10 Things That Prove I Am Getting Old

Father Time1. Sometimes the movies in the movie theater are just too gosh-darn loud!

2. I don’t like emoji’s. I don’t find them cute or humorous. I find them annoying and I’m always sure the sender could have easily typed words in the amount of time it took them to find the blasted image.

3. I rap along with The Beastie Boys each time they come up on my iPhone.

4. I have The Beastie Boys on my iPhone.

5. The idea of virtual reality scares me. (Not because of the technology, it’s just that it is one more thing that will emphasize to me how little I have done in my life and how unimportant I am.)

6. When I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, for the first time, I related more to the grownups then the kids. Don’t those blasted kids know they are dealing with powerful dark magic! What were they thinking? No dinner! Go to your room!

7. I still think of YouTube as a new thing.

8. I still think of Twitter as a new thing.

9. I was excited about Bloom County coming back… and then had to explain to everyone exactly what Bloom County was.

10. I have a blog

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Uses of this World: Chapter 4

Claudius

Denmark 1926. The world is on a powder keg, the old world is in conflict with the new, still recovering from World War I. Jazz and flappers. Cocktails and parties. In this tumultuous time, the king of Denmark is found dead… but his spirit is not at rest.

Uses of this World is the tale of the people around the events of Hamlet, from the soldiers to the royal family. Each is tied to the outcomes around the crown. And the country, as well as the world, is waiting to see what happens next.

Previous Chapters

Chapter 4: World Take Note

“So much for him,” joked King Claudius, and with a smile he gave approval for laughter.  It was the signal the royal court was waiting for and they responded loudly. Even Claudius almost laughed… almost.

Many like to compare politics to Chess. Claudius never did. Chess is a game, he would argue, politics was something more.

It was art.

Claudius, if anyone bothered to ask him (and they didn’t), would compare politics to a symphony. For like a symphony, each different player was like a different instrument, in tone and style. Some were made to be soloists, lyrical and moving or bombastic; others only played well with similar instruments along, needing to harmonize to find their beauty. And at the front of that Danish symphony was Claudius, the maestro, directing and signaling each player in turn. He had the sheet music written out, and each of the members (knowing it or not knowing it) were following his direction, and only his.

Everything Claudius had done since his brother’s demise had been to cement his own grip on the monarchy. Even this, holding the morning assembly between him and the court in the portrait gallery helped emphasize that. Look at the history all around you, and then look at the new royal family getting their portrait painted. History and living history were alive here and no one in the court could deny the lineage from the ancestors in oil to the breathing family in front of them.

This was Danish royalty. Continue reading

Catch up on the new online book- Uses of this World

Hamlet Illustrated ClassicGreetings readers!

Why we all wait for the new Harry Potter book and tickets for Hamilton (seriously, I can’t wait to see that show, I’m addicted to the soundtrack), I’ve been working on a brand new novel online.

As I said in this opening discussion about it (here), it is an incredibly snobby enterprise. Prove it? I’m trying to reimagine my own version of Hamlet.

I know, I know…  Hamlet… Shakespeare… there is a chance there might be some eye rolling going on right now over the internet. But if I do this right, it should be a very engaging and interesting book with no prior knowledge of the Bard needed.

Denmark, 1926. The world is on a powder keg, the old world is in conflict with the new, still recovering from World War I. Jazz and flappers. Cocktails and parties. In this tumultuous time, the king of Denmark is found dead… but his spirit is not at rest.

This new book, Uses of this World, will be created here online, and I will be putting up a new chapter each time they are ready. Just this week I shared Chapter 3, finally getting up to the first scene in my favorite play.

Why not take this moment to catch up?

Here are three links to the first entries in this new writing experiment. I hope you will give it a try. I’m really enjoying the work and the process around it.

Three Things I Have Almost Blogged About…

Broken PencilSo when I started this blog, I had nothing but the best intentions. I made lists and lists of different things to write about.

… Then I sat down and did way too much about Disneyland and Game of Thrones (two things that should never be in the same sentence again).

Let’s have a brief tangent- I’m one of the few book readers that is thrilled that Game of Thrones is passing the books. The script writers for the show certainly have their problems (for example, they go darker than the books, amazingly), but one skill they do have is the ability to edit. They cut, cut, cut the books down to something a little easier to consume and that is no small feat. I’ll never be totally happy with the calls they make (poor Sansa) or even the calls Martin makes (poor Ned), but at least we’ll be getting an ending to the tale in the new few years.

Okay, where was I? Recently, I found my list of original ideas for blog entries, focused on only one current theme- what interests the guy writing this.

Hey, it’s my blog, what can I say?

