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ASK WENDY Excerpt 7

Have you ever been down and had someone tell you to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”? Well, unless you happen to always be wearing strappy boots…this saying doesn’t help much. Sometimes life won’t be kind my Wendigos. It’s full of break ups, rejections, tragic loss, long lines, and empty pots of coffee. Whether your problems are big or small, it can be easy to draw your curtains, curl up into a ball, and decide you’re never washing your hair again. It’s important to know how to dig yourself out of these tunnels. This comes from a certain kind of self awareness.

Do something for me. List 3 things that always make you smile…got them? I’ll bet simply picturing them in your mind made you smile a tiny bit! It’s important to know what makes us happy. For me it’s moon pies, bookstores, and an A-line dress with a great print. When I’m having a rough time I pull out one of my mood miracles and remind myself that life has downs, but they’re only in between the ups.

Of course a few little life favorites aren’t always enough. It’s important to still apply problem solving skills to whatever your facing. And if you find what your facing is simply too much, know that it’s okay to reach out and find someone to talk to.

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Posted in Ask Wendy
Posted on August 16, 2015

A Nickel’s Worth of Free Advice

Stop the presses!  I’ve learned that my sister Wendy Darling’s book tour begins this Saturday at Neverland Books!  So I figured I’d use this week’s editorial to talk a little bit about it.  In case you haven’t read any of my earlier editorials on the subject, Wendy has written a book called “Ask Wendy: Advice on Life, Love and Living,” which is being put out by the publishing division of JH Media.  We’re all familiar with her storied career as advice columnist during her tenure running “Dear Darling” for the Kensington Chronicle before she moved on to bigger and better things, and this book is a must-have for anyone who enjoyed that feature!  Click on over to the JH Media site to read a few excepts, in case you’d like to try before you buy.  And using the form right below that, you can sign up to have free excerpts delivered right to your inbox.

I, for one, couldn’t be happier that our brief and unfounded estrangement is at an end, as I find myself in dire need of advice in the “love” category.  But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little guilty asking about my love life when I know hers is currently in such bitter turmoil.  I gather an ill-fated double date ended with her current and former beaus coming to blows.  And given that several of the players in this drama are near and dear to my heart, my brother and I have been put in the unenviable position of having to navigate this interpersonal minefield.  For the record, I personally have nothing but respect for Jas Hook, and based on what I’ve seen, he has comported himself as nothing but a perfect gentleman in regards to my sister.  And a part of me regrets my involvement in a recent community theatre piece that shall remain nameless; to say it amounted to little more than a thinly veiled attack on the current object of my sister’s affections would do thin veils an injustice.  [I should note that this is not meant as a slight against anyone but the play’s author; the cast and crew were nothing if not consummate professionals]

But I digress.  While this won’t cure all of my sister’s woes, I suspect that all we need to do to take her mind off her troubles is to make her first book signing  first book signing a rousing success.  To that end, I hope all of you will join me this Saturday, 8/15, at 1:30 p.m. EST at Neverland Books.  For more details, feel free to reach out to John Smee, Neverland Books proprietor Bri Valdivia, Cindy Sue, Constance Moriarty or any of the store’s other amazing employees.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on August 13, 2015

Neverspeak Weekly 8/11/15

Neverspear In Love. This is why we love being Neverlandians! Everyone in town turned out to support Peter Pan in his artistic pursuit this past Thursday. Auditions took place on Wednesday, and with only a day’s notice actors took the stage the next night. John Darling, Michael Darling, G. Harrison Lestrade, Teresa Delacruz and Rowan O’Connor joined the cast along with Mr. Pan while Elsa Fairy, Lorelie Williams, Fish Girl Pond and yours truly helped bring the production together. Everyone celebrated a job well done with a toast at the Jolly Roger after the show.

