Month: November 2016


Hey everybody,

This week I’ve been thinking about the pendulum…


Not a literal pendulum mind you…

A metaphorical one.


One I’ve observed.

My observations could be and are probably wrong, but they’re mine.

When I was attending UVF (then VFCC), I found a lot of my preconceptions challenged. The way I viewed God, the church, and scripture, yes, but also the way I viewed life in general.

I was raised in a very Pentecostal church. We didn’t dance with snakes or drink venom, but there was an emphasis on the supernatural. During which, I saw some strange things. Explanations for which, I still don’t have.

It was supernatural.

Anyway, when I started college, I brought with me a lot of notions I had about how the world worked. As I mentioned above, these notions were challenged, and my worldview began to morph and solidify. That’s the purpose of the university (and education in general). To educate and produce scholars capable of formulating their own thoughts. Being raised in a very non-structured, charismatic movement, I latched on to the information from the other side. Clearly, liturgy and straight expository preaching was the answer to ALL of my problems. The issue was clearly that the previous generation had abandoned homiletics and hermeneutics, and it was my duty to mend that mistake!

Of course, I ended up going into theatre and all this is moot now…


The fact still remains that I swung the other direction.

Brandy and I found a contemporary liturgical in VA Beach and started going there. We started exploring the Roman Catholic church, the Anglicans, the Episcopals, and Eastern Orthodox.

Because we’d swing the other direction.

This week I started to think about how this same pendulum swing happens generationally with so much more than theology. Specifically, in regards to parenting.

I know a lot of people my age who complain about the strict structures of their toxic upbringing. How they felt like they were forced to conform to the molds of what is masculine and feminine. This of course led to an identity crisis when they weren’t able to achieve that paradigm of whatever gender norm they were pressed to conform to.

I can’t help but wonder if maybe our emphasis on gender fluidity is in direct response to the way we were raised.

Note: Do not get me wrong. I’m not taking a stand on anything. These are just thoughts. I don’t want to even touch on transgenderism. I am not trans and cannot begin to understand the gravity of what trans people experience. I’m a strictly discussing gender norms in their relation to parenting.

My question for all of us emerging parents is this…

What will our children say about us?


Do you think we’re the generation that has it nailed down?

Or do you think this is just another swing of the pendulum?


I don’t know.


I don’t think of my childhood as toxic even though I was raised to be a man.

I was taught that emotions were good, and it was okay for boys to cry…

I learned to suppress them on my own.

I didn’t grow up idolizing John Wayne though I love his movies…

But I do appreciate a good tough good guy character.


To be honest, I’m kind of an intersection of masculinity and femininity.

I willingly chose and enjoy a profession that involves putting on makeup and pretending to be someone else. I love football and heavy music, but I also really like getting my haircut, and I’d kill for a mani/pedi. I cry during movies, but I also push down my real emotions like a true warrior. I’m vain and borderline narcissistic. I can’t pass by a reflective surface without looking at myself. I like beer and pizza. I like attention. I’m a whore for affirmation. I want my wife to know what I’m thinking and feeling before I do. I would love for her to come home with flowers for me. Oh, did I also mention I’m a stay at home dad while my wife works full-time.

You know what’s great about everything I just listed?

Although some of it is classically Male or Female…It doesn’t have to be either.

I don’t have to suppress those things that make up Me.


But society judges.

I get that.

I get that every time I tell someone my wife works, and I stay at home.


But I’m an actor and a writer.

Doesn’t matter.


I don’t know what this is from, but I couldn’t not include it…


I guess what I’m getting at is this…

We as parents have a responsibility to raise our children.

We have a responsibility to nurture their sensibilities and proclivities.

Not ours.

And to force on them the opposite of what our parents did just because we turned out to be self-obsessed, emo adult-babies (speaking for myself) is just as damaging as repeating their every mistake.

Maybe we just need to learn from our and parents’ mistakes and try to do better.

Each new generation has the potential to be the best one.

