The Art of Being Alone- a novella (1st installment)

2028238Inspired by the writing of Richard Brautigan, The Art of Being Alone is a novella that strangely fits very well with this time in the world. I began it over a year ago and through this website and installments, I hope to force my hand in finishing it. I will be sharing 5 or so pages of it, each week. I hope you enjoy it.–


“I’m nobody! Who are you? Are you- Nobody- too?” – Emily Dickinson

“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” ― Charlotte Brontë

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” ― Mark Twain

1- What I Need You to Understand

I want you first to realize I am not here out of hate. I came here because I was done with humanity.

It wasn’t a sudden decision to leave Earth. I had been up for days watching screens (in front of me, at my fingers, on my wrist) and I began to wonder why am I still dealing with this shit. (By the way, that is the only time I am going to swear in this journal. My grandmother told me a long time ago that swear words were the vocabulary for those with not enough education to find other options. I am not sure that is true, but when I lived on Earth there was a lot of swearing.)

I also didn’t come here to hurt anyone. Yet, I know a lot of people were hurt by my decisions. When I was on Earth they called me one of the 5%s because we had everything. I couldn’t argue with that because it was true. I could buy anything, own anything, even sleep with anyone. Everything had a price and I could pay it. And I did… And I did again and again…

But I had reached a moment and…

I should talk about my grandfather first.

Grandpa Jones.

It begins with him. It all begins with him. He was the reason I was a 5%. Even as a child I could tell he was fighting for something, but I had no idea what. He would sit at his desk on the phone or pace on the phone and shout. He always shouted,

When I was young I had no idea what he was shouting about, but it worked. Our houses (for I lived with them, they had bought me from my parents by then) kept getting bigger and bigger until they stopped. Pools, servants (grandpa would call them slaves and barely paid them but they were still happy to take the money), land, pets. Everything.

When my grandfather finally reached 5% he found me in the pool taking swimming lessons from my swim coach (it was his job to teach me, he had won an Olympic medal once. I asked to see it, but he said he had to sell it for food a long time ago). I saw his shoes first on the water edge. I swam to the shoes, I was 9 so I had to hang onto the edge of the pool.

He was looking down at me with an expression I had never seen before. It was a smile. “Son (that is what he called me), I did it.” His smile got bigger. “I finally did it.”

It was then that he jerked, twitched and fell face down in the water next to me.

He died right there.

2- The Surface

You get used to the lack of things here. I don’t mean items and products (I have had enough of those). I mean things like oxygen and gravity. For example, I have become very good at bouncing.

There is no beauty here. The rocks everywhere are not beautiful. They are just rocks. It is a very rocky surface.

I remember the old photos of Earth taken from the moon surface, the Earth looked beautiful then. Now it is gray and sometimes red in spots from the burning lands, the areas too hot for anything.

People used to say 5%ers like my grandfather caused that with their greed. They are probably right. I was never taught to care or feel guilty about things. I just accept things as facts. So, yes, that is probably a fact. I would acknowledge it like that (if I have to). Acknowledging it though doesn’t change anything.

Another fact! They don’t have the resources or capital to fix the ugly earth. It is what it is and I do my best not to look at it when I can.

Another fact! The moon is cold, but the sunlight is warm. I have solar panels for all my needs here- food, heat, energy. So it could be said the sun is killing everyone on earth but saving me here.

I am sure my grandfather would have been happy about that.

3- When you have…

When you have all the money, you simply have to make a decision. It is not like “want”, it is not that overwhelming. It is a simple decision. You point at something in a store and they hand it to you. You don’t have time to feel.

So when I decided to leave the shouting and burning of the world, I simply made a call and then pointed at the Moon.

There were some nods, a bow, and it began.

4- The Filth of Man

When I decided I was done with humankind and ready to leave everything behind, I began to collect Moon facts. It was inspiring to me; I was a person preparing a move to a new land, except this one was farther away.

There was one fact that impacted me a great deal. And it really said to me everything about why I was leaving that destroyed burning planet with its failing mankind.

Did you know that during all of those amazing Apollo missions to the Moon, that the astronauts left their poop there?

See, they couldn’t take the remains with them (they had to consider the weight in the spaceships they were using; at least that is the excuse they used), but there… during the greatest achievement in history, we left 96 bags of filth behind. Think of that next time you imagine Armstrong’s great words. He left his footprint and his poop there.

