on Facebook and the name Heyku got me interested because I loved the poetic form Haiku. So I tried it and became one of the pioneers of that app. It was an app where you can only write three lines with a limited word count. Not restricted to writing just Haiku though, the format just looks like it's Haiku because of the three lines. That was where I started religiously writing and posting three lines every day. It was a very friendly community. So very much like Prose. I've met so many wonderful and talented writers there. Some of them are now Prosers too. Their encouragements and precious feedbacks has made my pen more confident through the years. I wrote at first not for anything else but to help me cope with what I was going through at that time. 

Now it seems like my writing has a bigger purpose. I always felt so out of place and overwhelmed with the talent I see around me. After all I do not have a degree in writing nor am I an author. But the universe is slowly letting me feel that yes, I can write and that I can inspire others through it. I am proud to say that my Three Lines has made its way in print to Grace Black's Light Lines anthology book for Three Line Thursday, a micro poetry at Into The Void Magazine's 2nd issue, and a poem in another poetry anthology book titled Luminous Echoes. Indulge me in these for these are great achievements for this little fish lost, swimming in a big ocean of words. It's still surreal to see my work in print until now. I only have gratefulness in my heart for the people who saw something good enough in my writing to put it in print.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?

S: Reading I think is like salt to a meal. Without reading a person becomes hollow (personal opinion) the meal would be tasteless, bland. Reading brings you to places you have not even seen nor imagined, it lets you experience life in the perspective of other cultures and philosophies. It cultivates a better understanding of people and the world because you expand your horizon and learn to empathize in the process. Reading feeds the brain and makes one a well-rounded individual.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures and what can we look forward to in future posts?

S: I could not say that I have a current literary venture, but who knows? Maybe someday a poetry book of my own. Something I have never really considered or imagined until now. As for my future posts, I shall continue to listen to my pen and let it steer the direction of my writing. My posts will still be mostly micro poetry. This is what I love and what I think do best.

P: What do you love about Prose?

S: What's there not to love? Prose is a haven of ridiculously talented individuals. Not just talented but kind hearted individuals. The community is very supportive. It is a conducive environment for anyone who wants to read, write and or get better at writing. There is something for everyone. You like Fiction? You got it. Poetry? Horror? Erotica? Haiku? Follow the portals you love to get the content you want to see on your stream. I also love how this app has a vision. It is continuously evolving and trying to get better. The team is very responsive to any issue. I was lost when Ku discontinued. Now I am happy to have found a home in Prose!

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?

S: It's hard to recommend just one because there are so many great books out there. But because I have to choose one then "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran is a book that I always carry with me. Not carry in my purse ok? Lol but like E.E. Cummings Poem "I Carry Your Heart With Me" it is always in my heart.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?

S: If there was a person who made me think that I could write was an English teacher back when I was a junior in high school. She praised my work in front of class. It felt good and it was something that I have never forgotten. I titled that piece "A Rainy Day". It was a short poem about the rain that included frogs, the wind, trees... until now, nature is still very evident in my work. I am alone in this reading and writing life. Not one in my family has the same interest. No one can relate to what I do. So I'm thankful I have Prose, here I find kindred souls.

P: Describe yourself in three words!

S: Passionate, Sincere, and Adventurous. I asked friends to describe me and common answers were Bubbly, Creative and Kind.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?

S: Here's a few lines regarding love in Gibran's The Prophet, Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; for love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God." Try to read at least what the book say about love. It is truly beautiful.

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?

S: I don't really have a favorite music to read or write to. This doesn't mean I don't like music though. I actually love to sing. I write best when it is quiet. Writing for me is meditative. I need silence to push my pen to bleed. Some favorite songs of mine are Stevie Nick's Landslide (i'm getting old, sentimental) when I hear this. Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird takes me to the sky with its killer instrumental/ guitar playing, makes me head bang! Hahaha! I am dizzy after every time.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?

S: Come let's ride this time machine back and change the past, find out why the books are all gone.

It will be a sad world without books, without libraries, without shelfies.

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?

S: It would be my room because that is where I usually spend time after all the hustle and bustle of daily life, I write when everything else is still and quiet.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your social media accounts?

S: Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I am also on Lettrs. Forgive me if I don't reply to friend requests on Facebook. You can always message me here or on Twitter and IG. ❤

What a marvellous interview with the lovely Soulhearts. We feel good. Do you feel good? So now you know the drill. Follow. Like. Comment. Love. Do it all and get in touch with us in the usual ways should you wish to take part or want to nominate someone you’d like to see featured here.

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Friday Feature: @Soulhearts
Somehow, it’s already Friday. This is a beautiful thing, as it means we get to hear all about another Proser in our Friday Feature. This week we have one of the most prolific Prosers on here, known and loved by many of the lovely community we have on here. You probably know her as Soulhearts, but you're about to learn much more about her!

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?
S: Soulhearts is the name I have used on all my social media. I was one of those folks that did not trust the internet when I first learned to use it (maybe that was 6-7 yrs ago) haha, don't judge. I can honestly say I am not from the techie generation. I never really divulged my real name and wanted to hide behind a pen name so the name Soulhearts stuck. But because Prose feels like family, I shall break my anonymity and introduce myself. My name is Madilyn De Leon and it's nice to meet you all.

P: Hey, Madilyn! Where do you live?
S: I live in a little corner of a country called USA , a city called Burke in the state of Virginia.

I know we have some Prosers from Virginia so ‘Hello’ to you guys! #represent

P: What is your occupation?
S: I am a stress absorber. I tenaciously bear all the stress I receive from spoiled and entitled customers everyday. Lol! Can you guess the occupation yet? If you guessed retail then you are right. I am a manager in retail for quite some time now and thus have witnessed all the blemished facets of people you wouldn't want to see. I am not complaining though. I like what I do, I just don't agree to the adage "the customer is always right" because most of the time they are not. Sshhhh! This is a secret ok? I don't want to get fired for saying this hahaha. Seriously, customers need to treat retail workers with more kindness and respect. Like the way you yourself expect to be treated.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?
S: Can I say writing is a twin that I cannot be apart from? A conjoined twin attached to my hip, heart, mind and soul. Sometimes it's like a shadow that disappears at night only to come back in the morning. I loved reading when I was younger. Started at elementary with the Golden books, Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, then on my teens with Sweet Dreams, Silhouette and Harlequin Romances. Lol. :) So eventually in High School I was exposed to literature and fell in love with Poetry. Loved the works of the great classics like Shakespeare, Eliot, the Browning's, Burns, Frost, Dickinson to name a few. So from my love of reading, I guess is where my love for writing flowed from. Unlike most of you my dear Prosers, I have not written anything in my life besides maybe a couple of assignments needed for English class back in high school. My writing adventure started around three or four year ago on an app called Heyku (name changed to Ku soon after) I saw it being promoted on Facebook and the name Heyku got me interested because I loved the poetic form Haiku. So I tried it and became one of the pioneers of that app. It was an app where you can only write three lines with a limited word count. Not restricted to writing just Haiku though, the format just looks like it's Haiku because of the three lines. That was where I started religiously writing and posting three lines every day. It was a very friendly community. So very much like Prose. I've met so many wonderful and talented writers there. Some of them are now Prosers too. Their encouragements and precious feedbacks has made my pen more confident through the years. I wrote at first not for anything else but to help me cope with what I was going through at that time. 

Now it seems like my writing has a bigger purpose. I always felt so out of place and overwhelmed with the talent I see around me. After all I do not have a degree in writing nor am I an author. But the universe is slowly letting me feel that yes, I can write and that I can inspire others through it. I am proud to say that my Three Lines has made its way in print to Grace Black's Light Lines anthology book for Three Line Thursday, a micro poetry at Into The Void Magazine's 2nd issue, and a poem in another poetry anthology book titled Luminous Echoes. Indulge me in these for these are great achievements for this little fish lost, swimming in a big ocean of words. It's still surreal to see my work in print until now. I only have gratefulness in my heart for the people who saw something good enough in my writing to put it in print.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?
S: Reading I think is like salt to a meal. Without reading a person becomes hollow (personal opinion) the meal would be tasteless, bland. Reading brings you to places you have not even seen nor imagined, it lets you experience life in the perspective of other cultures and philosophies. It cultivates a better understanding of people and the world because you expand your horizon and learn to empathize in the process. Reading feeds the brain and makes one a well-rounded individual.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures and what can we look forward to in future posts?
S: I could not say that I have a current literary venture, but who knows? Maybe someday a poetry book of my own. Something I have never really considered or imagined until now. As for my future posts, I shall continue to listen to my pen and let it steer the direction of my writing. My posts will still be mostly micro poetry. This is what I love and what I think do best.

P: What do you love about Prose?
S: What's there not to love? Prose is a haven of ridiculously talented individuals. Not just talented but kind hearted individuals. The community is very supportive. It is a conducive environment for anyone who wants to read, write and or get better at writing. There is something for everyone. You like Fiction? You got it. Poetry? Horror? Erotica? Haiku? Follow the portals you love to get the content you want to see on your stream. I also love how this app has a vision. It is continuously evolving and trying to get better. The team is very responsive to any issue. I was lost when Ku discontinued. Now I am happy to have found a home in Prose!

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?
S: It's hard to recommend just one because there are so many great books out there. But because I have to choose one then "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran is a book that I always carry with me. Not carry in my purse ok? Lol but like E.E. Cummings Poem "I Carry Your Heart With Me" it is always in my heart.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?
S: If there was a person who made me think that I could write was an English teacher back when I was a junior in high school. She praised my work in front of class. It felt good and it was something that I have never forgotten. I titled that piece "A Rainy Day". It was a short poem about the rain that included frogs, the wind, trees... until now, nature is still very evident in my work. I am alone in this reading and writing life. Not one in my family has the same interest. No one can relate to what I do. So I'm thankful I have Prose, here I find kindred souls.

P: Describe yourself in three words!
S: Passionate, Sincere, and Adventurous. I asked friends to describe me and common answers were Bubbly, Creative and Kind.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?
S: Here's a few lines regarding love in Gibran's The Prophet, Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; for love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God." Try to read at least what the book say about love. It is truly beautiful.

