eNewsChannels BOOK SERIAL: “Secret Sex, A Book Alive Online,” written and lived by John Scott G: Chapter 46 – “Wording for a Living.”
If you talk to members of the media, they are always trying to get the Full Story, which is roughly defined as “the way we can twist the facts to get the highest ratings.” Working under this system, reporters are eager to discover the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of every news item and so their first question is always “Where’s the bar?”
But not long after consuming a martini or five, a significant percentage of them (up to 2-3 percent, or what FoxNews would call “a stunningly high number”) will inquire “What do you know about that John Scott G clown?” although the alcohol will make it come out closer to “Wadja know ’bout tha’ Jonscot G clown?” Fortunately for you, this book is happy to supply the answer! Here we go:
A sinister figure, JSG is a quirky smirking geek of no socially redeeming value, well-known for lurking on the Internet, stealing maraschino cherries at local bars, falling asleep in online meetings, ineptly invading flash mobs, and haunting social networking sites like a heartless and relentless media whore. Whenever he appears in public, all decent people shout “Shame! Shame! Keep back!!!” while making the sign of the cross and frantically searching for garlic to wear around their necks.
Despite all that, it is now my aim to use “John Scott G” on all my published materials. This is in direct contradiction of my earlier goal of creating stuff under a wide variety of monikers, like the album by “Jonny Harmonic” and some songs by “Bella Swan Bass Society” (the first one is me, the second one is a group I’m in), and “The G-Man,” my best-known music pseudonym because of the eight CDs of esoteric electronica released under that name.
But things went sour when the record company decided to give up honoring its commitments. (Which is unusual. Things like that almost never happen because people in the music business are so honest and forthright!) This means that The G-Man is just a nickname. The point is that, in general, my current idea is to stick with the JSG, man.
This doesn’t mean that the various-and-sundry invented personas have disappeared; it’s just that nothing new is being created under those names. That includes “Gerald Laurence,” my most-often-utilized nom de plume. (Which is a French term meaning “serial killer hiding behind an assumed identity.”) “Gerry Larry,” which is my way of referring to him, is important to me because of a whole bunch of nifty-keen stuff.
“Ooooh, what stuff is that?!” you may eagerly inquire.
“Thanks for asking!” There were two books, a half-dozen plays, and numerous screenplays written under the name Gerald Laurence . . .
A crime novel called One Bang-Up Job (Berkeley Books, 1989) was a steaming slice of pulp fiction by Gerry Larry.
Primary plot device: a fairly small-time criminal convinces the baddest bad guys in the city (and lots of mediumish bad guys) to commit crimes on the same day, thus overwhelming the cops.
Primary writing device: two first-person narrators. Odd-numbered chapters are from the point-of-view of the criminal (male); even-numbered chapters are from the point-of-view of the detective (female) who chases him through several countries.
This is a book that virtually cried out for one of those three-night network television motion picture events that they don’t do anymore.
A self-help health book called The Ego Diet (Oak Tree Press, 1984) was light, breezy, funny, and totally worthless. Unless you actually want to lose weight, in which case it can be quite helpful. Why? Because it uses your own inner voices (and built-in vanity) as motivating factors in keeping you on a healthier path.
The book also points out that you win the war on extra calories in a series of small battles every day. One less helping. One less dessert. One less sugary drink. Hey, I craved some sugar a couple minutes ago and I fed the beast while staying on my diet. How? I ate some fresh pineapple. Amazingly terrific sugar! But the stuff is natural and (dare I say it) kinda-sorta good for you. You could eat fruit for dessert but leave everything else alone with your diet and you would lose weight. You wouldn’t lose it rapidly, but you’d lose it.
Anyway, the book has some good advice if you can get past the horribly smug writing style of this hack “Gerald Laurence,” if that is his real name! And by the way, who the hell does he think he is using the British spelling of Lawrence?
At the Movies
Gerry Larry co-wrote an Exciting Enthralling Engrossing Enchanting Entertaining Motion Picture called Final Approach (FilmQuest/Trimark, 1991) and every part of that description is absolutely true except for the words beginning with the letter E.
