Hello to my now 1200 subscribers! And now for something completely different…

My heroesYesterday, my subscription list passed the 1200 mark!

So very cool! I hope each of you visiting this site continue to enjoy my writing. And I have a lot planned over the next few months, including a new book I hope to share over the summer.

I decided I wanted to do something different to celebrate this new milestone for my site. As some of my older followers know I used to do a lot of writing around radio drama. I’ve had quite a few radio comedy plays performed by different radio companies and I have even had a 10-episode radio comedy series produced. It was called The Dante Experience and was heard on a few NPR stations around this country. (You can learn more about the series and listen to all of the episodes on this page.)

One of my favorite comedies I have written for radio though has never been performed. It is called “The Classic Geography Club” and, as you will see, is VERY influenced by the work of Monty Python and Firesign Theatre. You can check it out exclusively below!

I hope you enjoy “The Classic Geography Club” and thank you for following my site!

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Radio Radio: Surviving My Local Radio Scene

RadioA few months ago the CD player in my car stopped working. I put a disc in, it shoots it back out.

Yes? No! Yes? No! Yes? No!

It is like arguing with a two-year old and losing each and every freaking time.

Now, I’m not a car dude. I’m one of those kind of people that don’t see a vehicle as some kind of a mark of success, it is a tool, and, if given the option, I would drive a car until the last wheel fell off.  Honestly, I just don’t care. I think the only time I have ever drooled over an automobile was when I saw an ad for the new Honda Odyssey. Not because it looked smart. No, I liked it because it came with a vacuum cleaner. With two little kids that sounded awesome! Goodbye to all those fruit snacks! I could vacuum anytime I wanted!

Every day I need to drive my son to his school, which is about a 25-minute drive. And while I would love to just listen to NPR the entire way there and back, I can’t. My six-year old hears everything and there is a lot on that I just don’t want to explain to him. For example, yesterday while getting out of the car he said, “Boy, there are a lot of wars going on, isn’t there?”

Ah… yeah… there certainly are… damn…

So, for those moments when NPR goes a little “bleak,” I’ve begun exploring the dial, switching to the local music stations. What I’ve discovered though is something akin to a time capsule.

Yes, these stations are glimpses of some other time, but where exactly those other times took place, I can’t say. Continue reading

Scoring Garrison Keillor

GarrisonI am an English Major.

I can quote John Keats, I have good chunks of Hamlet memorized, and I once wrote a fictional book about Jane Austen (really I did, check it out). Seriously, they rarely get more English Majorally than me.

I get that there is little a person can do with such a degree. With my added MFA in Creative Writing, I live it. We teach (creating more English Majors and creative writers in the process) or we attempt to write or we edit the work of others, possibly those more successful. That’s pretty much it.  We are part of an ever-growing cycle that doesn’t fit in the business world at large. No one in a financial board room has ever shouted “Quick! Get me an English Major! This report is missing symbolism!”

Yet, each week, Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion brings forward the “lunacy” of the idea of being an English Major and mocks it. Just listen to the audience laugh each time Garrison steps forward to help someone in a skit or woo by saying he is an “English Major.” Laugh, audience, laugh.

Ever since he has started this running gag, I’ve had to use fake smiles when people bring it up to me (and they do all the time). Everyone is in on this “joke,” and we that love literature and books are the brunt of it. It is at our expense. So this would be my first negative for Garrison.

Why is it wrong or a joke for people to want to study and spend their lives around something that they love (books)? Yes, business major, for example, would have the best potential for success, but that is if you only define success in financial terms. Most of us that go into the arts don’t do that. Is this counter to the American dream of big houses and multiple cars and that is why people laugh at us as if we are foolish? Whatever the case, as a writer and lover of books, Garrison should be on our side. Not on the side of the other majors, presenting us as foolish.

Oh, and this also goes for librarians too. Since he seems to mock that field just as much and plays off of the stereotypes of them. Yeah, I’m going to give him a second negative for that. (So far he is at negative 2.)

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New WKAR Book Review: Our Picnics in the Sun by Morag Joss

Current StateI’m back on WKAR’s Current State today with a new book review! This time I am taking on the new novel by Morag Joss, Our Picnics in the Sun.

You can hear the review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-morag-joss-our-picnics-sun

You can find this book on amazon.com here.

If you would rather read my review, you can do so below. If you would like to hear/read my other reviews, you can find them on this page on my site.

I hope you enjoy the review! Continue reading

My 6 Favorite Blogposts of 2013

ChampagneEvery year, I like to stop and take a look at my life and the year that just was. And one of the great things about having a blog is it makes it quite easy to do just that! I get all of the highs and the lows, they are all there in easy to read formatting… sometimes even with cute pictures.

How did I feel about being a parent or on a child’s birthday, it is there. It’s like a personal photo album, but it is available for all to share. I just hope I am not that annoying friend who is showing you slides of their last family outing. That is the blogger nightmare, I guess.