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?
S: I don't really have a favorite music to read or write to. This doesn't mean I don't like music though. I actually love to sing. I write best when it is quiet. Writing for me is meditative. I need silence to push my pen to bleed. Some favorite songs of mine are Stevie Nick's Landslide (i'm getting old, sentimental) when I hear this. Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird takes me to the sky with its killer instrumental/ guitar playing, makes me head bang! Hahaha! I am dizzy after every time.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?
S: Come let's ride this time machine back and change the past, find out why the books are all gone.

It will be a sad world without books, without libraries, without shelfies.

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?
S: It would be my room because that is where I usually spend time after all the hustle and bustle of daily life, I write when everything else is still and quiet.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your social media accounts?
S: Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I am also on Lettrs. Forgive me if I don't reply to friend requests on Facebook. You can always message me here or on Twitter and IG. ❤

What a marvellous interview with the lovely Soulhearts. We feel good. Do you feel good? So now you know the drill. Follow. Like. Comment. Love. Do it all and get in touch with us in the usual ways should you wish to take part or want to nominate someone you’d like to see featured here.
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Juice Me Up.

Morning, Prosers,

We interrupt your usual Prosing schedule to bring you news of our latest feature update.

As of right now, we have implemented a feature in which ALL Prosers can earn coins.

All posts now have a new button. Juice. This Juice button allows fellow Prosers to tip your words. Have you ever read a piece and thought, “Damn, that’s good?” Well now, when you do, you can show your appreciation above and beyond a like or a comment, and send them some Juice.

Prosers can donate between 10 and 10,000 coins per post to the author. Authors receive 80% royalties which will be deposited straight into the wallet of said author.

Received donations can be viewed in the “Sales History” tab on the website.

This feature is currently only available on the website. However, we are working on bringing this to iOS as we speak. Remember, you can spend your coins on both platforms, but you can only buy coins on the web. 

Once we have updated the iOS version to reflect the Juice button, push notifications to alert you of kind donations will be active.

We will also be adding a Juice button to profiles in the not-so-distant future.

Not only this, but we have also banished a number of pesky bugs too. Be gone, and good riddance!

We are working on a number of new things to keep us busy, but as always, if something isn’t working how it should be or if you have any questions, get in touch with us. We are always happy to help!

Until next time, Prosers,

Get Juicing.

Prose. 

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Juice Me Up.
Morning, Prosers,

We interrupt your usual Prosing schedule to bring you news of our latest feature update.

As of right now, we have implemented a feature in which ALL Prosers can earn coins.

All posts now have a new button. Juice. This Juice button allows fellow Prosers to tip your words. Have you ever read a piece and thought, “Damn, that’s good?” Well now, when you do, you can show your appreciation above and beyond a like or a comment, and send them some Juice.

Prosers can donate between 10 and 10,000 coins per post to the author. Authors receive 80% royalties which will be deposited straight into the wallet of said author.

Received donations can be viewed in the “Sales History” tab on the website.

This feature is currently only available on the website. However, we are working on bringing this to iOS as we speak. Remember, you can spend your coins on both platforms, but you can only buy coins on the web. 

Once we have updated the iOS version to reflect the Juice button, push notifications to alert you of kind donations will be active.

We will also be adding a Juice button to profiles in the not-so-distant future.

Not only this, but we have also banished a number of pesky bugs too. Be gone, and good riddance!

We are working on a number of new things to keep us busy, but as always, if something isn’t working how it should be or if you have any questions, get in touch with us. We are always happy to help!

Until next time, Prosers,

Get Juicing.

Prose. 
57
14
31
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Written by Prose in portal Prose

Let's Talk Prose

Good morning, Prosers.

It’s been quite the week, hasn’t it?

The last seven (ish) days has been a hive of activity here behind the Prose screens. We overhauled the Challenge Stream and we weren’t prepared for some of the concerns you guys laid across our digital desks.

We tried to answer each one of your concerns, but thought it best, now the dust has settled, to write something to each and every one of you.

Over a year ago, we took a vow of transparency and this is one of those times where we feel full transparency is needed.

There are only 4 of us on the team, and two of us have spent a long time in the past 7 days responding to each and every concern of yours, whilst working part-time on all of our Prose duties, and part-time on the PoetsIN duties.

Some of the complaints we received were misconceptions of the team and the company ethos that we have worked so hard at. So, this is us, setting the record straight. We are going to outline the concerns and comments, and put this to bed so we can continue improving Prose.

1) Default minimum word count.

This is set by default at 15. We will not be changing this any time soon. Why? Because when we allowed full flexibility, with no restriction there, our feeds were full with one word challenges. “Sorrow in one word.” “Death in one word.” Not only was this clogging the streams; we were also getting complaints about it. So we found a happy medium. With tens of thousands of users here, we had a couple of complaints about this. Not enough complaints that would make us re-think our stance.

2) Why did we charge for last week’s challenge of the week?

The first week’s charge for the challenge was to test the feature. We can test on our beta server, but know from experience that the second we unleash it on you guys, if there is a bug that we have missed, you will find it within seconds and we can fix it just as quickly.

3) Will we charge for future challenges?

Short answer, yes. Why? We’ll come back to this shortly.

4) What about those that do not have coins?

Those who do not have coins can either, a) head to the website and buy a coin package, b) become a partner and sell books/shorts/chapters, or c) write exceptional pieces that your Proser peers will juice you for. If neither a, b, or c apply to you, sit out the challenge and find one that doesn’t cost to enter.

5) Are we falling foul of “corruption to profit?” 

No. We are most certainly not. We are four people, managing a community tens of thousands larger than our foursome. We work tirelessly on this platform because we love it. This change wasn’t about profit, whatsoever. We’re humble, realistic, and realise that without charging for challenges, and taking a small cut from book sales etc, Prose won’t continue this way.

The above were the main concerns, and comments from people, said in a multitude of ways. All handled in a professional way, sometimes to-the-point, but never abrasive or rude. We are human after all and we’re damn proud of what we have achieved with such a small team and an equally small budget.

Think of how you discovered us. Was that through a large ad campaign? Nope, because we do not do that. We have grown this community organically, by spending time reaching out to people via social media and getting listed on some cool websites, that’s really it in a nutshell. Millions of man-hours go into this and we get paid less than most for the hours we put in.

We have made a tough decision. For the foreseeable, we will be charging for the Challenge of the Week. 50 cents. That’s all. There are challenges out there on the interwebs that charge a shed-load more for entering a challenge. We aren’t charging 50c to make a profit, we are charging 50c to put food on the table.

Over the past 67 weeks, we have given away $6700 in Challenge of the Week funds and have used our funding to pay for it. We haven’t asked you for a cent. The second we do, we have people asking why this “forum” can’t be free. Up until now, we have run Prose from a pool of money from generous investors who believe in what we do as much as we do. We haven’t yet made enough from Prose as a business to be able to pay our bills and such like. 

Prose is still free to use. But, if you want $100, you’ll have to pay 50 cents for the chance. We do not make enough currently to be able to keep giving free money, as much as we’d love to. There are plenty of free-to-enter challenges set by your peers that you can enter.

The more you guys buy coins, spend coins on each other, supporting the words of this amazing community, the more likely we’ll be able to offer a free-to-enter Challenge of the Week again. If we do not make enough to pay ourselves and pay the server charges, there will be no paid or free challenges. Dramatic, maybe, but that is the truth.

This does not mean Prose is failing, it does not mean we are going to ‘shut up shop,’ far from it. It’s us making you aware that these changes, along with your cooperation, will ensure our longevity.

Not all of the comments were comments of concern, and we thank each and every one of you for your continued support and for choosing Prose as your home for words.

We are working hard to tip the scales to benefit the author, and we’ve done this so far by providing numerous ways for each of you to make money with your words, with your royalties far outweighing ours.

Tomorrow we have another exciting opportunity for all of you, too, which has been months in the making. But, in the meantime, let’s recap how you can make a living on Prose.

1) Become a Prose Partner. Head here: theprose.com/p/partner. If you are accepted, you can sell your words on Prose. These can be sold as a single poem or short story, or as a book. Books can be sold per chapter, or as a whole.

2) Get involved in the Prose community, like, comment, share, and write. Write like it’s the last thing you’ll ever write; if Prosers like it, they’ll juice you.

3) Create awesome paid challenges. Prosers can actually make money from doing this.

If you would like some marketing tips from the team here, let us know, we’ll create a book in the bookstore that can help serve as a guide with some very useful tips and tricks in there. As a side-note, due to limitations with our time, we will have to charge for this book. Every little helps us, help you.

We think that’s all for now; if you have any further questions or concerns, please message or email us privately, and bear with us while we respond.

Let’s all get back to being creative, shall we?

Until next time, long live Prose!

Prose.

49
24
70
Juice
785 reads
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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Let's Talk Prose
Good morning, Prosers.

It’s been quite the week, hasn’t it?

The last seven (ish) days has been a hive of activity here behind the Prose screens. We overhauled the Challenge Stream and we weren’t prepared for some of the concerns you guys laid across our digital desks.

We tried to answer each one of your concerns, but thought it best, now the dust has settled, to write something to each and every one of you.

Over a year ago, we took a vow of transparency and this is one of those times where we feel full transparency is needed.

There are only 4 of us on the team, and two of us have spent a long time in the past 7 days responding to each and every concern of yours, whilst working part-time on all of our Prose duties, and part-time on the PoetsIN duties.

Some of the complaints we received were misconceptions of the team and the company ethos that we have worked so hard at. So, this is us, setting the record straight. We are going to outline the concerns and comments, and put this to bed so we can continue improving Prose.

1) Default minimum word count.
This is set by default at 15. We will not be changing this any time soon. Why? Because when we allowed full flexibility, with no restriction there, our feeds were full with one word challenges. “Sorrow in one word.” “Death in one word.” Not only was this clogging the streams; we were also getting complaints about it. So we found a happy medium. With tens of thousands of users here, we had a couple of complaints about this. Not enough complaints that would make us re-think our stance.