Book It! In case you haven’t heard, Neverland’s own Wendy Darling is starting her book tour here in town at Neverland Books this Saturday at 1:30PM EST. So grab some brunch and come get in line for your very own signed copy of her book Ask Wendy! Advice on Life, Love & Living. If you can’t wait until Saturday, check out excerpts from the book at jhmediaworld.com.

Horse Play. Apparently, horses are the new black. This week saw two surprising horse cameos. After Mia decided to stay in Neverland, we all thought things had calmed down for the book store maven. That is until Eli Traynor rode up to her front door on a noble steed and made the maven into a maiden. In Panlet, the Ghost of Pancules played by G. Harrison Lestrade rode in on a horse as well. This mount was provided by Lorelie Williams who generously stayed behind to help shovel manure after the show.

Partners in Crime. It seems an unlikely duo has formed in the fight against crime. Barely a week into taking the position of Deputy Sheriff of Neverland, G. Harrison Lestrade has unofficially teamed up with Cleveland-based Slayer Teresa Delacruz to take on the forces of evil. Mr. Lestrade has been making quick work of the petty criminals in town, but has turned to the supernatural expertise of Ms. Delacruz when things skew to the spooky. Rumor has it the Neverland County Sheriff Office may be opening a paranormal investigation unit.

Engaging Affairs. Sarah Jane-Lakewood has announced that her engagement party will be taking place on August 28th. If trends continue it should be quite the romantic affair. As the summer is drawing to a close, it seems almost everyone in Neverland has paired off. First of all, I would like to assure all of those as single as me that those couples can’t sing “Single Ladies”. Second of all, I would really like to collect a comprehensive list of couple nicknames…Go!

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on August 12, 2015

ASK WENDY – Excerpt 6

“We accept the love we think we deserve” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The best advice I can give when people ask how to find love is to look inside. It doesn’t matter if your profile is 99% compatible, or if you spot them reading your favorite book while drinking your favorite tea. It doesn’t matter if the stars aligned and everything is perfect! If you don’t love yourself, your heart isn’t available to anyone. And your heart knows when you’re faking it. It can sense if you’re thinking “Fine. I’ll love myself just long enough to get a boyfriend, then it’s back to criticizing and self hate.”

If you’re seeking a romantic relationship because you think someone else’s love is going to replace what you deny yourself, you, my sweet friends, are in for a painful ride.

Imagine your heart is a baby kitten. What would happen if you waited for someone else to come along and give it food? Your heart-kitten might starve before you even find a partner! Not to mention, if your boyfriend or girlfriend realizes they’re the only one taking care of it, they could get tired of seeing the neglect and it might make them want to give up.

So before you can even think about getting into relationships with others, you need to start with a good relationship with you and your heart-kitten. Or heart-puppy if you happen to be allergic.

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Posted in Ask Wendy
Posted on August 9, 2015

Neverspeak Weekly 7/28/15

Ten Delicious Decades! As mentioned last week, the Jolly Roger Soda Ship is celebrating its 100th anniversary tomorrow, July 29th. The crew will be hosting an all-day party at the shop with yummy treats and music from Fish Girl Pond. In addition, shop owner Aimée Jolie will be posting an extensive history of the shop, chronicling its decades-long presence in Neverland and it’s ever-evolving role as a gathering place throughout the tumultuous twentieth century in America.

Reality Bites. Since the return of Jas Hook and Wendy Darling to Neverland, some Neverlandians have been tuning into the JHMedia Livestream to learn more about the company (and feed their curiosity about the power couple). Last Thursday those same Neverlandians witnessed a shocking confrontation between Hook and Neverland’s favorite son Peter Pan. Peter came across as, for lack of a better word, a bully. It will be interesting to see how he handles his new notoriousness.  Is the play really the thing?

Get me to the Church… Sarah-Jane Lakewood set a date for her nuptials to fiance Alfie. Neverlandians, mark your calendars for August 15, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Should be a hot ticket! As in literally very hot. August in Louisiana hot. Lakewood says invitations will be going out soon. Don’t give her honeymoon advice if you want to make the list!

