Archive | April, 2013

Books Want To Be Born

30 Apr

003Welcome back to my humble blog site. I hope you are ready for a few tips and thoughts, and I also hope you are receptive to them. J

I was on a writing roll yesterday.  It was one of those days when my head was full and the words needed to be written, and when I finished one article the next one took shape and was ready as well.

I don’t know about you but Mondays are easily my best days for writing, and the hours of 7-11 a.m. are the most productive for me.  I should never break for lunch because I run out of steam once I sit down and have that meal.


“Books want to be born: I never make them.  They come to me and insist on being written, and on being such and such.”~Samuel Butler

Oh how I can relate to that quote. When I wrote “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday To Today,” it began as a writing exercise.  Within two days of completing the exercise, which was basically an introduction consisting of free-form writing, the entire book had been born in my head.

The same thing happened recently when I decided to write my next book entitled “The Vision:  Humanity One World.”  I had debated writing it for several months, and the debate had to do with whether to make it a non-fiction or a fiction.  Once I decided to make it fiction, I thought of how to present this serious issue of making a difference in the world in a fictional story.  The story line came to me after waking up one morning and I had the whole story sealed away in my brain by the end of that day.

Here are the opening three paragraphs of my new book:


The Associated Press….May 8th….The jobless rate rose once again in the United States.  The latest figures from April show that 9.6% of Americans are unemployed, a rise of .6% from March.

President Sara Whitehorse woke at five a.m., as was her norm, and rolled out of bed in the Lincoln Bedroom.  She still found it a bit difficult to believe that she was sleeping in the room where the Great Emancipator had slept.  Growing up in the Spirit Lake Nation of North Dakota, her wildest dreams were of escaping the corruption and abuse of the reservation.  Well, she thought, I definitely escaped it.

She hadn’t slept so well in the three years since being elected.  It was the dream for sure, a most unusual dream and yet very peaceful.  She was vaguely aware during the night that she was sleeping, and she remembered thinking that she hoped she didn’t wake up.  Normally she didn’t remember dreams, but this one was so vivid that she recalled it in detail.

She was standing in a field, surrounded by others who were just blurred shapes, and a young girl approached the group.  There was a soft yellow glow enveloping the girl, and the yellow reflected off of her shoulder-length, raven-black hair.  She had jade-green eyes and seemed to flow gracefully across the field until she was standing in front of Sara and the others.  She then reached out and showed them all a large key, similar to the ones politicians give to dignitaries as the key to the city.  On the key was inscribed a string of numbers…..47217 and below that 1225357.

The child, who appeared to be close to Sara’s daughter’s age of ten, then spoke to the group:  “My name is Astarte, and I am the Goddess of Rebirth.  Come join me before it is too late.”  Then she approached each member, stood up on her toes, and kissed each of them on the cheek.  The dream then ended.


Pay attention to your use of commas and periods.  These two types of punctuation control the flow of your thoughts, and misuse of them can make your writing confusing even if the words are clear.


Writing Site Reviews can be found here.  You will find quite a few reviews written about some major writing sites here, including Squidoo and HubPages.  I thought you might find it interesting.


I love this picture of Bev. I hope it inspires you as it does me every single time I see it.

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Dixie City Jam by James Lee Burke.  If you want to read a writer who is a master at painting a scene, try Mr. Burke.  Finish a page of this book and you will feel like you are living in New Iberia Parish, Louisiana.


I’d love to do more but the sun is out and I need some relaxation.  It’s been a long day of juggling nouns and verbs and I fear if I continue I’ll drop a few of them. J  Have a great day and thanks for visiting once again.

Perseverance Is A Writer’s Sustenance

29 Apr


“It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.”~Sinclair Lewis

Truer words were never written.  Discouragement is inevitable when writing.  How can it not be? We sit, by ourselves, for endless hours writing words in hopes that someone will read them. We face rejections slips, we hear negatives and days can go by without any positive feedback…..and still we write.  So although discouragement may be inevitable it is not crippling.  Read writers write!  Despite the setbacks and the seemingly insurmountable odds, real writers write.  It is as though we are driven to do so.  Some inner voice demands that we sit down and spill our hearts and open our souls for dissection.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. J


Develop your character.  Use these prompts in describing characters in your story or book.

