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Writers are Dragon Slayers

Updated on January 1, 2015

A Blast from the Past

Allow me to introduce you to Thomas Paine.

“THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.”

That paragraph can be found in a small pamphlet written by Mr. Paine called “The Crisis,” and it was published on December 23, 1776. The survival of a new nation was hanging by a thread, and Mr. Paine felt the need to speak out.

I get goose bumps every single time I read those words.

Mr. Paine was slaying dragons with his pen.

Today most of us do not have to dip a pen in an ink well, but we can accomplish the same thing using our computer keyboard.

Are there any dragons you’d like to slay?

Every writer can bring about change in this world
Every writer can bring about change in this world | Source

Feelings of Inadequacy

Writing means sharing. It's part of the human condition to want to share things - thoughts, ideas, opinions.

Paulo Coelho

The Web is a vast, strange and, at times, frightening place….as is the world in general. Seven-point-two billion people, a horde of such proportions as to leave us feeling, dare I say, insignificant.

As I write these words, I sit in my little writing studio in Olympia, Washington. I mix and match verbs and nouns, play with metaphors and toss in a dollop of similes, all in the hopes that I will somehow reach a couple thousand people.

A couple thousand of the seven-point-two billion.

What possible difference can my words make?

What a monumental lesson in futility.

What folly!

And yet, tomorrow I will get up and do it all again, and the next day as well, and while you are at it, pencil in the remainder of my life….ten, twenty, thirty years of more folly and more futility.

Thank God Thomas Paine didn’t allow feelings of futility to derail his thoughts and prevent him from writing his monumental work.

When Paine wrote the aforementioned words, the American Revolution was experiencing its darkest days. There was a very real possibility that the Rebels would suffer defeat in the coming months, and truthfully, there were many Colonists who hoped that would happen.

2.5 million people lived in the Colonies at that time, and word was spread on horseback.

Still, Paine wrote.

When he finished writing “The Crisis,” he took it to a printer and had copies made, and then distributed those copies by hand and by local carriers.

And darkness became light, and hope overcame hopelessness. The fortunes of war shifted, and a new country emerged.

Did one man win the war with his words?

No!

Did one man make a difference with his words?

Yes!

Your computer is your lance
Your computer is your lance | Source

Just One Man’s Opinion

Action is greater than writing. A good man is a nobler object of contemplation than a great author. There are but two things worth living for: to do what is worthy of being written; and to write what is worthy of being read.

Ross Perot

I have very little patience with indifference.

For that matter, I have very little patience with those who have a talent, and yet fail to utilize that gift to the max.

Here’s an amazing statistic for you to chew on this day: my articles have been read, online, by more people than those who read “The Crisis” in 1776. The internet has made it possible for me to not only speak out about social injustice, but to be read by millions, and quite frankly, I am blown away by that fact.

And each of you reading this today should be in awe as well.

So, what are you going to do?

Are you going to allow your literary sword to rust and become dull from complacency, or are you going to wield it to strike down the dragons?

I believe writers have a responsibility. We have been given a gift, and I believe that gift must be used to speak out, to raise awareness, and to be the voice of the masses.

Will you accept the challenge?

Choose a path for social change
Choose a path for social change | Source

Let Me Clarify

When I started on this writing path, I was filled with indignation. The firebrand of my youth was reborn, and I vowed to take on worthy causes, to strike down injustice with my words, and to speak for those who had no voice. Did I believe I could change society? No, but I did believe I could change a few people by raising awareness about issues, and considering the state of the world today, any change would be better than no change.

And so I wrote about homelessness, and sex trafficking. I wrote about the abandoned, the forlorn, the hopeless and the downtrodden. I wrote about government corruption and misuse of public funds. I wrote about compassion, love, charity and goodwill.

Did I make a difference? I don’t know. I hope so. What I do know for certain, though, is that I didn’t allow the dire affairs of today’s world to change me. Instead of cowering in a cocoon, I stood up and spoke out. I used whatever talents I had to try to affect change.

And that is my challenge to you!

Of course I don’t expect you to do this with each article that you write. Everyone has to make a living…even writers. We write what sells, and so we write our recipes and how craft articles; we write our travel articles and our DIY articles; and we make some money and pay our bills and live to fight another day.

What I am hoping, however, is that on occasion you will pick up your sword and find a dragon to slay. Whatever issue you deem important, write about it. Raise awareness about the environment, animal cruelty, adoption, or verbal abuse. Raise awareness about divorce, drug addiction, corruption, or dysfunctional families. Tackle issues of substance, and in so doing, feed your soul and join Thomas Paine, and thousands like him, in being the voice of your generation.