Changes of Heart (and Location). Teresa Delacruz has relocated to New York City with her boyfriend Neal. Though everyone will be sad to see less of her, we wish her the best with her new life. And if you’ve stopped by Neverland Books lately, you’ve probably noticed that Mia Rivers still has not returned to her post. You only have to look so far as her tumblr to find that she’s currently residing at a crossroads between Neverland and Denver.  Though not always an easy thing to do, try to follow your heart where it leads, Mia!

New Sheriff in Town. G. Harrison Lestrade has been offered the job of Neverland’s Deputy Sheriff pending a background check. But, since he comes directly from the FBI, that shouldn’t be a problem! While we’ve had to say goodbye to a couple of Neverlandians, we are excited to welcome him and accountant Wesley Parsons (who’s looking for a roommate!) to the community full time.

Local Blues. Neverlandians were dismayed to read last week’s editorial in which John Darling, assistant to the Editor in Chief, opened up about the Kensington Chronicle’s financial difficulties. As a recent hire, this gossip columnist found the the article especially distressing. However, it’s been encouraging to watch Neverlandians gather around the paper in support. Many citizens have pledged to pick up subscriptions and the Neverland Care Center guaranteed that copies of the Chronicle would always be available in its waiting room. Keep supporting local news!

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on July 28, 2015

Neverspeak Weekly 6/23/15

Fatestalkers Unite! Neverland’s own guerilla matchmaking group, Fatestalkers, has a new job. Michael Darling, advice vlogger for the Kensington Chronicle, is the one asking for help this time. He likes a girl, codename Dahlia, who is currently dating his friend. Eek, that’s awkward! Hope the Fatestalkers can help him untangle that one!

Love is in the air? Recent Southern transplant Eli Traynor was spotted flirting with Mia Rivers at Neverland Books. Sources say he walked out with a copy of “Kissing in America” – I think some kissing in Neverland may be in their future. But sources say Eli tried to ask Mia to the Ball but was given a confused shoulder.  Maybe time for some Sadie Hawkins actions?

Local Success. Neverlandians were excited to learn about the upcoming release of an advice book by Neverland’s own Wendy Darling. They were eager to know where and when they could obtain their own copy of “Ask Wendy”. Hopefully we’ll know more soon! Until then, you can always check out her old column here at the Kensington Chronicle.

Paradise in Trouble. Wesley Parsons and Juliet Carpenter are official – Wules, anyone?  Wes was even spotted down on one knee.  But, is he going to have to leave Neverland because of nightmares and a confusing past?  Will he stay, will Juliet go with him, or will love fall prey to reality once again? Sources say they are going to the Midsummer Ball together.  Hope this is a fairytale moment for this new couple!

Heartbreak in Charleston.  Neverlandians were horrified by the recent murder of 9 members of a historic black church in Charleston. Pemberleigh, Constance Moriarty and others quoted members of the black community. Pemberleigh put it this way, “One thing I can do is listen to people of color. I know I’m just 1 small person but I listen. I care.” Our hearts go out to the families of the slain and victims of racism everywhere.

Midsummer Ball!  Neverlandians are coming together for an ocean-themed 2nd Annual Midsummer Ball on July 2nd. The Party Planning Committee of Neverland is in charge of making us dig this shin’ and has been given an unlimited budget by local entrepreneur and millionaire Lily Bagha. Mermaid Lagoon and Fish Girl Pond are both slated to perform. Jolly Roger Soda Ship and Skull Rock Candy Shop will also be on hand with as much ice cream and candy as Neverlandians can eat. Should be an amazing party!

Pan goes Neviral. You used to know Peter Pan as the comic book illustrator for the Kensington Chronicle, but now Neverlandians are recognizing a new set of talents in this hometown personality. His most recent episode of Peter Pan’s Performance Pieces (also called P4) has swept through town eliciting mostly positive reactions.