They just need some guidance.

Maybe it’s time to stop the pendulum mid-swing and find a happy medium.


Do what you will with that.


-scritch out.


Dust in the Wind

Hey everybody,

With this post, I am back into the swing o’ things.
It feels good to be blogging weekly again.
Being a stay at home dad certainly helps with that.
Despite Kaeden fussing in his bassinet while I rock him to sleep/write this.
He always starts fussing when I start writing…

It’s uncanny.

“I know canny…And this ain’t it.” – Sassy Mary

Anyway… yesterday we (Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company) closed our main run of Taming of the Shrew. In which, I’m playing Petruchio btw.


R-L: Grumio – Kimi Griggs, Petruchio – Me, Hortensio – Bruno Rodrigues

We have one show left on December 4th in Spring Lake. Be there if you can.
It’s a good time.

As I’ve been revisiting some old favorite books and while performing this show, I’ve gotten to thinking about both the fleeting nature of life and art.

I’ve had two main thoughts in respect to art (specifically writing and acting).

  1. Every performance is a distinct moment in time. Unrepeatable. Only the audience that sees it will ever experience that performance. They will forever carry the memory of that performance in their minds (for better or worse) for their entire lives. Furthermore, that specific cast is only together for that rehearsal process and consequent run.
  2. You only get one chance to experience a story for the first time. No matter how many times I read Watership Down or The Last Guardian of Everness, I will never be able to experience that feeling of complete and total awe; being unaware of what will happen next.

There’s a sort of communion that happens between performer and audience in performance art (especially in regards to theatre) that makes it unique. With theatre (as opposed to, say, dancing), the audience experiences a story. Perhaps it’s a story they’ve never heard before. Perhaps it’s a story they’re experiencing again. But for every person consciously sitting in the audience, it is a new moment. You won’t see that performance again. Even if you see the show again…

The lines dropped, the intentions behind lines delivered, things that went right, things that went wrong, etc. All of those things are unrepeatable.

Even in a perfect show, there are moments of difference adding up to an infinite number of permutations that makes a single, solitary performance its own unique entity.

It’s beautiful.

As an actor, I’m able to share that moment with that cast and that audience from, “Verona, for a while I take my leave…” to “…God give you good-night.

It’s part of why I do this.

As a reader, I realize something like this happens when you read a book for the first time.

It is certainly a less intimate experience, but there is still something magical about experiencing a story for the first time.

You’re like a sailor alone on the ocean of another person’s mind: blown by the winds of the author, swept up by the waves of their story, and sent adrift by the emotions of their characters.

And once you’ve experienced that once.

You can never have that experience again with the same story.

Even if you read the book again.

You’ll know what happens.

You’ll have a boat and a compass.

You’ll know how to navigate the waters.

You won’t be as sympathetic to the characters because you’ll know what they feel or what they’re about to feel.


That said…

Be open to those new stories.

Revel in every moment.

Because you never know when you’ll read your favorite book.

See your favorite movie.

Watch your favorite play.


  • scritch out



November State of the Blogger

Hey e’erybody,

This week had brought with it a lot of introspection.

As I’ve mentioned in most of my recent posts, my novel is currently engaged in The Novelist competition here on Inkitt. It’s actually the first featured book on their website, which is really cool. I’ve finally garnered enough analytics to be considered for publishing and my reads have spiked over the last couple weeks by literally hundreds (As of this morning I’ve hit 620). I’ve picked up a good review too.

I continue to market the book as well as I’m able despite its flaws, and I can’t help but feel like a little vulnerable. It’s also exciting. Even though I know (logically) I will in all likelihood not win, I’m still excited. I’m excited people are reading. Even if it’s 34 copies. I love writing. I love telling stories. It’s what got me into acting (that and my constant need for affirmation).

I love it.

And my sequel is going to be even better.

To be fair, I’ve already written it, and it’s bad.


I’m re-writing it now that I’m a better writer. I have an actual outline and I’m trimming the fat.