The premise: an Air Force pilot wakes up during interrogation about his recent top secret mission in the SR-71 (the amazing Mach 3 Lockheed Blackbird) but he is so shocked by what happened on the flight that he has to piece everything together while guessing whether the interrogator is on our side or the other side.
It makes a number of nice points about life, death, afterlife, memory, mind games and the concept of God. Actually, it is a fairly nifty “Twilight Zone” type of tale. Unfortunately, it is an 80-minute story rattling around in a 100-minute movie so audiences have a tendency to nod off in between the good parts, except in France where all the pauses and repeated shots were deemed perspicacité intellectuelle. But then, the French also think Jerry Lewis was a genius, so their credibility is pretty much shot to hell. (Confession: I have no clue if that French term is correct; hey, me trying still English to learn good.)
However, the film’s flight sequences are spectacular and the soundtrack is so wonderful that the movie was used as a demo by retailers who sold home theater sound systems. Mr. Laurence takes full credit for that last point because he kept writing the word LOUD in all the script’s scene descriptions.
A play that Gerry wrote called Partial Eclipse was not bad at all. A young man gets the final day of his life organized for a video-taped ritual suicide that he intends to carry out as a protest of, well, pretty much everything that’s wrong with society. Yup, it’s a comedy. At least there were laughs in all the right places when I got to see it at the California Repertory Theatre.
My parents saw it, too. One of the best moments of my life was when my father told me how proud he was of what was said in the play. So far, Broadway has not felt the same way.
Evil Among Us
White Light White Heat, which I saw at several places such as The Open Fist Theater (a dramatic group with very cool name but horrible people) was Gerry Larry’s dark dark dank dark comedy-drama-horror type of thing with a man giving birth and a devil’s helper interacting with the audience. This story is so much fun that John Scott G is at this moment turning it into a novel entitled Area Code 666. Calling all Saw fans.
The Secret’s Out
The very busy Mr. Laurence also wrote a play called Secret Sex, Safe Radiation, and Other Half-Vast Concoctions, which I was able to see at the Basement Theater and where the idea took hold to turn it into the very book you are reading even as this sentence is cut short because we are running out of space and ti-
Hey, Somebody Else Wrote That!
Using my full JSG name, I worked with the writer/director of a gorgeous and arty foreign flick on what was going to be his first English language film. His story was called “American Holiday” and it concerned a feud between two next-door neighbors, one a homophobic ex-marine colonel, the other a progressive man going through a midlife crisis. In the end, the nutjob colonel shoots the progressive guy.
Please note that the idea was the director’s. My only responsibility was getting the dialogue into proper idiomatic English, which for me was a piece of pie. I mean easy as cake. Whatever.
Anyway, the “American Holiday” script was shopped around a bit but there were no takers. Several years later, the writer/director was quite surprised to see a major motion picture called American Beauty in the theaters; surprised because that film’s story concerns a feud between two next-door neighbors . . . Well, you’ve probably seen the movie. Sometimes people have no idea how close they came to achieving a breakthrough success. What’s that you’re saying? Yeah, Hollywood’s a tough town.
JSG has penned a bunch o’ tuneage. “Amazed by the Light That is You” is a love song or a praise song, depending on the approach of the singer. “Angels Behind Your Eyes” is a big rock anthem sort of thing. And “Ahh Ooh” is a one-minute electronica groove tune (check out the surreal video for it on YouTube).
Song collaborations include “Play Some Merle” with Danielle Egnew and Phil Hatten, and a song with Merle Haggard himself: “Bad Actor,” written by the Hag, me, Scott Joss, and Doug Colosio. It’s on his 2010 album with the Popeye-style title, “I Am What I Am.” We’re all looking forward to other artists covering it. Yes, Nashville, that’s a hint.
You may have heard some of my music on commercials because a lot of my fast electronic groove stuff works very well while a voiceover actor says something like “RightnowgetfifteenhundreddollarsoffanewCamryatyourlocalToyotadealer!”