2) Why did we charge for last week’s challenge of the week?
The first week’s charge for the challenge was to test the feature. We can test on our beta server, but know from experience that the second we unleash it on you guys, if there is a bug that we have missed, you will find it within seconds and we can fix it just as quickly.

3) Will we charge for future challenges?
Short answer, yes. Why? We’ll come back to this shortly.

4) What about those that do not have coins?
Those who do not have coins can either, a) head to the website and buy a coin package, b) become a partner and sell books/shorts/chapters, or c) write exceptional pieces that your Proser peers will juice you for. If neither a, b, or c apply to you, sit out the challenge and find one that doesn’t cost to enter.

5) Are we falling foul of “corruption to profit?” 
No. We are most certainly not. We are four people, managing a community tens of thousands larger than our foursome. We work tirelessly on this platform because we love it. This change wasn’t about profit, whatsoever. We’re humble, realistic, and realise that without charging for challenges, and taking a small cut from book sales etc, Prose won’t continue this way.

The above were the main concerns, and comments from people, said in a multitude of ways. All handled in a professional way, sometimes to-the-point, but never abrasive or rude. We are human after all and we’re damn proud of what we have achieved with such a small team and an equally small budget.

Think of how you discovered us. Was that through a large ad campaign? Nope, because we do not do that. We have grown this community organically, by spending time reaching out to people via social media and getting listed on some cool websites, that’s really it in a nutshell. Millions of man-hours go into this and we get paid less than most for the hours we put in.

We have made a tough decision. For the foreseeable, we will be charging for the Challenge of the Week. 50 cents. That’s all. There are challenges out there on the interwebs that charge a shed-load more for entering a challenge. We aren’t charging 50c to make a profit, we are charging 50c to put food on the table.

Over the past 67 weeks, we have given away $6700 in Challenge of the Week funds and have used our funding to pay for it. We haven’t asked you for a cent. The second we do, we have people asking why this “forum” can’t be free. Up until now, we have run Prose from a pool of money from generous investors who believe in what we do as much as we do. We haven’t yet made enough from Prose as a business to be able to pay our bills and such like. 

Prose is still free to use. But, if you want $100, you’ll have to pay 50 cents for the chance. We do not make enough currently to be able to keep giving free money, as much as we’d love to. There are plenty of free-to-enter challenges set by your peers that you can enter.

The more you guys buy coins, spend coins on each other, supporting the words of this amazing community, the more likely we’ll be able to offer a free-to-enter Challenge of the Week again. If we do not make enough to pay ourselves and pay the server charges, there will be no paid or free challenges. Dramatic, maybe, but that is the truth.

This does not mean Prose is failing, it does not mean we are going to ‘shut up shop,’ far from it. It’s us making you aware that these changes, along with your cooperation, will ensure our longevity.

Not all of the comments were comments of concern, and we thank each and every one of you for your continued support and for choosing Prose as your home for words.

We are working hard to tip the scales to benefit the author, and we’ve done this so far by providing numerous ways for each of you to make money with your words, with your royalties far outweighing ours.

Tomorrow we have another exciting opportunity for all of you, too, which has been months in the making. But, in the meantime, let’s recap how you can make a living on Prose.

1) Become a Prose Partner. Head here: theprose.com/p/partner. If you are accepted, you can sell your words on Prose. These can be sold as a single poem or short story, or as a book. Books can be sold per chapter, or as a whole.

2) Get involved in the Prose community, like, comment, share, and write. Write like it’s the last thing you’ll ever write; if Prosers like it, they’ll juice you.

3) Create awesome paid challenges. Prosers can actually make money from doing this.

If you would like some marketing tips from the team here, let us know, we’ll create a book in the bookstore that can help serve as a guide with some very useful tips and tricks in there. As a side-note, due to limitations with our time, we will have to charge for this book. Every little helps us, help you.

We think that’s all for now; if you have any further questions or concerns, please message or email us privately, and bear with us while we respond.

Let’s all get back to being creative, shall we?

Until next time, long live Prose!

Prose.

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Written by Prose in portal Prose

Shadow Counselor: For Prosers in Crisis.

Good Morning, Prosers,

This blog piece is a little different from the usual, I (@sammielee46) am not writing this in my usual Prosey voice, with Prose at the forefront of my mind, I am writing it as me, the woman who just so happens to work at Prose.

I am tackling a sensitive subject and I hope that those of you who read it find me writing about personal experience somewhat comforting and perhaps slightly hopeful if any of you are going through a period of darkness. That being said, I touch upon the subject of suicide and mental illness and felt it appropriate to disclose that fact before you start reading.

The whole team have discussed what we can do to help those of Prose who are in crisis; above and beyond providing a safe place to share your words. It is from this conversation that we would like to announce a new profile for any Proser to contact if they are in crisis. It is a profile run by the team. We as individuals believe everyone deserves to be heard, and we are here to listen. @shadowcounselor is the profile handle and is there for you to talk to someone should you find yourself in difficulty.

Since the birth of social media, writers have begun to find the strength and courage to share their words with others, unsurprisingly, some of those posts have been posts coming from a place of deep emotional pain. As writers, we purge those feelings across the page, the ugliness of our inner-demons leaving trails of pixelated pain with every word we type.

It’s no secret that there have been numerous medical papers written to prove the psychological benefits writing has upon those of us who have suffered with mental health problems.

I am writing this piece from a place of understanding. Mental health difficulties have been prevalent throughout my childhood, and my adult years, touching family members, friends, and even myself.

I recall the first time I brushed up against the cruelty of depression was with my mother at the age of around 11. She suffered a nervous breakdown whilst she was at work and I will always remember the look of emptiness that rested on her expression for months afterward. She was put on the strongest medication possible, and at that point, I’d lost my mum as I had previously known her. I became a mother to my mother, I was no longer a child. I had to step up and it was the first time I knew true fear. What I didn’t understand then, was how much strength and courage she had.

Mental illness is no joke, it can change your life forever. It’s debilitating and still often a taboo subject, a subject that heartless people often question, even now, in this day and age. For someone who has just had a nervous breakdown, or a panic attack, just getting out of bed takes an inner strength that would never have been used before. I saw this within my mum. She may have been a walking zombie because of her meds, but she was still fighting.

I remember questioning my granddad's way of dealing with my mother; “Think yourself a pair of curtains and pull yourself together.” This was not the way to speak to someone whose mind and soul wanted to sleep for an eternity. This wasn’t the way to help my mum. In fact, I’m sure she’d tell you right now that it made her worse. She was already placing enough pressure upon herself to “get better” and those kinds of phrases, only exacerbated her self-berating when she wasn’t feeling any better.

Her moods were interchangeable and I felt so hopeless. She became suicidal and sat alone one night while I was in bed, with a plethora of tablets ready to take her own life. Why didn’t she? Because she saw a picture of her children, of my brother and me, and chose to stay for us.

Years pass and she still has the dark days, the days where the black clouds descend and you can’t see through the thick fog of depression, but she also has good ones now, the type where the sky is blue, and the sea is clear; where you can see the horizon and the breaking of dawn in the distance. I wish she had Prose way back when, and I wish she’d utilise Prose now, but she doubts herself too much to even put pixel to page.

My own personal journey with depression and anxiety, comes directly from the fear I felt in my childhood, the grief I felt after losing my grandmother to cancer, the trauma from giving birth to a seriously unwell child and feeling like I was to blame, like I grew her wrong, the feelings of being a constant disappointment to everyone around me, the sheer disgust I felt with myself that I would never amount to anything because I was too dumb, or just not good enough.

My first panic attack came from nowhere, it crippled me, I cannot even tell you what triggered it. I was lost in a haze of smoke filled panic, that filled my lungs and suffocated me at the throat. Of course, I panicked even more, resulting in cold sweats, tingly fingers, a racing heart, and a thought train that could be heard across the globe from its supersonic boom from surpassing the speed barrier.

I have always been a friendly character, one who is quite sociable to those whom I “let in,” but this event left me shutting myself away. Panic attack number one was the first of many during that evening, and the days following. When I look back upon it now, I can see the subsequent attacks were me overthinking what had just happened and bringing on more panic because of that.

For the two weeks that followed that evening, I slept my panic away. It was the only time I didn’t feel anxious. At this point in time, I was freelancing within the world of marketing so I took that time away and literally hibernated in my bed, scared that I would never be the same again.

Writing has always been something I love, I started writing stories at the age of four, and I turned my back on it. I was truly crippled by the fear of feeling the way that I did before. Until I picked up my pen and paper and started writing about the darkness that was consuming me.

I wrote and I wrote. It was painful, scary too, but when I had finished and put the period at the end of the last sentence I wrote, I felt proud that I had manage to externalise all of the pain and fear that I was trying to compartmentalise inside. I was scared that if I wrote it out, it would become more true; I certainly wouldn’t have spoken about my problems out loud, just thinking about them made me anxious.

I learned something from writing those feelings there.

It took strength. A strength I never knew I had. Not only that but it made me feel slightly better. The more I wrote, the more I started to feel the mist ascend, and I was lucky to have the power of words to aid me through my torment. That is for sure.

I think back to the time that our closest family friend ended up with severe depression and anxiety; she was the happiest woman I knew, so bubbly and exuberant, full of laughter and smiles. We had no idea the sheer black she harboured within her soul. That was until her daughter called us and told us that her mother had hung herself from her roof rafters. She had taken her own life because death, the unknown, was the easiest solution, rather than sticking with what she knew, pain and distress. I sometimes wonder, if she wrote out her thoughts and feelings, in a poem or journal, whether she would still be here.

I’ve lost a friend through suicide, I have had friends attempt suicide, and family members who have used self-harm to try and purge their pain. I wish they would pick up a pen, or use Prose to expel what I know causes them deep emotional pain. But they don’t and I will forever recommend that they do because of my personal experience with words.

The whole point of me sharing an insight into my own personal relationship with mental health problems is to illustrate one thing; words may not heal, but they help. Every one of us here feels. Every one of us will have a point in our lives where the thoughts that overcome us are not pretty ones. It’s what we do with those thoughts and how we release those pains that counts.