Let me say that again, 96 bags of trash are scattered over the Moon surface. Astronaut poop, food waste, wrappers. They just left it there, like people littering at a park. And just like awful vacationers, they took pictures, and threw their trash around and left, not bothering to clean up. It is all so awful a concept, it makes me want to vomit.

There are family pictures, golf balls, and even a feather and a hammer around as well.

Again, we litter. We litter in places of beauty, we litter around our own homes, and we liter on the Moon.

When I was selecting the spot for my own lunar home, I demanded that it not be anywhere near the trash and Moon landing spots. Imagine having to deal with those American flags just hanging around in my backyard! Also, every telescope in the world points at those flags a few times a year, the last thing I wanted to be was a show for the people. All those people staring up at me, as I picked up old astronaut poop and raked away the footprints on the lunar regolith. (Of course, I would remove them. This is my home now, not theirs).

Exploring those famous Apollo locations would be like visiting a friend who has big dogs, carefully stepping to avoid a surprise under foot.

Consider how poetic this is (and here is the poet still lingering in my mind coming out again after a deep yawn)- If the world blows up (which will probably happen) and mankind dies away (which will most definitely happen in time), all that will remain to show we were even around are almost 100 bags of filth and flags.

5- The Moon Surface

The proper term for the Moon rocks and dust is “regolith.” It is incredibly inhospitable. It even contains glass that could do major physical damage.

It is as if the Moon is saying, “I don’t want you here. There is nothing here for you.” No air, no water, just a dirt that wants to damage anything you need.

This was all a great concern actually when they were designing my habitat. There were questions about what the lunar regolith would do to my equipment or even me, (If I breathed some in would the glass in it damage my lungs, etc.?).

The decision was made the create an entrance room that cleans the regolith off of my suit. It takes five minutes, but it is thorough. It is like standing in a hot wind for a while, strangely soothing. It reminds me of a time when I was young and my grandfather took me on his boat. (He worked the entire time, of course.) But I was able to lie on the boat and feel the sun rays hitting me.

I got very sunburnt and my tutor (who was supposed to be watching me) was fired. I was never allowed to experience that again, but I remember the feeling. I thought at the time it was like a kiss from the sun, a bit of happiness, but it really was the sun telling me I was unwanted here and was trying to give me pain.

Again, not surprising. Everything on Earth is pain.

Another fact! The astronauts of the Apollo missions brought back quite a bit of regolith. Almost 800 pounds of it, if you can believe it. But while that is a wonderful achievement, they also did not take very good care of it. Most of it had been exposed to air and was really unusable for scientists.

Honestly, they had one thing to do on those trips and they failed at it.

Hello, mankind, hello.

Halloween Redux

HalloweenI’m one of those nuts who thinks of Autumn as his favorite time of the years. Maybe this is a last gasp of Marching Band nerdness (Go Vikings!), but I look forward to the falling leaves, the smells, and the sheer panic we feel around our political system every two to four years. Ahhh… Fall.

My kids really want to get more Halloween decorations for our house, but I’ve never been impressed by the market. Usually everything seems plastic and loud. And I’m definitely not the type of guy to have anything giant and inflatable on my lawn. My line about this kind of stuff is Wayne Manor. “What would Alfred allow?” I ask.

The answer is usually not much.

Over the years I’ve written a bit about this holiday, which you can check out below in the links. I’ve also had the pleasure of reviewing some Halloween and horror stories on WKAR Current State. I thought I would include them as well if you are looking for something a little spooky to read this year. Also, they are fun to listen to because in a few of them I try (badly) to do a scary voice. Who doesn’t need a good and embarrassing laugh from time to time?








Monsters, Vampires and Chewbacca: Some Halloween Posts

The author as Chewbecca... I'm behind Pac Man.So when I was a kid, my mom used to make me Halloween costumes (I’m the Chewbacca behind the Pac Man). They were really quite impressive. Sadly, I don’t have that skill, nor do I even try to pull something like that off. And it’s gotten to such a point that if I brought up the idea of a homemade Halloween costume, my kids would probably revolt.

…And there might be torches and pitchforks.