  • Name
  • Age
  • Job
  • Ethnicity
  • Appearance
  • Residence
  • Pets
  • Religion
  • Hobbies
  • Single or married?
  • Children?
  • Temperament


Do not skimp on this.  Readers want to associate with a character. When I think back to some of my favorite characters in literature, I realize that they had some aspect of their character that I could relate to in some way, and the author is the one who made that happen.  It is your job to bring life to a character.


I use Brainy Quotes almost daily, either as a supporting quote in my articles or as inspiration.  You can find this great site here.  Just look under a topic heading and you will find several quotes that you can use in your next article.


Visit Deb, or aviannovice, on HubPages.  You can find her here.

She does a wonderful weekly article about Life at Boomer Lake where she does a photo essay of the birds who visit her favorite lake in Oklahoma.  However, it is her poetry that I really love.  No matter, get to know her.  She is a quality human being who, just like all of us, is just trying to make it in this business.


Free entry for this haiku contest with a cash prize of $100…entry deadline in July.  You can find it here.


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This was taken around the Olympia area.  I’m not going to tell you what it is because that’s not the point of a writing prompt. What is important is what you think it is, or what you think of when you see it.  Have fun!


Yes, I will return on Tuesday with more tips, suggestions and recommendations.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day writing.


Good Writers Touch Life Often

26 Apr

003Good morning, or afternoon, and welcome back to Artistry With Words.  My name is Bill and I’ll be your host during the next ten minutes while you walk our aisles and see if you spot anything worth keeping.  Enjoy yourselves and please, take the free samples that are available to you all.


“The good writers touch life often.  The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her.  The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”~Ray Bradbury

Oh my God, read that quote again.  Good writers touch life often…bad ones rape her.  There is not much room for doubt in that quote.  It is pretty obvious where Mr. Bradbury sits regarding good writing, and I so agree.

As a writer on HubPages I have access to hundreds of thousands of articles, and at least 100 new articles pop up daily.  After sixteen months on that site I am still amazed by the number of bad articles I see. They are lifeless and undeserving of the term “writing.” Then, just about the time I want to throw up my hands and scream, someone will come along with an exquisite piece of writing that makes my heart soar…and I am relieved and grateful.

Writers have a rich tradition to uphold.  I believe that and so should you. J


From Alice Schroeder, author of “The Snowball”

  • Do some living so you have some interesting experiences to write about
  • Become an expert
  • Seek out, listen to and beg for criticism.

A three-for-one sale today.  Do some living….if we can refer back to Bradbury’s quote, that good writers touch life often, then we have to conclude that good writers have experienced life.

For those of you finding your niche…once you find it, you must portray yourself as an expert in that niche.

And last but not least, we will never improve if we are not willing to listen to criticism.  It’s all well and good to have your family and friends tell you how good you are, but what will really move you to the next level is honest criticism.


I love the site Funds For Writers by Hope Clark.  You can find it here.  I have followed this site for over a year now, and it offers many opportunities for fellowships, workshops, contests and opportunities to find available funds out there.  Sign up for her newsletter and have it delivered to your email. I think you’ll like it.


Say hello to Melanie Chisnall.  You can find her blog, Scribbles and Smiles, right here

Why do I recommend Mel?  I guess the main reason is because she writes with her heart.  She cares deeply about animals and healthy living, and I love her passion for life. Like me, she quit her full-time job to become a writer.  She made the commitment, followed her heart and chased after her dream. How can you not root for a person like her?


The title is simply “Love,” and it is written by the late Leo Buscaglia.  Get it….you will not be sorry.  Mr. Buscaglia was a world-renowned author who wrote about relationships and yes, love, and also taught classes about those subjects.  His perspective is delightful.  This is a small book, only 205 pages in paperback, and you can find it online for a buck or so.  It is well-worth reading.


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This is the sign (mural) that welcomes people to our neighborhood, the Northeast Neighborhood of Olympia, Washington.  What do you see? What do you feel when you look at the picture?