I’m so excited, and I’m only one chapter in.

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this with anyone…well two things really.

  1. My goal as an actor/author is to turn one into the equivalent of a part time job, while the other becomes a hobby. I’m happy either way. I just want to tell my stories.
  2. My dream is to write someone’s favorite story.

I want someone someday to tell me, “That thing you did. That’s my favorite.”

And then I’ll smile and say, “Well, I did it for you.”

That’s who I’m working for.

I’m working for that person who someday will say…

That’s my favorite (story, character, play, etc.)

I also have a bunch of other books on the back burner right now.

I’m waiting to see what happens with The Shadow of Fate.

I think if I win, I’m going to write the sequel and maybe a few in this same world.

If I lose, I think I’m going to move on finally.

I might write the sequel and throw it up on Inkitt just so the 3 people that care can know where I was going to go (It’s my Speaker for the Dead, guys).

But I’ll move on to my epic fantasy series, The Ninth Heir.

Or my Luciferian novel, The Bright One.

Or the techno-apocalypse book idea I had a few days ago.

We’ll see. I’ve been kicking around some stuff.


Read my book. Actually read it. If you like it, write a review. If you don’t like…Lie. 😉


– Scritch out.


Oh, I’ve also picked up a few books to see how other authors write stream of consciousness into their writing. It’s been interesting. Looking at C.S. Lewis, Garth Nix, Madeline L’Engle, and Robin Hobb. I really want to be reading The Hermetic Millennia by John C. Wright (as he’s my favorite – See The Chronicles of Everness – It’s too good), but alas all my books are in Pennsylvania. Would love some more recommendations. I finally got my Michigan library card. 🙂

Look Back in Anger

My tongue will tell the anger of my heart,
Or else my heart concealing it will break,
And rather than it shall, I will be free
Even to the uttermost, as I please, in words.

  • Katharina – Taming of the Shrew Act 4 Scene 3


Hey everyone,

I’m angry today. Not for the same reason everyone else is angry. I have a personal anger.

A grudge.

An undulating rage.

I feel powerless. Feral. Angry.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been angrier.

And again…not for the same reasons everyone else is.

In this time of rage, I feel compelled to pray. To seek God in everything I do because if I don’t I’ll be blinded by it. I have two children to care for today, and a show to do tonight. I can’t afford to let this rage sink in and find a root.

But it has.

And if I ever get my hands on that root, I will punch it in the face until every bone in its face and my hand is shattered. I won’t tear it out or terminate it.

But I will be sure it feels pain.

This is what rage feels like?

It makes me hate.

Hate the system that breeds it. Hate the people responsible.

But it also makes me love.

Love the people I love the most. Grip tightly to them. Protect them.

Maybe you and I have that in common…

Maybe that’s where unity begins.


Maybe I’m just trying to find a silver lining.


Bo Burnham sums up my feelings well (albeit not aimed at my dad).

“I want to beat you to death with a blunt object.
I want to get one of those high end fashion mannequins grab them by the ankles and bash your rib cage in.
I want to sharpen 5 pencils, bind them with a rubber band, put them in your mouth and punch the erasers.
I want to strap you to a bead of nails then strap that bed of nails to the hood of my car so I can watch you suffer as we drive over speed bumps on a mall parking lot during an earthquake.
I want you to somehow survive a terrible car crash and somehow not survive a small fender bender on the way back from the hospital.”
Friends, when faced with this kind of rage, choose love. Be there for the people who need you. Find common ground with your enemies, and mete out justice to those who justice needs to be wrought upon. Give voice to the voiceless. Shun the oppressor.
-scritch out

Inkitt and Esper Files: One Man’s Review

Hey readers,

Look at me! Another week, another post!

As some of you know, I am currently engaged in a novel writing competition on the relatively new website Inkitt. My novel, The Shadow of Fate, can be found here.

I don’t think it’ll change your life, but I believe in it. You should check it out.

