Hmm.  Influential people, effecting my writing…  Where to start!  There have been quite a few. Anyway, one of my favorites…  This needs a little background info, so have patience.  It’s a combination of two different pieces of my life–the Intensive Journal and the theater.  Back in my college years, I was part of a theater production of 1776, a Broadway musical about the Continental Congress and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  (By the same person who brought you the musical about the Titanic!)  For an excellent overview of 1776 go to   I loved doing the play and I go to any production I can.  The character which I most admired was the main character  (John Adams).  Over the years, lines from the play appeared in my journal writings.  Also, over the years I attended Ira Progoff’s Intensive Journal workshops.  One of the main journal techniques Progoff uses is dialogues: dialogues with people, events in our lives, our bodies, etc.  One section is Dialogues with Inner Wisdom Figures (real/fictional, famous or not).  See for more info.  When I began writing Inner Wisdom dialogues, Mr Adams started showing up.  And what follows is one of those dialogues.  The characters in this dialogue include myself as the writer; Mr Adams; Andrew, the Intensive Journal workshop facilitator; and RB/LB, alter-egos of the writer.  The primary dialogue is in quotation marks.


11/19/95      (Intensive Journal Workshop Dialogue)
 “How Quiet The Chamber Is. How Silent, How Silent The Chamber Is. Is Anybody There?”


 “Mr Adams!”


 “I was hoping you’d come. I need to talk to you.”

 “Ever, your obedient listener.”

 “Old Gloom & Doom is back. I received some very disappointing news yesterday. Sending me back into my fears and uncertainties. I need your support.”

 “Now and always. How can I help?”

 “Just talk to me, John. About commitment to goals.”

 “What commitment is faltering, Miss J?”

 “My sense of things-of life working out in a positive way.”

 “Positive meaning without mistakes or pain?”

 “No. That’s wishful thinking. Positive as in meaningful. Also in being able to take care of myself. In being an adult.”

 “You don’t feel-adult-when things are difficult?”

 “Sometimes. Sometimes not. It depends on the issue.”

 “How are you feeling now?”

 “Small, John. Foolish and-damn-here come the tears. I’m sorry-”

 “Do not apologize. Honest tears are not a weakness.”

 “Right. And I won’t melt like the Wicked Witch of the West, from crying.”

 “The Wicked Witch of the West?”

 “I’ll tell you the Wizard of Oz story another time.”

 “Maybe you should tell me now. Here. Sit beside me. Tell me about the wizard and the witch.”

 “On second thought, it is a musical.  Singing and dancing.”

 “I like it already! Tell me.”

 “Well, a girl named Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are swept up and away by a tornado to another place–the land of Oz. Over the rainbow. The story is about her journey to return to Kansas. She meets dangers, witches, etc. No story without dangers, I suppose.”

 “Or a life.”

 “Or a life. Along the way she meets first, a scarecrow. Who wants a brain. Secondly, a tin man who wants a heart. Then a cowardly lion who wants courage, of course.”

 “Of course.”

 “And a horse of a different color in the Emerald City. But the horse isn’t a major character—”

 Just a bit player!
 Sorry. Couldn’t resist!

 “Anyway. Dorothy, the scarecrow, tin man, and lion go to the Emerald City because that is where the great & powerful Wizard of Oz is-er-resides.”

 With the horse of a different color!
 Right Brain!
 That tone of voice. She means business. No more horsing around.
 Yes, I know where I can go.
 Which brings us back to John Adams. To return to your story, Miss J, the great and powerful Oz…

 “The great and powerful Oz will help our heroes if they do one dangerous task–get the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West.”

 Who’s the sister of the Wicked Witch of the East.
 Who died when the house from Kansas fell on her!
 A certain redhead will be dead soon.
 The Witch of the North didn’t die.
 I’m not talking about Glenda!
 I know. Okay, I’ve done my duty as irritant. Let’s go on with the story. Mr Adams must be in unbearable suspense. Our heroes are off to the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West to get her broomstick.

 “They get it and return to the Emerald City.”

 Whoa! This is a point you can’t skip over. Otherwise your earlier comment to John about not melting like the witch won’t be understandable. Tell him how they got the broomstick.

 “One of our heroes–the scarecrow, I think, since he was made of straw–is on fire and Dorothy throws water at him. Some of it splashes on the witch and she melts.”

 Now you can go back to the Emerald City.
 Thank you.
 Where the horse of a different color is!
 That tone of voice again. I’m good at my job, aren’t I?
 I will not say what I am thinking in front of Mr Adams. I want to keep his good opinion of me. Later, we will talk.
 I’m in trouble now!