Will you accept my challenge?

See results

Once a Month

That’s what I’m asking you to do….once a month, write an article that is red meat rather than vegan. Pour your heart and soul into an issue. Leave nothing left unsaid. Use your gift to elevate the level of discussion and discourse in this world.

Slay the twin dragons of complacency and apathy with your words.

Can you do it?

Once a month?

Spend the remainder of this month planning, and then let’s see November inundated with articles we can all be proud of.

Can you do it?

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, John!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, it is a perfect example and I thank you. I'll link it to this one.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I never said I was officially accepting this challenge Bill, but my latest hub "The Little Children Cry in Vain" is this month's contribution towards "dragon slaying."

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Gwenneth. I think writers have a lot more impact than they sometimes think. I love the fact that our words will live on. online, long after we have died. I find great comfort in that.

    • Gwenneth Leane profile image

      Gwenneth Leane 2 years ago from Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia Australia

      i FOUND THIS ARTICLE SO INSPIRING. I took up again the challenge: The pen is mightier than the sword. There is a Bible verse that says, Cast your bread on all waters and it shall return to you.' I have long thought of my words as bead and cast them on all waters. Sometimes they return to me and sometimes tey don't but I believe they are out there being used in some way.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      peach, thank you for taking on the challenge, and happy dragon slaying to you.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      tanks for your encouragement hub. I will try to slay a dragon once a month. Hopeful I can be the knight soon

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Catherine and bless you for not shying away from the important issues in life. Happy New Year to you and blessings always.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I've been slaying dragons from the very start of my writing endeavors, both on HubPages and on my blogs. On HubPages, I have written about social issues like abolishing the death penalty and religious tolerance. Thanks for reminding me to do more of that. Yu have inspired me to add a new resolution to my new year's resolutions--take up some new issues in 2015. I'm sharing to encourage others to do serious issues also.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa, I love it when my words speak to someone is a special way, as this one did to you. Thank you for sharing those thoughts about your family. What special parents you had, my friend.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Dragon imagery and the idea of the "dragon-slayer" has always spoken to my heart. Both my parents (in very different ways) were dragon slayers (a Southern Baptist school teacher married a Catholic Polish immigrant who joined the Air Force). In their own arenas, they always found and served causes, helped people, righted wrongs. Without really trying to they bequeathed their spirit and determination to their four children. Hopefully, we four have also been a positive influence on our children. There is so much we can do, as writers, teachers, artists, thinkers, organizers. Opportunities abound, all we need do is pick up the sword and stand firm. Everything you write is good, this especially though, speaks tp my heart and soul. Theresa

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe that, SheGetsCreative.....we can move mountains my friend.

      Thank you!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      You go dragonslayer! The pen or keyboard is often mightier than the sword.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, I think that would be fascinating to see the colors. As for charisma, thank you....I've got what I've got. I've spent so much time with myself that I don't recognize the package following me around. :)

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 3 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Bill, without getting into the technicalities, and aura is the energy field everyone projects, whether "weak" or "strong". It's what draws or deflects people to or from a person. Another name for the type that draws people is "charisma" and you definitely have that!

      btw, auras supposedly have colors. Similar to what the "mood rings" of the 60s and 70s were supposed to reveal. Red or black for anger, blue for calm, etc. Some people have the ability to see auras and their colors, but alas I'm not one of them. ;D

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Too funny, Jama! I was told once that I had an aura when I entered a room. I have no idea what that is, but I'm glad I have it. :)

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 3 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Oh, you might not notice me at first. I like to hang back and get a feel for the crowd or the situation before letting that energy go, though in my younger days I was told repeatedly that I "exuded a presence" when I entered a room. Not a good thing when one wanted to blend into the background! ;D

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, you are the type of person I gravitate towards. I can always pick the rabble rousers from a crowd, and gladly shoulder up next to them to feed from their energy. Keep fighting the good fight my friend, and thank you for being so loyal here.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 3 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      This will probably sound like a cop-out, or treasonous to my fellow hubbers, but I use my keyboard to slay dragons via online petitions. Amazing the impact a hundred thousand (or more) electronic signatures can do to change the mind of a government official, a district attorney, or a school superintendent, to name only a few. I once started a list of all the causes I support, but gave up after 100 or so. Also, I descend from a long line of "rabble rousers" who've changed the course of history by standing up for what they believed in, and have spent many years trying to squelch the impulse to follow in their footsteps. Well, except for being an "accidental libber" (a hub-length story in itelf) back in the 70s.

      Having said all that, after hitting "Post Comment", I'll copy/paste this comment to my "hub ideas" folder and humbly admit I now have NO excuse for not writing a dragon slaying hub.