Anyway, today’s post is two-fold, and I’d like to post it now before I don’t win the Novelist competition so I don’t seem bitter and angry afterward. Firstly, I wanted to share my experience thus far with Inkitt. Secondly, I wanted to offer my thoughts on their most recent offering,  Esper Files by. Egan Brass (Ryan Attard).

First things first…


Trogdor! The Inkinator!


I believe in Inkitt. I don’t know how successful they’ll be in the long term, but I do.
My experience as an unpublished author has only been positive. When I posted my novel back in September, I had intended to just let it sit there. I figured I could refer people there to check it out and give me feedback before I took it down. A month later, I had 19 reads and the Novelist competition kicked off. During that time, I had received some mass e-mails from the website, but for the most part that was all. As the competition continued, I decided to lean into it and started sharing my novel with my social media community. My readership spiked almost overnight. I must’ve caught someone’s attention because I received an e-mail from a real person at Inkitt.

Not a mass e-mail. An e-mail to me regarding my book. They wanted to help me boost my readership. Over the next few days, I worked with them to rework my blurb, teaser, and cover photo. I loved their new teaser… It may be better than my actual book. The blurb they worked out (whether by bot or person) needed some tweaking (which I did) and the photo was pretty great. Afterward, they posted my novel to their Facebook, Twitter, and in a couple of their reading lists.

My readership spiked again. It was neat.

I’d like to reiterate. I had engaged a real person. She was extremely nice.

[Addendum] I forgot to add. I received a mass e-mail last night from Inkitt…
5 Sci-fi Books I Need to Check Out… Yeah… The Shadow of Fate was #1 on the list.
THAT was cool.

Now, with all that said, I need to back up to early September when I saw their advertisement for the first time.

I decided I needed to research Inkitt before posting my book.
I wanted to be as certain as I could be that it wasn’t a scam.
A lot of the blog posts were disheartening. A lot of them accused Inkitt of spamming and trying to take advantage of authors. Most of them were from about a year ago and had responses from the CEO addressing the concerns. I determined, based on these posts, Inkitt was using whatever method they could to build their community.

They are a start-up company after all.

The most intriguing of posts, however, came from Ryan Attard… the author of Esper Files.

The post, How I Got My Agent(s), can be found Here.

This leads me to my review of Esper Files.

Knowing that the book would be released soon, I decided to wait until it was on amazon (link above).

I am glad I did, btw, as I was given a free copy from Inkitt.


The following review my contain Spoilers. I will mark them.

I was excited to dig in to this one… It’s a steampunk superhero story… right up my alley.

I probably went in with a few preconceptions I shouldn’t have.
After reading Brass’ blog, I was expecting perfection.
I wasn’t expecting an author’s first novel.
In some ways, it reminded me of Eragon by Christopher Paolini.
You can obviously see talent there, but it isn’t quite as refined as it will be in a few years.
I couldn’t help but think that in a few years this will be the series people look at when they’re done reading his better, future series.

That isn’t to say that Esper Files isn’t good.

It is.

I just don’t think it’s particularly original.

That coupled with grammatical and spelling errors, a few action/adventure cliches, occasionally stilted dialogue, and a plot that isn’t as fulfilling as it could have been, I was disappointed.

Now I’m sure 15 year old me would have loved it.

And that’s the target audience.

27 year old me, with a master’s degree and years of reading under my belt, thought it was okay.

I don’t want that to deter you though.

I want this book to be successful.

I still think it’s worth reading.

There were a few moments I said aloud, “Oh, that’s clever.”

I just wish there were more moments like that…



The name: Espers – As related to E.S.P. Brilliant.
The protagonists and antagonists abilities are straight out of Heroes.
The concept is basically CW’s Flash meets X-Men, but set in alternative Steampunk Victorian England.
There isn’t a lot of mystery surrounding this specific book, though toward the end you start to see the foundation for the larger world he’s building. I think this series will get better as it grows. For that reason, I’ll be reading book 2: the Sky Cult.
There are a few extremely interesting characters, even if their powers aren’t.

