Writing

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— NOVELS —

 

New Light in Ancient Egypt  / (2017). A 45,000 word story in the Myth / Fantasy/Historical Fiction genre. Perhaps the greatest and strangest change in religion was during the brief period during the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt when the polytheism of Egyptian gods was replaced by the monotheism of the Aten sun god. This period is associated with the King Akhenaten and lasted no more than 30 years. After this, with the rule of King Tut, all symbols and vestiges of the Aten were destroyed. There are theories Moses was an Egyptian (See Freud’s Moses and Monotheism) and perhaps lived around this time. What if Moses was behind the rise of the Aten cult? Like Moses, it was banished from Egypt into a new land. Yet the monotheism of the Aten was never destroyed. Did this strange, short-lived period of the Aten and monotheism become the basis for Christianity?

The novel is set circa 1350 BC, the period of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the story of Akhenaten and his abandonment of traditional Egyptian polytheism and introduction of worship centered on the Aten or monotheism. The story is told from the point of view of Hapy, the son of the King’s key advisor and builder Hapu. From an original idea by Egyptologist Lynn Holden with editorial input from Marshall McLuhan’s son, Eric McLuhan. Written using screenplay structure and techniques.

Magic Light / (2016) An exploration into the political power of Silicon Valley five months before a presidential election. John Jenkins has created a legendary advertising campaign for the person who has been the President of the United States for the past eight years. However, Jenkins has rejected the ideology the President has embraced after he was elected President. Jenkins wonders how he could have been so wrong on someone he believed in so much. Now, his ad firm’s largest account is a huge Internet search company that has close connections to the President. Jenkins’ firm and is asked to help with damage control after his client is hit by the FTC with bias towards the candidate running for President supported by the Presidents Progressive. At a meeting with the CEO of the Internet company he hears about a new virtual reality form of technology called Magic Light and asked to experience it by the CEO of the Internet company. He does and realizes it is dangerous and works to stop its release.

Devil Vine / (2015) An unpopular South American dictator in a nation producing the world’s most powerful drug (known as the Devil Vine) recruits an old alcoholic legendary Hollywood TV hero down on his luck to come to his country to help with his public image in the nation. The entire nation watches old reruns of his movies from 40 years ago and thinks the TV shows are current productions. When the old star arrives, the dictator is shocked to see he is not the young star of the TV program the nation is addicted to watching. The star gets drunk and is picked up (kidnapped?) by men who work for the great rebel in the nation, a beautiful and charismatic woman who is leader of the rebel forces fighting against the government forces. She is trying to keep the products of the Devil Vine within the little nation so that the people can benefit rather than the dictator who has become a billionaire selling drugs made from the Devil Vine to foreign investors. Based on the real “Devil Vine” Ayahuasca, commonly called yage, an entheogenic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridis leafAyawasca.

Londonderry Farewell / (2013) A historical novel about a young navy captain that is sent to Northern Ireland in the middle of the “Troubles” period to shut down the oldest naval base in Europe. Written as co-author with the navy captain Tom McKeown. (Now published on Amazon)

Gold Coast / (2010) For a few years, I was a good friend of the jazz saxophonist Gene Walker and started to make a documentary film on his life. This is a fictional novel based on the incredible area he grew up in during the 40s and 50s. It was a place full of jazz like no other in the nation. A story about a developer who attempts to develop this wonder “Gold Coast” of culture that Gene grew up in. This story goes with the biography we have written called Extra Large, a biographer based around the life of my late friend Gene Walker. I had started to make a film about Gene’s life but then left to move to California and gave up on the film. Gene passed away while I was in California. And now, it seems not a bad idea to recreate the story of Gene tied to the amazing area in Columbus, Ohio where Gene grew up in during the 40s – 2000s. The legendary Long Street so this is much a biography of Long Street in Columbus, Ohio as how it might have related to a fictionalized Gene Walker who was becoming the next John Coltrane in a large sense.