Looking back, 2013 has been a great year for me. I finished writing a new novel (Permanent Spring Showers), I had two very well-reviewed books published (A Jane Austen Daydream and Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare), and I continued to watch this blog and my writing grow. Over the course of the year, my blog gained 600 new subscribers (now having over 1000) and my digits are higher on all of my other social media platforms.  It all almost calls for champagne.

Okay, I don’t like champagne. Seriously, I’m a light drinker. It is almost embarrassing. It makes my patient wife laugh how little I can handle. And when I do order drinks they come with funny straws and too much chocolate. I’m not James Bond, but I wish I was. I also threw up once in college after drinking goldschalger. You remember a moment like that, trust me. I kept drunkenly thinking, “There is gold everywhere! Look at all the money!”

For those new to my blog, or those who are catching up, here are my six favorite posts from the last year. If you have already read the articles, I have included a new afterthought to each. Something for everyone… about me. Enjoy! Continue reading

New WKAR Book Review: Mitch Albom’s The First Phone Call From Heaven

Current StateI am back on WKAR’s Current State today with a new book review! This time it is for the new novel by Mitch Albom, The First Phone Call From Heaven.

You can listen to my latest book review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-mitch-alboms-first-phone-call-heaven

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

Mitch Albom’s book can be found on amazon here. If you would like to learn more about my book reviews or hear/read past installments you can do so via my site (here) or via this page on Current State’s official website.

I hope you enjoy the review! Continue reading

Boo! New WKAR Book Review: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Current StateJust in time for this spooky holiday!

I have a new book review on WKAR’s show Current State. This time I am taking on the “lost” classic novel by Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree.

You can hear my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-ray-bradbury-s-halloween-tree

You can find The Halloween Tree on Amazon here. If you would rather read my new book review it is available below.

Happy Halloween! Continue reading

On WKAR: Talking About Banned Books Week

Current StateI did something a little different this week in my appearance on WKAR’s Current State. Instead of sharing a new book review, I decided to take on the idea of Banned Books Week. I try to explain both sides of the issue, and offer my option for tackling “unwanted” books.  I’m pretty proud of this piece, I hope you will check it out.

You can listen to my discussion via this link- http://wkar.org/post/book-review-banned-books-week

If you would rather read my commentary, you can do so below after the jump. And you can learn more about Banned Books Week via a site by the American Library Association (here). Continue reading

The Writing Rule I Hate

Broken PencilI need to begin with Diane Rehm.

See, one of my little obsessions is The Diane Rehm Show and I listen to her about four to five hours a week. I even get the podcast, and when I am helping one of my children to fall asleep, usually I am listening to her take a caller on my phone’s headphones. And, to let you in on a secret, when I play “interview” in my mind she or Terry Gross are the ones asking the questions. I’m not the only person who does this, right? You are out someplace and suddenly an interview forms in your head. Before you know it, you are saying aloud: “Well, Diane, when I first came up with the idea…”

Okay, that might have been too much information. Moving on!

Anyway, a few years ago she had on a popular writer. I can’t remember who the author was, but this author’s ego was proudly on the march. You would’ve thought she had written the next Ulysses and to add to the size of her enlarging head a caller called her, praised her, talked about how much she loves her books and then asked her what her advice would be for a new writer.

The author replied that the golden rule of writing is “Write what you know.” She then went on to explain why this rule is so important and as I began to roll my eyes and prepared to finally turn off the episode, Diane did something utterly amazing.

The grand Mrs. Rehm interrupted the author and debated the author on that rule. She asked how could that be true. JK Rowling, for example, doesn’t know any wizards and has never been to Hogwarts or have magic (Yes, Diane referenced Harry Potter!). If Rowling only wrote what she knew we wouldn’t have that wonderful series, Diane argued.

If I was in the studio that day I would have given her a hug and a kiss. Continue reading

Re-Blog: Maurice Sendak Tribute

This morning on NPR’s Morning Edition (I am addicted to this show), they discussed a new book by Maurice Sendak. In many ways, it is his goodbye and is called My Brother’s Book. It’s not often that someone simply reading something on the radio can move me to tears but this did. The book’s illustrations are also gorgeous making me immediately think of William Blake’s work. When Maurice Sendak passed away last year, I wrote this piece in celebration of him. I hope you enjoy it.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

There was always an element of darkness in Maurice Sendak’s stories that I found impossible to avoid.

With his passing, we hear and read again about his rough childhood fighting sicknesses, stuck in a room by himself, with only his imagination for company and the fear of death. His family were immigrants, just luckily avoiding the Holocaust; living with the grief that they were not able to save many of the people on his father’s side of the family. Yes, it was a childhood filled with death and the possibility of it around every corner. So it is not surprising that there is that darkness always someplace in his work, lurking and waiting.

In In the Night Kitchen, Mickey is almost baked in a cake by three heavy set individuals with Hitler mustaches. He emerges when he is put in the oven. When I first shared this book with…

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