Do you like Good Sentences?

That’s a silly question. Of course you do. Everyone does. In fact the only people who don’t like Good Sentences are either A) criminals, probably or B) haven’t heard of it yet.

This guy, who we’ll call Hank, although his name is actually Morris, is obviously two things, a cartoon and a criminal. And he doesn’t listen to Good Sentences!

But you, my friends, you are not criminals. What is criminal is that more people aren’t following our various social media outlets. You are not going to want to miss the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage. Oh, wait. I meant coverage of the Pulitzer Prize winners. Well, we really don’t do a lot of that either. But for real, you need to subscribe to every single Good Sentences-related social media format.

Now, a lot of media superstars might not go the extra mile for you. They will ask you to follow them on social media platforms that most people have ever heard of. “Hi, I’m [insert famous person’s name here]! Why aren’t you following me on Runtgiggle yet? It’s the hippest!” But they won’t help you do it. They won’t give you links to follow! They won’t show you cool screen captures so show you the fun and hilarity going on. They won’t even spell “Runtgiggle” for you so that you can look it up for yourself. Maybe they are criminals as well.

Fortunately select other media superstars, such as Craig A. Hart, and, I suppose, myself will, in fact, go that extra mile. Well, at least a half-mile. Okay, I’ll come out onto the porch and point. But I’ll do the other stuff too. Just as Craig would if he was Good Sentences rank and file like me, and not what we call in the entertainment business, “The Talent.” Don’t worry about that now, though.

So here’s my question: What word comes after “Social” and rhymes with “his knees?” That’s right, “Media!” No, no. Wait. I’m really bad at rhyming. But anyway, yeah. Social Media. That’s what we’re talking about!

The Website

Evidence that this lazy man, (whose style I admire) is listening to Good Sentences:
He’s, uh, that is to say he could be, uh..
Okay. So there is no real evidence that he is listening to anything,
Which considering his ears, is a pity.

I shouldn’t really need to point out that you are technically you’re viewing social media right now. If you didn’t see that coming, you’re in a safe place and we won’t shame you, but yeah! This here blog! I post stuff and, if you want to you can leave a comment. You can also follow the blog, which is handy, because when we release a new episode I write a companion post and thanks to the fine folks at WordPress (Motto: “It’s amazing how good we can make even someone like you look on the interweb,”) I can (and do) embed a podcast player right in the post. If you’re lazy, and I hope you are, you can read and listen all in the same place.

So tell all your pals, and here’s the link for you to share, because sharing is caring:

Good Sentences Companion Website and Blog

Facebook

You can’t really talk about social media and not talk about Runtgiggle.

Of course, I’m actually talking about Facebook, which has fewer letters and therefore, to a lazy man, is better.

This is a genuine screen cap of the very page to which I’m referring

This place has everything. You can follow just about anyone on Facebook. But don’t. Because that would mean you’re following seven billion people and you might not have time to visit the Good Sentences Facebook Page, which you should most definitely do. Even if you choose to follow all seven billion, you should read us first. In fact, if you want to tell the other 6,999,999,998 people that you’re looking at their cat and food pictures regularly while actually blowing them off, we’ll play along. Watch this:

Yeah. She totally did.”

Convincing, right?

Twitter

Although I’ve enjoyed Twitter a lot less since 2016 or so when it started to get all “stable and brilliant,” I’m not going to let the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind steal my love of Twitter. Because although there’s a madman on the loose, (but hey let’s not talk about my account), there is also The Good Sentences Tweetfest. And if anyone has been paying attention, two of the hosts of Good Sentences actually met on Twitter. Also, for those of you who are mathematically challenged, like me, there are two hosts on Good Sentences. So there’s that, too.

Instagram

Who doesn’t like pictures? No, I’m asking. Who doesn’t? Let me know your names and I won’t give you the link to our Instagram account. The rest of you should take a look.

Clockwise from bottom-right:
Elf-ear hat, Camera-mirrored Syracuse Hat, No hat, different guy, backwards hat.

