The Bottom of the Pile: The Lost Blog Editorials

On Friday, I made the mistake of looking at my number of unique views by posts.

This may not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it was eye opening in many regards. And while there are definitely things to cheer (my page for my novel A Jane Austen Daydream gets really, really great numbers), there were others that brought me down. (My comedy radio scripts for Time Out Of Mind sadly did not inspire a lot of readers, once again emphasizing to me the loss of radio drama, ’cause it can’t be my writing. No, not at all.) That is life though, you win some and you lose some.

Earlier this month, I wrote about how I finally passed 10,000 unique views on my site (I wrote about it here and while I know it is not a big deal for many, it means a lot to me; I’m over 11,200 now), and I realized over this weekend it might be fun to share and write a bit about some of my past posts… but in a way different than most would.

Today, let’s look at the most unpopular things I have ever written on my site… heeheehee… Would that make this the anti-victory lap? Continue reading

Book Review: Summer Morning, Summer Night by Ray Bradbury

Since the passing of Ray Bradbury, I’ve been re-reading his books (or reading ones for the first time), trying to find a lost classic, a gem I had not discovered before.

So far I have reviewed three of his books (Something Wicked This Way Comes, From the Dust Returned and The Halloween Tree). This review is on Summer Morning, Summer Night, published in 2008.

I have attempted to write this review three different times. Frankly, this difficulty is because I am uncertain what kind of a book Summer Morning, Summer Night by Ray Bradbury is exactly attempting to be.

  • Is it a sequel to the great Dandelion Wine and the embarrassingly bad Farewell Summer?
  • Is it a collection of unpublished short stories?
  • Is it new work?
  • It is old work?
  • Is it an insight into Ray Bradbury’s notebook? A collection of unfinished ideas and unused snippets?

The frustrating answer is yes and no to all of my questions.

The best way I have discovered to explain this book is to think of your favorite CD. You know how artists will sometimes include an additional CD in a boxset? It might include demos, songs that were cut from the album, and early versions of the songs you love? Well, in many ways, Summer Morning, Summer Night is that additional CD for Bradbury, and like one of those collections there is good and bad, and a little of everything within it. Continue reading

Book Review: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Since the passing of Ray Bradbury, I’ve been re-reading his books (or reading ones for the first time), trying to find a lost classic, a gem I had not discovered before.  So far I’ve reviewed two of his books (Here are the reviews: Something Wicked This Way Comes and From the Dust Returned).  Today, I review The Halloween Tree.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury has had a thorny history. It began as a screenplay for an animated film that was not made, then turned into a young adult novel, then into a screenplay of a holiday special and finally into a more finished version of the book… Whew… It’s exhausting just writing that, I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for Bradbury.

The Halloween Tree is more than a celebration of Halloween, it is a celebration of death, and because of it also a celebration of life. Continue reading

Book Review: From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury

When Ray Bradbury died Entertainment Weekly listed some of Bradbury’s books that their readers might not have read. These were not the classics, but more like hidden gems for readers to discover. From the Dust Returned was one of the books listed, which is what drove me to pick it up.

From the Dust Returned is the story of a house filled with ghosts, the undead, and other supernatural creations. There is one human living with them, a young orphan boy named Timothy, and it will be his fate to write about them.

For me, upon my reading, I had two reactions. First, I am not sure why Entertainment Weekly listed this as one to discover. I could have easily named a handful that would have fit more perfectly into that distinction (Did they just call the publisher? Did they just Google?). The second is the untapped potential for the work, leaving me with the feeling I read the shadow of a good book; not the good book itself.

Ray Bradbury stated that he had spent fifty years working on this book, but with an imaginative mind like Bradbury I really have no idea what that means. He was always creating, always generating works. Chances are, for me, when a book is not being moved forward it is for a good reason, I am waiting for that lightning bolt to truly ignite the creation with a Frankenstein scream of “It’s alive!” Continue reading

Book Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

I first read Something Wicked This Way Comes while as a teenager. I was going through a massive Ray Bradbury kick, and I was devouring his books like many do pizza. Something Wicked found its way in between some of his other works in the monthly large pile I got from my local library, and I must admit at the time it didn’t make a dent on me.