That’s right, I now take weekends off, so I’ll be back with you on Monday, April 29th, for more tips and suggestions.  Have a great weekend!


Find Your Writing Comfort Level and Then Expand It

25 Apr


It is my pleasure to welcome my friend Liz Davis to my site today.  Lizzy has a tip for all of us….oh, I’m sorry, you can find Liz’s blog here….okay, now for Lizzy’s tip:

“Take time to write on subjects you wouldn’t normally consider. Find a boring subject (like drywall repair or life insurance), and try to spice it up to make it interesting. This opens up new pathways in your brain and gets the creative juices flowing.”

Oh how important is that tip?  I have spoken often about finding your writer’s voice.  I am convinced that the best way to find your true voice is to step outside of your comfort zone and try other genres of writing.  Try a poem.  Try a romantic essay.  Try, as Liz suggests, writing about an incredibly boring subject and see if you can’t make it interesting.  We need to extend ourselves as writers.  We need to experiment and spread our wings.  To do less than that is to limit ourselves, and limiting will never allow us to be the writer we can truly be.

As much as I dislike doing content work to pay the bills, it has made me a better writer.  When I am doing an article about a 1997 Honda Accord, my first goal is to make that article interesting, and believe me, I have to spread my mental wings to do so….but in the end I have, as Liz suggests, opened up new pathways in my brain and allowed my creative juices to flow.


Write It Sideways can be found here.  This is a nice list of writing sites where you can find help and useful suggestions to follow.  I have used it and found it quite helpful.

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood.  I’d type a little faster.”~Isaac Asimov

How many can relate to the words of Asimov? I know I can.  I love writing. I love finding the perfect combination of verbs and nouns so that a picture forms in the mind of my readers. I love creating emotions in my readers and I love the connection and bond I form with my readers.  Yes indeed, I would just type faster. J


Let me introduce you to Shauna Bowling, or Bravewarrior to those who write on HubPages.  You can find her work here.  What I love about Sha, other than her heart and passion, is her willingness to try new things.  She is constantly expanding and attempting new venues.  She is the epitome of a serious writer who wants to become an excellent writer.  She is also a dear friend of mine, and I hope you take a moment to go visit her.


Yellowstone 2009 184

Yes, another picture from Yellowstone National Park.  What does it do for you?  I don’t know about you, but put me out in nature and I am like a sponge, soaking up the sights and sounds…..and my mind reacts immediately and then articles are born.


“Two Minutes A Day For A Greener Planet” by Marjorie Lamb.

I admit it, I’m a Greener.  I have serious concerns about our planet, and I believe each one of us can do more to help this beautiful home of ours.  This book is filled with ideas that you can do daily that will make a difference in this world.  It’s a small book and easy to read; you can probably pick it up used on ebay for a couple bucks if interested.


I’m sure some of you know that I just started writing my novel “The Vision:  Humanity One World.”  I’m excited about it and loving the process.  I decided to make this a fiction instead of non-fiction.  Because of the nature of this topic, namely making this world a better place to live, I feared that a non-fiction approach would be too dry and possibly boring.  I think, by telling a story, I can drive home the central theme in an entertaining way.

It is, I guess, a fantasy, but it is based on today’s world and the realities we all live with.  The inspiration for the book came from a book I read decades ago by Og Mandino called “The Greatest Miracle In The World.”  I borrowed the spirit of that book to write my own and I hope, when all is said and done, that you all enjoy it.  When you read it…if you read it…you will hear John Lennon’s “Imagine” playing in the background. J


Yes, provided there is a tomorrow, I will be back with more thoughts and tips for you to read and hopefully enjoy.  Thanks for the visit on this 25th day of May, 2013.


Find The Passion In Your Writing

24 Apr


“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”~William Wordsworth


And our tip today comes from a good friend of mine from the writer’s site HubPages.  Janine has written many articles and also has a wonderful blog on parenting.  You can find that blog here.

As for Janine’s tip, I will leave it in her own words:

“I think my biggest and best advice is to write from the heart and what you know about (what interests you). When I first starting writing I just wrote (because I do love writing), but eventually I found my niche and never looked back. See, writing what you know best about shines through every time, and helps you to also connect with other writers/readers who can relate.”