The majority of the Insta posts are videos of me, and for that, I apologize profoundly. But look how adorable I am. And look how stern Craig looks. He may be the Talent, but I’m the life of the party, at least the Instagram version. Actually, I look pretty blasé myself, except in the one with the Syracuse University hat, (which the camera mirrored for me). I look a little like one of those odd cats who are even too lazy to put their tongue away after they get done licking themselves. That is Buddha-level laziness right there.

Anyway, I post a video when we post an episode. And if you follow us, Instagram will happily let you know every time I do this thing.

To conclude, Social his knees, website, FB page, Twits, and Insta. Follow the links, hunt us down like the wild beasts we are, and like, follow, subscribe… whatever behavior the particular platform indicates is appropriate. Because you really need to see more pictures of me.

I kid.

2020, Motto:
“You’re still doing better than those folks during the Bubonic Plague days.
They didn’t even get a 60-game baseball season
They got more plague.

We have some good things in store for our listeners in the second half of this, err, amazing year. Yeah, that’s the ticket

And in case you’ve missed any of the recent episodes, we’ve had some great conversations with Angelique L’Amour and Evelina De Lain and the two of us recently recorded an episode which will be emerging from the great primordial ooze that is the editing room. [Memo to Me: ask Craig which room is the editing room. Is it the same as the recording studio?]

Oh! While we’re on the subject: Craig and I are accepting bids on the naming rights for the Good Sentences virtual studio.

So share, share, share! Get your friends involved and then use that one secret you’ve been keeping to coerce them into sharing as well. Use mind control, if you have this skill. You will be rewarded. Not by us, of course. We use Karma to dispense our rewards.

Art and Humanity with Evelina De Lain

This felt a lot like work.

Two things need to be said before we get to the meat of this post, and to the story of Episode 18. First, you need to know that ten minutes before world-renown, world-record-holding musician Evelina De Lain sat down to talk with Craig and me, she was bicycling in the rain through London. Second, you need to know that for the average podcast blog post, I take about a page of notes when previewing the show. In order to help me understand everything we talked about when we got started, I took four pages. Keep both of those things in mind in mind.

Evelina De Lain during her record=setting performance.

Longtime followers of Good Sentences, (and by that I refer primarily to Craig and myself) may know that the two of us once did a video podcast called The Games and Writers Show, and if you followed that project you might already have met Evelina. The focus of that interview, (an interview in which a schedule conflict prevented me from joining) was her amazing performance in Nepal which holds the Guinness world record for highest elevation grand piano performance. As I said on the Good Sentences Instagram account, anybody can climb a mountain and play the piccolo. It takes some doing getting a grand piano into the Himalayas.

But Guess What?

We didn’t talk much about that. Instead we had a thirty-minute conversation that was one of the most informative, eye-opening talks I’ve ever had with anybody.

What we did discuss was the current movement toward STEM education, (which I believe stands for SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENDIVE AND MARSHMALLOWS – representing all four food groups.)

[Ed. Note – the “e” and “m” in STEM stand for “engineering” and “mathematics.” Why do you still listen to this guy?]

While all of those things, especially the marshmallow, sound delicious, there is a price paid, often times, when these become the exclusive focus of an education. It means not only a lack of attention to the Arts and Humanities, but often times a conscious decision to defund those programs in favor of STEM. Music is lost, drama is lost, art and literature are lost. Thrown away.

Evelina sees a problem. Her point is that not only are these disciplines important on their own accord, but the type of learning that the brain does during a piano lesson, say, forms new synaptic connections in the brain that only learning to play music can create, but which aid phenomenally in learning the STEM subjects. Logic is served through the development of an artistic skill. There is a good deal of research to support this and there are lots of good articles online about STEM transitioning to STEAM, adding the “A,” adding the Arts.

There are two areas in which Evelina has been working with regard to using the arts to help develop cognition in general. One is something she calls “Inside the Music.” If after you hear her talk about it you don’t want to book a session, then you’re not me.