Prose has such a wonderful community. One full of supportive, understanding, and caring individuals. It’s a place where there isn’t judgement upon the words you write or the thoughts you project. It truly is a safe haven for all of us to eject the unwanted pieces of our minds, without fear of rebuttal, without worry that we are wrong for feeling the way we do. This is what makes Prose, Prose. A unique place, our home for many reasons.

I want to extend my ear to anyone who feels as though they cannot pick up their digital pen and scribble those thoughts down, for whatever reason. Why? Because we have a voice, and we all deserve the right to be heard.

If any of you ever find yourselves in crisis, that is what the @shadowcounselor profile is there for. To be heard, less of judgement. I am no professional therapist, but one thing I can promise is that I will listen without judgement or prejudice, and I know my fellow teammates will join me within my endeavour.

Until next time, Prosers,

Sammie.

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Shadow Counselor: For Prosers in Crisis.
Good Morning, Prosers,

This blog piece is a little different from the usual, I (@sammielee46) am not writing this in my usual Prosey voice, with Prose at the forefront of my mind, I am writing it as me, the woman who just so happens to work at Prose.

I am tackling a sensitive subject and I hope that those of you who read it find me writing about personal experience somewhat comforting and perhaps slightly hopeful if any of you are going through a period of darkness. That being said, I touch upon the subject of suicide and mental illness and felt it appropriate to disclose that fact before you start reading.

The whole team have discussed what we can do to help those of Prose who are in crisis; above and beyond providing a safe place to share your words. It is from this conversation that we would like to announce a new profile for any Proser to contact if they are in crisis. It is a profile run by the team. We as individuals believe everyone deserves to be heard, and we are here to listen. @shadowcounselor is the profile handle and is there for you to talk to someone should you find yourself in difficulty.

Since the birth of social media, writers have begun to find the strength and courage to share their words with others, unsurprisingly, some of those posts have been posts coming from a place of deep emotional pain. As writers, we purge those feelings across the page, the ugliness of our inner-demons leaving trails of pixelated pain with every word we type.

It’s no secret that there have been numerous medical papers written to prove the psychological benefits writing has upon those of us who have suffered with mental health problems.

I am writing this piece from a place of understanding. Mental health difficulties have been prevalent throughout my childhood, and my adult years, touching family members, friends, and even myself.

I recall the first time I brushed up against the cruelty of depression was with my mother at the age of around 11. She suffered a nervous breakdown whilst she was at work and I will always remember the look of emptiness that rested on her expression for months afterward. She was put on the strongest medication possible, and at that point, I’d lost my mum as I had previously known her. I became a mother to my mother, I was no longer a child. I had to step up and it was the first time I knew true fear. What I didn’t understand then, was how much strength and courage she had.

Mental illness is no joke, it can change your life forever. It’s debilitating and still often a taboo subject, a subject that heartless people often question, even now, in this day and age. For someone who has just had a nervous breakdown, or a panic attack, just getting out of bed takes an inner strength that would never have been used before. I saw this within my mum. She may have been a walking zombie because of her meds, but she was still fighting.

I remember questioning my granddad's way of dealing with my mother; “Think yourself a pair of curtains and pull yourself together.” This was not the way to speak to someone whose mind and soul wanted to sleep for an eternity. This wasn’t the way to help my mum. In fact, I’m sure she’d tell you right now that it made her worse. She was already placing enough pressure upon herself to “get better” and those kinds of phrases, only exacerbated her self-berating when she wasn’t feeling any better.

Her moods were interchangeable and I felt so hopeless. She became suicidal and sat alone one night while I was in bed, with a plethora of tablets ready to take her own life. Why didn’t she? Because she saw a picture of her children, of my brother and me, and chose to stay for us.

Years pass and she still has the dark days, the days where the black clouds descend and you can’t see through the thick fog of depression, but she also has good ones now, the type where the sky is blue, and the sea is clear; where you can see the horizon and the breaking of dawn in the distance. I wish she had Prose way back when, and I wish she’d utilise Prose now, but she doubts herself too much to even put pixel to page.

My own personal journey with depression and anxiety, comes directly from the fear I felt in my childhood, the grief I felt after losing my grandmother to cancer, the trauma from giving birth to a seriously unwell child and feeling like I was to blame, like I grew her wrong, the feelings of being a constant disappointment to everyone around me, the sheer disgust I felt with myself that I would never amount to anything because I was too dumb, or just not good enough.

My first panic attack came from nowhere, it crippled me, I cannot even tell you what triggered it. I was lost in a haze of smoke filled panic, that filled my lungs and suffocated me at the throat. Of course, I panicked even more, resulting in cold sweats, tingly fingers, a racing heart, and a thought train that could be heard across the globe from its supersonic boom from surpassing the speed barrier.

I have always been a friendly character, one who is quite sociable to those whom I “let in,” but this event left me shutting myself away. Panic attack number one was the first of many during that evening, and the days following. When I look back upon it now, I can see the subsequent attacks were me overthinking what had just happened and bringing on more panic because of that.

For the two weeks that followed that evening, I slept my panic away. It was the only time I didn’t feel anxious. At this point in time, I was freelancing within the world of marketing so I took that time away and literally hibernated in my bed, scared that I would never be the same again.

Writing has always been something I love, I started writing stories at the age of four, and I turned my back on it. I was truly crippled by the fear of feeling the way that I did before. Until I picked up my pen and paper and started writing about the darkness that was consuming me.

I wrote and I wrote. It was painful, scary too, but when I had finished and put the period at the end of the last sentence I wrote, I felt proud that I had manage to externalise all of the pain and fear that I was trying to compartmentalise inside. I was scared that if I wrote it out, it would become more true; I certainly wouldn’t have spoken about my problems out loud, just thinking about them made me anxious.

I learned something from writing those feelings there.

It took strength. A strength I never knew I had. Not only that but it made me feel slightly better. The more I wrote, the more I started to feel the mist ascend, and I was lucky to have the power of words to aid me through my torment. That is for sure.

I think back to the time that our closest family friend ended up with severe depression and anxiety; she was the happiest woman I knew, so bubbly and exuberant, full of laughter and smiles. We had no idea the sheer black she harboured within her soul. That was until her daughter called us and told us that her mother had hung herself from her roof rafters. She had taken her own life because death, the unknown, was the easiest solution, rather than sticking with what she knew, pain and distress. I sometimes wonder, if she wrote out her thoughts and feelings, in a poem or journal, whether she would still be here.

I’ve lost a friend through suicide, I have had friends attempt suicide, and family members who have used self-harm to try and purge their pain. I wish they would pick up a pen, or use Prose to expel what I know causes them deep emotional pain. But they don’t and I will forever recommend that they do because of my personal experience with words.

The whole point of me sharing an insight into my own personal relationship with mental health problems is to illustrate one thing; words may not heal, but they help. Every one of us here feels. Every one of us will have a point in our lives where the thoughts that overcome us are not pretty ones. It’s what we do with those thoughts and how we release those pains that counts.

Prose has such a wonderful community. One full of supportive, understanding, and caring individuals. It’s a place where there isn’t judgement upon the words you write or the thoughts you project. It truly is a safe haven for all of us to eject the unwanted pieces of our minds, without fear of rebuttal, without worry that we are wrong for feeling the way we do. This is what makes Prose, Prose. A unique place, our home for many reasons.

I want to extend my ear to anyone who feels as though they cannot pick up their digital pen and scribble those thoughts down, for whatever reason. Why? Because we have a voice, and we all deserve the right to be heard.

If any of you ever find yourselves in crisis, that is what the @shadowcounselor profile is there for. To be heard, less of judgement. I am no professional therapist, but one thing I can promise is that I will listen without judgement or prejudice, and I know my fellow teammates will join me within my endeavour.

Until next time, Prosers,


Sammie.
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Friday Feature: @JamesMByers

It’s Friday. It’s a good Friday. And it’s actually Good Friday! Of course, every Friday we hungrily delve into a Proser's life in our Friday Feature. This week is no exception, yet is exceptional, as we are finding out all about a Proser that many of us know and love, but want to know more about. He actually answered our questions a while ago, but silly me (Paul), didn't post it for some reason! Please be upstanding for JamesMByers!

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?

J: Greetings Prose. I'm James Matthew Byers. You guys know me as @JamesMByers.

P: Where do you live?

J: I reside in Wellington, AL. What's special about that? Wellington, New Zealand happens to be where Peter Jackson filmed much of The Lord of the Rings films. I'd like to think of my home as a displaced component of the Shire. After all, our dog is named Arwen … My wife and two of my four children live with me in our above ground “Hobbit hole.”

P: What is your occupation?

J: By day, I'm a mild mannered middle school teacher. But when the sun sets, the mask appears. Then I am James Matthew Byers, writer, poet, and illustrator. Outside of my day job, I'm on the crew at Stitched Smile Publications, LLC as their resident illustrator.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?

J: Writing has been an essential element for most of my life. I've been crafting stories and illustrating them since, believe it or not, age three. In sixth grade I had the pleasure of being introduced to poetry via Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” It altered the course of my life forever. I began writing songs and poems. I wrote novellas. I illustrated everything. Through education and practice, I have evolved into a focused poet who utilizes rhyming mechanisms to primarily express what's in my soul. I've grown leaps and bounds with the use of meter. I wrote my first rhyming tale my senior year in high school. We had to construct a story similar to Chaucer’s style in “The Canterbury Tales.” I fell in love with combing story telling and rhyming. The rest, as they say, is history.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?

J: Reading is why I'm here. I've been an avid reader my whole life. I taught middle school English and reading for ten years. Staying in books increases your vocabulary. It also teaches how plot devices are applied and how characters grow and change in their development. I've read nearly every DragonLance novel out there. Lewis and Tolkien are influences. There are so many! I'm an advocate for people to visit the classics, like “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “Dracula,” “A Princess of Mars,” and so many other wonderful maps we all need to follow. I read to relax, and professionally, I read to stay relevant. As a writer, you must possess “withitness.”

P: Can you describe your current and future literary ventures?

