Gifts and Resolutions

Looking for the perfect and unique gift for the special people in your life?

Want something they will remember all year long? Want something that they keep talking about doing but never quite manage?

Want something for yourself? Something beautiful and purposeful?

Meet the 204 Lifestyle planner, in 7 versions.

Undated. Weekly two-page spread. Focusing on movement and meditation, feasting and fasting, brain gain and relationship building.

With six week reviews, seasonal retrospections and re-sets, and pages for notes, gift lists and plans. And a calendar of major dates for 2019 to 2023.

At the low planner price of $12.00. A dollar a month is a deal.

The Meadow Version, for lovers of birds and flowers.

The Floral Version, for the artistic aesthetic.

Cityscape, the Knoxville, TN skyline, with the Henley Street Bridge.

a little blurry because it’s a screenshot

English Cottage, a warm English garden and a cup of tea.

by Deranged Doctor Design
The English Cottage cover

Teatime, the peace of drinking tea in the back garden

cover by Deranged Doctor Design
screenshot is a little blurry

Mountain River, for lovers of the Smoky Mountains (an actual location in the Smokies).


Woodland, for the hikers in the family.

Meadow / Floral / English Cottage / Teatime share similar font types, specifically Leafy Glade and Harrington. Sample pages:


Cityscape / Mountain River / Woodland share the font TUSJ and Cambria. Sample pages:

Each planner is $12.00.  That’s one dollar a month.

Available on Amazon.

Contact if you want more information.

No, we don’t collect email addresses. We have better things to do–like writing more books and creating more planners. We’ll just respond to any question / comment / speculation and wish you well.

And we wish you well now.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

Creating Emphasis ~~ It’s More than the Subject Position

Let’s Play.

The Highwayman comes riding, riding, riding / Up to the old inn-door.

Fun with words?

Yes, it’s possible.  And practical.  Especially practicable when we want to create emphasis.

Easiest is simple repetition:

“And the highwayman came riding–riding–riding / Up to the old inn-door.” (Noyes, “The Highwayman”)

Pick a key word, and it becomes the key element.

Be careful, though, for repetition becomes a key gimmick, as we know from reading “The Highwayman”:  “A red-coat troop came marching–marching–marching”.  From mid-point on, the repetition is too much.

Play with Incremental Repetition:

An increment is a small amount.  Incremental Repetition is a small change at the next repeat of the word or phrase.

Again, from “The Highwayman”:  “And they shot him down on the highway / Down like a dog on the highway.”

The slight change miraculously adds strength.

Judy Collins’ Wildflowers cover

For a clever version of incremental repetition, check out Judy Collins’ version of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”: Both Sides Now

Grow for Emphasis:

Once we get to working with changes in repetition, we run into a clever Greek word auxesis, which means “growth” or “increase”, but is really a fancy way to say climactic ordering.

In Robinson Jeffers’ translation of Euripides’ Medea, our main character contemplates the murders of those who have wronged her: “Grind. Crush. Burn.”  She, of course, chooses the last method, the one most painful and enduring.  No quick deaths for Medea.

“Both Sides Now” uses auxesis to present ascending significance.  The first stanzas discuss clouds (innocent, childlike naivete), the next discuss love (the focus of our teens and twenties), the last discuss life (maturity in considering our world).

We can take power away by descending in importance.  Remember the lesson of the trolls?  Removing power can be a useful technique.

Work in Threes:

Once is not remarkable.  Twice seems coincidence.  Thrice is serendipity.

Set the Right Pace:

We can slow down the speed of our repetition and auxesis by adding conjunctions: “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / Creeps in this petty pace from day to day” (Macbeth’s famous speech by Shakespeare).  This is called a polysyndeton.

We speed up by removing conjunctions:  “Out, out, brief candle” is the asyndeton
from the same speech by Macbeth.

Front and Back:

Churchill famously said to study Latin to learn but study Greek for fun.

Repetition can occur at the beginning of a series of sentences, which creates an anaphora:

From Winston Churchill’s June 1940 speech:  “We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight . . . in the air, we shall defend our island . . . we shall fight on the beaches . . . we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills;  we shall never surrender.”

Opposite to the anaphora is the epistrophe.

From Sam’l Beckett: “Where now? Who now? When now?” (The Unnamable)

From Shakespeare’s J.Caesar: “Who is here so base that would be a bondman?  If any, speak; for him have I offended.  Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman?  If any, speak; for him have I offended.  Who is here so vile that will not love his country?  If any, speak; for him have I offended.” (Brutus)

This example comes from Jeffers’ Medea:  “They were full of cold pride, they ruled all this country–they are down in the ashes, crying like dogs, cowering in the ashes, in their own ashes.”

Keep a light touch:

Don’t overwork it.  With a light touch, the simple occurrence of repetition creates power on the page.

Use it to remind of elements of character.

Use it to develop setting with a quick glance or a lingering view.

Crime scene images.  Events in a mano-y-mano battle.  Workings of a spell.  Effects of a kiss.

