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Scott Lax Blog

Father's Day, 2016

Finn and me on Father's Day...photo by Lydia
Lydia took this photo on a wonderful Father's Day, June 19, 2016. A great day with my family, then the Cavs won the World Championship.
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CLIMBING BACK INTO THE LITERARY WORLD

© Lydia Lax
This is a really exciting time for me -- my new publisher will soon be announcing the re-publication of THE YEAR THAT TREMBLED, as well as a my new novel.

Well, that one will be new to readers... not to me. I looked at the first page I wrote of it and it was date-stamped October 2001. Yes, it's been in progress for almost a dozen years.

Of course, five of those years were taken up by producing a movie version of my first novel. Then another year-plus writing the first version of the stage-play. And another year-and-a half producing a television pilot.

There were other years filled with more sorrow than I have ever imagined -- the illness and passing of my sister and only sibling, and the passing of my beloved mother, within six weeks of each other. I miss them both every day.

And there were times of great joy and momentous change: meeting my wife, Lydia, sharing time with her son Angus, creating a family. Then the blessing of our son, Finn Scott, who seemed to shift the axis of my world and set it on the right course.

Lydia always believed THE YEAR THAT TREMBLED should be published again, and this time so that more young people could read it, and in schools. She also believed in the new novel, and helped me find the real story.

Now they are both coming out, and much more on that soon. For now, I'm enjoying every possible minute with my family, teaching Finn baseball and realizing that I have to get in shape for my very athletic, energetic and joyful little boy.

And lots and lots of editing, which is a huge part of the creative writing process; and I'm fortunate in that regard, as my publisher has an outstanding editor working with me.

And reading, reading, reading - my friends' novels, and the books required for my MFA work in the NEOMFA program, as well as those required for my work as a graduate teaching assistant that I'll be doing at Cleveland State University.

I'm also rewriting THE YEAR THAT TREMBLED, the stage play, which is going to be produced once again this coming October. More on that, later, too.

Please stop back -- we'll have a new website, with lots of features that will help me connect with readers, and visa-versa; and there will be an additional blog, this one -- my fatherhood blog -- as a new one on writing, writers, and all things literary. Check back for updates, and see you soon.  Read More 

A WRITER'S JOURNEY

What could Finn be looking at? What else; who else? His mommy.
I'll be posting soon about my upcoming writing class in the Chagrin Valley -- in the heart of the Village of Chagrin Falls. It's a new venue for me, but I'm back to teaching part-time after a respite of two-and-a half-years. The class begins in January.

The reason I took this break is pictured to the side of this post. Finn Scott. And the look on his face is what I hope to teach my students: how to look at the world with wonder, with awe, with innocence...and then write about it in a new way, taking into account all the baggage they have gathered along the way. Those two things seem opposite, don't they?

With Finn, so much is new. I look at the world through his eyes. Through my own, too, and therein lies the conflict and paradox of a writer's journey. How do you meld the two visions together. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

This is true of any good writing. This is what I will try to teach my students. This is what any decent writer must, should struggle with.  Read More 

Finn Discovers more of his village, and a setting for my new novel

Finn gets his first look at Chagrin Falls from the bandstand in the Village Triangle.
I've been working on a new novel, FRAGILITY, for quite some time. It's currently with my agent. I've done a few readings from it, but I'm not much of a YouTuber in regard to literature, so here's an excerpt instead.

The novel is about an ex-patriot wine writer, originally from Chicago, who has lived, married, and mourned his wife's passing in France. In this short section, he's just come to the States... to Chestnut Falls, to be exact. Anyone who read my first novel, THE YEAR THAT TREMBLED, would know Chestnut Falls. It's a small village in Northeast Ohio. Any similarity to Chagrin Falls is coincidental, of course. For example, there's no old phone booth on the Village Triangle.

The photo I took today is of our son, Finn, who will be 20 months old in 9 days. I took him to the real Village Triangle in Chagrin Falls, where he was overjoyed and fascinated with the views from the bandstand and the green-space, walkways, and with the trees, plantings and benches.

So here's the excerpt from FRAGILITY, at the end of Chapter 9:

"Sergeant Michael Shield turned left on Grove Hill and drove down into the village. Sam watched his taillights blend in with the town. He lit another cigarette, exhaled, and studied the view. He saw the lighted church spire just east of Main Street and the Greek Revival Town Hall on the west side of Main. He had a clear view of Village Triangle Park at the center of town. He made out its bandstand, first built in 1877, and around it its brick walkways, plantings and benches. He made out an old-fashioned telephone booth at
the top of the triangle. He wondered if it worked, if anyone used phone booths in America anymore, or if it was a novelty. He saw a tall pine tree covered in multi-colored lights at the southeast corner of the Triangle. He saw shoppers walking in and out of stores and the bars and restaurants at the bottom of the hill. He heard faint music on a PA system. Nat Cole sang The Christmas Song.

"Sam’s stomach tightened. He could not bear to hear the song, but he listened anyway. He’d loved to sing to Sophie when she was alive. Now it was time to listen to what he had not been able to hear and see what he could not bear to see. Here he had the time and space to confront her past, to try to understand the elements that went into her demise.

"'Why am I here, Sophie?' Sam asked aloud.

His words were a cloud of smoke and frost. He threw his cigarette down and stamped it out. He took his suitcase from the car, turned and walked toward the front door of the rental house.  Read More