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Scott Lax Blog

To those suffering from Hurricane Sandy

Finn in one of nature's kinder moments, not long before we felt the edge of the hurricane that devastated some of the East Coast.
To friends, colleagues and others on the East Coast, I offer my thoughts and prayers. There's almost nothing to say, other than you've suffered a terrible natural disaster, one which makes any thoughtful person that much more thankful for everyday life, even when it's difficult. It must be brutal; keep going, though. We're thinking of you out here in Ohio. You in the New York and New Jersey areas have been through a great deal; 9/11, now this. Be as safe as possible. Really. Don't take chances. Watch out for downed power lines and falling branches and those random things that can be so destructive. If this post accomplishes anything, I hope it's that even one person is a bit more careful. And compassionate to those in even greater need.  Read More 

View From a Good Pumpkin

Finn taking in the view from a very good, if not great, pumpkin.
Autumn is my favorite time of year, especially the time around late September, as it was today, through the end of the falling leaves. I feel as if Finn will be an autumn person but I'm not really sure. He has embraced, as a toddler, springtime and summer. I think he'll love winter with his Norwegian blood and love of nature.

Sometimes I watch the world through his eyes, or try to. He explores continually, using all his senses, and discovering this, and that, and the other thing. Here he stands atop pumpkins at a fruit farm in the country. What is he thinking? I look at his face and can only try to remember that feeling, but I can't. Only through his face do I see these autumnal wonders anew.  Read More 

Autumn

Finn, football, and fall
Finn loves to play football. Not real football, of course, but throwing it and running after it and holding it and kicking at it. Here, he's looking at a boy who lives in the neighborhood, and he's taking it all in, just as I take in every moment with him.

And like his mother, Finn has the ability to turn autumn to springtime. 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 

THE RED BALOON and a Little Boy Who Loves Balloons

Finn watches THE RED BALLOON
A couple of nights ago Lydia and I put on the wonderful 35-minute French film from 1956, THE RED BALLOON (Le Ballon Rouge), directed by Albert Lamorisse. Though I'm a film buff and came of age with French writer/director François Truffaut as my favorite filmmaker, I had never seen THE RED BALLON.

This lapse in my film education and appreciation is like an author never having read, say, "Crazy Sunday," the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Yet I hadn't. I like to think that I was waiting for the perfect people to watch it with.

And so I finally watched it, with Lydia, Finn and my step-son, Angus.

The film was magnificent, magical, startling in its technical brilliance and beauty; simple and profound. I recommend it with five stars.

Finn, as you can see from the photo I've posted on my bio/gallery page, and to the left on this page, loves balloon. I took this photo of him in May. His wonder and joy in seeing and playing with balloons remains. In the photo on this blog post, Finn is watching THE RED BALLOON with rapt attention. And for reasons known only to the maker of my camera phone, the red balloon in the picture -- the one on the TV -- comes out yellow.

See THE RED BALLOON. See what pure artistic filmmaking can look like; see what has inspired countless artists and film lovers, parents and children. And Finn, his dad, mom and brother.  Read More 

We're Married!

Finn and Lydia Lax
Four years to the day after Lydia and I became engaged on a park bench next to the Chagrin Falls falls, we married. Here is a photo of the two lights of my life, our 17 1/2 month old son, Finn Scott, and Lydia. We had a dinner celebration with our families in a room built by Clarence Crane, the inventor of Life Saver candy, and the father of Hart Crane, the famous poet. This room saw John D. Rockefeller, Charles Lindbergh, Duncan Hines and Will Rogers, among many others. But none so beautiful as my wife, Lydia, and none so charming and lovable as our son, Finn Scott. And none, I am sure, as grateful and happy as I.  Read More 

A Boy and a Balloon

Finn discovers magic. Read More 

A New Quarterback for the Cleveland Browns

Photo by Lydia
As sports fans know, the Cleveland Browns have had their share of quarterback woes. Finally, they have a serious prospect. Be looking for U of MI QB, class of 2031, to finally get them to the Super Bowl. (OK, Finn already had the hat and the ball is a neighbor's, but Michigan does recruit early. And look at that form!)  Read More 

Finn's First Time on a Swing

Loving the springtime.
"A light exists in Spring
Not present in the year
at any other period
When March is scarcely here."
- Emily Dickinson

Walking (Little) Man

(Little) Walking Man
One of my favorite songs is "Walking Man" by James Taylor. Once, I sat alone in my old house in Chagrin Falls back in 1998, wearing my new sport coat, getting ready to do a reading from my first novel, THE YEAR THAT TREMBLED. To prepare for my autumnal debut as a reader, I listened to that song, as well as "Harvest Moon" by Neil Diamond. It was September 28, and the weather was fall-perfect. Then I walked down to The Fireside Bookstore where, they told me, they had a record crowd to hear me. I read... too long, put a few folks to sleep... but what the heck did I know? Only that I was, at last, a published author.

Still, I was alone. Then, many years later, I met Lydia. And then came Finn. And now I sing songs, by James Taylor, and Paul McCartney, and the Great American Songbook, and lullabies, to Finn, at bedtime. I've never enjoyed singing so much. Nor had a better audience than my little b0y, his head on my shoulder, listening, not falling asleep until I lay him down, and patient and as bright as a harvest moon.

Well, now our little man Finn is walking. Does he love it. He explores, he examines, he explains (sometimes I even sort of understand him), and he moves like a shortstop in pursuit of a line drive that's heading to left-center field. And that posture! I'm (re) learning from him. I'm standing up straighter and working on my own range of movement. Have to... it's almost time to throw the ball around outside.

And to walk. No longer alone.  Read More