Dusting the Bookshelf – Permanent Spring Showers

As we get closer to the release of my latest novel (In Jerry’s Corner) from Stargazing Publishing, I thought it might be fun to take a look back at some of my previous novels. This is my second entry in the series, the first discussed A Jane Austen Daydream (you can read it here). This time I take on my most recent release- Permanent Spring Showers

It is easy for writers to be dramatic. It’s in our blood. If you are a writer and not dramatic in how you interpret yourself and the world around you, chances are, you are probably doing something wrong and should consider different career options.

So when I look back at my life and each of my novels, I see stories; with beginnings (the initial ideas), first steps (the creation), struggles (getting them out to the world) and conclusions (reviews and what happens). Sometimes those are nice stories (A Jane Austen Daydream and The Dante Experience both jump quickly to mind), while others I would classify as tragedies.

Today I present my greatest tragedy.

So much possibility and all of my main characters are lying dead with nothing good coming out of the situation. I weep for them. They are buried now in unmarked paper graves and no one has any idea they were even alive.

See, Permanent Spring Showers is probably one of the best books I have ever written and it is out of print. It is a ghost in the literary world, without the strength of a Boo. It is a tragic death, that has happened too soon.

Listen everyone as I mourn the tragedy of a book lost to the masses! Welcome to my five-act literary tragedy, Permanent Spring Showers! (See what I mean about dramatic.)

Act One: There Was a Script…

While the death of Permanent Spring Showers was swift, ironically I had the longest literary life with that novel and its characters. It actually began when I was at grad school at Michigan State University back in the 90s. Then I dreamed of achieving a PhD in Literature. I would teach, be that smart professor that all of the young English majors look up to- imagine the English major version of Dr. Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. That was going to be me.

(Conclusion to that dream, I ended up running off to Los Angeles, and getting my Master’s in Writing instead from the University of Southern California.) Continue reading

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Five Things I Am Into Right Now, May 2014

IndyWhenever I have a sore throat I like to imagine that I sound like Harrison Ford. Not current-day Harrison, no, I’m talking classic Harrison. You know that moment in The Raiders of the Lost Ark when he looks right at the camera (Marion Ravenwood) and says “Trust me.”

Right there! That is my sore throat voice!

Of course, this is complete poppycock. I just sound like myself, but more nasally and rough.

I always expect more of my voice. I assume it can sound smooth, I also assume I can sing. Both things proven wrong many, many times. Yet, there is a chance if you drive alongside me you might see me singing in my car. I actually got in an accident once driving and singing to They Might Be Giants. I kid you not! And, forever after that, you could hear the moment of the accident in the tape. It is like a hiccup. That tape hiccup was my life flashing before my eyes.

Whatever the case, I have a little bit of a cold today. I’ll be fine, and I’ll spend the rest of my day happily imagining I have the world to save from Nazis.

Here is my list of the five awesome things I am into right now. This is a great list. Trust me. Continue reading

Indy this weekend…

This weekend, Raiders of the Lost Ark opens for a limited run on IMAX… Now this is a movie I have seen over a dozen times in my life, but on a big screen like that it is tempting again.

So very, very tempting.

The trick is just working this out with the schedule. I have to take my son to a birthday party on Sunday (it is at a Martial Arts studio which with a bunch of five-year olds sounds like a disaster just waiting to happen), and there are groceries and the typical errands around the house. And that is not including the writing and editing I need to do around Chapter 8 of my book (I’m worried I might be getting behind, and it was so nice to be a week ahead). And, let’s be honest, with two very little kids you are putting a burden on the partner when you leave them with the kiddies while you do something selfish like this. But it is Indy… on IMAX…

I hear the theme song everywhere I go… Okay, that might be because I have the new whip sound app on my iPhone. It’s freaking awesome!

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

While my first real memory is seeing R2-D2 on the big screen, the first time I felt real fear in a movie theater belongs to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

I was seven, and for some unexplained reason my relatives thought I was the perfect age for seeing the Temple of Doom on opening day, the first PG-13 movie. I chalk it up to a very selfish decision on their part personally; my parents were not thrilled that they did this by the way and complained to them later. As everyone on the planet knows, the Temple of Doom is a dark movie that only seems to get darker with each step it takes into those underground caverns.

For most of the film, my seven-year old frame was on the edge of my seat, somewhere emotionally between terror and excitement; I wanted to see what would happen…

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Losing the Fedora: Is Indiana Jones done?

While my first real memory is seeing R2-D2 on the big screen, the first time I felt real fear in a movie theater belongs to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

I was seven, and for some unexplained reason my relatives thought I was the perfect age for seeing the Temple of Doom on opening day, the first PG-13 movie. I chalk it up to a very selfish decision on their part personally; my parents were not thrilled that they did this by the way and complained to them later. As everyone on the planet knows, the Temple of Doom is a dark movie that only seems to get darker with each step it takes into those underground caverns.

For most of the film, my seven-year old frame was on the edge of my seat, somewhere emotionally between terror and excitement; I wanted to see what would happen, fighting back the urge to run and hide.

It was the heart scene that finally got me. I screamed like a banshee and my uncle had to carry me out. Instead of comforting me, he put me down on the ground, coldly told me to take a breath and then turned to the door to watch the film through the circular window in it. I vividly remember staring at his back, trying to count my breaths, and wondering what he was seeing through that window; it was the wonder of that window that is I remember most from that day. Continue reading

Living With Snoopy

Charlie Brown taught me how to read.

My father, growing up in the 60’s, collected Peanuts books and they filled up almost an entire bookshelf in my grandparents’ house. For a child, those four paneled black-and-white sketches were an untapped goldmine. I knew there were riches there; I just had no idea how to translate them. I was like Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, standing over the miniature landscape, trying to figure out how to use the map to find the Well of Souls where the Ark is housed.

Like Indy, I was not the kind of child to give up on something easily. So slowly and with many questions over time, I learned how to read the panels; memorizing one word after another. My curiosity drove me. So while others of  my age were learning words like “Cat” and “Dog,” I could read “Blockhead” and “Wishy-Washy.”

Over time I began to take the books home, even going so far as to buy “Scott” stickers, putting them in the front cover of many of the books, claiming them from my dad (Of course we have the same first name, so it probably didn’t bother him too much). As a result, when I think of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, my thoughts always return to those old comic books, with their aging yellow pages and the smell of time; picturing myself sitting on a chair (my feet not able to reach the ground) trying to figure out one of the longer words in front of me. Continue reading