J: Currently I'm working on several projects for Stitched Smile Publications. I've got a rhyming story called “The Secrets That We Keep” in their latest anthology. It's called Unleashed: Monsters Vs. Zombies. I've also got anther mini epic called “Killer Jelly Beans from Outer Space” in a collection of Easter themed horror tales called Collected Easter Horror Shorts. It's something that a wonderful fellow named Kevin J. Kennedy put together. And there will be sequels to my current release, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic. In May, my poem, “The Dinner Fly,” will be in Weirdbook Magazine issue #35. I'm also going to be in an upcoming issue of Grievous Angel. (http://www.urbanfantasist.com/grievous-angel) The poem is titled “Conundrum of the Irish Sea.” As far as posts here at Prose, the skies the limit. I'll be crafting some nifty story poems, entering challenges, and offering a few surprises.

P: What do you love about Prose?

J: Prose has risen to the top of my favorite social media outlets. This is where I've found my tribe. I enjoy encouraging other writers and poets. I enjoy sharing my work with a community who get it; get me. I'm plugging it like crazy on all my social media venues. I wake up excited every day to see new faces and old friends publish their works. You can't get that kind of excitement just any where. I'm still I awe that I've won three of the weekly challenges. What do I love about Prose? EVERYTHING!!!

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?

J: There are so many great books! The classics would be an easy go to, but I'm going to plug a literary hero of mine. J. Robert Kings “Hellmaw: The Incubus Tweets” is my sacrificial lamb. It's out now from The Ed Greenwood Group. (Onder Librum) It's hip, relevant, and quite humorous. This generation would get it, and for reading to be relatable conquers many battles in the most simplistic of fashions. The protagonist/antagonist, Frank Demonkowski keeps you in stitches. I'd like everyone to laugh hardly as they go gently into that good night …

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?

J: My senior English teacher, Marie Duncan, definitely played a critical role in who I am today. She's my friend on Facebook. Recently she celebrated her eightieth birthday. I'm so happy she's getting to see me break into this wonderful industry!

P: Describe yourself in three words!

J: Enthusiastic, poetic, unique

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?

J: “To a young heart everything is fun.” – Charles Dickens

P: Favourite music to write and/or read to?

J: I'm into so many facets of music. If I'm reading or writing, I primarily stick with soundtrack scores. Conan the Barbarian is a fave. I also love The Last of the Mohicans. Anything John Williams will do. When I illustrate, I alternate between classical, symphonic metal, and Garbage. I've created many entries into the art world while thumping along to “Version 2.0.”

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?

J:

Once upon a time we had to write our stories down.

Now you have no books that I have noticed in your town.

What's a book? I'm glad you asked- I'll fill you in right here.

Paper bound containing words, they filled the mind with cheer.

Some expressed a broken heart, and some expressed its joy.

Some related grown adults, and some a girl or boy.

Some expressed adventure and some told a tragic tale.

Some invoked emotion and some helped us to prevail.

Some taught lessons granted and some talked about the past.

Books were lovely in design; I'm sad they didn't last.

My idea birthing new- you have to make this right.

Grab some paper and a pen, and watch me shed some light.

Do you all tell stories? Yes, I thought you surely did.

Even if they come from someone who is just a kid-

Write them down and share their worth- bring back the written word!

This is what I leave with you; I hope I'm being heard.

I must go back to my home, but spread these newfound strengths.

Reading will evolve your kind and take you to great lengths.

Put it all together and have others take a look.

Now you know what you have missed; I've given back the book …

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

J: In 2010 I graduate from Jacksonville State University with my Master's in Secondary English/ Language Arts Education. My bachelor’s degree is in liberal arts with a concentration in English/Lit. Having a solid background in poetry has molded me into a more prolific and precise writer. Before attending JSU, I took art courses from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, or better known as U. A. B. I've written several poetry compilations and have been published through JSU as well. I do have an unpublished novel that doesn't rhyme. I'm saving it. I just love telling tales that use verse to explore the situation at hand. I reworked “Beowulf” into rhyming iambic tetrameter. I mentioned the title earlier- Beowulf: The Midgard Epic. It stays true to the original in every way. The only difference is it rhymes. It also contains “The Wanderer” as an epilogue. I've always felt that classic tale was none other than Wiglaf, the young hero who aided Beowulf against the dragon. I did the cover and interior illustrations. I'm signed with a wonderful indie press called Stitched Smile Publications, LLC. I believe I mentioned I'm their resident illustrator earlier. They have many talented authors on board. In fact, several of them are here at Prose! If you're a fan of horror and dark fantasy, they've got what you need. I'm including the link to their website below. I'm a poet first, but I'm also a story teller and an artist. I want to share, motivate, and inspire the literary community abroad. I want to make rhyming hip again. I've always wanted to be a combination of Dr. Seuss and J. R. R. Tolkien. More than anything, I want to encourage everyone out there to follow their dreams. If you believe you can, you will. Thanks for having me, Prose!

Here are a few ways to find me:

http://jamesmatthewbyers.wordpress.com

https://m.facebook.com/Mattbyers40/

www.Twitter.com/MattByers40

https://theprose.com/JamesMByers

https://www.wattpad.com/user/JamesMatthewByers

http://www.stitchedsmilepublications.com/

Well thank you very much, James. It may have been a while coming, but it was worth it. 

You know what to do now – follow, like, comment, love and do all those things that make us as a community unique.

As ever, if you want to feature, or you want someone to feature, get in touch on info@theprose.com

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Friday Feature: @JamesMByers
It’s Friday. It’s a good Friday. And it’s actually Good Friday! Of course, every Friday we hungrily delve into a Proser's life in our Friday Feature. This week is no exception, yet is exceptional, as we are finding out all about a Proser that many of us know and love, but want to know more about. He actually answered our questions a while ago, but silly me (Paul), didn't post it for some reason! Please be upstanding for JamesMByers!

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?
J: Greetings Prose. I'm James Matthew Byers. You guys know me as @JamesMByers.

P: Where do you live?
J: I reside in Wellington, AL. What's special about that? Wellington, New Zealand happens to be where Peter Jackson filmed much of The Lord of the Rings films. I'd like to think of my home as a displaced component of the Shire. After all, our dog is named Arwen … My wife and two of my four children live with me in our above ground “Hobbit hole.”

P: What is your occupation?
J: By day, I'm a mild mannered middle school teacher. But when the sun sets, the mask appears. Then I am James Matthew Byers, writer, poet, and illustrator. Outside of my day job, I'm on the crew at Stitched Smile Publications, LLC as their resident illustrator.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?
J: Writing has been an essential element for most of my life. I've been crafting stories and illustrating them since, believe it or not, age three. In sixth grade I had the pleasure of being introduced to poetry via Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” It altered the course of my life forever. I began writing songs and poems. I wrote novellas. I illustrated everything. Through education and practice, I have evolved into a focused poet who utilizes rhyming mechanisms to primarily express what's in my soul. I've grown leaps and bounds with the use of meter. I wrote my first rhyming tale my senior year in high school. We had to construct a story similar to Chaucer’s style in “The Canterbury Tales.” I fell in love with combing story telling and rhyming. The rest, as they say, is history.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?
J: Reading is why I'm here. I've been an avid reader my whole life. I taught middle school English and reading for ten years. Staying in books increases your vocabulary. It also teaches how plot devices are applied and how characters grow and change in their development. I've read nearly every DragonLance novel out there. Lewis and Tolkien are influences. There are so many! I'm an advocate for people to visit the classics, like “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “Dracula,” “A Princess of Mars,” and so many other wonderful maps we all need to follow. I read to relax, and professionally, I read to stay relevant. As a writer, you must possess “withitness.”

P: Can you describe your current and future literary ventures?
J: Currently I'm working on several projects for Stitched Smile Publications. I've got a rhyming story called “The Secrets That We Keep” in their latest anthology. It's called Unleashed: Monsters Vs. Zombies. I've also got anther mini epic called “Killer Jelly Beans from Outer Space” in a collection of Easter themed horror tales called Collected Easter Horror Shorts. It's something that a wonderful fellow named Kevin J. Kennedy put together. And there will be sequels to my current release, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic. In May, my poem, “The Dinner Fly,” will be in Weirdbook Magazine issue #35. I'm also going to be in an upcoming issue of Grievous Angel. (http://www.urbanfantasist.com/grievous-angel) The poem is titled “Conundrum of the Irish Sea.” As far as posts here at Prose, the skies the limit. I'll be crafting some nifty story poems, entering challenges, and offering a few surprises.

P: What do you love about Prose?
J: Prose has risen to the top of my favorite social media outlets. This is where I've found my tribe. I enjoy encouraging other writers and poets. I enjoy sharing my work with a community who get it; get me. I'm plugging it like crazy on all my social media venues. I wake up excited every day to see new faces and old friends publish their works. You can't get that kind of excitement just any where. I'm still I awe that I've won three of the weekly challenges. What do I love about Prose? EVERYTHING!!!

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?
J: There are so many great books! The classics would be an easy go to, but I'm going to plug a literary hero of mine. J. Robert Kings “Hellmaw: The Incubus Tweets” is my sacrificial lamb. It's out now from The Ed Greenwood Group. (Onder Librum) It's hip, relevant, and quite humorous. This generation would get it, and for reading to be relatable conquers many battles in the most simplistic of fashions. The protagonist/antagonist, Frank Demonkowski keeps you in stitches. I'd like everyone to laugh hardly as they go gently into that good night …

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?
J: My senior English teacher, Marie Duncan, definitely played a critical role in who I am today. She's my friend on Facebook. Recently she celebrated her eightieth birthday. I'm so happy she's getting to see me break into this wonderful industry!

P: Describe yourself in three words!
J: Enthusiastic, poetic, unique

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?
J: “To a young heart everything is fun.” – Charles Dickens

P: Favourite music to write and/or read to?
J: I'm into so many facets of music. If I'm reading or writing, I primarily stick with soundtrack scores. Conan the Barbarian is a fave. I also love The Last of the Mohicans. Anything John Williams will do. When I illustrate, I alternate between classical, symphonic metal, and Garbage. I've created many entries into the art world while thumping along to “Version 2.0.”