Getting the Ball Rolling.  Neverlandians are getting ready to dress up and pair up for the Ball next week. Bri Valdivia, Mia Rivers, and Juliet Carpenter were spotted shopping for dresses. Sources say they found some gorgeous ones! Later while Mia was out shopping again with Amber Poppins where she met her would-be suitor Eli.  It may be worth it to stop by the Ball just to see who ends up going with who!

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on June 22, 2015

The Importance of Being George

In honor of Father’s Day this year, I thought it was long since time I wrote a piece on the man responsible for bringing you the Kensington Chronicle 7 days a week 52 weeks a year, my father and our editor in chief, George Darling. And how, if not for a chance meeting more than 30 years ago at the Neverland Train Station, I wouldn’t even be here.

As you can no doubt imagine, it takes a certain kind of person to run a newspaper day in and day out. George Darling is driven, organized, and knows how and when to delegate. But believe it or not, my father was not always the taskmaster he is today. Though George is loath to admit it himself, my grandfather, David Darling, has imparted to me on more than one occasion that in his formative years, my father was relatively aimless. David Darling saw his son’s potential, but feared that George was in danger of squandering it. George, for his part, wanted the freedom to make his own choices, and in those days, being groomed to take over the family business was the furthest thing from what he wanted.

David Darling was ultimately able to impress upon his son the importance of getting a college education, and George begrudgingly enrolled at Neverland University, from which he emerged four years later with a degree in English and Journalism. But this was far from the last time George and his father would engage in a heated debate about the direction of his life. Not long after graduating, George and David would have the most contentious fight of this kind to date. At an impasse, a furious George stormed off, intent on fleeing Neverland for parts unknown. But fate had other plans.

It just so happened that the woman working the ticket counter at the Neverland Train Station that fateful day was one Mary Davies. To hear my father tell it, once he locked eyes with Mary for the first time, the rest of the world faded away. She was the most beautiful creature George had ever laid eyes on, and from that moment forward, he never thought about leaving Neverland again.

For much of my life, I’ve harbored the belief that romantic entanglements are a distraction, at best. But in recent months, I’ve begun to revise that opinion. I’ve seen evidence of how the right pairing can create a union that is far greater than the sum of its parts. And this was absolutely the case with George and Mary Darling in the early years of their courtship. Now, starting a family was at the forefront of George’s mind, and he decided to put his journalism degree to good use. Much to David Darling’s relief, his son finally agreed to follow in his footsteps, and Grandfather could rest assured that the dynasty of Darlings at the helm of the Kensington Chronicle would continue, unabated.

And, of course, for my money, the most important result of the union of George and Mary Darling is their three children, myself and my siblings. I, personally, have been a newspaperman from the womb, and the paper will be in good hands when my father does decide to retire. So we at the Chronicle wish George Darling, and all of you other fathers out there, a very happy Father’s Day. We owe all of you a debt we can never possibly repay.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 22, 2015

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Brace yourself, dear readers, we’re about to take another deep dive into the rabbit hole that is the plight of the millennials in the workforce. I’d like to be able to say that things have progressed since the last time I wrote about jobs in Neverland, but it pains me to report that, at least in my own circles, most of us still find ourselves running in circles. And were it not for nepotism, our work situations would be much more dire indeed. My job, as assistant to the editor in chief, and editor of the Kensington Chronicle’s online edition, has not changed, nor has my salary. Our fairy friend Tinkerbell is now my father’s secretary at the paper. My brother Michael has moved up in the world, ever so slightly; he’s gone from the mail room to taking over my sister Wendy advice vlog, Dear Darling.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, I have a good friend (who, for the purposes of this editorial shall remain nameless) who is currently without employment, and would seem to be in no immediate danger of acquiring it. I will say that, in his last job, this individual was particularly ill-equipped to work on anybody’s schedule but his own. That said, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel his pain. With the massive layoffs we’ve seen during the Great Recession, those of us who are still fortunate enough to have our 9-to-5 jobs are working longer hours, and doing the work of two or more people. In this kind of work environment, it becomes increasingly difficult for millennials to juggle their work life and their personal lives. A narrative begins to emerge that millennials can only successful in one of those areas, not both.