Below are three items I always wanted to dive into and never got around to. Not to say they aren’t interesting, it’s just… I’m a very important and busy man (no, I’m not). I have a lot of writing responsibilities (ha!). These short essays are the best  I can do (that is probably true). Continue reading

The With Music Series

With MusicHi everyone!

Over 2015, I took on a new series of posts on my site. I called it “With Music” and I was trying to tell bits about myself and my experiences through the songs that stir those memories.

One of the things I am really proud of around the posts is how diverse they are. There are serious ones, more humorous ones, and even some that might be considered romantic. Well, romantic from that weird perspective we writers take on the real world.

With the end of the year approaching, I thought I would tell you a bit about the eight posts and reshare the links (via the song title) if you haven’t had a chance to check them out. I might do more in the future. They were fun to take on. I hope you enjoy them!

“Don’t Change Your Plans” by Ben Folds Five: This is the story of a… well… I don’t want to say confused, but maybe troubled is more near the mark, girl I dated a long time ago. But really which of us is truly perfect? We all have our quirks. Of course, for me you can look them up on this site.

“Home” by Sheryl Crow: After graduating from college, I decided to travel Europe alone. I just never realized until I got there how big the word “alone” can be. Especially in a country filled with strangers.

“Sweetest Decline” by Beth Orton: This is me deciding what I wanted to do with my life and having the courage to claim it.  (Oh, and this is a pretty awesome song if you have never heard it before.)

“That’s Amore” by Dean Martin: Easily some of the happiest days of my life. My wife and I exploring Italy. Of course, the fact it connects to this corny song was not by our choice.

“Lucky Man” by The Verve: So I have this comedy radio series. You can actually listen to it via this page. I’ve always had a thing for radio drama and this song/story is about my time visiting the last survivors of this artform.

“Break Your Heart” by Barenaked Ladies: Whenever I think of embarrassing dating stories, this is the song that jumps into my mind. For each and every damn one…

“Hey Jupiter” by Tori Amos: Yes, this is a love story about a car.

“Any Love (Cassandra Et Lune)” by Ken Stringfellow: This is a story about many things. First off, it is an amazing song, but second it is also a story about achieving that writing high. When you feel you have all of creation on the tip of your fingers, you just got to start typing.

Cheers!

Snapshots of Decades: A Birthday Blogpost

Super BirthdayTurning 41

It’s my birthday and I am reading Stephen King again.

I do the book reviews for my local NPR station and I knew I would have to take on this very popular author at some point. After a year and a half and over 30 reviews the moment had finally arrived. A copy of his newest novel landed on my porch from his publisher (three weeks before its official release). They want my review. So be it.

I had an aunt growing up that was obsessed with Stephen King. My aunt in some ways was a King creation waiting to happen. She had fiery red hair; a loud, almost shrieking voice; and many of us kids were scared of her. When she got mean, she got really mean. I always did my best to avoid her, never spending the night at her house, trying to avoid being in the same room with her for too long. My aunt would spend her days either on the phone (always complaining), chewing gum or drinking Pepsi (she drank a lot of Pepsi), and reading Stephen King. When I was in 7th grade, she, for some reason, noticed me and gave me a pile of her Stephen King books to read.

I was not impressed and told her as much when I returned the pile a few months later. Rude of me? Yeah, probably.

We spoke even less after that.

Yet, here it is, 28 or so years later and I am once again reading King and I feel like it is a time capsule to that old me, right then. Mainly, it’s because King sounds exactly the same. His voice/prose hasn’t matured, even the plot and characters feel the same as those other books. I’m guessing for many of his fans (including my aunt) it feels like returning to a home.

For me, I see the cobwebs and I wonder why no one has done any cleaning… Continue reading

BLOG HOP! The whats, whys, and hows of my writing!

Broken PencilRecently, author Kelly Hand asked me to take part in a “blog hop.” She had already included an entry (which you can read here). Thanks for thinking of me Kelly!

To be part of this shindig, I just need to answer the same questions as the other writers out there taking part in this hop. Cool! It’s like an international meet-and-greet for authors and readers. Everything but the little snack foods and punch bowl.

I hope you enjoy my entry below:

What are you working on?

Right now I am busy working on the editing of my novel Permanent Spring Showers, which is set for publication this October by 5 Prince Books. We are about halfway through the editing process now. I really love this book and I hope you will check it out when it is released.

Me Stuff, front coverOne of the side projects I have going on is I am publishing a book collecting some of my personal posts from my blog “The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard.” (Yeah, the site you are on now.)That book is called Me Stuff. Should be a lot of fun (at least I hope so). I plan to have it out sometime before the end of the month. I try to write two to three things a week on this blog; it’s really amusing for me and great practice since I can write whatever I want on the site. There are no limitations. Hopefully, the fact that there is such freedom and possibility, readers will return to it from time to time to check out what is going on with me. For me, it always feels like it is evolving.

