Month: March 2014

I Wrestled a Bear Once

Oftentimes when I can’t sleep, it’s because I’m imagining what it would be like to eaten by a bear… The thought terrifies me.
When I was a teenager, see, one year at Winter Retreat, this speaker talked about a girl who was eaten by a bear. His retelling was so visceral and terrifying, its stayed with me to this day. I still hate that guy for it. Seriously…Why tell a bunch of kids such a grim story? It didn’t scare me into heaven… It just made it hard to sleep some nights. being a hardcore Chicago Bears fan doesn’t help that either… But I do love my Bears. WORTH IT.

I tell you this now because I’m in the process of editing my first novel tentatively titled, The Curse of the Creator, and it is a bear.

I feel much like the half-wolf Balto in the following picture…

The Hell Bear vs. Balto

The Hell Bear vs. Balto

Crushed beneath the weight of a massive Hell Bear…

I began work on Curse in September 2012 shortly after starting working for Student Services. I finished my first rough draft in March 2013.

Here it is March 2014, and I’m on my third edit.

What’s painful isn’t the work or even finding time to work, it’s dealing with your own bad writing.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a paragraph and just had to stop because it was so bad. Sure, that’s what the editing process is about.
Finding errors, inconsistencies, and generally improving the work, but damn… It’s tough.

After another edit or two I hope to start peddling it to agents and publishers…Not for the sake of money, but for the sake of the story…Because I think I have a good one.
What’s difficult is when I don’t think I’m a good enough vessel for the story to be conducted.

“I just so desperately want to be better.”

This feeling goes straight across the board really. I want to be a better Christian, a better husband, a better father, author, actor, friend, artist…

I once told someone I was an artist, and they asked if I painted or something… Random thought…Sorry.

This desire to grow…to gain insight…to hone my crafts is always lingering behind an ever present veil of doubt…in keeping with my earlier metaphor…
This desire to be better is constantly crushed beneath a Hell Bear of doubt.

I don’t know if there really is an answer. I think I just need to keep at it and keep at it until one day I achieve excellence or, at least, mediocrity.

I won’t settle for less than mediocrity.

I leave you with a picture of me as a bear…


circa March 2013


-Scritch out

[Note: Iwrestledabearonce is a pretty fun band…I think…Check out, “Tastes like Kevin Bacon” below.]


A Harrowing Tale of Fatherhood

You mad, dad?

You mad, dad?

A few weeks ago, I awoke to the sound of my infant son screaming like a banshee. My wonderful wife slapped me and “encouraged” me to tend to his needs.

I stumbled out of bed and walked over to his bassinet.

I lifted him up and brought him to the kitchen to warm up his bottle.

After feeding him 3-5 ounces, I noted the presence of his very full diaper.

After placing him on the changing table, I opened it to discover it was very full…

Very full indeed.

So I did as Dads ought to do and I cleaned him up, being certain to place the new diaper on him to prevent a mess…

My wonderful, handsome little boy…

Outsmarted me.

Pulling his legs back with his hands, he circumvented his new diaper and preceded to fire yellow liquid excrement all over the changing table, very nearly clearing it and hitting the floor.

Needless to say I yelled an expletive.

My wife, from the other room, asked what the matter was.

I replied, my expletive was more than just a yell of frustration…

It was also to be taken literally.

Frustrated, i put the diaper back and cleaned up the feces.

“Fool me once…”

He pulls his legs back again, the diaper falls, he urinates all over my bare chest…

It was only a moment, but in that moment, he super soaked me…

Finally I got the hint, grabbed a new diaper and wrapped him up in it.

I then set him in his crib so I could go wash up. After washing up, I returned for him and put him in a new outfit.

As I started rocking him to sleep, this troll of a child vomited on me.


So recap: Feces on table, urine on chest, vomit on shoulder.

Finally after cleaning up again and rocking him for forty minutes, he fell asleep and stayed asleep til morning…

This is the life...

This is the life…

At least his smile is cute and he’s damn handsome.

-scritch out


The Christian Community and Drama Queens

I’m going to do my best to avoid turning this into a rant.
[Editor’s note: I did a terrible job]

I have a long and tired history with the church and a brief and enjoyable history with the theater. However, something has been on my mind for a couple of years now, and this seems like a good opportunity to flesh it out.

I’ve heard the theatre is a place for misfits. We accept everyone regardless of age, sex, location, orientation, etc. Everyone has a type, and therefore everyone can fit in the theatre.

If you have a pulse… there’s a place for you.

Sound familiar?

Like maybe what the church is supposed to be like?

Growing up in the church, I heard all about how loving Christians were supposed to be. How we wanted the drunks and whores and drug addicts to fill our pews on Sunday because the church is a place for the broken… the misfits.

I wish I could say I saw that in practice.
What I saw was a failure to accept and take care of even our own.
Instead of mending the wounds of the world, we turned on each other like cannibals and tore apart the very flesh we were supposed to be mending.