This part of the conversation moved into a long and simply fascinating description of the second aspect of music therapy in which she’s involved, where she works one-on-one with developmentally delayed children, and through giving them piano lessons she has seen amazing results. By realizing that difficult behaviors are often triggered by a child’s frustration over not being able to express himself or herself verbally, she has been able to address the root of the behaviors, which as one can imagine, will produce successful results much more thoroughly lasting than simply reacting to the behavior.

There is much, much more to experience in this episode and I encourage you to block out thirty minutes of time to give yourself a gift. I am very sure that by the end you’ll understand my four pages of notes and you’ll understand the sort of person who might ride a bike through the rain.

Art and Humanity with Evelina De Lain Good Sentences

Craig and Scott talk with pianist, author, and world record holder Evelina De Lain about music, art, humanity, psychology, music therapy, and MORE on today's Good Sentences podcast.
  1. Art and Humanity with Evelina De Lain
  2. Plot (And Character) with Angelique L'Amour, Part 2
  3. Plot (And Character) with Angelique L'Amour, Part I
  4. Mark Twain and Halley's Comet
  5. Chaucer Spins a Tall Tale

Plot (and Character) – Pt. 2

Episode 17 of Good Sentences is now available anywhere you go to when you want to hang out with podcasters. Literally everywhere. I think you can ask a bus driver to play it and he’ll just open his mouth and the Lawn Dart opening will start coming out. (This may vary from bus driver to bus driver, so we offer no warranty on that particular point).

You might think this is a filter,
but when you hear how
she sparkles in this episode
you’ll know the truth

Angelique L’Amour is with us once again, and she really did all the heavy lifting in this part. She kind of end up interviewing us, and I have subsequently learned that her final year of college was spent in journalism school. So that learnin’ stuck, as we say in my little hometown.

But seriously, we continue the discussion started, oddly enough, in Pt. 1, and learn whether or not Craig and Scott pre-plan the plot when they write, (hint: I’m lucky I can pre-put pants on before leaving the house), and we give some insight into our co-authoring process, and deal with the subject of writer’s block a bit, (Angelique offers some very practical advice on the matter).

One of my personal favorite parts of the talk was when Angelique shared about symbolism in her dad’s work, (hint: his answer to her question about it is perfect!)

Take a look at a few of the things mentioned in this episode:

So by all means, feast your literary ear holes!

Art and Humanity with Evelina De Lain Good Sentences

Craig and Scott talk with pianist, author, and world record holder Evelina De Lain about music, art, humanity, psychology, music therapy, and MORE on today's Good Sentences podcast.
  1. Art and Humanity with Evelina De Lain
  2. Plot (And Character) with Angelique L'Amour, Part 2
  3. Plot (And Character) with Angelique L'Amour, Part I
  4. Mark Twain and Halley's Comet
  5. Chaucer Spins a Tall Tale

Plot (And Character)

Alright. First things first. This episode of Good Sentences (Episode 16, if you’re the sort who keeps track), deals with plot as a literary device, and it features our frequent visitor and good friend Angelique L’Amour sharing her thoughts on the topic along with the primary lunatics.

Back to class up the joint yet again, Angelique L’Amour joins Craig and Scott for Episode 16

Before I go long on that, however, I wanted to talk (very briefly) about how these companion blog posts are written. Now, I (I being Scott, or as the book covers insist on calling me S.J. Varengo) am the guilty party when it comes to the lion’s share of the blog posts. When Craig and I decided to do the podcast it was agreed that any aspect of this endeavor which had to do with having talent or with being suave would be Craig’s department, and I’d take care of the stuff requiring no skill, such as the social media element, which is decidedly un-suave. And even though I’m present for the recording of the episode, until Craig edits it to it’s final format, (and by edit I mean removing all of the idiotic stuff I say in spite of knowing better) and I listen to that, I don’t write the post.

My dilemma this time was that I wrote a lot of the material we discussed, which meant I had to listen to myself talk A LOT. I like talking, but I don’t like to hear myself do it. So as I was jotting down notes for this post I found myself losing focus during the interminable stretches where I’m yammering, only to snap back to attention when either Craig or Angelique spoke, thinking, “Crap, here comes the important stuff! Better start listening again.”