Now, if you think about it, the idea of a 9-to-5 salaried position has become less and less relevant the further the industrial age has receded into our society’s rearview mirror. During the era of industrialization, routinized tasks were the order of the day, and this kind of work could be planned far enough in advance that businesses could create set shifts for workers, who would work the same hours, day in and day out, doing exactly the same thing. But now that computers can do a lot of these tasks that used to required manual labor, the landscape is changing.

What’s the upshot of this? Millennials are willing to be paid less than they’re worth, forgo promotions or uproot their lives and move, all for the opportunity to work a job that affords them the kind of flexibility they need to have a life outside of work. And, as you might imagine, when there’s an able-bodied work force that’s willing to take a pay cut to maintain a flexible schedule, the market will adjust to that demand. And the first real businesses to capitalize on this desire for flexible hours have been Uber and its competitors. The problem is, the new picture bears a striking resemblance to the piece work of the 19th century, when workers had no power, no rights, and worked an ungodly amount of hours for almost no pay. Uber drivers, for instance, are expected to provide their own cars, their own insurance, and Uber takes a large percentage of the profits.

And this so called “sharing economy” doesn’t stop there. We’re seeing the same thing happening with Instacart shoppers, Airbnb hosts, and Taskrabbit jobbers. There are even on-demand doctors and attorneys cropping up online. These companies will tout that they’re giving workers the kind of flexibility they want by enabling them to monetize their own downtime. But this so-called downtime is the time that earlier generations spent actually leading their lives. And since the amount of work that’s available in these professions is entirely dependent upon demand, even if you had the time to start a family, financial security in this scenario is something you’d only be able to dream about.

I am happy to report, however, that when it comes to my sister Wendy, she’s turned out to be the exception that proves the rule. As many of you are no doubt aware, about six month ago, she spread her wings and flew away from Neverland towards an amazing opportunity in New York City; she’s now an up-and-comer at a world renowned media outlet called JH Media. I hope you’ll kindly indulge me for a moment as I engage in a bit of shameless promotion on my sister’s behalf. Wendy has a book coming out in the very immediate future, entitled “ASK WENDY! Advice on Life, Love, and Living,” and I urge you to click over to the JH Media site without delay to learn more about it. Her correspondence has, of late, become uncharacteristically sparse, but I can only assume that this is an indication of the breadth of her success!

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 10, 2015

Neverland Without Wendy

This week, I thought I’d write a follow-up to my last editorial about my sister Wendy leaving Neverland.  In the run-up to her departure, I was so gung-ho about what this career move meant for Wendy that I barely stopped to think about how her leaving would affect me.  Now that a couple of months have passed, the impact of her flight has begun to stick out in stark relief.

For instance, before now I don’t think I ever consciously acknowledged just how important Wendy’s presence was in the ecosystem of our apartment.  When it was me, Wendy and Michael living together, there was a delicate balance to the universe.  Now that it’s just me and Michael… Well, he and I are both still alive, so I guess things aren’t as bad as they could be.  And don’t get me wrong, I love my brother dearly, but I never quite realized the extent to which he is incapable of doing almost anything for himself.  Wendy was always as much like a mother to Michael as a sister, and now those motherly duties are falling to the only sibling that yet remains.

