What I Have Planned With Shakespeare

Gorilla and HamletSometimes creativity can feel like you are caging a gorilla.

Most days it will stay in its cage, happily eating a banana, maybe even doing sign language with the audiences, making everyone grin. But, from time to time, it needs to be released. Go wild, get crazy.

I’m having a gorilla moment.

With the blog, with the book reviews, with the new book (which I am really proud of and currently working with an agent on), my creativity wants to do something out there. Everything has felt too safe for a while. I need to do something a little dangerous, something that is honestly… very unsellable.

This screams vanity project in all caps.

This screams vanity project in all caps and bellowed from the top of a mountain.

Wait! I need to back up. I can’t just jump to the introduction.

I need to begin with my last novel Permanent Spring Showers, talk about Shakespeare and then I’ll beat my manly ape chest some more.  Continue reading

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Pontius Pilate, Dr. Seuss, and Me (Part 1)

Pilate in his big sceneRecently, I happily discovered that a picture of me wearing a fur coat and brown tights was finally off the internet.

The picture was from 1998 and for over 15 years it has dogged me on the worldwide web. With a few scrolls down through my name on any search engine (pass the covers of my books and headshots; you know, the important stuff an author cares about), there it was, always waiting for me.

Me in tights.

“Hello Scott, want to see your legs?”

When I signed up for the graduate-level course in Medieval Literature (at Michigan State University), I was expecting a challenge.

Actually, I was expecting a massive challenge!

I heard rumblings from past students of the class, everything from translating to long writing assignments. While I love diving into classic literature, I have to be in the right mood for the older, more historical entries. I’m not the kind of person to relax with Chaucer on a Sunday morning (even though I do have a pic of him on my wall and I did once mimic his style in a very long short story). At least Chaucer can be a little bawdy and playful, but you have to earn the Chaucer in such classes. And usually that due is paid by Caedom and Margery Kempe.

Medieval literature, the literary equivalent of a hairshirt.

But it was required for my MA, so what could I do? I decided to put my own writing aside for a semester and accept my fate.

However, as we got closer to the start of the semester, my fellow students and I started hearing from the professor. This year we were to do something different, something special. It was obvious the professor was thrilled and he wanted us to feel that way as well. Maybe with another group of students he would have gotten a bigger reaction, but typically bookworms (i.e., graduate students in English Literature) don’t usually like to be thrown on a stage.

Yes, I said “stage.” See, we were not going to be studying Medieval Literature, we were going to be performing it! Watch out Broadway! 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

Dreaming for a Holodeck. Thoughts on Star Trek: The Next Generation

Our EnterpriseStar Trek: The Next Generation has become comfort food for my soul.

While I always enjoyed the original cast, and even dig the new film series by J.J. Abrams, there was something about the Enterprise D that called to me. I wanted to join that crew. Visit Ten Forward, go on that holodeck. It was the Enterprise I dreamed of.

The show was originally on when I was a kid in high school and I used to collect the episodes on old VHS tapes, stocking them on my bookshelf, as if they were precious treasures; not realizing then that in a few years, videotapes would be nothing more than junk, a lost piece of technology.

Of course, now that is all twenty years ago. The show is off the air for the most part and the cast has moved on as best as they can. Even the universe The Next Generation seemed to fit so snuggly at the top of (being the show that all of the later shows owed some of their success and beginning to) has moved on.

And yet, for me, while the rest of the world is chasing after Captain Kirk again, I am rewatching the show on Netflix. It is more than a homecoming in a way, it is a return to a different time, a different way to look at life. A different me, one that was much younger and dreamed of owning his own holodeck and wanted nothing more than to be assigned to an away mission… no matter how dangerous.

Continue reading

10 Works I Wish I Had Written

Sometimes I feel like December and January are the times all entertainment Web sites and writers set aside for creating lists.  We drown in them; from movies, to books, to important people, etc.  Lists after lists after lists.

Don’t worry, this is not one of those lists.  This is something a little more personal.

I’ve been, since starting this blog, trying to rethink my writing and my goals, and one thing I am trying to latch on to is what stimulates me, what means something to me.  What do I want to accomplish in my own writing?

This list is of ten creations that, at one time or another, touched me as a storyteller.  There is no particular order, no best to worst.

Are these choices the best in their mediums? No, not all of them. Are these things that I could have written? A few, I think with the initial spark I could have devised in a way. Are these works that inspire me? Most definitely. Continue reading