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?
J:
Once upon a time we had to write our stories down.
Now you have no books that I have noticed in your town.
What's a book? I'm glad you asked- I'll fill you in right here.
Paper bound containing words, they filled the mind with cheer.
Some expressed a broken heart, and some expressed its joy.
Some related grown adults, and some a girl or boy.
Some expressed adventure and some told a tragic tale.
Some invoked emotion and some helped us to prevail.
Some taught lessons granted and some talked about the past.
Books were lovely in design; I'm sad they didn't last.
My idea birthing new- you have to make this right.
Grab some paper and a pen, and watch me shed some light.
Do you all tell stories? Yes, I thought you surely did.
Even if they come from someone who is just a kid-
Write them down and share their worth- bring back the written word!
This is what I leave with you; I hope I'm being heard.
I must go back to my home, but spread these newfound strengths.
Reading will evolve your kind and take you to great lengths.
Put it all together and have others take a look.
Now you know what you have missed; I've given back the book …

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
J: In 2010 I graduate from Jacksonville State University with my Master's in Secondary English/ Language Arts Education. My bachelor’s degree is in liberal arts with a concentration in English/Lit. Having a solid background in poetry has molded me into a more prolific and precise writer. Before attending JSU, I took art courses from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, or better known as U. A. B. I've written several poetry compilations and have been published through JSU as well. I do have an unpublished novel that doesn't rhyme. I'm saving it. I just love telling tales that use verse to explore the situation at hand. I reworked “Beowulf” into rhyming iambic tetrameter. I mentioned the title earlier- Beowulf: The Midgard Epic. It stays true to the original in every way. The only difference is it rhymes. It also contains “The Wanderer” as an epilogue. I've always felt that classic tale was none other than Wiglaf, the young hero who aided Beowulf against the dragon. I did the cover and interior illustrations. I'm signed with a wonderful indie press called Stitched Smile Publications, LLC. I believe I mentioned I'm their resident illustrator earlier. They have many talented authors on board. In fact, several of them are here at Prose! If you're a fan of horror and dark fantasy, they've got what you need. I'm including the link to their website below. I'm a poet first, but I'm also a story teller and an artist. I want to share, motivate, and inspire the literary community abroad. I want to make rhyming hip again. I've always wanted to be a combination of Dr. Seuss and J. R. R. Tolkien. More than anything, I want to encourage everyone out there to follow their dreams. If you believe you can, you will. Thanks for having me, Prose!

Here are a few ways to find me:
http://jamesmatthewbyers.wordpress.com
https://m.facebook.com/Mattbyers40/
www.Twitter.com/MattByers40
https://theprose.com/JamesMByers
https://www.wattpad.com/user/JamesMatthewByers
http://www.stitchedsmilepublications.com/

Well thank you very much, James. It may have been a while coming, but it was worth it. 

You know what to do now – follow, like, comment, love and do all those things that make us as a community unique.

As ever, if you want to feature, or you want someone to feature, get in touch on info@theprose.com
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Friday Feature: @Harlequin

A week has shot by once again - awesome! It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for many people’s favourite thing: Friday Feature. This week is a doozy! We meet and find out about a Proser that many are intrigued by. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you @Harlequin

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?

H: It is difficult to imagine anybody seriously naming their child “Harlequin” without laughing. However I must admit, if I ever were to have a child, it’s likely they would be cursed with something just as strange if not worse, probably to their immense embarrassment growing up. But at least I’m consistent.

Endeavoring to bring more color into the literary world, as well as illuminate some philosophies that intertwine artist and creation, I renamed myself Harlequin Grim, and I prefer to keep that the mask behind my writing. The name illustrates a recurring motif in my life that intrigues me endlessly: the tricky dance of persisting within dualistic natures constantly affecting our lives. Inspired, empty, living, dying, etc.

On Prose, it is simply Harlequin.

P: Where do you live?

H: I reside in Portland, Oregon, where it doesn’t ever seem to stop raining, and the trees, consequently, are ever sprouting. Moving here was a hasty retreat from its antithesis: Southern California, where I grew up.

P: What is your occupation?

H: I wish I could say what pays for my expenses is a job related to literature, or at least a professional gig as a court jester, but the former is in development while the latter is outdated by a handful of centuries (I really missed the boat). Although I write as much as I attend my day job, currently I work at a quaint neighborhood café, pulling shots from an espresso machine that is nearly triple my age. At home, I push my sleep schedule to its edges, pursuing my writing after the daily rush.

Oh gods … I’m a cliché, aren’t I?

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?

H: Devout. Multiple times since I started, I have attempted to distance myself from writing, only to be stunned by how it seemed integral to me living happily. It became a blessing as well as a curse, something positively affixed to me. Overtime, it has become more and more difficult to imagine a life without stories constantly evolving in the back of my head. Not giving them the time to express themselves feels torturous. This isn’t all that glamorous, but if I am being entirely honest, I am more temperamental when I haven’t written in a few days.

When I was first introduced to creative writing, it was purely for the sake of escapism. As years wore on and I grew into thicker skins, my stories became less about ‘venting’ and more about expressing, reflecting, and articulating my philosophies through the actions of my characters.

Somewhere in the middle of high school, I felt an incredible desire not only to connect but to inspire, and similarly, to illustrate characters growing beyond weaknesses so as to embrace deeper strengths, more enriching perspectives. Although I cannot foretell what writing will be to me in the future, currently, my aim is to depict as many intricacies of the human condition as possible, whether they be pleasant to look at or horrifying. I attempt to illustrate what it means to struggle, to grow, to love, live and die, searching for all those cascading layers of meaning bursting between beginning and end.

Ultimately, it is an attempt to show what opportunity dwells beneath the surface of suffering, that happiness is not only within joy, nor sadness in sorrow, and art not only in deliberate acts of creation, rather that all these things interweave in patterns of perception. I choose to perceive living as an art, an opportunity not to be squandered, and writing, my preferred medium for expressing as much.

I wish to tell tales which invigorate us to live as we would craft our characters, in a journey of actualization through conscious living.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?

H: Since I see living as a kind of seamless art, it is all quite personal, and since I aim to make it my profession—quite professional. So, any answer will be one and the same.

More superficially, I find I am more articulate during sprees of reading. Typically, after I close a book, I feel more cognizant of subtle details around me. As a result, I challenge myself to be more meticulous with how I speak and act. It helps me envision myself as a protagonist instead of a lost soul.

Beyond that, I do not entertain any delusions of being particularly brilliant or innovative, so whenever I pick up a book, I am hoping to have my expectations pushed, my truths questioned. Simply, to learn. It would be something of a pity to pick up a book for the sake of reinforcing old patterns of thinking.

Perhaps most importantly, it helps me observe through another pair of eyes. It coaxes me from the dusty corners of my own head to instead indulge in another author’s interpretations of reality, making the world that much more dynamic. I suffer greatly from a lack of originality; the works of other artists are crucial to feeding imagination.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures and what can we look forward to in future posts?

H: Last Halloween I published a fantasy novel, The Lupine Curse, through Amazon. Although I was incredibly excited to have a fully developed work prancing about on the internet for the first time, even before I was finished editing that piece, I was already working on another.

Recently, one of my short stories won a weekly contest through Prose about tyranny. The story was entitled The Remedy. Little did everyone know, it was not a short story at all, but the first chapter of my next novel: The Culling of Casimir! If you will be so polite, kindly imagine maniacal laughter behind that sentence, but ignore the ensuing, embarrassing fit of coughing. Consider yourself playfully deceived, and hopefully excited, since I will be posting the novel by chapters, every Saturday via Prose, starting February 25th. If you read The Remedy, you can imagine how the story has little room for slow expeditions. I must warn you: I am fully determined to shackle you to the pages if you give me the slightest chance.

Aside from The Culling of Casimir, I will be compiling recent works of poetry and short fiction into books that will also become available, not only electronically, but hopefully through prints. The more support I receive, the more I can do to get physical objects of whimsy into the hands of anybody avid enough to receive them.

As always, I will be posting frequently to Prose as well as my website, unless, of course, I am hit by a bus or dragged off into the skies by a gargoyle. You’ll know I’m dead when my words stop sprouting up.

P: What do you love about Prose?

H: There is an undeniable sense of enthusiasm that the creators have for it that has ignited the community to respond in a cyclical relationship of encouraging free expression. I also enjoy the more personal interactions between writer and reader, or rather writer to writer.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?

H: The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone and Benjamin Zander, applicable not only to writers but anyone who wants to harvest as much as they can from living. For anyone going through a period of darkness or simply looking to add more edge to their vitality, this book is indispensable, something I will read multiple times before I die

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?

H: My oldest brother always had a way of coaxing out my most ridiculous fantasies, encouraging me to consider philosophies and lifestyles that were either challenging or seemingly impractical. Above all else, he encouraged me to flesh out my individuality, sacrificing conformity for personal expression.

P: Describe yourself in three words!

H: Foolish, ardent, introspective.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?

H: “Life is too short not to create something with every breath we draw.” - Maynard James Keenan

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?

H: My crux is seeking specific tracks to suit my mood when I am writing, which can sometimes impede the process. Since different scenes desire different songs and genres to guide the mood, my tastes are incredibly broad, but when it comes to deciding my favorite music, it would have to be the bands Puscifer, Tool, and A Perfect Circle in that order. I’d rather not reveal how many t-shirts, posters, and concert tickets I’ve collected for these groups over the years.

Also, yes! The album ‘Lateralus’ by Tool inspired me to create Fenris, the protagonist of The Lupine Curse, so I had it playing in the background for much of the writing process.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?

H: “You really don’t have any books?”

“What is a book?”

“All right, everybody gather around the fire. This is going to take a while to explain. You see, it all began with …”

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?

H: That place where intuition, diction, imagination and reflection merge, to create a timeless location in which it feels as if there is no writer, only characters expressing themselves with zeal, and hands to record their actions. If there was a specific location that triggered that blissful state, I would seek it out daily. But I can’t honestly say I have a favorite place, in fact, I was a little sad to find my mind blank when thinking about the question. I had to settle for some wishy washy artsy answer, instead. See?