It didn’t emotionally touch me as Dandelion Wine or inspire me like The Martian Chronicles or R is for Rocket. I can clearly remember spending most of my time reading it comparing it in my mind to the movie version by Disney I had seen a few years earlier. Yet, when people talk about his classics, especially after his death, Something Wicked is always discussed; so to honor the great man I decided to reread the book again.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is the story of an evil carnival that invades the town of Green Town, Illinois (A town that will not sound unfamiliar to readers of Mr. Bradbury). Two boys, Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway, are the only souls in the town that are able to see the carnival for what it is, a place of evil magic and sinister characters. It is after the carnival workers (under their leader the illustrated man, Mr. Dark), realize the boys are on to them that things start to become more intense.

Something Wicked has an interesting history to its creation. It first began as an abandoned short story, then Bradbury turned it into a screenplay after being inspired by Gene Kelly.

No, I’m serious. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, June 2012

When I lived in Los Angeles, I found the weather boring. It was almost always the same every day!

Warm, no clouds. Warm, no clouds. Warm, no clouds.

And while for some that may seem like a piece of heaven, for me it made time non-existent. I didn’t feel days pass or time; it all felt the same, like a wheel on a well-paved road. I like bumps in the road to jar me into reality. So it is not surprising to me that most of my activities this month relate to things indoors.

That’s just how I roll…

Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

Am I the only one that loves it when Apple does these long titles?  There is something wonderfully “out there” about doing  it. And speaking of “out there” in many ways this album  feels more experimental than her previous CDs; surprising, since this is her first album in 7 years. Her demons are still tormenting her and make appearances in every songs, but there are also wonderful little moments of innocence and beauty, under the slighty out-of-tune piano and tribal drummings and random chantings. Continue reading

Ray Bradbury

It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer.

-Dandelion Wine

I apologize if this sounds overly dark, but the last of my childhood writing heroes is gone.

One by one, as I get older and older, they slip away. I remember when I heard of Kurt Vonnegut’s passing. I was backing up my car from the driveway… and it was a normal day, nothing special about it. It all felt so very bland. And all they had to say on Morning Edition was “So it goes” and I knew what they were about to say. I parked my car in front of my house and hung my head. It was about ten minutes before I restarted my car and the rest of my day felt slow.

Growing up though Ray Bradbury always felt like more than just an author. He felt like a mentor, a friend; and with his vast library of work, He always felt “available” to me—if that is the right word to use—because there was always something new to discover. Continue reading

Talking Short Stories in Today’s Writing World

When I was a young writer I was obsessed with short stories.

There was something about them that felt very freeing for me as a newbie; because, they don’t come with the same burdens a novel does, and even in my young writing days I could see that. If you don’t like a story, stop writing it! It’s not like you lose months and years of work like you would on a novel. For a short story you lose, what?, a week in the most.  I don’t know about you, but I can lose a week.

And you can experiment; and, boy, did I like to experiment in stories! I had to try everything! Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romantic, comedy, parody, etc.; heck, I even wrote my own Chaucer Canterbury tale, if you can believe it! Continue reading

Episode 7 of The Dante Experience

Where were you the first time you went to Hell? Well, if you have been listening to The Dante Experience chances are on a computer. Ha!

It’s Friday and time for episode 7 of The Dante Experience, the radio comedy series. You can hear today’s episode here:

You can catch up on previous episodes (and read more excerpts around the making of the series by the author, me) via the Dante 3 page on this blog.  If you would like to purchase a copy you can do so via amazon.com (here), or by contacting the producers at Minds’ Ear Audio Productions (here).

Exposure

Hearing your work come to life, for a writer in radio is a multilayered event. It is happy, but emotionally overwhelming; it is disappointing and surprising; it is a relief and a frustration; and there is a sense of peace. A great sense of peace because a chapter in your life is done. No matter what, that chapter is done. To be honest, it’s probably the same feeling I am sure most writers feel around movie, TV, and theater (Completing a novel is very different for me); and you relive in your mind all of the work you went through to get to that point. Continue reading

10 little nuggets of writerly wisdom to consider: From one struggling writer to another

A new writing editorial by me is up at www.emlynchand.com. Here is the beginning of the article:

One thing a writer can not avoid is someone asking their opinion about writing or their advice for trying to make it in the field. Here, I must admit that I used to ask the same question all of the time to my writing professors or writers I would meet. It is like there is a great secret we all want in on, and the trick is finding someone that will teach you the magic handshake. Continue reading