Thank you, Janine, and I agree with you 100%. Whether it is Wordsworth telling you, or Janine telling you, the message is the same:  write from your heart and tap into that passionate well inside of you.


I just came across this writer’s forum called LegendFire.  You can find it here. I don’t know anything about it other than it looked interesting and it covers quite a few genres.


Do you write Tankas? If so, here is a Tanka Poetry Contest with a June submission date and a top prize of $100.  They even explain what a Tanka poem is for those of you not in the know. J


I am in the process of reading “Sell Your Book like Wildfire” by Rob Eager.  It is actually a very helpful book for writers who are overwhelmed by the marketing side of writing, and it gives some excellent insights into the mind of the readers (consumers) and what they are looking for.


I don’t know about you, but there are days when writing is like fighting a rip tide.  The more I fight it, the harder it is to form beautiful sentences. However, if I quit fighting….if I go for a walk or sit and listen to the birds for awhile, then suddenly inspiration comes back and the words flow.

I can find inspiration practically anywhere, but I have to be receptive to it.  If my mind is on other things, like an overdue bill or a car repair, the words just won’t come.  I think that may be why most of my good ideas come to me first thing in the morning shortly after I awake.  My mind isn’t buried underneath the slop of the day yet, and I am most receptive to my surroundings.


Yellowstone 2009 123

Another picture for you to ponder….this one was taken in Yellowstone National Park a couple years ago.  What do you see? What does it remind you of?  Do you gain any inspiration from it?


Until tomorrow, thanks for stopping by.  You are always welcome.  I’ll always have a cold one waiting for you, and for god’s sake, take off your shoes and get comfortable.


Do You Bleed Writing?

23 Apr

“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

Isn’t that quote beautiful?  To create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all….WOW!  That, my friends, is as good as writing gets.  If that happens to me once a month I am feeling on top of the world.  Every once in awhile I will write a sentence that leaves me with goose bumps.  Those are the times that feed me until the next time comes along.


I was taught a long time ago to proofread a minimum of three times, and to do each proofreading differently.  Once I have finished a piece, I walk away from it for awhile.  When I return, I give it a reading.  Then I have Bev read it.  Then I read it out loud to Bev.  If I haven’t caught my mistakes by then there is no hope for me as a writer. LOL


From Writer’s Digest comes a site of daily writing prompts.  You can find this very helpful site here.

This is a perfect site for those who sometimes struggle with writer’s block, or just need some inspiration to get the mental cogs turning.


I highly recommend “The Cultural Creatives” by Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson.  This fascinating book draws upon thirteen years of survey research, and it discusses a new culture rising in the United States, a culture based on caring deeply about ecology and saving the planet; on relationships, peace, and social justice; on self-actualization, spirituality, and self-expression.

As writers you might find this helpful as you consider who your target audience is, and how demographics have changed drastically over the years.


A new feature starting today, this section will highlight a writer who I have personally read, one who has excellent writing skills and an inner voice that shouts loudly through their writing.

Today’s writer of the day is Linda Crist.   You can find her writings about life and social change here on her HubPages site


FanStory has a non-fiction writing contest with a June 16th deadline.  Might be worth a look at it offers a $100 first place prize.  You can find it here.


Here is another picture from my personal collection.  I am blessed to live in such a beautiful state. It allows me to take great pictures each and every day.

July drive in Olympia 033

So what do you see here? What does it remind you of? Does it bring any thoughts of days gone past to mind? Does it generate any thoughts about a possible short story?


Oh yes, you can bet on it.  I’m really enjoying this blog and I hope you are as well.  Again, if you have any suggestions feel free to include them in a comment, and as always, if there is anything I can help you with, get in touch with me at


Is There A Book Inside of You?

22 Apr

003Welcome back after a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation.  I hope you are rested up and your mind is fresh for a brand new week of creation.


“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison


Think about that one for a second.  You and I have heard, often, that there is a book in each of us waiting to be written.  That may nor may not be true. I have read from other writers that they do not feel that there is a book in them, and I think that is much closer to the truth.  If you do not feel a book inside of you then there is no book inside of you.