Which got me wondering, is something lost in not going to that trouble anymore? Yes, all of the kids walking around look exactly like their target, but has a bit of the heart been lost in the endeavor? Of course, if the kids have no idea of what I am talking about, maybe this is me just being grumpy.

Yeah, I’m probably just being grumpy.

HalloweenI mean, look at pumpkin carving these days. I like to do a simple face, but when you see all the tools and skills out there, well, I look lame. And telling the kids this was fine a few decades ago doesn’t cut it.

Okay, where was I? Halloween posts!

I’ve had the pleasure of being on WKAR’s Current State for three Halloween episodes now.  I’ve reviewed and talked about (with links):

Here are some other posts (with links too) I have written about one of my favorite holidays:

I hope you have a great holiday (with or without a handmade costume).


Ghosts, Snoopy, Haunted Mansions and Halloween

haunted-mansionA few years ago, the inventive filmmaker Guillermo del Toro was hired by Disney to write a screenplay for a new movie based on The Haunted Mansion ride.  Over the summer I read an interview with him claiming that him and his team of writers were still struggling with the story.


I have to admit I am a little surprised. I mean it seems to me a Haunted Mansion film writes itself. Do you want to know how I would do it if Disney asked me? Of course you do!

First off I would set it in the 1950s. That way you can tap into the cliches and stereotypes you would see in classic old black-and-white horror films. And set it in a small town (think Back to the Future).  Now on to my very brief synopsis!

  • Act 1- We meet the eccentric and comic people in the town. There are two twin teenage sisters, one is a cheerleader and popular, the other is a bookworm (our heroes). They go to a dance at their school. That night there is a huge thunderstorm and the power goes out. A bunch of teenagers ride together in car; which, of course, stalls in front of the Haunted Mansion.
  • Act 2- The group of teenagers (including our female heroes) tour the Haunted Mansion. The ghosts want to get out but are trapped in (a curse put in place by Madame Leota). One of the teenagers is tricked by the evil Hatbox Ghost (an urban legend by the way around the ride), releasing all the ghosts.
  • Act 3- The ghosts playfully attack and spook the town (like Gremlins). The teenagers are split into teams, one to collect the ghosts, the other to get the curse put back on the house and stop the Hatbox Ghost (the sisters lead the different teams)… this all has to be done by dawn.
  • Act 4- In a suspenseful last act, the curse is reinstated, the ghosts are drawn back and the sisters now are friends. The end.

Disney you can send me the check. (Okay, that was a little snippy of me, but seriously I could write this script and would love to do it… Oh, and Guillermo del Toro is awesome.)

Here are some of the posts in the past I have written about Halloween. Enjoy!

The Halloween TreeBook Review: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. Last year I reviewed this book (which should be a holiday classic) for WKAR’s Current State. You can check it out (and listen) via the link. This week I’ll be reviewing Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I hope you tune in for it, I think it turned out great.

It's The Great PumpkinWatching It’s The Great  Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I love this special. Absolutely love it. Actually, I’m kind of obsessed about it, and this post proves it. In it, I share my insight on the show and my thoughts on each of the scenes and characters. Seriously… obsessed.

CostumedIf I Could Wear a Halloween Costume… If I had the courage, I would dress up on the holiday. I’m just not that guy… but I wish I was. This comic post deals with my dreams and hopes and masks.

HalloweenHalloween, In Spirit. I wrote this post during my first year on the site, and it was one of my most popular. It is a little comic, a little philosophical, a little serious. In many ways it contains all of my thoughts on the holiday, tied up in a bow… that probably has skeletons on it.

I hope you enjoy the posts! (And Guillermo call me!)


New WKAR Book Review: Something that Feels like Truth by Donald Lystra

Current StateThis week I was back on WKAR’s Current State with a new book review!

This time I am reviewing Michigan Notable Book Something that Feels like Truth by Donald Lystra.

You can hear my review here:

You can also read my review below.

You can find Donald Lystra’s latest collection of short stories on Amazon here. If you would like to learn more about my book reviews or listen/read previous installments you can do so via this page on my site.

I hope you enjoy my new book 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:

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

The Best Intentions in Starfleet: Rewatching the Lesser Star Trek TV Shows

StarfleetThe world of entertainment is filled with missed opportunities.

