Author: Scott Thompson

Eight Days – a novel

Eight DaysScott Thompson author
Clive Kinsella lived a good life. He had a family who loved him and he was never without a job, a place to live, or a warm meal. But Clive died unfulfilled. Despite all his gifts he could only see what he didn’t have. He never wrote for a big newspaper in a big city. He never traveled the world. In fact, he never got out of his small Southern town. And … he never faced the ghosts that haunted him.

At his own funeral Clive meets Pachu, his grandfather who had died years before, and with Pachu he begins a journey through his life where he has to finally face his greatest regrets and agonies. But, if Clive can’t overcome his regrets he’ll be forced to wander the place between Heaven and Earth.

Each day Clive revisits events in life in a sort of spiritual recording, the same events that took him from being an optimistic young man to a curmudgeon. For every day he overcomes he gets to visit a place on earth he never saw before, and the reader is taken to places like Half Dome in Yosemite and Venice, where Pachu and Clive discuss existence and the meaning of life.

After his eight days Clive takes on one final challenge of life in a climb to the top of a mountain above an enchanted valley, where the gate to eternity awaits. In Heaven Clive meets loved ones who had gone before him, and the events of his life come together to make him the man he’ll be for eternity.

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What Was Mine Is Now Yours

I read an interview with Paul McCartney the other day, and he was talking about the meaning of a song he wrote with the Beatles. When he was writing the song he was inspired by events of that time. What it meant to him, the writer of the song, was completely different from the meaning the song had for me. But, you know, that’s okay. Art is supposed to be subjective. Like my friend, Dr. Leverett Butts, once said to me, “It doesn’t matter what the author meant. It matters what they said.” And, what the creator of a work says will be heard differently by different people.

In about a month my new novel, Eight Days, will be released. Many events in my life inspired the book, and I saw what I needed to see while writing, but when others read the book it will have different meanings to them. And, for some, it will mean nothing. That’s fine too. Every single creative work isn’t meant to appeal to everyone. But for some it will have meaning, and the book will then be their story. Or maybe it will be your book. What was mine will soon be yours.

Grasshoppers

I guess nothing is gross when you’re a little boy. When I was five, giant black grasshoppers with red wings inhabited our yard. My mother was sure my uncle had brought them over from Carrollton years before – when he was a little boy and nothing was gross.

I would put the grasshoppers in jars, always meaning to release them later. Even at that age I understood the value of life. But then the grasshoppers would die in the jars. Yellow and brown gelatin flowed around their bodies. The smell sharp, acidic. I understood the value of life, but wasn’t responsible enough to remember to care for it.

We moved away when I was in second grade. The new town had plenty of insects. Every Southern town does. But I never saw the giant black grasshoppers with red wings again. I tried to sneak a jar of them from my old home to my new home, but my mother caught me. She left the jar on the front porch of the old house where they surely died and became acidic gelatin.

Art in Everything

My great aunt had a car like this in her driveway. Her station wagon was not in perfect condition like this car. In fact, her car was rotted to the ground and used to store old pieces of wood. My dad would say that two door station wagons were rare, and he wanted to restore the car someday. He never got a chance to restore it before it melted into the ground, but he did see the hidden beauty beyond the poison ivy and dust that clung to the car. Even though it was just a station wagon, it was built with a love of design, creation, and style. It was built as art. Functional art, but still art. We don’t see that as often these days. Just compare almost any building built before the 1970s with buildings today. Unless money will be made by the building being beautiful, the building is functional and comfortable, but not art. New hotels are sometimes beautiful and interesting, but only because there’s money to be made, and this beauty is often superficial, and like a superficial person one leaves the interaction feeling empty. New hotels are built to be beautiful because of what it does for the business, not what it dTwo-Door Station Wagon - Photo by Scott Thompsonoes for souls.

My great aunt had a car like this in her driveway. Her station wagon was not in perfect condition like this car. In fact, her car was rotted to the ground and used to store old pieces of wood. My dad would say that two door station wagons were rare, and he wanted to restore the car someday. He never got a chance to restore it before it melted into the ground, but he did see the hidden beauty beyond the poison ivy and dust that clung to the car. Even though it was just a station wagon, it was built with a love of design, creation, and style. It was built as art. Functional art, but still art. We don’t see that as often these days. Just compare almost any building built before the 1970s with buildings today. Unless money will be made by the building being beautiful, the building is functional and comfortable, but not art. New hotels are sometimes beautiful and interesting, but only because there’s money to be made, and this beauty is often superficial, and like a superficial person one leaves the interaction feeling empty. New hotels are built to be beautiful because of what it does for the business, not what it does for souls.

But this car is art. It has carried families in style. Back in the day, when it drove by people didn’t see a machine. They saw true beauty. When this car was designed, the engineers didn’t have efficient computers to help them draw the lines. They used pencil and paper and maybe clay. They got their hands dirty. They sweated and lost sleep. They poured their souls into this car. Like a painter or a musician, they created.

I’m not knocking technology or innovation. We are doing more now than ever before. We are in the beginning of a revolution that will lead to solar electric homes which will recharge solar powered cars, and end our dependence on dirty and dangerous energy sources. We are a few years away from ubiquitous autonomous cars, a revolution that will be as big as the one from horse and buggy to automobiles. It will be a revolution that will bring transportation to those who wouldn’t have had it otherwise. What I am against is the loss of art. I understand budgets, and how functionality usually wins, but it’s time to let art rise again. It’s again time to let it be a part of everything we do.

Why do workers feel like they are dying when they spend large portions of their lives in cubicle farms looking at black bordered computer screens? Why do those same workers decorate their cubes with art from their kids or pictures of vacation destinations? Why do they put on headphones and hardly notice or know the person sitting two cubes away? It’s because we’ve automated everything for improved efficiency and use of space, but forgotten how to retain humanity in the efficiency. We’ve forgotten how to keep art in the efficiency. Art is Humanity. Or maybe humanity is art.

Let’s bring back art to everything. Let’s make it all beautiful, or even appalling, but let’s create toward interesting. We lose sleep over making machines works. Let’s lose sleep again over making them art.