I’m also feeling Wendy’s absence more directly.  When you’ve seen someone day in and day out for as long as you can remember, it’s difficult to describe just how much of a void you feel after they’ve gone.  And while Wendy and I were decidedly diligent about keeping in contact on a daily basis in the immediate aftermath of her departure, as the weeks wear on I fear we have both been woefully remiss in maintaining this level of communication.  Wendy’s sojourn to the big city marks the first time that any of my siblings have been absent from Neverland for this length of time, and I’d be lying if I said that I’m entirely equipped to deal with the situation.  To one degree or another, Wendy had been helping me muddle through almost all of the things I struggle with as a prototypical millennial, and with her gone, I must admit I’m starting to feel a bit like a ship without a rudder.

That said, I guess you can’t really expect your loved ones will ever learn to fly if they always keep one foot in the nest.  I suppose on some level I always understood that Wendy’s life post-Neverland couldn’t begin in earnest until our beloved hometown had receded sufficiently into her rearview mirror.  The toughest thing about encouraging your friends and loved ones to follow their dreams is that sometimes said dreams take them worlds away, and threaten to make your once-entwined paths finally and inevitably diverge.  I can say, categorically, that Neverland is not the same without Wendy, and I have no doubt that Wendy’s life has undergone a concomitant change as well.  I only hope that, in the final analysis, the old axiom about change being good turns out to be true in this case.  And I suppose, so far as that goes, only time will tell.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on August 15, 2014

Time to Travel

DEAR WENDY DARLING,
I love your videos and I hope I could get some advice from you. What should you do if your family doesn’t approve of your career choice? I want to work in the travel industry because ever since I was a kid, I wanted to see the world. It’s what I love to do. But it just seems like my family doesn’t understand. I know they mean well but it still hurts that they’re unsupportive of your dreams.
-NIGHTSHADE

HELLO MY DARLING NIGHTSHADE,
The travel industry sounds absolutely amazing!  I myself have been traveling a lot recently and let me tell you…the world… is… INCREDIBLE!  There is so much out there to explore, see and EAT! Some of the food I’ve had has made me seriously question if I ever knew what love was before.  I may have gotten engaged to an éclair in France. Our love was short…but delicious.

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But you and I both already agree that traveling and seeing the world is AHMAZEBALLS…the problem is your family doesn’t think so. There are usually 3 main reasons family members don’t support a career choice.

1). They think it’s unstable and you won’t be able to support yourself on it!

This is the problem faced by many people, especially those who want to pursue a career in the arts.)

2). They are worried it’s dangerous.

My brother Michael once said he wanted to join the army…my mother was a hysterical wreck at the thought of her baby boy in harms way.

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Luckily, Michael’s short-term memory is…lacking…and he quickly forgot he wanted to join the army and decided he wanted to be a “guy that trains dogs to do cool stuff like…stuff…that’s cool.”

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3). They think the job will take you away.

Which the job you want will literally do just that!

The travel industry is a pretty stable and decent paying career…so I don’t think it’s #1.  Now, travel can be dangerous, so there could be a bit of #2 in the mix.  However, I’m going to put my money on #3.  I’m betting you and your family are pretty close, and they don’t like the idea of you being so far away so often. In a lot of ways, it’s very sweet…BUT…it’s also not their life.  In their heart of hearts they want you to be happy, and if working in travel makes you happy, then in the end (even if they don’t like it now) they will accept what you do and be proud of you (but in the beginning maybe snag them awesome souvenirs from your travels to let them know you’re thinking about them…and call home regularly!) Remember, life is a short and precious gift, and doing anything less than what makes you happy is a waste of that gift.

Till next time My Darlings!

ALWAYS YOURS,
WENDY

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Posted in Ask Wendy, Dear Darling
Posted on August 15, 2014

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  • 10:00 pmAsk Wendy Live!
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  • All DayOpenWindow Launch
  • 7:00 pmFree Dance Class: Ballet
  • 10:00 pmGarden of Light Tour w/ Michael Darling
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  • 6:00 pmBri’s Wedding Shower
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  • All DayNeverland Vernal Equinox Celebration
  • 6:25 amFirefly Festival
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  • 5:00 pmNeverland Spring Festival High Tea Mixer
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