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Scott Lax Blog

Violence Against Women: A Major Theme in VENGEANCE FOLLOWS

When I wrote THE YEAR THAT TREMBLED, it was because of the War in Vietnam, which had ended nearly twenty years earlier. I wrote of how it affected so many millions of people, both in America and abroad; and how it affected me on an emotional level by framing a small, home-front story against the background of war. I fictionalized a story, and so it contained what the novelist Tim O'Brien calls "story truth," as opposed to "happening truth."

For my new novel, another insidious societal factor inhabited my thoughts, bothered me for years, and finally found its way into the pages of VENGEANCE FOLLOWS. That happening truth, a theme of my novel, is the epidemic of violence against women.

One in three women in the world will experience beating or rape in her lifetime. In the USA, one in four, or five, depending on whose statistics you use. In any case, it's an epidemic, and it's a horror.

That terrible, pervasive happening truth became a major theme of my novel and turned story truth. The story truth contained its own energy, and, as many authors from O'Brien to Hemingway and countless others knew or know, story truth can be truer than happening truth, because an author can go deeper: into motivation, and feeling, and pain; and redemption.

Even the PBS drama, "Downton Abbey," is showcasing this age-old scourge on humanity. I doubt if the creator of DA, Julian Fellowes, began writing the show with the intention of showing the damage of rape; my guess is that his research and experience led him to realize that the probability of one of his beloved characters being abused in this way was likely. He then likely created the story truth.

As many authors and other artists, I can delve deeper into story truth than happening truth, because of the artist's and author's prerogative: the ability to protect the innocent; the necessity to not expose others in a discernible way by creating composite characters or completely fictionalized ones. In order to keep the demons of the past at bay, and allow life to move forward, I created a story truth.

I know that my novel isn't an easy one to read for some. I know it doesn't seem plausible to some, as well. Yet I feel, have always felt, as a writer, as far back as sixteen years old, that my job is to shine a light in dark corners. To reveal. To illuminate. To try to gain meaning. To try to find love where there is hate, healing where there are wounds.

The epidemic of abuse toward women is real. For all of my characters' love, and friendship; for all their sensual joy of wine, and sex, and feeling the wind and sun on their faces, they nonetheless live in a word where the unspeakable is part of their lives.

Some writers raison d'être – our reason to be – is to shine a light into dark spaces. That's the most important thing some of us may expect to achieve. And the reader does the rest. Read More 
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Happy Birthday Little Guy

Finn is three years old
Our son Finn turned three years old on January 11. For those who have followed this blog or The Father Life blog from a couple of years ago, it's hard to believe -- for me -- but my little guy turned three.

Shakespeare wrote, "It is a wise father that knows his own child."

I hope to be wise for a long time. Knowing Finn has been and is the great joy of my life, one that I can't separate from the essence of my own life, of life itself. He personifies meaning and effort, attainment and flow.  Read More 
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Goodbye, Dennis Johnson... one of the true good guys of Hollywood

I'm very sad to hear that my former colleague and friend Dennis Johnson, who joined us as an executive producer on the film, "The Year That Trembled," has passed away. You can click his photo for the story of his amazing life, and untimely death at 68. If I know Dennis, though, he'd want us to focus on his life.

Dennis was one of the nicest, most helpful, gentle and best people I've ever known in Hollywood. When we produced our film, Dennis would stop by my office and make me take ten minutes walks every hour to walk off some steam. He was kind to everyone, from interns to movie actors. He always had a smile, an encouraging word, a piece of wisdom. He was a pioneer in his field, a man of distinction, talent and decency.

My wife and I extend our deepest sympathies to Dennis's partner, Russ Patrick, and his family. Dennis was living proof that you can be in show business and still be a prince of a guy. He will be sorely missed.  Read More 
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