 — BIOGRAPHIES/HISTORY —

key-fiction-lm-berry / (Outline) A biography of the relatively unknown years in the life of my grandfather Loren Berry, the “inventor” of the Yellow Pages form of advertising. A chronological outline created. Fictional work started based strongly on the history and life of Loren Berry, born in 1888 in Wabash, Indiana. He was an only child whose father died when he was a few years old. He had to help his mother at a very early age and helped his mother with her radish business as well as created ads for various businesses of the times on unique forms of media like schedules for the giant network of interurban railroad cars at this time. They ran like buses between the various towns, much more utilized than the highways which were few and far between at the time. The industrious boy witnessed the grant lighting of Wabash by electric lighting one night. It was one of the first cities in America to have lighting illuminate the night that had been dark above cities for so many years. The story fictionally covers the early years of LM Berry based upon the real world surroundings of him living in Wabash, Indiana from the late 1880s through the 1890s to the turn of the century. The story picks up in Dayton, Ohio where he moved to in 1910 to establish a business which became the Yellow Pages. Dayton was the greatest Silicon Valley of American in 1910 and he lived all around greatest inventors of some of the greatest inventions of history. The Wright Brothers lived two doors away from the home he eventually bought in Dayton, Ohio. He was a good friend of Charles Kettering. The main story though is about this life of the boy from Wabash who came to Dayton. Here, many begin to speculate on his life as it became more and more known. But no like I (or other members of the is family) are as concerned as we are to find out who he was he and what was he like and what he wanted out of life. What he feared in life. The best we can do on our ancestors is speculate on who they might have been. (For those of us who even think back to the past.) This story is based on speculation based on facts of the period. My thinks to the Director of the Historical Society in Wabash County for his help in this project.

The Distant Hero / A biography of John Fraim, Jr., father of the author. “When I was born, his world was now in the past and he was entering a new world he never quite understood. I knew he was a hero yet his heroism was in the old military trunks and scrapbooks of his travels. The world of business never offered him anything like that time he was in the military. So many young men want to just forget that period of time in the service. Yet he never wanted to forget it.”

A Moment In Time  / (Outline) A biography of Raymond Alf, one of the greatest paleontologists of all time who worked at a small school in California and a the teacher of the author. The question from one of his students: was he the great paleontologist or was he the great teacher or life coach? Outline developed with Don Lofgren, Director of the Alf Museum and Ph.D. in Paleontology (UC Berkeley). Also, with comments and input of many students of his and members of a society he established at the school based on paleontology. My co-author Don will be on Sabbatical this coming school year and we need to write a first draft of our bio on Ray. Based much around the outline I have created for Ray’s life based on a yearly chronology.

Voyage of the Kahiki / (Outline) Story of the growth of the Tiki culture in America and the founding of the Kahiki, the world’s largest Polynesian restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. Kahiki founder Lee Henry was first exposed to a Polynesian restaurant when his LA aunt took him to Don The Beachcombers in the early 1950s. It was something he would never forget. A story that explores the trend towards the south Pacific and Tiki culture of Polynesia.

Nutrition Pioneer / Outline of the life of Dr. T. Colin Campbell. 17,000 words. His battle against the government and FDA to limit meat and milk in the American diet. The change for him since he grew up on his families’ dairy farm. Created in with review and comments of Dr. Campbell.

Story Idea: Based roughly on the life of Dr. Campbell, perhaps the greatest crusader for healthier food in America, as well as the modern world’s pioneering nutritionist. He is author of the legendary China Study, the largest health survey ever conducted, his main battle has been changing the American diet away from animal based food (dairy and meat) to plant food. I first encountered China Study on the bedside table of the guest room of my parent’s Palm Desert, California home. Many years later, I established a correspondence with Dr. Campbell and we created this outline together.

A dramatized, fictional story based roughly around key events in Dr. Campbell’s life. His grand opponents and allies in this battle. His victories and defeats. Discovery of a conspiracy to keep the nation unhealthy? The politics of the food industry, specifically meat and dairy industry in America. In an alliance with the medical and pharmaceutical industries, working with the food industry. The FDA and behind them, the great “elephant in the room” is the greatest lobby ever created in DC. No one goes against themA thriller/detective story where Dr. Campbell’s character (the Hero of the story) becomes a detective about food. What he finds out, is dangerous to his health. But vastly healthy for the nation.

Palm Desert History – (Outline) A history of Palm Desert, California, one of the fastest growing cities in America during the 50s and 60s. Unlike most cities founded by an individual, Palm desert was founded at the intersection of the dynamics of two brothers: Clifford and Randall Henderson. Clifford was the great developer of the desert while his brother Randall was the great conservationist of the desert. Written with the help of the resources of the Palm Desert Historical Society which I was a member of for a few years.

