New WKAR Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Current StateI am back on WKAR’s Current State with a new book review! This time it is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

You can hear my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-donna-tartts-goldfinch

If you would rather read the review, you can do so below.

The Goldfinch can be found on amazon.com here. You can check out my other book reviews for WKAR’s Current State via this page on their site and the links on my page here.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

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My Lost Years in Trucking (Part 1)

TruckingFor two years I had the awful song “Convoy” stuck in my head. I hummed it as a I went into work, sometimes sang the chorus out loud on the drive home, and had even been known to mumble it under my breath while walking down hallways.

[On a side note, did you know the creator of that song is Chip Davis? For those that don’t recognize that name, he went on after that success to create Mannheim Steamroller, which was formed on the bad notion that 80’s synthesizers would sound great with classic old instruments like a harpsichord… and then put it to the test with Christmas music. It’s astonishing the amount of musical torture that man has to answer for once he makes it to the pearly gates.]

My wife was in graduate school, and it fell on my shoulders to pay the bills and the rent. We had just moved back to Michigan from Los Angeles. On the day we arrived back in my home state there was a major power outage throughout the region. I made a joke to the movers that our return must have caused it. The movers actually believed me (thinking I did something with a plug, I guess) until I explained it was a joke. That failed joke moment, as well as the power outage, were both foreboding signs for the two years ahead that my wife and I should have taken.

While I thought having an MFA in writing from one of the best writing schools in the country was pretty awesome, most businesses didn’t agree with me. Actually, I could see the expression of confusion cross over employer’s faces each time it came up and I had to on numerous occasions answer the question, “Why are you here?”

A very good question, Mr. Employer!  Of course, a better question I have tried to answer since then is where does such a person with such a degree belong at all? Continue reading

The Others and the Extras: The Importance of Secondary Characters

A Minor CharacterOh, the lament of the poor minor character!

Pushed to the sidelines, knowing full well that they are not the focus of the story.

Love is probably not in the cards for them. They are the ones injured in the line of duty or acting as living joke. Characters created merely to be a soundboard for the main characters, or something for the reader to compare the main character to in the universe of the story. A tool, nothing more.

It would be a thankless life, I am sure, if they were real. Probably spent at the refreshment table, trying not to fall asleep as they wait for their big moment in the sun. And then the scene arrives, there are a few quick jokes, maybe a heart-to-heart and then they are back at the table, once again snacking on one too many cookies.  Waiting… always waiting.

Everything about the secondary character revolves around the main character. An existence built solely around another’s experiences. Even if a secondary character dies, it is a moment for the main character to reflect upon their own life decisions… unless they are an evil secondary character than usually they are left on the floor somewhere, discarded, a bloody remain for someone else to find later (but we never read about or see that bit in movies or television).

Yet, for me, the secondary characters are important; because like a missed plot point, an awkward description, or a writing oops, they have the power to rip me out of a story, leaving me on the sidelines of a tale just like them. Continue reading

My Online Literary Experiment: Passing the 20% Mark

Updates, updates, who wants an update?

Calling From the Future…

So somehow, without my realizing it, I got a chapter ahead.

I know, I know this sounds impossible but it really did happen and I didn’t plan it in the least. It was all a nice little surprise or present or whatever you want to call it.

See, one of my goals in creating the book was to force my creativity to keep up to the demands I had put upon it. Put myself to the test, as it were. So the table of contents I created before I did the first chapter were done on a whim after a quick glance at the screenplay plot which is interestingly disappearing as the book charges forward, more on that in a bit.

Anyway, I wrote this really long chapter with two major points of action happening, it was only when I was about to share the chapter online that I realized I had made a mistake. Chapter 4 is the first part of that initial draft of the chapter, The second half was supposed to be a bulk of Chapter 5! So because of that little glitch in the Scott brain, Chapter 5 and 6 are almost done and Chapter 5 is scheduled for this Friday. Continue reading

Me, Myself, & Charles Dickens

I’ve always felt a personal connection to Charles Dickens.

For example, I only have a few authors hanging on my walls at home, but he is one of them, right next to Mark Twain (Who, strangely, a lot of visitors think is Albert Einstein… Yes, I secretly judge the people who do that each and every time).

Right from the beginning of my exploration into books, I knew his name. When I was six or so, I remember getting a series of “comic” book adaptations of classic literature. I’m sure you remember these books. Opening any page, on one side would be heavily simplified and edited narrative and on the other will be a black-and-white drawing of what is happening. While as an adult I question whether we should be ruining the surprises and endings of great works of literature for kids in books like that, at the time, I couldn’t get enough of them.

Well, I had dozens of these books when I was a kid and most of them were attributed to Charles Dickens. These books were how I first experienced the madness of Miss Havisham and the “pointed” end of Sydney Carton. Continue reading