      Thanks, Bill! ;D

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, don't get me started. Society has fallen...very far down the dark shaft, and I'm just hoping it will find it's way to the light during my lifetime.

      As you said. :) Thank you!

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      What a great use of metaphors.

      I can't help but voice my concerns for the direction society has fallen, and yes I do mean fallen. Thankfully the collective voices of many may possibly help pave the way to change in the future. As you said.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, it is always a pleasure having you stop by. Despite the hectic and demanding lifestyle you have now, you are not forgotten by me, and one day your voice will rise again, and then those dragons better watch out.

      Sending those angels right back at you, loaded with goodies.

      bill

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      You remind me of the high school journalism teacher who fostered even more for me the love of the magic of words. He recognized that it was my passion.

      Life gets in the way of me having time to sharpen my sword. From time to time the door opens enough, sometimes in the wee hours, when I have time to express a few of the thoughts that are clamoring to get out.

      And when I do not have those moments, I turn to others, like you, dear friend, Bill, who express so well often what needs to be said.

      Have a most lovely day today.

      Many many Angels and hugs are on the way to you and yours ps

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Who knows, John? That's happened of late. It might just be a glitch at HP. Thanks for being persistent.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I have left two comments here previously Bill. I guess it was too controversial :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, I believe that to be true. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      A great hub, words can win battles and definitely slay dragons. Writing for a cause makes words all the more special.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, the goal is to raise awareness with one person...that's what writers do, slowly change the world. Thank you my friend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pen Power indeed, Sujaya! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! I think there are some great writers here on HP, and I think it is a shame that it is wasted constantly on mundane articles when they could be making a difference.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Billy, I don't guarantee to attract as many views as either you or Thomas Paine but I am always up for a challenge - especially if I can slay a dragon or two.

      Sally

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 3 years ago

      pen power

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      This is the greatest challenge of all my friend. We so often shy away from controversy but if we don't face it who will? There are certainly dragons to be slayed and what better way to slay them than to write about them and their cure?

      Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful, interesting and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I knew I could count on you, Iris. Thank you!

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I accept your challenge, Bill, with excitement and a bit of trepidation. But I'm in!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jen, how could I possibly add to your eloquent words about freedom? I do believe we are systematically being stripped of our freedoms, under the guise of "free candy" as you put it. I hope we wake up soon as a nation before it is too late.

      Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rasta, I am touched by your words. Thank you, sir. I can live with the term "fire burner. "

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 3 years ago from California

      I love your quote by Thomas Paine, especially "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly." Freedom is costly. For far too long our freedom has been free, but we are standing on the edge of a point of no return, and the American people will have to decide whether they want to be enslaved again, under the guise of free candy.

      I do wonder.... the IRS has began to target people, and treat them differently according to their political beliefs and contributions. If what we write online never goes away, will our words condemn us in the future? Each person will have to decide for themselves which crosses they are willing to die on.

      You bring up a great point, that our words are as powerful as weapons. I hope that we all use them to slay evil and not just point them at each other. But then again, evil is being redefined.

      Bill, you have something that Thomas Paine didn't have, a worldwide audience. People from all over the planet are reading your words, not just a couple of small colonies.

      I yearn for the day when man will be free again. When a man can do as he sees best fit for his own family and is not hindered by over regulation. When his government is there to protect the common good, build the roads, and uphold the laws of protection from evil---when he can once again profit from the labor of his own hand---when his words and his actions are no longer infringed upon. We have opened the door to tyranny---in she walks like a mistress--she is beautiful and cunning as she pulls you in closer.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 3 years ago from Jamaica

      Where I am from they would call you a fire burner. Which is the same thing as being a very passionate person. You have helped to convert me a long time ago. I do not even remember which one of your articles moved me but it happened.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, there's another British word we never hear over here...fancy....I should have been born British. I like the way you folks speak. :)

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Suhail. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      You're too kind. Between you and me, I just fancy the idea of dragon-slaying! :)

      Ann

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Voted up! Found awesome and useful! I particularly liked the way you began the article and then the content kept building on the theme.

      With such a huge readership as yours, your articles surely must have made big difference. As a very small example, your kind words on my articles keep me going too.

      This is a great challenge, but I am hesitant to take it, because I only write one article every other month on the average.

      However, surely, my next few articles are going to be constructively venomous on issues I am passionate about.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kim, you brought a smile to my face and laughter to my heart...go forth brave knight, and slay those damned dragons. LOL

      bill

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Sir Bill,

      A great challenge ye have proposed here. I shall await the timely moment when the handle of the sword fits comfortably in my hand. Forthwith, I will make it my quest.