[End Spoilers]


The grammar and spelling errors were disconcerting because I’m hoping to get my work published with them. Brandy set my mind at ease though. Apparently, it’s a trend in publishing right now to allow some errors rather than pay a few more editors… Her employer doesn’t do it…But they’re th eexception not the norm. But hey, if it’s industry standard, who am I to judge?

In his blog, Ryan talks about author’s giving their work to people who aren’t afraid to tear it in half. I understand that. I have friends (and my wife) who have read Shadow of Fate multiple times now and have torn it to pieces every time. Afterward, not only has the story gotten better, but I’ve gotten better.

It also helps that my wife works for a publishing company (an academic one mind you).

I really wish I could’ve been one of those friends with Esper Files. Not because I’m anything special, but because some of the problems I saw are the same exact issues I’ve had to deal with in my novel.


I suggest you read it for yourself. I’d give it a 3/5 stars.

TL;DR: Inkitt = Good, Esper Files = Flawed but also Good.

Mr. Brass/Attard, if you chance upon this, I hope you take my words well. I think you’re brilliant, and I look forward to reading your work over a hopefully long and fruitful career.

Inkitt people, if you’re reading this, keep on keeping on. I, one author with a novel on your site, believe in what you’re trying to do. I’m also thankful for the opportunity to get my work out there whatever the result of The Novelist.


-Scritch out

Ministry isn’t so easy when you don’t have a father with a church to give you.

Hey everybody,

I promised a second post and this is me delivering it.

This week while doing the dishes, I got to thinking about my youth. Specifically, what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I went through phases as kids do:
I wanted to be a carpenter (check).
I wanted to teach elementary school (didn’t last).
Then I wanted to go into vocational ministry.

I shared this, “calling” with a mentor I respected who had been in ministry for some time. He looked right at me and said, “Why?”


Not a probing why…

A “Why in God’s name would you do this” Why.

He told me to have a Plan B. Not because he didn’t believe in me, he said, but because the church was a hard place to survive.

“Ministry isn’t so easy when you don’t have a father with a church to give you.”


^ Random Church ^. Talk about throwing shade though, amiright?

That’s the last thing he said to me.

He didn’t die or anything, but I don’t remember talking to him again in person.

That sentence has haunted me.

I did go to bible college and received a BA in Ministry with a drama minor, which I turned into an MFA in Acting. Clearly, ministry wasn’t where I was supposed to be. But that sentence, “Ministry isn’t so easy when you don’t have a father with a church to give you” has always bugged me.

I have friends in ministry. Some who had their fathers employment fresh out of college, most did not. I make no judgments either way.

When I got out of grad school, I had a wife and a child and nowhere to go.
My in-laws put us up, and then my parents put us up.
My father even gave me a job in construction until Brandy found this job out in GR.

“Ministry isn’t so easy when you don’t have a father with a church to give you.”

I had no where to go and my father gave me a job.

Now I wonder if it’s really so different.

Our parents want to help us any way they can, at least mine do, and they have.

All of my friends from college earned their way. They’re excellent people. Those in ministry should be, those of us not in ministry shouldn’t be.

I guess what I’m getting at is this:


You work your butt off and ask for help when you need it.

To those of you (and me) who had help from your parents. Whether they provided a place to live, a job, or financial support. You go get it. Thank them. Help your kids when they need it.

To those of you who did it on your own. You’re an all-star. You’re playing on hard mode.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not arguing for nepotism. The best qualified person should get the job. Period.

What I am saying is this… We shouldn’t begrudge someone because they’ve had help.


But that doesn’t mean you won’t make it…

You just might end up a stay at home dad/ actor by night with the best wife and two great kids.

Now don’t be a hater…

GO READ MY BOOK: The Shadow of Fate


-scritch out.


Also I joined dollar beard club. You should too.

Beard incoming.