 “They return with the broomstick and the whole point of the story is revealed. The great & powerful Oz is not so great & powerful. He’s a man not a real wizard. And he can’t give our  heroes what they want because they already have it!  Scarecrow is intelligent, the tin man has a heart full of feelings, and the lion is brave indeed. They didn’t recognize it or have external validation of it. So the wizard gives the lion a medal, the scarecrow gets a diploma, etc.”

 “And Dorothy?”

 “Dorothy has the ability to return herself to Kansas. End of the story.”

 “It’s a wonderful tale.”

 “They show it every year. It’s over 50 years old now. I watched it many times during my childhood.”

 “It’s not just a story for children.”

 “Yes… And there’s probably a reason it appeared in the middle of our dialogue.”

 “Indeed. Like Dorothy at the beginning of the story, you have been feeling lost and uncertain. About events and your goals.”

 “Yes. So I thought of you. You represent my sense of commitment. Despite great obstacles/dangers, etc.”

 “I must confess, I am like the wizard. Only a man. And I can’t say more to you than what he said to them. You have what you need, Miss J. Recognize it.”

 “On one level I do. Otherwise we could not be speaking like this. But I’m not feeling it.”

 “The feeling will come and go. Rely instead upon the values you hold so dear, the goals you choose, and the commitment needed to continue.”

 “You underestimate yourself, John. You’re not like the wizard at all. Those were wise and good words. Said from your heart.”

 HEY, LB! Brainstorm!
 Oh, God!
 A cast exchange. Franklin as the cowardly lion, Jefferson as the scarecrow, and Mr Adams as the tin man.
 Not now, RB.
 You’re smiling though! I’m half way out of trouble.

 “Then I should say such words more often.”

 We got her, Mr Adams.  She’s blushing.

 “The bloom on your cheeks is most becoming.”

 What a remarkable felicity with words.

 “I see old Gloom & Doom has been vanquished. A penny for your thoughts.”

 “Just a very silly thought, John.”

 “Tell me.”

 Tell him, Dawn.

 “I insist.”

 The Great & Powerful Adams has spoken!

 “John, it’s really not…”

 She’s laughing now! I’m almost out of trouble.

 “I must know.”



 “You won’t give up, will you?”

 “I am a stubborn man.”

 “I know.”

 Stubborn. Another word for committed?  Hmm. “One of the things I admire in you.”

 “Flattery will not divert me, Miss J.”

 LB, question
 Footnote it. I am talking to Mr Adams.
 Really? I agree with John. You’re stalling.
 Yes.  Hasn’t there been enough embarrassment today?
 I think he would appreciate the humor.
 I’ll tell him if you don’t.
 I knew that line was coming.
 Mr Adam’s not the only stubborn one around here.
 I’m well aware of that.
 He’s waiting, Dawn.
 You enjoy this too damn much.
 There’s not been enough enjoyment lately. And you’re–


 “Oh, John. I really don’t think it will be as amusing to you. You haven’t seen–”

 “So, I am an unsophisticated 18th century man and therefore incapable of comprehending the comedy of the 20th century?”


 “I am a Harvard graduate and well-versed in–”

 “John! I-I’m not thinking that at all. But I see I’ve offended you. My apologies.”

 “What so amused you?”

 “It was only the thought of–the vision of Dr Franklin as the cowardly lion, Jefferson as the scarecrow, and you as the tin man. I’m sorry, but it fits–visually. The lion was portly, with long-um-a mane and the scarecrow was tall–”

 Dawn, stop babbling. Look at John–he’s smiling. I told you he’d–hey, we can show him the video next week!
 You expect to go to Boston without me? Silly you. But I agree to give you and John some privacy. I’ll find–
 How about some privacy right now?
 All right. Mr Adams has forgiven you, so I’ll bow out at this point.
 Thank you.
 Bow out
 That means good-bye, RB. We’ll talk later.
 I’m still in trouble.


 “You must tell me more.”

 “Yes, but not today please. Enough energy has been stirred up already.”

 “I beg your pardon?”

 “Nevermind. I want to thank you for helping me cope with old Gloom & Doom again.”

 “I am glad to be–”


 “Someone is playing the violin.”

 That devious little–bow out indeed.

 “I am unfamiliar with the melody. Do you recognize it?”

 “Yes, Mr Adams. It’s from the Wizard of Oz musical.”

 “Shall we dance?”

 “In the middle of the afternoon, John?”

 “We’re not in Boston!”


 “One, two, three, one, two, three!”

 “Yes, we can waltz to it. Amazing!”

 “What are the words?”

 “SOMEWHERE, OVER THE RAINBOW, SKIES ARE BLUE!  BIRDS FLY OVER THE RAIN–Oh!”   Andrew is calling time. The next journal exercise. To hell with it! I need to do this kind of exercise!   “One, two, three, one, two, three!”