      Wholeheartedly,

      Your average, run of the mill, wannabee Dragon Slayer

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, we live in remarkable times as writers. We can reach so many people through the internet...I find that exciting, but I also think it carries a responsibility. We have a gift and we should use it. i know a lot of people who can't do what you do with words.

      Anyway, I love it when you go for the grit. Keep it up my friend.

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Great stuff, bill! I've been enjoying doing a few hubs with a bit more grit lately. It's satisfying to have a rant and try to make a difference. I will certainly try to keep going. In fact, today I saw something on the tv that made me think of another issue.

      It's great that you keep prodding us to use our writing in this way. I love your 'Hope' hubs, they are so powerful, and I love the passion you portray behind your writing.

      It certainly is awesome that we reach so many people on this site - I find it mind-boggling. I also find it challenging and I so like a challenge!

      Happy Wednesday to you, bill!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We can only hope and keep writing, Sha! We sit in our homes, pounding on the keys, and never really know how many we are reaching...but the alternative is to not write, and that's unacceptable. :) Thanks for what you do my friend.

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, that's precisely what I try to do with my blog. The dragon I'm slaying is the injustice that is being wrought on the environment and wildlife. Hopefully, one day my words will reach enough people to make a difference.

      Your readership is quite impressive. With numbers like that, you can't help but make a difference. And you are!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm sure you'll come up with something, Ruby, because you are a caring and loving human being. I look forward to the results. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lea!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Don, that was a very kind thing for you to say. I thank you sincerely my friend, and I will keep writing.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, for maybe the first time in our friendship, I disagree with you. People will listen to what you have to say, and if you only change one person, then the article you write is worth it. Your sword may be bent in half, but then, rather than cut deeply, you will pound into submission.

      Thank you for taking the challenge. I look forward to your rant.

      blessings always

      bill

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I'm in! Great hub. Now what can I write about? See you..

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      PS: I forgot to mention I printed out your whole article...for my Billy Buc folder addition.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      billybuc- Your writings stand on their own two feet, each and every one that I have read.

      Your works are read, avidly by many, and your points are well taken and truly considered by your readers.

      Keep it up, if for no other reason than; If you stopped writing to us there would be a hole in mine and many others' challenging thoughts.

      Thanks, from a follower,

      DON

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      Wow, this is terrific! I just printed it out - and, yes, there ARE dragons I would like to slay...but in this day and age, I doubt if anyone would listen. I am one person on a pedestal against fornication and pre-marital sex... and the damage it does...with this sexual revolution, hooking up, 'relationships,' -even my own children and husband disagree (even though Dave was very considerate of my asking to wait until our wedding night-he loved me that much, and still does)...I only know that if the Bible says it, it is TRUE, and it says, FLEE FORNICATION.

      There, got that out of my system, you can delete this if you want...I am livid over animal cruelty, but I can't write about it because I cannot read or watch ANY videos regarding animal cruelty. it turns me into a monster...I did publish a viewpoint in the paper a few years ago...resulting in people calling me and telling me the awful things that happened to their pets...

      These are two dragons I don't even have a chance with...my sword would be bent in half....all thing being said, I confess, I am an excellent 'angry' writer- long story...but any complaint letters I have written in the past to doctors' offices, McDonalds, Rudeness at a pharmacy...etc. have always resulted in sincere apologies.

      BUT, I AM going to take your advice...I accept your challenge, I will start on a rant today...sorry I dumped on you! God bless, I am now in search of a dragon. Voted up and awesome, and I love the Thomas Paine quote to start us off ....I do not know what HP and Facebook would do without you. Your accomplishments continue to be so inspiring. Sparklea :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      breakfastpop, your writing has great value. You raise the level of discourse in an apathetic world...keep doing what you are doing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill, and you are making a difference as well my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, I love it. You go get them, girl! Thank you my friend.

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      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      Thank you billy. I feel validated because of what you have written here. Voted up, up, up!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for this great article and challenge. I'm on it. And thanks for the difference you ARE making. Voted up and shared.

    • Linda Compton profile image

      Linda Compton 3 years ago from The Land of Enchantment

      Voted up and awesome, Bill. Very rousing, enlivening and hopeful. And convicting. I have been in that push-pull avoidance with my book, and your inspiration has tipped me in the get 'er done direction. Thank you. I do believe as you've conveyed. Bless your resolute & radiant heart. L.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! I look forward to seeing your results. Happy Wednesday indeed my friend.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Definitely can take this challenge and will try my best. Thanks Bill and have a wonderful Wednesday now!