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I SUCK!

Replacement filing cabinet

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To let you know a little bit about 25-year-old me, I suck at writing – not so much the grammar or the clever way I string words into an aesthetically pleasing sentence but in my originality and imagination.  As a child, I had not a care in the world.  I believed in anything that anyone told me (not because I was naive but because I am a believer) and I came up with at least 1,000 story ideas every day.

Now I have 271 projects sitting on my desk, simply waiting to be completed and I don’t have the heart or the imagination to finish them.  These are childhood stories that I never did sit down to complete and now I almost feel as if they are better left in the dust of my filing cabinet.  They are tales that I poured my heart and soul into as a child and I feel now as if I have no heart or soul left to give to them.

I recently had one of the greatest writing experiences of my life, however.  I had the opportunity to listen to a talk presented by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love.  During this talk, Elizabeth discussed the muse at great length.  She even discussed how while writing Eat, Pray, Love she was having feelings of despair believing it would be the “worst book in the world.”  She said, during this time, that she looked into an empty corner of her office and addressed her muse directly.

She informed her muse that, if the work was terrible, she was not the only one to blame.  She said that she was working as hard as she could every day, waking up at the same time and forcing herself to write.  She guilted the muse into being there for her by saying aloud “I would please like the record to reflect today that I showed up for my part of the job.”  If you are interested in the entirety of the talk (about 20 minutes), you can see it here.

Well, these last few years, I have forgotten myself.  I have failed to show up for my part of the job for years and my muse has been the one to give up on me.

From this day forward, I make this commitment.  I will show up to write every day if my muse will promise to forgive me and give me another chance.

– Paul Scott

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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Personal

 

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Taking My Girls Out!

I have lived in St. George for almost 2 years and, save the few places I was familiar with before moving here (Wendy’s, Burger King, Golden Corral, etc…), I couldn’t tell you anything about anywhere here.

Today, for no reason in particular, it was time to change that.  I picked a fun little place with the help of my daughter’s randomly deciding finger and kept it a secret from my wife.  We decided on 25 Main.

We went and enjoyed cupcakes.  So much fun.

If you’re ever in the St. George area,  try 25 Main.  They have a cafe along with some of the best cupcakes I’ve had in a while.

As you can see, Oriana loves the vanilla frosting!

– Paul Scott

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2011 in Personal

 

Less Than…

I want to stray from my usual easy-going posts that discuss writing, entertainment and/or other generally – shall we say – “fun” topics.  Today’s post really comes from the heart…and it should as it’s been a long time since I’ve written last.

I will be honest readers: I am struggling here.

For the entirety of my life, the term “family” has been a very abstract idea.  As my friends and family know, I am adopted and so I was raised that blood does not necessarily define who your family is.  Over the years, I began to mold my own definition of family and I think I have come as close to the actual answer as I can possibly get:

“Family is: those who care about you and those who you care about.”  That is as plain and simple as I can put it.

The truth is, I am at a very difficult crossroads in my life.

Let me explain, and trust me, I am really opening up on this one.  What you read in the following paragraphs may forever change relationships as they currently are in my life.  Here goes nothing:

My father was never there for me when I was young.  Sure, he lived at home and he is still married to my mother but he wasn’t truly there.  What do I mean?  Well, my father was a workaholic.  He always put work before everything else in his life – including his family.  I did not grow up with nothing.  I had the nicest clothes on my back, the best food that stores could offer and the biggest house on the block.  What I didn’t have was a father to share these things with.  My father came home late almost every night and, up until I was a teenager out that late myself, my bedtime was always before he got in.  I was taught that money was more important than time…and I was taught often.

My mother was more important than anyone…not only to my father, but to herself.  I would hear often about my neighbors and how they were “less than…” or some other such nonsense about how they could never measure up to my father.  She was as thick-headed and stubborn as an ox and I grew up learning to be stubborn and thick-headed as well.  I have not once been apologized to by my mother unless she and I both were at fault and I apologized first.

I was forced into a religion which I was unsure of.  Rather than giving me my “free agency” like said religion teaches, they decided to follow the devil’s plan and “force me to make the right decisions.”  This is not the religion’s fault.  Nowhere in their teachings have I found doctrine that inspires parents to brainwash and force their children into submission.  This is simply a common parenting trait for those who believe in any God.

On top of all this, I was taught to respect “my elders.”  Now, this is one that I normally tend to agree with.  However, I believe that certain individuals have earned that respect while others have not.  I have made it a personal standard of mine to show respect to every individual regardless of age, race or gender until said individual has disrespected me.  My parents did not share this view.  Somehow living longer instilled an automatic amount of respect due to an individual.