Repetition creates emphasis.

Play ball.

2 * 0 * 4 Lifestyle: Cityscape / Recalculate

How often do you change direction? Jeep has a commercial  based on the idea that we have to recalculate our lives.  We have to break society’s expectations and pursue our own.

That commercial looks great, doesn’t it? Here’s the thing, though. What will you recalculate when you consider what is important in your life? What will direct your resolve to transform?

The 2 * 0 * 4 Lifestyle planner will NOT direct your transformation.

a little blurry because it’s a screenshot

No one should. That transformation is up to you.

But 2 * 0 * 4 can help you clarify your goals and remind you daily to focus on them. Every six weeks, you can renew your focus or recalculate your direction.

Here’s the Jeep commercial:

And here’s the planner:

Guess which one is less expensive?

Open the planner and find ~

* The Raison d’Etre: explaining the purpose of the lifestyle and providing assistance with necessary diet changes–feast and fast, eating real food and avoiding bad fats and sugars.

* The Yearly Pre-Set, a goal-setting exercise for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Body.  Accomplishments to Achieve creates lists in each area for you to consider throughout the year.

* Seasonal Pre-Set then Re-Sets, reviewing previous victories and challenges, specific goal setting, anticipated challenges, and obligations to come.

* The weekly spread, undated, with a panel for reflecting over the week, daily gratitude and meditation, upcoming goals, an inspirational quotation, and a place to note your weekly weigh-in.

* At the six-week mark is a new retrospection and prospectus, considering challenges and new ideas about your goals.  After the first two six-week marks, you will encounter progress meters for these goals.

* Calendars of important dates from 2019 to 2023.

* Notes and Looking Ahead pages, Gifts and Wish List, and My Lists:  films, restaurants, books, tech, places, hikes, music, and vacation spots.

What other planner combines heart and soul, mind and body?  Make the decision to live a whole life with 2 * 0 * 4.

Think / Pro: Right and Left Brains

In our last blog, on 13 Sparks for Creativity, I talked about the right brain needing time for free-flow thought.  To give that right brain the time that it needs, you need to keep your left brain engaged in other tasks.

Winter Again, the land sleeps. Give your project its own winter.

The whole purpose is to let your finished project have some “sleep” so you return to it refreshed, creativity ready to be sparked

Remember, there’s a difference between a finished project and a completed one.  We can’t complete a project unless it has had its winter sleep.

Read more here: click!

To purchase the book from which these blogs came, with expansions in the revised edition, please investigate.


Trolls Seizing Power

Trolls Seizing Power

Audrey models a crocheted cap
Marianne keeps an eye out for trolls.

Getting those pesky trolls to release Marianne is essential.  She wants to  return to her jog.  They want to control the sentence.

In the previous post “Pesky Trolls Return”, we highlighted two ways that subjects leave the work of the sentence to something else.  They cede a little of their power away to modifiers and questions.

To take power completely away from the subject, we have to give the power to the trolls of writing.

Active vs. Passive Subjects

When the Act-er of the sentence is in the subject position, the Act-er keeps his power.  Writers want active subjects.  Usually.

Not always.

Occasionally, we want the Act-er to be lose power.  Look at these two sentences:

  • The trolls seized Marianne.
  • Marianne was seized by the trolls.

The first example is Active Voice.  The trolls do the action;  they are in the dominant position of the sentence.

In the second example, our focus is Marianne, our protagonist.  The trolls get shoved to the back seat of the sentence (becoming the object of the preposition by).

This is Passive Voice.  The trolls have lost power.

Pretty much anytime your Act-er follows the preposition by, you have created impotence and futility.

  • Bilbo outwitted Golem >> Golem was outwitted by Bilbo.
  • Hannibal invaded the Roman Empire >> The Roman Empire was invaded by Hannibal.

What about this sentence? Hannibal invaded the Roman Empire by using elephants.

Who is the Act-er?  Hannibal, not the elephants.  Hannibal remains in the active position and loses no power.

Expletives t/here

In the post “Whereby a Fly Inserts itself into your Expensive Dinner”, I discussed the expletives there and here. (Check the Archive!)

Not every t/here is an expletive;  in the alternative use t/here serves as a placement adverb:  The accountant is over there, behind the fern.  He’s hiding from the trolls, who took Marianne.

Shakespeare’s Brutus says, “There is a tide in the affairs of men / which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”  This is a pure expletive:  A tide in the affairs of men . . . leads on to fortune.”

I had a professor who called these expletives “Do-Nothings”.  They are mere placeholders who thrust the subject into impotence.

When we remove them, we immediately punch up our writing.

  • There is no sense to her words. >> Her words are senseless.
  • There are no hiding places from trolls. >> We cannot hide from trolls.
  • Here are giants. >>

Ah, the last one’s not so easy, for this is a placement adverb, not an expletive. Purge it, however.

  • Here are giants. >> Giants stood among the trees, peeking over the canopies, waiting in ambush for the trolls.

For the giants will free Marianne.