Extra Large / A biography of Columbus, Ohio native and jazz saxophonist Gene Walker who toured with the Beatles and played with many leading jazz musicians of his period.

Qutb in America / Sayid Qutb is recognized as the originator of modern radical Islamism and spent a year in America during the late 1940s. What part did his visit to America play in his radical politics and his writing of the most revolutionary book of radical Islamism titled Milestones? A fictionalized account of his year in America using leading historical sources: Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism by John Calvert and Pulitzer Prize winner The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright.

Disciple / A biography of legendary jazz pianist McCoy Tyner and his music that carries on the message of his mentor John Coltrane. How both converted to Muslims and the power of the Muslim culture in the “spiritual jazz” of John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner.


— SYMBOLISM WORKS —

Symbolism of Place: The Hidden Context of Communication / (450 pages. Published in part online). The common perception of symbols is that they represent objects. But symbols also represent places (context) that contain objects (content). Drama can be viewed as the movement between opposition objects at the beginning and ending of a story, it can also be viewed as the movement between opposition contexts or places.

Symbolism of Popular Culture / (350 pages. Published in part online). Application of the theories of Symbolism of Place to broad fashions, trends and movements in popular culture such as product brands, celebrities, media, entertainment and sales. One of the areas examined are the cycles of prime time television in America.

Media Nations / (150 pages. Published in part online). In the modern world, nations are better defined by mixes of particular media rather than by traditional ways such as borders, languages and culture. Media represents broad political philosophies based on division of all media into broadcast (one-way media such as newspapers, magazines, network TV and radio) or interactive (two-way media of telephones and Internet). Broadcast media support totalitarian nations and socialist economies while interactive media support democracies and capitalistic economies. A comparative theory of “media nations” is developed and applied using The World Factbook published by the CIA. Based on the “hot” and “cool” media theories of Marshall McLuhan.

Sequence / A comparison of sequence cycles in individual lives, religion, mythology, psychology and steps in screenplays. Is there a universal unity of steps in sequence and content of these steps? Based in part on Erich Neumann’s The Origins and History of Consciousness.

Script Symbology / The application of the principles of symbols and symbolism to screenplays. Collected articles by John Fraim that appeared in Script Magazine, the world’s largest screenwriting magazine.


— COMMUNICATION MANUSCRIPTS —

Hollywood Safari: Navigating Screenwriting Books & Theories / From the earliest days of films, screenplays have developed into an important literary form. Yet there is continuing debate on aspects of this form evident in the large number of screenwriting books available. To help screenwriters understand the various screenwriting theories today, Desert Screenwriters Group founder John Fraim has written Hollywood Safari. The book is still in progress and will be published in the future. This is not another book on screenwriting. Rather, it is a book about the books on screenwriting. There are a lot of them out there. And many more each year. There is no denying the fact that books on screenwriting education has become a substantial “cottage” industry today. A means of “navigating” around them is needed and Hollywood Safari fulfills this need.

Cool Scripts: Creating Participation & Popularity / In Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan observed “Francis Bacon never tired of contrasting hot and cool prose. Writing in ‘methods’ or complete packages, he contrasted with writing in aphorisms, or single observations such as ‘Revenge is a kind of wild justice.’ The passive consumer wants packages, but those, he suggested, who are concerned in pursuing knowledge and in seeking causes will resort to aphorisms, just because they are incomplete and require participation in depth.” An update of Bacon’s and McLuhan’s ideas of “cool” or participatory media that invite reader participation rather than observation. Is this a key to popularity of literary texts?

Propaganda / The inventors of the science of persuasion and key propaganda documents.

Manifestos / Do the great political manifestos of history have something that units all of them? That inspires? Encourages participation in the political cause?  Is it something of their literary content that creates magic words that inspire, allow for reader participation. Is there a “style” of writing manifestos? Might it be considered a particular literary or story genre? The importance of literary techniques in creating manifestos that founded large political movements or parties.

