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One day CJ was typing on a computer when out of nowhere Tyler started to sing “March of the Dwarves” by Edvard Grieg. CJ, Tyler, and Jeremy often did verbal adventures (we called them “mental matchups”) with each other, so CJ knew what was up.

Tyler explained that a mass of dwarves was coming into the house and starting to dig a mine. CJ came back with a description of how he tried to reason with the dwarves. The two brothers worked out a story about how the dwarves negotiated permission to keep digging in exchange for sharing the metals they found.

This was the beginning of an epic series of adventures. The fictional dwarf mine grew as we kept imagining new features. We came up with a menagerie of additional characters to populate the mine, and jointly we came up with massive plots, epic battles, and adventures spanning continents, and even outer space. Needing to come up with a name for our dwarf mine, we decided on “Doria.”

Now Tyler (under the pseudonym V.A. Laurence) is turning the adventures into an epic novel, which will be published on this website one chapter at a time. Check out the first part of this epic adventure, and find out what it is like to witness the start of a brand-new dwarf mine!


On a bright, spring morning in 2008, high-school sophomore Tyler Madsen stepped onto the stage at West Jordan High. He was competing in the final round of the school’s annual poetry slam, having already advanced through the class and period levels.

Tyler proceeded to stun the audience with his performance of “Between Niflheim and Muspellsheim,” an epic poem that portrayed the cycle of seasons as a never-ending conflict between the Norse realms of ice and fire. Tyler was awarded first place . . . and the sibling rivalry began!

Two years later, it was CJ’s turn to compete as a sophomore. He presented a poem of a far different character: “Layers,” a nonsensical poem about an even more nonsensical competition. He, too, swept first place.

The next year, Audrey matched the feat, bringing the audience to guffaws with her pun-filled masterpiece “Consider the Shoe.”

When Jeremy entered his sophomore year, he was feeling the heat. For months, he slaved over draft after draft of possible poems. But nothing sounded like a winner. Then, a month before the poetry slam, Jeremy failed to place in an unrelated competition, a competition he had felt sure of winning. Frustrated and disappointed, he went home, sat at the computer, and typed out “The Sting of Defeat,” a poem charged with emotion, pain, and resolve.

The poem sat in Jeremy’s archives, as a month later he entered the poetry slam with a different poem, which ended up winning . . . second place.

Seven years later, we now present these four poems to you as the first posts in a series of inspiring works!