Why?  Because writing is tightly bonded with feelings.  Writing a book must be felt from deep inside of us. We are, in writing a book, investing a great amount of time and energy.  If you do not feel that energy bubbling inside of you then you will most likely never write a book.

What book have you always wanted to read?  That’s the first question.  Now, do you feel that book inside of you?  If the answer is no, then don’t bother starting because it will never come out of hiding.


An online synonym finder and thesaurus can be found here.

I use this site often because I am constantly looking for new words to say the same old thing.  I never want my writing to become stale, or become a shadow of my former writing. I think it is a trap we all fall into.  We fall in love with certain phrases and so we use them over and over again.  I can tell you that I am guilty of using the word “incredible” too often in my writing.  At least now I am at the point where I realize that and can take actions to rid myself of the dreaded overuse of the word.


I love this picture.  What do you see? I can tell you that it is a window inside of a 200 year old barn about twenty miles from where I live in western Washington in the town of Tenino.


What emotions does it release in you? What memories?  Jot down a quick paragraph describing what you see when you look out that window? Is it the window to your soul, or do you see a secret of life outside?


The Paper Darts Short Fiction Competition can be found here.

As always, I caution you to make sure you read the submission requirements before entering your piece.  I would hate to see you submit an exceptional piece only to have it rejected because it is 50 words over the limit or missing some other requirement.


Is there some other aspect of writing you would like to see me cover in this blog? If so, let me know in a comment and I’ll be glad to do what I can to satisfy your needs.  I want this blog to be a go-to site for you where you can find answers and inspiration.

Have a good day of writing and remember to open up your heart and soul and paint pictures with your words.


Become Your Characters When Writing Fiction

19 Apr


Two hours of writing fiction leaves this writer completely drained. For those two hours he has been in a different place with totally different people.
Roald Dahl

Read that quote again.  When writing fiction, we are always faced with developing characters.  I know when I wrote my first fiction novel, I had to outline who my characters were. I wrote down their appearance, their beliefs and their personality.  That was the easy part.

Next I had to become the characters.  I have said before that the hardest part of writing my first novel was switching back and forth between my characters.  One would talk a certain way, and feel certain feelings, and then I would be another character with different speech patterns and different feelings and beliefs.  That is hard to do, and like the quote says, it is draining.

If you want your characters to come alive, you must step inside of their skin and walk around in their shoes.  It is the only way to properly introduce your characters to the readers and allow the readers to identify with those characters.


Is anyone interested in finding jobs as a freelance writer?  I have used this site in the past and found it a treasure chest of jobs to pick from.

I am not big on bidding for a freelance job.  I think the price is driven down by doing that, and my time is valuable. I refuse to work for a couple bucks per piece.  I pick and choose which freelance jobs interest me and also which ones pay what I am willing to write for.  Sure I miss out on a lot because of that attitude, but again, my time is valuable and so is yours.


I know, it sounds like a silly question, but I assure you that it is not.  Why do you write? Do you just write to earn some money, or do you write because it is your passion?

I can only tell you my truth regarding writing.  I believe writers are artists.  I believe we have been given a gift, one that allows us to alter reality and elicit emotions.  We can soothe the savage beast and we can rouse the rabble into action.  We can comfort and we can excite. We can suspend reality with our words and we can give focus to reality.

I hope that each of you feels the same, that you are an artist with words.  It is a marvelous feeling.

CONTEST SITE OF THE DAY is another site that gives you a list of contests happening.  Again, be sure you read the submission guidelines carefully.


What do you see in this picture?  Can you write a poem about it? Can you write a short story about it, or an opinion essay? Give it a try and see what you come up with.



Parting is such sweet sorrow, but never fear, I will return soon with some more thoughts and suggestions.  If there is something you would like to see on this blog, please feel free to give suggestions. I’m more than willing to add things if I can.

I’m going to give you a break and take the weekend off. I’ll see you all again on Monday.

Thank you for the visit.  You are always appreciated here.


Find Your Writing Style

18 Apr

003Welcome back to the next installment of Artistry With Words.  I’m glad you all joined me today.  Kick off your shoes, grab a chair and let me entertain you for a few minutes.  Refreshments will be served shortly so I hope you left room for some goodies.