The “less than…” idea was passed onto me.  I was a very brilliant child when I was younger and I struggled to maintain that intelligence all my life.  Because I got straight A’s in elementary school, rather than being rewarded for A’s and B’s, my parents would only focus on what I could do better.  I was always less than…, never good enough, and never up to par.

Because of these parenting traits, I grew up with a sense of independence – something my parents will call “normal teenage rebellion.”  I was not a rebellious child.  I believed what I believed and I stood up for it – damn the consequences.  I left home early, still a teenager, and proceeded to live my own life.

Once I moved out of my home and was not in constant proximity with my parents, we began to get along to a certain degree.  They became less aggressive in their judgments and forcing and I became less “rebellious.”

However, time passed and I found my parents to be very self-righteous.  They believed that nothing they had done was wrong.  Because of this, and the way they treated my girlfriend at the time (now ex-wife), I cut them off from my life entirely.

I made up stories about my parents – making them anything from abusive criminals to mafia bosses.  The truth was, I was simply putting a false name on an accurate behavior.

Many years passed.  During these years, my father made regular calls trying to get back in touch.  I believed that he was learning the errors of his ways but I didn’t want to give in so easily as I had so recently been hurt.

Eventually I caved and we began a relationship.  Shortly after, my girlfriend at the time (now wife) became pregnant.  My father offered me a job under him at his financial advisory firm and I, needing the extra income to raise a child, agreed.  I pulled my wife out of school and moved our family to a whole new city to settle in and work for a time.

At first, things were great.  Sure there were ups-and-downs but I don’t want you to believe that I am unreasonable.  I don’t believe that any parents are perfect nor did I expect mine to be…not even as a teenager.  I thought they really had changed.  I saw the way they treated my kid brother and I was pleased.  Their religious views are still pushed into his face but other than that, everything seemed to be different.

One day my father called me up on the phone and asked me if I would like to do something with him.  I remember thinking that he was going to ask me for help as was often the case when we communicated – one of us asking the other for help.  I was wrong.  He asked me to think of something I would like to do with him – take a trip.  You see, he was taking my kid brother ice fishing in Alaska and I had jokingly brought up that my sister and I were never given trips as extravagant as that.  I was so touched thinking that I would finally be able to have a real father-son relationship that I started to cry.

I know.  I know.  All those years of a rock-hard exterior down the drain.  Please forgive me.  I am human too!

I told my father I did not expect a trip – that he and I could easily just go to a movie in the city where we lived and that would be enough for me but he pushed and pushed until eventually I decided that…hey, I’m a writer and I’ve never seen New York City…so I told him I’d always wanted to see New York.

Meanwhile, my mother was treating my new wife with love and kindness – something she did not do for the previous one.  Things were looking up for me.

Months passed and my father postponed the NYC trip.  Then he delayed again.  And again.  And again.  Until over a year had gone by.  I kept saying that I would be happy with a movie here and there but he would not listen.

Meanwhile, I began writing a book for NaNoWriMo – a book which I completed near the end of November.  Neither my mother or father have ever once asked about it without my bringing it up and, to this day, neither of them have made any effort to read that story.

The straw that broke the camel’s back is this.  My wife called my mother up and asked her for a favor – a favor that I told my wife not to expect.  Neither my wife or I expected the favor, she simply asked because it would have helped our situation greatly.

Rather than just saying “no” as she could have without us bearing any grudge whatsoever, my mother decided to show her true colors to my wife for the first time since we moved to this new city almost 2 years ago.  Without giving any details because I don’t want to mention the favor, I will say that my mother chose to be rude to my wife regarding something that was my fault and was not even known by my wife.

It broke my heart to realize that neither of my parents have changed for the better.  They are still the same people they were 10 years ago, 15 years ago…and I am starting to believe that they always will be.

I am very torn right now.  I am stuck in a job working for my father…a job I have never loved, but have held onto because I have to feed my wife and daughter.  Unfortunately, the economy in that area does not offer any comparable positions and I am forced to either suffer through a professional relationship with my father or seek employment in another city.

My heart is heavy because I love my parents deeply and all I wanted was for that love to be returned in kind.  Instead, they (as they did when I was a child) throw money at me and hope that it will satisfy my longing for parents.

I am starting to feel “less than…” again and it is something I do not want in my life again…or my wife and daughter’s.  It is a feeling they will never have to face if I have any say in it.

I know that my blog has never really gotten this personal…or even this whiny before but I feel that I have come to a dead-end and I must turn to outside advice.  Please let me know how any of you would deal with such things.  I know no other way than to harden my shell and cut them off once again.

– Paul

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Personal

 

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12 Questions Asked by Goodlife Zen…, Part 1

Cinnamon rolls

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I read an article on gratitude recently by a fellow blogger, Mary Jaksch.  It asked the question “What are you grateful for?” and followed it up with 12 questions to “exercise your gratitude muscle.”  I would like to take this opportunity to answer a few of those questions.