But despite those credits or almost-credits, a great deal of my work is unsigned. It’s weird; you put your heart and mind and sweat into your writing, and you don’t know if it reaches anyone. You put shards of your soul into your writing and you don’t know if it counts for anything. You put the very core of your being into writing a play, a book, an essay, a commentary, or even a screenplay, and you have no idea if anyone is touched by it. Plus, you may remain uncompensated in any way except your own satisfaction. But meanwhile, corporations give you a bunch of money for writing ads that you feel could be done by anyone who barely passed their college composition classes.
Perhaps money was offered for me to write hype because there are so few of us who passed those composition courses. Perhaps some of us are better than others at disguising our own way of expressing ourselves and can write in several styles. Or we can write in a way that is not meant to have a “style.” Or maybe it’s just because I write fast.
A lot of writing is just meant to communicate some information clearly, cleanly, and effectively without, oh I don’t know, perhaps the author injecting a bit of himself into the narrative at certain points while attempting to create paragraphs with a modicum of poetic vivacity which results in sentences that are much more titillating and serpentine than might otherwise be efficagious, which is a made-up word but my reasoning is that if it’s okay for Nabokov and Pynchon to do it, why not me, I ask you.
If you’re still with me after that sentence, we can now safely return to the point about getting hired to do a job of effective written communication. A “straight writing gig,” if you will. Like when the good people in the human resources department of Universal Studios Hollywood hired me. The job: write the hand-outs for people with a hearing impairment who attended the theme park attractions.
Those documents were needed for two very good reasons. (1) If you cannot hear the introduction to each ride or show, you might miss some of the fun. (2) From a legal standpoint, there are audio warnings that must be conveyed to every attendee. (“Keep hands and arms inside the tram or they will be eaten by the animatronic monsters.”)
This meant my going to the park day after day to attend everything. You’re thinking that this is a good assignment. And it was, but not for the rides. Most tourist-trap stuff leaves me feeling like I’ve been played for a sucker. But having the ability to go behind-the-scenes was frequently a hoot. No matter what was on my schedule for the day, I always made certain to walk through the area where the theme park staff took their breaks. This was a grin-and-a-half:
Frankenstein on his cell phone, talking to the wife about dinner plans; Beetlejuice reading an accounting textbook; guys dressed as security guards making a deal for weed; the Shrek princess yelling at her agent; a thin guy dressed as Homer Simpson trying to bend his fat suit enough so he could tie a shoelace. Fun stuff.
Combatting Writer’s Block
I have written nine-and-a-half metric tons of advertising and public relations, according to official government estimates that I just made up. After all that, allow me to dispel the myth of “writer’s block.” There is no such thing. Sorry, fellow writers, but the whistle has to be blown on this. If you can type something on your keyboard or you can hold onto a pencil, you can write.
“But I’m blocked!” I hear you say.
No, you’re not, and I can prove it. Write this sentence: “I have writer’s block.” There, you are writing.
You can go further if you want to get to the root of the problem. Write this sentence: “I have writer’s block on (insert name of project here) because (unload all your objections, fears, and excuses here).” See? You can write, but the trouble is that you’re just not motivated to write that particular chapter, ad, dialog sequence, press release, brochure, verse, chorus, lyric, or what-have-you.
Cut to comic on stage: “Unnnnnhhhhhh, I have writer’s block. Writer’s block! Man, I can’t write anything right now. There is no way to write this dreck press release for the stupid XYZ Corporation and their boring new product announcement. Wait, what? The rent? Oh, hey, you know what? I’ll have it just as soon as I finish this press release for the dynamic XYZ Corporation and their glorious breakthrough new product announcement!”
Motivation is a wonderful thing.
• To be continued in next chapter (click link to subscribe via RSS) …. or, to read additional articles and some bits of ephemera by John Scott G, visit his story index here: http://enewschannels.com/author/scott-g-the-g-man .
“Secret Sex, A Book Alive Online,” written and lived by John Scott G, is Copr. © 2011-2012 by JSG, all rights reserved under U.S. and international copyright conventions. Commercial use in any form is forbidden without express written permission of the author. Originally published on eNewsChannels.com with permission. Credits: Book cover design: Phil Hatten.