For reading, however, I do, in fact, have a specific place. I had one arm wrapped around someone who enjoys fantasy as much as I do, the other supporting the book. After she fell asleep, I continued reading to the sound of soft snores. I haven’t stumbled across a more perfect place to read since then.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?

H: Ah, it is always so heart wrenching to say farewell! No, no. There are no need for tears. This is not the end.

One of the best ways for Prosers to keep track of my recent work is through my Murder of Crows, a newsletter feature on my website. It contains short stories, articles, and other outlandish artifacts. There, you can get more involved with me … I’ll tell you secrets and such. And for more frivolous following, I have a Twitter as well.

With that, there is little else to speak of besides the tremendous, heaping mountains of golden gratitude I have for Prose. Any dragon would be envious of them. Seeing more support than I ever have before is simply enchanting. Every day, I look forward to seeing what is stirring in the vivid minds of the community. And every day, I look forward to finding more ways to feed inspiration back into it. Thank you for listening, and thank you for your curiosity.

The coming months will be another chapter in a tale, another stride in a journey, and I do sincerely hope you join me.

Fantastic stuff from Harlequin, there; thank you sir, for your candour. Time to step up and like, follow and interact, you lovely Prosers – that is if you don’t already! We’ll be back next week with another delve into the world of someone else. In the meantime – happy reading and writing!

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Friday Feature: @Harlequin
A week has shot by once again - awesome! It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for many people’s favourite thing: Friday Feature. This week is a doozy! We meet and find out about a Proser that many are intrigued by. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you @Harlequin

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?
H: It is difficult to imagine anybody seriously naming their child “Harlequin” without laughing. However I must admit, if I ever were to have a child, it’s likely they would be cursed with something just as strange if not worse, probably to their immense embarrassment growing up. But at least I’m consistent.

Endeavoring to bring more color into the literary world, as well as illuminate some philosophies that intertwine artist and creation, I renamed myself Harlequin Grim, and I prefer to keep that the mask behind my writing. The name illustrates a recurring motif in my life that intrigues me endlessly: the tricky dance of persisting within dualistic natures constantly affecting our lives. Inspired, empty, living, dying, etc.
On Prose, it is simply Harlequin.

P: Where do you live?
H: I reside in Portland, Oregon, where it doesn’t ever seem to stop raining, and the trees, consequently, are ever sprouting. Moving here was a hasty retreat from its antithesis: Southern California, where I grew up.

P: What is your occupation?
H: I wish I could say what pays for my expenses is a job related to literature, or at least a professional gig as a court jester, but the former is in development while the latter is outdated by a handful of centuries (I really missed the boat). Although I write as much as I attend my day job, currently I work at a quaint neighborhood café, pulling shots from an espresso machine that is nearly triple my age. At home, I push my sleep schedule to its edges, pursuing my writing after the daily rush.

Oh gods … I’m a cliché, aren’t I?

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?
H: Devout. Multiple times since I started, I have attempted to distance myself from writing, only to be stunned by how it seemed integral to me living happily. It became a blessing as well as a curse, something positively affixed to me. Overtime, it has become more and more difficult to imagine a life without stories constantly evolving in the back of my head. Not giving them the time to express themselves feels torturous. This isn’t all that glamorous, but if I am being entirely honest, I am more temperamental when I haven’t written in a few days.

When I was first introduced to creative writing, it was purely for the sake of escapism. As years wore on and I grew into thicker skins, my stories became less about ‘venting’ and more about expressing, reflecting, and articulating my philosophies through the actions of my characters.

Somewhere in the middle of high school, I felt an incredible desire not only to connect but to inspire, and similarly, to illustrate characters growing beyond weaknesses so as to embrace deeper strengths, more enriching perspectives. Although I cannot foretell what writing will be to me in the future, currently, my aim is to depict as many intricacies of the human condition as possible, whether they be pleasant to look at or horrifying. I attempt to illustrate what it means to struggle, to grow, to love, live and die, searching for all those cascading layers of meaning bursting between beginning and end.

Ultimately, it is an attempt to show what opportunity dwells beneath the surface of suffering, that happiness is not only within joy, nor sadness in sorrow, and art not only in deliberate acts of creation, rather that all these things interweave in patterns of perception. I choose to perceive living as an art, an opportunity not to be squandered, and writing, my preferred medium for expressing as much.

I wish to tell tales which invigorate us to live as we would craft our characters, in a journey of actualization through conscious living.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?
H: Since I see living as a kind of seamless art, it is all quite personal, and since I aim to make it my profession—quite professional. So, any answer will be one and the same.

More superficially, I find I am more articulate during sprees of reading. Typically, after I close a book, I feel more cognizant of subtle details around me. As a result, I challenge myself to be more meticulous with how I speak and act. It helps me envision myself as a protagonist instead of a lost soul.

Beyond that, I do not entertain any delusions of being particularly brilliant or innovative, so whenever I pick up a book, I am hoping to have my expectations pushed, my truths questioned. Simply, to learn. It would be something of a pity to pick up a book for the sake of reinforcing old patterns of thinking.

Perhaps most importantly, it helps me observe through another pair of eyes. It coaxes me from the dusty corners of my own head to instead indulge in another author’s interpretations of reality, making the world that much more dynamic. I suffer greatly from a lack of originality; the works of other artists are crucial to feeding imagination.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures and what can we look forward to in future posts?
H: Last Halloween I published a fantasy novel, The Lupine Curse, through Amazon. Although I was incredibly excited to have a fully developed work prancing about on the internet for the first time, even before I was finished editing that piece, I was already working on another.

Recently, one of my short stories won a weekly contest through Prose about tyranny. The story was entitled The Remedy. Little did everyone know, it was not a short story at all, but the first chapter of my next novel: The Culling of Casimir! If you will be so polite, kindly imagine maniacal laughter behind that sentence, but ignore the ensuing, embarrassing fit of coughing. Consider yourself playfully deceived, and hopefully excited, since I will be posting the novel by chapters, every Saturday via Prose, starting February 25th. If you read The Remedy, you can imagine how the story has little room for slow expeditions. I must warn you: I am fully determined to shackle you to the pages if you give me the slightest chance.

Aside from The Culling of Casimir, I will be compiling recent works of poetry and short fiction into books that will also become available, not only electronically, but hopefully through prints. The more support I receive, the more I can do to get physical objects of whimsy into the hands of anybody avid enough to receive them.

As always, I will be posting frequently to Prose as well as my website, unless, of course, I am hit by a bus or dragged off into the skies by a gargoyle. You’ll know I’m dead when my words stop sprouting up.

P: What do you love about Prose?
H: There is an undeniable sense of enthusiasm that the creators have for it that has ignited the community to respond in a cyclical relationship of encouraging free expression. I also enjoy the more personal interactions between writer and reader, or rather writer to writer.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?
H: The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone and Benjamin Zander, applicable not only to writers but anyone who wants to harvest as much as they can from living. For anyone going through a period of darkness or simply looking to add more edge to their vitality, this book is indispensable, something I will read multiple times before I die

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?
H: My oldest brother always had a way of coaxing out my most ridiculous fantasies, encouraging me to consider philosophies and lifestyles that were either challenging or seemingly impractical. Above all else, he encouraged me to flesh out my individuality, sacrificing conformity for personal expression.

P: Describe yourself in three words!
H: Foolish, ardent, introspective.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?
H: “Life is too short not to create something with every breath we draw.” - Maynard James Keenan

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?
H: My crux is seeking specific tracks to suit my mood when I am writing, which can sometimes impede the process. Since different scenes desire different songs and genres to guide the mood, my tastes are incredibly broad, but when it comes to deciding my favorite music, it would have to be the bands Puscifer, Tool, and A Perfect Circle in that order. I’d rather not reveal how many t-shirts, posters, and concert tickets I’ve collected for these groups over the years.

Also, yes! The album ‘Lateralus’ by Tool inspired me to create Fenris, the protagonist of The Lupine Curse, so I had it playing in the background for much of the writing process.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?
H: “You really don’t have any books?”
“What is a book?”
“All right, everybody gather around the fire. This is going to take a while to explain. You see, it all began with …”

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?
H: That place where intuition, diction, imagination and reflection merge, to create a timeless location in which it feels as if there is no writer, only characters expressing themselves with zeal, and hands to record their actions. If there was a specific location that triggered that blissful state, I would seek it out daily. But I can’t honestly say I have a favorite place, in fact, I was a little sad to find my mind blank when thinking about the question. I had to settle for some wishy washy artsy answer, instead. See?

For reading, however, I do, in fact, have a specific place. I had one arm wrapped around someone who enjoys fantasy as much as I do, the other supporting the book. After she fell asleep, I continued reading to the sound of soft snores. I haven’t stumbled across a more perfect place to read since then.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?
H: Ah, it is always so heart wrenching to say farewell! No, no. There are no need for tears. This is not the end.

One of the best ways for Prosers to keep track of my recent work is through my Murder of Crows, a newsletter feature on my website. It contains short stories, articles, and other outlandish artifacts. There, you can get more involved with me … I’ll tell you secrets and such. And for more frivolous following, I have a Twitter as well.

With that, there is little else to speak of besides the tremendous, heaping mountains of golden gratitude I have for Prose. Any dragon would be envious of them. Seeing more support than I ever have before is simply enchanting. Every day, I look forward to seeing what is stirring in the vivid minds of the community. And every day, I look forward to finding more ways to feed inspiration back into it. Thank you for listening, and thank you for your curiosity.

The coming months will be another chapter in a tale, another stride in a journey, and I do sincerely hope you join me.

Fantastic stuff from Harlequin, there; thank you sir, for your candour. Time to step up and like, follow and interact, you lovely Prosers – that is if you don’t already! We’ll be back next week with another delve into the world of someone else. In the meantime – happy reading and writing!
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Written by Prose in portal Prose

Friday Feature: @starryEyes

So, we’ve been briefed about it and have read some articles on it and can now say it is Friday. It's not fake news, people. It’s Friday. And we’d be doing Prose a very, very big disservice if we didn’t bring you the very, very good thing that is Friday Feature. People love it. Everybody says so. They like to read about the very, very nice people of Prose...