  1. What Made You Happy?:  my wife’s cocked eyebrow when I’ve crossed the line with my teasing, my daughter’s smile with all her spaced out teeth and the gaps that still need teeth to grow into them, beautiful music – both the sad kind which allows you to draw upon darker days and the uplifting kind which gives you hope for a brighter day, television – loads and loads of television, thinking of the fun (albeit stupid) times I shared with my friends as a kid.
  2. What Energized You?: the smell of a hot cup of coffee fresh from the cashier’s hands at Starbucks, songs about the future (i.e. most of the Newsies soundtrack), watching and/or reading the twist as it is finally revealed at the end of Fight Club, the scent of freshly made cinnamon rolls, knowing that I don’t actually have to get up and that if I do it is for my own reasons, writing a powerful scene in my stories and knowing what I’ve written is magical – even if I find out that it sucks later and I was just in the mood to believe in its potential.
  3. What Barrier Did You Overcome?: finishing a novel in one month…or even at all, forgiving my parents and myself for the traumatic childhood I had at home, finally moving away from the dead end town of Orem (sorry to all my Orem friends but that place is dead to me now), finally coming clean with the truth about the rumors of my criminal past.
  4. What Changed You?: the knowledge that God was not actually against me but eagerly watching me to see how I handle life, a wonderful wife who loves me unquestionably and without a judgmental bone in her body, a daughter who screams at the top of her lungs in a fit of joy whenever I get home after leaving (even if it’s only for 5 minutes to run to the mailbox), for friends who inspire me to be a better person (you all know who you are).
  5. What Triggered Your Creativity?: the belief that there must be something bigger than us out there in the world, the hope that whatever lies ahead will be for my benefit and that I will be able to handle it, the realization that there is no line between the real world and a created one – only the lines that we put there ourselves.
  6. What Deepened Your Spirituality?: the moment when my daughter first came into this world and I experienced the unconditional love God has for us all, the twinkle in that same daughter’s eyes whenever I smile at her, a wife who believes in me even when I don’t.

I’ll share the answers to questions 7 – 12 with you tomorrow night.  Be sure not to miss it.!  I’d love to hear what your answers are to these questions so feel free to share them with me.

– Paul Scott

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2010 in Personal

 

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My “Bashful” Apology

It’s been 5 days since I last posted on this blog.  For that I am ashamed.  I have done my best to post something daily.  With the stress of NaNoWriMo over, I had no excuse.  I have been sick but I’m afraid I can’t truly use that as an excuse for all 4 days.  In fact, I’m still sick and I’m writing this post right now so that must not be it.

Honestly, I feel overwhelmed with many emotions ever since I finished my November novel, The Shakespeare Formula, Monday morning at 12:05 am.  The novel was 50,064 words and 241 double-spaced pages.  I have to say, this being the first time I’ve ever completed the 50,000 word goal on NaNoWriMo, I am still feeling as euphoric as the moment I typed the last word into my manuscript.  I’m filled with anger, sadness and the greatest joy a man can feel (besides the day I was married and the day I had my daughter).

This post is my very embarrassed and humble apology to the people who have loyally and faithfully followed and read my posts day-in and day-out.  In other words, sorry mom.  I’ll be sure to pick up my daily pace once again.

– Paul Scott

 

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2010 in Personal

 

Leonard DiCaprio Writes?!

Leonardo DiCaprio at the Body of Lies film pre...

Image via Wikipedia

I recently saw the trailer for the new gothic version of the classic fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood.  Simply called Red Riding Hood, the biggest surprise about this film is where the idea originated.  As I’ve already given the answer away in the title of this blog post, I’ll just spit it out – Leonardo Dicaprio.

Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the popular (but in my opinion, much overrated) Twilight series was given the responsibility to turn DiCaprio‘s idea into a reality.  DiCaprio, according to Yahoo! Movies, thought it would be cool “to do a Gothic twist on Red Riding Hood, with the wolf being a werewolf, and just have a cool, sexy, romantic thriller.”  Apparently Hardwicke agreed.

The trailer, I will admit, is a little too Twilight-ey for me, but I believe that was the idea.  I’m not sure whether to look forward to this movie or run the other way with dread.  I am a fan of the Gothic Lolita ideals that have infiltrated our fairy tales (i.e. Alice in Wonderland). However, I am tired of the vampire infatuation running rampant through our society.  In all honesty, it disgusts me.

Anyway, run on over to YouTube or IMDb and check out the trailer.  It might be something you enjoy, it might not.  Like I said, it reminds me too much of Twilight so I won’t post it here.  There’s enough of that garbage floating around the Internet without my support.

– Paul Scott

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2010 in Personal

 

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