We have all heard stories about the great “What If’s.”

Great unproduced scripts for shows or movies. Unfinished books. Actors that could have played legendary parts but for some reason lost their chance.

(My favorite missed acting story is a lesser known one actually. It was the idea of Gene Kelly playing the villain in Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Just imagine that! All of the charisma behind an evil grin. That original script of the story was never produced, but it generated the novel version that Ray lovingly dedicated to Mr. Kelly.)

Television is a graveyard of missed opportunities, from shows never produced to shows cancelled way too soon (I still mourn Cupid and Northern Exposure). Of course, sometimes those missed opportunities can be found in the actual execution of the series, turning a fun idea with a good cast until a mediocre yawn (How I Met Your Mother) .

After writing a post a few weeks ago on my rediscovered love of Star Trek: The Next Generation (you can read that post here), it made me wonder about the other Star Trek shows… the ones we have all forgotten, some sadly and some for very good reasons.

So, I checked them out again. (Please note, I didn’t say beamed aboard, that would have just been too cheesy, even for me.) Continue reading

Our Dangerous Fixation With Genres

Revolutionary SnoopyThe writing world is full of factions.

Each of these factions, have their own heroes (or leaders), their own book clubs, their own book dealers, their own sites, their own rules, their own readers, etc.

Sometimes I like to imagine them as armies, each with their own distinct style and strengths and weaponry.

  • The romance army is nothing more than a collection of men with long flowing hair and amazing abs. There is a good chance that their swords might be a phallic thing though, consider yourself warned.
  • The paranormal army is made up of brooding men who may be vampires… or werewolves… or zombies… or ghosts. Whatever the case, they are dreamy.
  • In the YA ranks you will find confused teenagers with an overwhelming sense of destiny. They will be looking for something and once they find it, watch out.
  • Yes, the scifi army is full of little green men, but over the course of the battle we will all learn something about humanity back here at home.
  • And you do not want to see the horror army. Seriously, just turn and run!

The funny thing is that it is more than the publishers and bookstores that have latched on to the use of factions or, more accurately, genres to organize our art. We writers do it as well as so many of us proudly declare which army we fit into. Our people.

Twitter is full of writers that introduce themselves first by name and then by their genre. And the funny thing is when you search through their followers as well as those that they follow, they are also of the same genre. Their army, their rules…

Join us. Continue reading

Okay, am I a nerd?

The author as Chewbecca... I'm behind Pac Man.Yesterday, the writer Becky Flade mentioned me in a blog post on her site.

The post was called “The Blog that Wasn’t” (which you can find here) and she said this about me and my site:

“When I need a nerd fix, Scott’s my man.”



Now, I’ve considered myself many things in my life; but never “nerd.”

Yes, I would say I’m a snob. I can get behind “snob.” I have all the earmarks of a snob! I could have it tattooed on me without a problem. It could be on my arm near where my sweater vest ends (yes, I am wearing a sweater vest), or even above my reading glasses, right on my forehead. Let me give you some examples of my snobbery:

  • I have in my dining room pictures of some of my favorite authors, and many times I have used them as a test for visitors. If, for example, you call Mark Twain “Einstein” well, you might not be invited over again.
  • I have been known to tease my friends who praise Twilight on their Facebook pages. (And they should be teased, especially if they are an adult.)
  • I write novels (while adventurous and surprising) that contain art, music, and literature references.
  • On my desk I have a Shakespeare action figure and an autograph of Woody Allen.
  • Oh, did I mention I have a master’s degree?

You see, I sing snob!

But nerd? Continue reading

Halloween, In Spirit

I don’t believe in magic.

I also don’t believe in witches, ghosts, wizards, dragons, unicorns, demons, devils, poltergeists, vampires, werewolves and anything else that might go bump in the night.

And, for those curious, I don’t believe in angels either.

None of these things exist (or could exist) in the world I see around me every day. And if any of these things really were real, there is no way it would be a secret to all of us. If there is one great truth about human beings, from the North Pole to the South, it is that we are all lousy at keeping a secret. Remember, even Deep Throat said who he was before he died, and that was a secret kept by only three people!

Frankly, we would all know about Hogwarts.

I wish I could see a ghost.


Because I would find the experience incredibly satisfying. Continue reading