The Physics of Culture: Predicting Success of Screenplays / In his book, Great Flicks: Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics, professor Dean Keith Simonton demonstrates statistically how an Oscar-winning screenplay has the highest correlated factor (=r.63) to positive critical evaluations than any other element: directing, acting, picture, song, etc. In other words, scripts have an inherent predictive value. The film industry relies on outdated and error-prone methodology when considering scripts. In 2012 in the United States, a total of 677 movies were released in theaters (MPAA 2013). That figure compares to–using the best guess of industry insiders–the yearly “25,000 to 40,000 of scripts that filter through the studio acquisition system.” (Scott Meyers 2012) The predominant method of acquiring a script involves literary agencies; they in turn employ story analysts to read scripts and make recommendations in what is known as “coverage.” Scripts with positive coverage are then forwarded to the film studio or production company for consideration. Whether a script should be pursued starts with a subjective decision based on the story-analyst’s personal preferences. Some high-potential scripts never make the cut, while others (which will eventually bomb at the box office) are recommended.

Milestones / Besides from being a legendary jazz album by Miles Davis, Milestones is also the the most influential book on radical Islam. first published in 1964, is a short (12 chapters, 160 pages) book by Egyptian Islamist and author Sayyid Qutb in which he lays out a plan and makes a call to action to re-create the Muslim world on strictly Quranic grounds, casting off what Qutb calls Jahiliyyah. Ma’alim fi al-Tariq has been called one of the most influential works in Arabic of the last half century. It is probably Qutb’s most famous and influential work and one of the most influential Islamist tracts written. Why has the book inspired so many? Does it use symbolism and mythology to inspire? If so, how does it do this?


 — STORIES/ARTICLES/ESSAYS —

Electric Symbols / The famous Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis posits a linguistic determinism arguing language plays a central role in creation of a worldview. In the sense that language is a product of words, one can say that a culture’s worldview is affected and influenced by the words of its particular language. Words both create and communicate worldviews. The greatest potential in history for the observation and analysis of words exists on the Internet. Indeed, the Internet can be considered history’s greatest observatory and laboratory of words. In our digital age of the Internet, words are like electric symbols and their popularity represents collective psychology of the times. Written in 2000 when I was a columnist for the leading digital magazine of the time, The Industry Standard. The article appeared in the leading Internet peer-reviewed journal called First Monday in June 2002.

Villa del Sol / The humorous and bizarre events inside a gated community in a desert retirement community. The sign outside and the advertising says that same all the advertising for gated communities in the desert say. For “active adults” usually in their 50s and up. We lived in a rental apartment right off of El Paseo when we first arrived in Palm Desert from Ohio. El Paseo is like Beverly Hills all on one street in the California desert. We started looking around to move away from our crazy landlord and heard this HOA discussed a lot. The most common ad was that youngish looking couple in their very active 50s, holding tennis racquets and towels tossed over their shoulders. We are given a tour of the place in a golf cart painted all up. It is in the winter, the best time of year in Palm Desert. We buy a condo in the place. The story of the inside of a modern HOA. Could be a series really, somewhat like The Golden Girls. A story aimed at those who live within the gated communities around the nation. Palm Desert is one of the largest gated communities in the nation and leads the nation in trends. Our key consultants on this project is the Manager of the Clubhouse and world renowned photographer who also has a condo at the HOA. Both close friends of the authors.  (In part, the screenplay Once & Future Cowboy, about the fictional idea of the famous movie star Hopalong Cassidy, going into one of these HOAs because he has run out of money through bad investment advice from his long time agent. William Boyd (Hoppy) did retire to Palm Desert in real life and gave out wooden nickels to the young boys he met at the time.  (Registered with WGA, West). All based on the real HOA I lived in for two years so somewhat of a report on the world of HOAs.

The Black Knight / The story of Hopalong Cassidy and his retirement years in Palm Desert. In 1906, a twenty-three-year old Brooklyn City Hall clerk named Clarence Mulford wrote a western novel called Bar-20 about a cattle ranch in the Southwest. An Easterner who had never been West when he wrote Bar-20, Mulford and was a diligent researcher and eventually amassed a card file with more than 10,000 entries covering numerous aspects of Western history such as geography, language and weapons. From Mulford’s novels, the famous Hopalong Cassidy character emerged. The biographical article of follows the career of William Boyd (who played Hoppy) from his early job as a model in Hollywood and then to his role as Hoppy and his marriage to actress Lilian Marsh. It is one of the great Hollywood love stories. Hoppy was the pioneer in licensing merchandise and his lunch boxes and cowboy outfits were popular with many boys in the 50s and 60s. He retired to Palm Desert, California where I lived for a number of years and hiked the trail named after him.