OK, enough of that crazy talk, let’s dive in to meet the entirely lovely @starryEyes

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?

S: My name is Kim, but you can find me as starryEyes on Prose.

P: Where do you live?

S: I live in the northeast United States, out in the country on top of a hill with a fantastic view. My grandfather built the house in the 1970s and I absolutely love living here with my husband. Watching the birds, animals, wild weather, and changing seasons makes me happy.

We get our Internet by antenna from a local provider who beams it over from a tower that’s 4 miles away (no cable service out here). It’s better than satellite, except when wind, rain, and foliage conspire to eat data packets!

P: What is your occupation?

S: Hmmm… I’m probably most occupied with taking care of myself. So maybe my occupation is being alive? Or surviving. But I’d prefer “thriving.” That can be my occupation: thriving.

I went to school for electrical engineering and worked for five years designing and testing radar electronics. I absolutely loved it. But chronic Lyme disease made that impossible. I’m principally afflicted by profound fatigue and brain fog, but generally have a few good hours a day.

Right now I am content. There is so much more I’d like to do in life, but I’m pleased that I’m not getting any worse right now and have a sort of rhythm of productivity, fulfillment, and rest.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?

S: Growing up, I wrote for school. I enjoyed all my writing assignments but rarely wrote of my own initiative. Late in high school and college, I kept a “prayer” journal that helped me untangle my thoughts and feelings while writing to God.

As I progressed in my engineering studies and career, I wrote a lot of technical documents. It turns out I really enjoy writing lab reports, test procedures, and documenting my designs. And who doesn’t love a good table or expressive graph? *happy sigh*

The first poem I ever wrote of my own free will flowed from my illness. My choppy, foggy, scattered, and desperate thoughts needed adequate expression. I now write poetry like it’s a puzzle to be solved - conveying meaning and depth by sound & structure & few words – an artistic efficiency. It must be the engineer in me.

I started writing short stories a year ago for fun. I really haven’t written many because I’m a slow writer and I don’t often feel well. But it makes me feel human and “normal” to compose something that I’m proud of. I attend a writing group at the library and find it immensely helpful and encouraging.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?

S: I’ve always been a voracious reader of fiction. It makes me happy, stirs my imagination, fills me with stories, and teaches me about life. I love gleaning bits of wisdom from book characters and pondering their thoughts and actions. It’s an easy, gentle way to learn.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures and what can we look forward to in future posts?

I don’t have specific posting plans, but I often respond to writing challenges. Apparently I like to write from the perspective of non-humans such as an animal, plant, or park bench, so you may see more of that. I might sometimes write about my illness or my faith in Jesus, because both deeply define who I am. My loftiest dream is to write a historical choose-your-own-adventure book for kids.

P: What do you love about Prose?

S: Challenges, challenges, challenges! I’m way more motivated when someone challenges me than when I make up my own goals. That’s probably a character flaw. But I’m getting lots of practice and inspiration from the Prose community challenges and having fun! I also like the opportunity to share what I write and interact with other writers.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?

S: There are oodles of good books, so how could I choose? But limited to one, I’d have to say the Bible. I believe that how we respond to Jesus is the single most important decision in this life. To make an informed choice, we have to read his words.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?

S: If so, they are extremely unsung because I can’t think of who they might be! My parents and teachers were obvious influences, but no one person or event stands out in my mind.

P: Describe yourself in three words!

S: Contemplative. Sincere. Empathetic.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?

S: “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song… And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me! For I am His, and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.”

And the entire rest of the lyrics to “In Christ Alone” written by Stuart Townsend & Keith Getty

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?

S: I like pop / rock / metal. My favorite artists are Britt Nicole, Fireflight (similar to Evanescence), and Tourniquet (similar to Metallica). I also really like a cappella and folk music. I can do anything to music except read and write. For those, silence is more conducive to concentration.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?

S: “You know, books. B-O-O-K-S. Like writing. On paper. That you read. There must be some. This isn’t possible. Where did you go to school? Where’s the library?” After asking the same questions twenty times but getting the same answer, I think I’d become unresponsive and curl up, rocking back and forth.

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?

S: Curled up in a recliner with a blanket and a cat. Preferably my own recliner and my own cat. Any blanket will do.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?

S: Nothing left to tell!

Thanks so much to Kim, it was marvellous to meet her, I'm sure you'll all agree. You know what to do now. Read her! Interact with her! Follow her! 

And again, we want more Prosers for this feature, so if you like it, then suggest people, even volunteer yourselves. Prose wants you to feature in future Friday Features. Get busy.

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Written by Prose in portal Prose
Friday Feature: @starryEyes
So, we’ve been briefed about it and have read some articles on it and can now say it is Friday. It's not fake news, people. It’s Friday. And we’d be doing Prose a very, very big disservice if we didn’t bring you the very, very good thing that is Friday Feature. People love it. Everybody says so. They like to read about the very, very nice people of Prose...

OK, enough of that crazy talk, let’s dive in to meet the entirely lovely @starryEyes

P: What is your given name and your Proser username?
S: My name is Kim, but you can find me as starryEyes on Prose.

P: Where do you live?
S: I live in the northeast United States, out in the country on top of a hill with a fantastic view. My grandfather built the house in the 1970s and I absolutely love living here with my husband. Watching the birds, animals, wild weather, and changing seasons makes me happy.

We get our Internet by antenna from a local provider who beams it over from a tower that’s 4 miles away (no cable service out here). It’s better than satellite, except when wind, rain, and foliage conspire to eat data packets!

P: What is your occupation?
S: Hmmm… I’m probably most occupied with taking care of myself. So maybe my occupation is being alive? Or surviving. But I’d prefer “thriving.” That can be my occupation: thriving.

I went to school for electrical engineering and worked for five years designing and testing radar electronics. I absolutely loved it. But chronic Lyme disease made that impossible. I’m principally afflicted by profound fatigue and brain fog, but generally have a few good hours a day.

Right now I am content. There is so much more I’d like to do in life, but I’m pleased that I’m not getting any worse right now and have a sort of rhythm of productivity, fulfillment, and rest.

P: What is your relationship with writing and how has it evolved?
S: Growing up, I wrote for school. I enjoyed all my writing assignments but rarely wrote of my own initiative. Late in high school and college, I kept a “prayer” journal that helped me untangle my thoughts and feelings while writing to God.

As I progressed in my engineering studies and career, I wrote a lot of technical documents. It turns out I really enjoy writing lab reports, test procedures, and documenting my designs. And who doesn’t love a good table or expressive graph? *happy sigh*

The first poem I ever wrote of my own free will flowed from my illness. My choppy, foggy, scattered, and desperate thoughts needed adequate expression. I now write poetry like it’s a puzzle to be solved - conveying meaning and depth by sound & structure & few words – an artistic efficiency. It must be the engineer in me.

I started writing short stories a year ago for fun. I really haven’t written many because I’m a slow writer and I don’t often feel well. But it makes me feel human and “normal” to compose something that I’m proud of. I attend a writing group at the library and find it immensely helpful and encouraging.

P: What value does reading add to both your personal and professional life?
S: I’ve always been a voracious reader of fiction. It makes me happy, stirs my imagination, fills me with stories, and teaches me about life. I love gleaning bits of wisdom from book characters and pondering their thoughts and actions. It’s an easy, gentle way to learn.

P: Can you describe your current literary ventures and what can we look forward to in future posts?

I don’t have specific posting plans, but I often respond to writing challenges. Apparently I like to write from the perspective of non-humans such as an animal, plant, or park bench, so you may see more of that. I might sometimes write about my illness or my faith in Jesus, because both deeply define who I am. My loftiest dream is to write a historical choose-your-own-adventure book for kids.

P: What do you love about Prose?
S: Challenges, challenges, challenges! I’m way more motivated when someone challenges me than when I make up my own goals. That’s probably a character flaw. But I’m getting lots of practice and inspiration from the Prose community challenges and having fun! I also like the opportunity to share what I write and interact with other writers.

P: Is there one book that you would recommend everybody should read before they die?
S: There are oodles of good books, so how could I choose? But limited to one, I’d have to say the Bible. I believe that how we respond to Jesus is the single most important decision in this life. To make an informed choice, we have to read his words.

P: Do you have an unsung hero who got you into reading and/or writing?
S: If so, they are extremely unsung because I can’t think of who they might be! My parents and teachers were obvious influences, but no one person or event stands out in my mind.

P: Describe yourself in three words!
S: Contemplative. Sincere. Empathetic.

P: Is there one quote, from a writer or otherwise, that sums you up?
S: “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song… And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me! For I am His, and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.”

And the entire rest of the lyrics to “In Christ Alone” written by Stuart Townsend & Keith Getty

P: What is your favourite music, and do you write or read to it?
S: I like pop / rock / metal. My favorite artists are Britt Nicole, Fireflight (similar to Evanescence), and Tourniquet (similar to Metallica). I also really like a cappella and folk music. I can do anything to music except read and write. For those, silence is more conducive to concentration.

P: You climb out of a time machine into a dystopian future with no books. What do you tell them?
S: “You know, books. B-O-O-K-S. Like writing. On paper. That you read. There must be some. This isn’t possible. Where did you go to school? Where’s the library?” After asking the same questions twenty times but getting the same answer, I think I’d become unresponsive and curl up, rocking back and forth.

P: Do you have a favourite place to read and write?
S: Curled up in a recliner with a blanket and a cat. Preferably my own recliner and my own cat. Any blanket will do.

P: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you/your work/social media accounts?
S: Nothing left to tell!

Thanks so much to Kim, it was marvellous to meet her, I'm sure you'll all agree. You know what to do now. Read her! Interact with her! Follow her! 

And again, we want more Prosers for this feature, so if you like it, then suggest people, even volunteer yourselves. Prose wants you to feature in future Friday Features. Get busy.
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