What’s worse than the lack of acceptance in the church is the abundance of acceptance I’ve “found” in the theater. Bring me your poor and pitiful, and the stage will give them rest…


You want to know the truth of the matter?

People aren’t people. People are snakes.

In the church, in the theater, people regularly tear each other apart.

To their faces…
To their backs…

We aren’t the loving, accepting, tolerant people we love to believe we are. If you piss us off, break our rules, tread too liberal OR conservative, we will eat you alive.


Because we do not love…

We don’t know how to love and we don’t care to learn.
For that matter, we don’t know how to judge and don’t care how to learn.

I have been a Christian for at least 15 years, and in all that time I don’t know if I’ve ever seen what it truly means to give with a pure heart, to love unconditionally, and to speak truth without reservation.

I know I haven’t.

The theatre isn’t the place for the broken. The church is… or, at least, should be.
The church isn’t a place for entertainment. The theatre is…

To be fair, entertainment can challenge and incite change… don’t get me wrong…If it didn’t I wouldn’t be here.

But I don’t think the primary function of theater is to serve the human need for community. That should be the function of the church.

But how should I know? I rarely go to church anymore.

-Scritch out

Unexpected Specter

I told myself I’d write a poem for the hell of it over spring break…so I did. I’m not a poet… so bear that in mind.

– scritch out

Summer, winter, autumn, spring

Days feel as though they’ll never end.

Youthful hope and unconscious invincibility

Death is an unexpected specter.

The morning breaks like a hammer in hand

Never expecting is the unsuspecting nail.

Beat by beat by beat by beat

Death is an unexpected specter.

Bearing my hope like a badge on my sleeve

I bear the unconscious weight of my own frailty.

The Sun rises and sets with absolute certainty

Death is an unexpected specter.

A ghost on the wall, a fly in my hand

My life on a shelf, my sins in the sand

Death is an unexpected specter.

I draw lines on my face masking ones not yet there

The stage is on fire and my heart isn’t here

We sit before mirrors like a picture on a page

Death is an unexpected specter.

I fall out of bed like a child at play

I spend my time complacent and weak

I complain about time as it’s slipping away

Death is an unexpected specter.

Don’t preach at me your sermons

Don’t tell me about God

I don’t need your false hope

Or the love of a fraud

I know you agenda

I’ve seen your face

Death is unexpected specter.

I live my life like it’s the only one I live

I love with my heart like it’s all I can give

I spend my time with those I love most

Death is an unexpected specter.

Faith without Risk is pointless

“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
James 2:17

Why is faith without works dead?
I think for the same reason why Hope is useless without Will.
It lacks action. Incentive. Reason.
It’s the equivalent of just passively hoping for the best, and not doing anything about it.
Of course there are moments to just be still and let God, but I think these are the exception rather than the rule.

I spent most of my early, formative years waiting on the will of God.
I rarely took action without knowing whether or not something was a sure fire thing.
Because I didn’t want to miss out on God’s will, as if God was going to give me a road map for every single decision I made.

To make myself feel better I often described myself as a person who “marches until given orders.” The fact of the matter is, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t take risks.

Everything I do is carefully weighed on a scale of benefit/fun vs. risk and if there risk is too great, I don’t do it even if the benefit/fun factor is high.

I struggle with insomnia. I have for a while.
Additionally, I don’t like medicating because it becomes even more difficult to wake me when i do finally sleep.

A few nights ago (while I wasn’t sleeping) I began to think about my work (i.e. Acting, writing, etc.) I realized the reason I hesitate to perform is because of a crippling fear of failure. A struggle I’m sure every actor can attest to. It wasn’t really a huge revelation, but it helped put some things in to perspective for me. Specifically because I have and do get professional work on occasion. My problem is with pursuing it. I want to be in a place where I cast aside my anxieties and throw myself into my art leaning on the work I’ve put in to crafting it.

But I don’t.

I remain static.

I don’t audition half as much as I should…
I don’t edit a quarter as much as I should…
I don’t write an eighth of what I should…
Because I’m afraid of the risk.

But the risk is really only rejection…Something I’m not unused to…
And if I don’t try, I run the risk of not knowing, which is in itself frustrating.

This brings us back to faith.

I believe in God. I’m a follower of Christ. A Christian.
Sometimes ashamed, but I’ll stand for my beliefs.

I don’t believe I will succeed at this because God wants that for me.
I don’t.

What I do believe, even if my actions don’t attest to it, is God is there for me.
Strength and wisdom in my failures. Using my choices (actor buzz word) to shape me further into the “Man of God” I know, regardless of my fears, I’m supposed to be.

But what use is my faith without action?
What is the use of my action without the risk of failure?

My revelation this week was this,
“If I’m only willing to walk when I know there’s a path, I’ll never get anywhere.”

Faith without risk is pointless.

-Scritch out

ALSO: the day I had this revelation my friend, brother, and fellow actor/cohortian, Brad Brinkley, posted this on facebook: “You’ll never know whether or not you can walk on water if you never get out of the boat.

I thought it was a little heavy-handed of God, but what do I know?

-Scritch really out