Easy reading is damn hard writing.
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ain’t that the truth?  Our job as writers is to produce easy reading for our readers, and without a doubt that is a tough job on the best of days.


Write as if you were talking or writing to a friend, and never be afraid to experiment.

What is your writing style? Do you know? Are you comfortable with it or are you still searching for it?  Many would call this your writer’s voice and in fact, that’s as good a description as any.  Our writing style is unique to us.  Nobody else writes exactly as you do, so develop that style and be proud of it.

Read the simplicity of phrasing in “To Kill A Mockingbird” and then read the intricacy of phrasing in “The Grapes of Wrath.”  Check out the short sentences of James Patterson and then the long, descriptive sentences of James Lee Burke.  Their style is their signature, and it has been developed over years of practice and hard work.

Experiment with different genres.  Tape record yourself talking and then listen to your words.  Keep at it until you develop a style that is uniquely yours and yours alone.  In the final analysis, you are the one who must be satisfied and comfortable with your writing, but remember a very important truth:  if your readers are not comfortable with your writing you will have failed at your job as a writer.


Writer’s can be found here.  You will find a long list of forum topics where you can discuss writing with other writers and gain valuable information and perspective.


“The Art of Column Writing” by Suzette Martinez Standring.  This is an excellent book that gives great insider secrets from the likes of Art Buchwald, Dave Barry, Arianna Huffington and Pete Hamill, all great columnists.  If you have ever considered writing a column and getting it syndicated, this is the book for you.


Congratulations to Deb Neyens from the fine state of Iowa.  She guessed that I was 25 when I first climbed Mt. Rainier and I was actually 24 years old.  Deb, if you will email me your address at I will get my book in the mail to you.


What do you see when you look at the picture below?  How does it make you feel? Does it remind you of anything from your past life?

winter in my little slice of heaven 001

Sha, otherwise known as BraveWarrior on HP, wrote a hub today about this prompt.  You can find it here.

And that’s it for today!  Thank you so much for visiting me once again, and I hope you found something valuable in this missive.

Remember to write as if your tail was on fire and your life depended on it.

If I can be of any help to you, feel free to email me at and I’ll do what I can.


Book Giveaway Today on Artistry With Words

17 Apr

003Welcome back!  Let’s talk today about value.


Why do people buy something?  The answer lies somewhere in-between need and want, correct?  We buy certain foods because our bodies need sustenance to survive.  We buy other foods because we want a sugar high or because we love the taste of peanut butter and chocolate combined.  In fact, often the price of a product is determined by the amount of need or want in the market place.  Demand for a product can drive up its price in our free enterprise system.

So let me ask you this:  what is the value of your article or book?

Let’s do an exercise.  Take an old writing of yours. It can be an article or a book or poem or whatever.  Now, write a value statement about that piece of writing.  Finish this sentence:  with this article/book, I will help you ____________________________________________.

If you are currently just writing articles for HubPages or some other site, this exercise is not terribly important other than to provide some focus to your writing.  However, if you are attempting to sell you writing, you must be able to answer that question.  If you do not provide some sort of service or meet some sort of need for the reader, then you will never be able to market your work properly.  Think about it…..people buy a certain number of books per year.  Why should they buy yours?  People read a certain amount of articles each day.  Why should they read yours?  You, the author, have to tell the reader what you are going to give them, or you will just be words blown in the wind.


Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.
Lord, don’t ever let me get to that point, where I am just writing for money!


Writer’s Digest Competitions can be found here

I encourage each of you to enter writing competitions.  Get your work out there and take on the best of the best.  Who knows what could happen?  You will never know unless you try!


Yes, I am giving my novel away and yes, I will personally sign it.  The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday To Today,” a fantasy about hope and making this world a better place, can be yours if you win this very simple contest.001

How do you win?  Simply answer this question about yours truly, Bill Holland:  How old was I when I first climbed Mt. Rainier?

Whoever comes the closest to the correct answer will receive this coveted prize.


What do you see when you look at this picture?  What memories does it give birth to?



That’s it for today.  Keep writing and keep loving it!