On the new fiction front I am kind of between a few things. I have a book called My Days as a Thief, which I consider the first part of a trilogy that I’ve been working on for almost a decade. The draft is done, I just got to get around to fine-tuning it. What is distracting that is this new novel idea I have. I’m writing it long hand which I think adds to the flavor of it, but will delay anyone seeing anything new from me for a bit. It kind of has a Douglas Adams, Wes Anderson, and Kurt Vonnegut vibe to it. I’m really having a lot of fun discovering it. Continue reading

ME STUFF, my new book, is coming soon! Cover reveal!

Me Stuff, front coverToday, I am excited to share with you the cover for my new book, Me Stuff! This was a family affair, created by my talented photographer bro, Adam Emperor Southard. (If you would like to learn more about what he can do for you, check out his site at BestLAHeadshots.com.)

Me Stuff is a collection of some of the more popular and entertaining posts from this site, created for my readers (yes, you!). If you want an example of what you will find in the book, here is a link to one of my favorite tales in it- “The Night I Stopped Being a Model.” Enjoy!

Me Stuff is coming soon!

Here is the back cover from the book:

“Me Stuff contains the c0llected gems of Scott Southard… a champion for us all. His words always contain wisdom and whimsey too.” – Richard Sutton, Sailletales.com

“The recipe for success, witty observational humor, heartwarming honest, mixed with two parts creativity.” – Paula Acton, Scribblings of an Aspiring Author, paulaacton.com

Thieves, psychics, evil poets, mad men, car companies, literary greats, tornadoes, models, vasectomies, bankers, children, Satanists, princesses, truckers, comics, rock stars, strippers, superheroes…

Me Stuff is a collection of some of the most popular blogposts from Scott Southard’s writing site “The Musings and Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard.”

Made for both the fan and the newbie, Me Stuff has something for everyone… Well, except for those who don’t like entertaining stories. This book can’t help those people.

“Scott D. Southard is a rare breed of author. His stories are unique and deeply personal, always moving, never trite, never trendy.” – Julia Barrett, author and blogger, juliarachelbarrett.net

Stay Tuned!

The Importance of a Toe: A Love Story

A Foot, Not MineI know my wife will forever love me because of a toe.

My wife and my relationship was always a whirlwind, definitely something that some of our more conservative friends and family would wonder about, never daring really to say anything to our faces (and if they ever did, chances are, we probably would have laughed about it later). Of course, knowing both or our personalities, it was not surprising that we would be so serious, so quickly. And in a matter of months, my future wife was living with me in an apartment in Los Angeles.

My wife and I are both from Michigan, but didn’t meet until we were both far from that state. Through a mutual friend we immediately hit it off, our personalities perfectly in sync (with enough sarcasm included for the spice). The passion and drive I have for my writing and literature, she is mirrored with her own artform, dance.

I’m one of those lucky enough to be married to my best friend.

Our apartment, our first home, was located in Koreatown, off of Wilshire, nearby the old Ambassador Hotel, which at that time was still standing, but a shell of its former glory. I used to explore the history of it online and tell my future wife about the celebrities that once walked its halls, performed, and partied. I always liked to imagine it filled with partying ghosts in that legendary Coconut Grove while a jazz band played. Some claimed to hear the band while walking past the building, but I never did sadly. I just found the empty and lost history of it fascinating. It could have been such a massive tourist trap if presented right, but no one seemed to care (Los Angeles was moving too fast to ever consider looking back) and today the building is gone. Continue reading

The Madness and Joy in Blogging, Writing, Etc., Etc.

WindOne of the perks of running your own site is that you are your own boss. And how strict you want to be with yourself is your decision. Some are mean with themselves. Me? I’m an old softie! Do I want cookies? Sure, here you go…

I once wrote a post that gave some advice to bloggers on topics and what not to do. One of the points in the “What not to do” category was to discuss how tired you are. Frankly, everyone gets tired, and writing about being too tired to write really doesn’t make sense. So my advice was to take a breath and come back when you have something else to say.

Now me? I’m not saying I’m tired, but definitely something is going on with me creatively. The winds are shifting and on Sunday I decided to throw my cards into it and see where they land.

1. Originally my hope was to share a book over the summer, but I don’t know if that is going to happen now. I mean, I’m happy with the first draft but honestly, my creativity is really interested in another work. I went out this weekend to work on the planned book, but I ended up spending most of my time working on the new book and giggling my way through it.  Continue reading