“Don’t Change Your Plans” by Ben Folds Five

Elf EarsMusic has always been very important to me. Many times when I look back at a time or a memory, a song will sneak in before an image. I thought it would be interesting to look back at people and moments by tapping into this quirk. This is the first in what I am thinking of calling my “With Music” series.

She had elf ears.

People confuse elf ears with vulcan ears, but that is just not fair. Vulcan ears (Spock) look out  of place for a reason; they are alien, different. The old Star Trek was filled with this. Want something to look alien? Accent something that we are not used to. But elf ears are different. They are an extension of nature, they embrace the face, accenting, like a playful cursive twist at the end of a letter. They can remind more of a vine slowing stretching just that little bit farther up.

I first saw her at a writing table. It was being held at a local museum and everyone else there isn’t worth mentioning or remembering. Cruel to say, I know, but by then I had attended enough writing tables (thanks to colleges and bookstores and libraries) so that people fell more into categories than something flesh and blood. There was the guy who wants to be Stephen King (a little creepy and always stares a little too much), the older woman wanting to write a nice romance (I always feel there is hidden heartbreak there), the angry youth (who may or may not share poetry, but would always share their annoyance through expressions), the man with the mustache who is writing a thriller (there is always a man with a mustache who is writing an action thriller) and etc., etc., etc.

Writing tables like that, including the one with the young woman with the elf ears, was one of the reasons I was moving to Los Angeles. I had attended a lot of them while living in Grand Rapids, hoping one would give me some kind of sign of what to do next in my life and writing career. Frankly, by then I had been waiting enough. That is what my life felt like up until that moment, one long wait.

I had waited through college, waited through part of grad school, and now waited while counting down to when I was to leave in December for the University of Southern California. Sunny Los Angeles… where I was certain all my writing dreams would come true and everyone would recognize me for the genius I was sure I was. Continue reading

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The 1996 version of me is alive and well, thank you very much

10520_1168666669474_4075184_nIn 1996, I was about to graduate from college and with diploma in hand I was preparing to take on the world. Oh, I had so many plans in play!

First, I was going to disappear, six week or so, into Europe, solo. Then I was going to apply for graduate schools around the country. I wanted to study literature while focusing on my writing (the end game being either I make it successfully as a writer or I end up as a Ph.D. in English Literature). I could see it all in front of me, so solid I could have touched it.

The strange thing is that this year is I seem to be having a lot of flashbacks to that me, that time in my life. It’s like I can’t escape that guy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind that version of me. Yeah, he could be a little too over the top in his sarcasm and his opinion of himself, but he was still me.

I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly where this began. The obvious answer is my high school reunion last year,  But to be honest, that really didn’t hit me that hard, I would have rather just spent the weekend someplace with some of my friends than take part in what felt like an awkward reunion special for a TV show.

Maybe it could have also been the death of our first Beastie Boy last year? From the first time, I heard the Beastie Boys, they represented something for me and my friends. We didn’t listen to them all the time, but when we did it was because of a certain mood or a certain feeling about being young dudes we wanted to capture. And now MCA is gone, so when I listen to the music now (which is a lot) it feels like unbottled memories, and the energy is a shadow. A great shadow, granted, but a shadow nonetheless.

Or maybe this is all just related to the fact I turn forty this year. The possible halfway mark. The turned corner. The end of youth. A whole new smack of drama I had not considered before. It’s like in politics when a president starts their second term and the newspapers start talking about how the president needs to think about legacy.

That’s me… I guess I am on legacy time now. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, February 2013

bloggingEverything feels very influx right now in my life.

I’m busy working on two books for publication (A Jane Austen Daydream and Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare), and I have had to put my new book (Permanent Spring Showers) on the sideline; which is not a bad thing. I have found the more time I have between a first draft and a second, the more “clear-headed” when I return to the manuscript. See, I don’t want to be the dude happy for finishing a new book; I want to be the editor ready to question everything that previous dude did.

So do I have time to be into anything? No, not really. Remember how last month I listed a video game I looked forward to playing? I put a whole record thirty minutes into it so far.

But this is not a bad thing! I am really enjoying my life right now, and I couldn’t be happier with where my writing is going. So… what else? Oh, did I mention I want a new tattoo? I already have one–a quote from the Beatles– but this time I am thinking of a line from Shakespeare lower down on my arm. Yeah, I’m Scott, cool dude writer guy…

Here is my list: Continue reading