The Birth of Desert Magazine / The founding of Desert Magazine by Randall Henderson. The magazine was first to contain stories about the southwestern American deserts and encouraged exploration, habitation and understanding of them. First appeared in Desert Report, the magazine of the desert Sierra Club.

Evolving Perception of the Desert in American Culture / Co-authored with Professor Stephen Rowland of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Created for a chapter on the American desert for an upcoming book published by University of California Press.

Online Works / Many of our articles and essays published in various print and online magazines and websites over the years.


— BOOKS —

Battle of Symbols: Global Dynamics of Advertising, Entertainment and Media (Published by Daimon Verlag, Zurich) / Written directly after the 9/11 attacks. An examination of the symbolism of the West against the symbolism of the East and Middle East. Put together from links to news stories at the time. Assembled from hundreds of sources from the news of the period immediately after 9/11. The symbols at odds between the West and Middle East. Aspects of the two cultures that make-up the opposition symbols. Global players, rather than just merely national ones, are developing. A new force represented by the European Union and other start-ups all around the world. Masculine and feminine. The Middle East claims ownership of the equality (feminine) symbol while the West ownership of the freedom (masculine) symbols. They have a cyclic movement to them. The movements apply to advertising, entertainment and media. Comments on Battle of Symbols.

Spirit Catcher: The Life & Art of John Coltrane (Published by GreatHouse) / Written from the perspective of an “embedded” journalist discovering the music of Coltrane for the first time. The book written using the discography of Coltrane music listened to for the first time. I was in effect hearing the music of his life in the order he heard it, when he created it. I was an embedded fan, journalist it seemed for the time of writing the book. I was able to buy all of his albums at Berkeley’s leading used record store Leopold’s. This served as the real basis for my book Spirit Catcher. The vast collection of Coltrane was all available through Leopolds. Coltrane’s life developed into various periods.

Point Zero Bliss (Published by GreatHouse) / The true journal kept by a prisoner in a maximum security prison. The author keyed in the copy of his journal he sent him. Some editing advice and creative liberties but very few in this raw account of a year in a maximum security prison.

Londonderry Farewell / (2013) A historical novel about a young navy captain that is sent to Northern Ireland in the middle of the “Troubles” period to shut down the oldest naval base in Europe. Written as co-author with the navy captain Tom McKeown. (Now published on Amazon)


— DEVELOPMENT —

Wendy & Her Magic Greyhound  / A greyhound, always behind the pack at the race tracks, comes to live with a lonely little girl, always behind her “pack” of other girls her age. A pet might be the greatest cure for anxiety today. No need to worry about having friends when you have the best one you’ll ever have. A lonely girl meets lonely dog (animal) story. It’s been done before. Mankind has not civilized dogs. Rather, dogs have civilized mankind.

New Liberty / A political “whistleblower” prisoner (think Edward Snowdon) escapes from one of the secret federal prisons under a repressive Presidential regime in America and arrives at a town called New Liberty where patriots are gathering for a revolution against the government. The whistleblower tells the group about the secret information he was put in prison for, information that can bring down the government.

The Prophet / Screenplay of John Coltrane focusing on the time after he stopped using drugs that inspired his album A Love Supreme. Based on the author’s book Spirit Catcher as well as other leading biographies of Coltrane by Lewis Porter and Ben Ratliff.

The Cinematography of Stories / The creation of stories might benefit from the principles of cinematography, the science of filmmaking. Using the two leading books on cinematography and the outline of both books we made, an exploration of whether principles of cinematography can find application to screenplays.

OCD & Magic Rituals / Is there a relationship between anxiety, compulsive behavior and magic rituals?

San Francisco International / In spite of a large race riot in San Francisco, an older couple decides to visit San Francisco to celebrate their 50th anniversary. San Francisco is important as it is where they fell in love and were married. They have not been back to the city since this time. They arrive late at night at SFX and mistakenly take a BART train heading north to San Francisco rather than the Blue train to the rental cars at the airport. They get off BART one stop north in the middle of the race riots.

 

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