The end result is the part of this post you’ve read so far is the longest section.


About the Episode (finally)

Our look at plot started out as an informal survey of what published authors (and a film maker) had to say on the topic. My criteria for considering a quote for inclusion was 1) It had to be an author I was able to look up and make sure they were real (one of them had the name Harper Lee, for crying out loud – turns out she wrote a couple of books), and 2) They had to have said something about plot. I know, I know. This is a very rigid criteria. Deal with it.

However a beautiful thing happened while I was reading quotes. Angelique and Craig began discussing several related topics, (such as literary fiction vs. genre fiction) and the interplay of plot and character, which without question (as far as the three of us were concerned), is where the true value of plot can be seen.

I did want to show one visual however, to accompany something Angelique talked about:

This is an Erector Set:

And these are Lincoln Logs:

Now, go listen to the show!

Art and Humanity with Evelina De Lain Good Sentences

Craig and Scott talk with pianist, author, and world record holder Evelina De Lain about music, art, humanity, psychology, music therapy, and MORE on today's Good Sentences podcast.
  1. Art and Humanity with Evelina De Lain
  2. Plot (And Character) with Angelique L'Amour, Part 2
  3. Plot (And Character) with Angelique L'Amour, Part I
  4. Mark Twain and Halley's Comet
  5. Chaucer Spins a Tall Tale

Mark Twain and Halley’s Comet

April 21

The latest Morning Minute tells a bit about Mark Twain’s birth (which occurred when Halley’s Comet was visible from Earth), and a bit more about his death in 1910, (when the comet was again visible in the sky).

“Born by the comet, die by the comet” – Text of his tramp stamp, maybe?

There was also a bit of discussion about the fact that one of the hosts of the show was born 50 years to the day after Twain died, and about the possibility that he waited that long to find someone to be reincarnated through. Now, I’m not going to tell you which of the two maniacs holds this unlikely belief, but here’s blog post from 2018 where he goes on about it.

“Clemens? Clemens!” – A Comet on the Hunt?

You’re going to want to click “Listen” on the topside menu and listen as the lunatics do it again.

Craig and Scott also want to remind everyone to stay save, stay healthy, and think about one another in the choices you make.

Chaucer? Don’t Get me Started!

Geoffrey Chaucer is a jerk. If I could get my hands on him right now, UGH! I’m serious, you guys. Don’t get me started.

Having met the man, I can tell you listening to him read is like listening to a cat explode.

Listen, Craig and I talked about this turd today in the Morning Minute, because today back around 1400 or so, he read his magnum opus, The Canterbury Tales, in the court of King Richard II, and let me tell you Dick Deux and I feel pretty much the same.

Really, the best thing for you to do is listen to the Morning Minute for today, April 17. Because then you’ll understand my animosity, and I won’t have to talk about this horse’s patoot any longer.

Vladimir Nabokov is a…

Genius? Sicko? Lazy Character Namer?

It’s Wednesday (night, if we’re being honest) but it’s still not too late to listen to today’s Morning Minute! Today we learn a bit about Nabokov’s best known work.

Also, remember the Morning Minutes (and all episodes of Good Sentences) are always available, just by clicking “Listen” in the topside menu. Or if you have a smart device you can just tell it you want to subscribe to Good Sentences, then all you have to do is ask to hear the latest episode. (I can’t actually do this, because if I ask my Google to play it, and then she hears my voice in the podcast she gets “edgy” and it tears the fabric of space, so you’re welcome.)

Also be sure to follow us on social media all over the stinkin’ place.

First Edition, Yo!

Are You Getting Enough?

Feeling Shut in? Follow us all over the place!

So you’ve subscribed to the podcast, and you follow the blog! You’re a Good Sentences super-fan right? Durn tootin’ you are, but I refer you to our title question. Are you getting enough Good Sentences?

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Thank goodness Craig showed up in the lower right!

We have a Facebook Page. Normally we post here to announce a new episode, but we also engage, occasionally, in some FB only craziness.

We have a Twitter account. I think we all know Twitter is a lawless wasteland, which is what makes it so adorbs.

We have an Instagram account. [WARNING: The sensitivity police inform me that I have to tell you it’s mostly videos of me talking about the latest episode. Their exact recommended disclaimer was: “Best Viewed on an Empty Stomach“.]

Of course, if you haven’t yet followed the blog or the podcast itself… well I just don’t know what to say.

Here, let me make this as easy as possible. I just wish someone had taken the time to do this sort of thing for me when I was a kid and there was no internet and if you wanted to follow someone you literally had to get out there and walk around behind them.

Hey, You Got a Minute?

Exciting New Feature on Good Sentences

Starting Monday, April 13, 2020, the Good Sentences Podcast will begin a new series, The Good Sentences Morning Minute!

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Craig and Scott are insane.
  2. Currently the segments will be released on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  3. Each segment will deal with some aspect of the literary world.
  4. They won’t always do so with the respect the great authors of the past deserve because…
  5. See #1

A few clarifications and disclaimers:

  1. They’re probably all going to be longer than a minute because…
  2. See #1 from the first list.
  3. None of the deceased authors who appear to participate do so through the use of any supernatural means – it’s just bad acting.
  4. If you’re easily offended, we may someday do a segment about you! Yes, you specifically. You know who you are.

Now, I’m not going to tell you all the stories you’re going to hear, but I will let you know that in our inaugural episode we speak via phone with a prominent U.S. citizen of the past.

Tune in!

Reporting from Isolation

Episode 11 – Recorded using 1000 miles of
Social Distancing

We have had a lot happen in the good ol’ US of A since the last episode. You may have noticed.

Basically, the world has flipped upside down, you know… and stuff.

In Episode 11, Craig and I share our observations, feelings, and personal experience with the coronavirus.

We want to make it clear that although we often talk in a light-hearted manner about this pandemic, we do not take it lightly. You will hear us laugh, but know that we take this all very seriously.

You’ll also hear us mention our good friend and past guest, Angelique L’Amour, who, with her whole family, has been suffering with the covid-19 disease, and you can read a post of her experience on her blog. We wish them a speedy recovery.

Introducing our Next Series

As Craig points out in the episode, we’ve all got a little more time on our hands these days, and for those of us who call ourselves “writers” certainly have more opportunities to get some work done. He also points out that due to what we assume is a non-corona, but equally unpleasant ailment that gripped his own family that he has not been able to take advantage of all the extra time, (in fact with his twins not going to school he has even less time now!)

But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about writing, even if we haven’t gotten back to doing it just yet.

So Good Sentences will be looking at the part that plot plays in the craft of writing. To get the juices flowing I read a quote from Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, and I’ll share it with you now:

“Story is honorable and trustworthy; plot is shifty, and best kept under house arrest.” 

Stephen King

A quote I did not include in the episode but will share here shows that not everyone shares Stephen’s level of skepticism.

“Storytelling is about two things; character and plot.”

George Lucas
I don’t know how effective these masks are, but when this is all over, disco-face may be my new look!

Hmm. Sounds like George and Stephen might be fighting!

So enjoy Episode 11, and be sure to come back soon for the launch of the Plot Series, to find out if Lucas and King get into it.

Until next time, stay safe, but stay fabulous!


Free books during your isolation

Be sure to check out the Suspense – First In Series Promotion, running through out the month of April. Pick any or all of the 120 author’s first book in their series. My first Cleanup Crew Thriller, The Beauty of Bucharest is included and is yours, (as are all the others) for the cost of zero monies.

[Annoying intrusion from the Legal Department: You do have to sign up for an email newsletter from the author(s) you select.]


A bit of additional information: Good Sentences is now a member of the Ad Council, and they are the source of the PSA you’ll hear, which Craig placed at the outset of the podcast because we truly believe the message it contains.