Why Spellsinger Movie?

I saw “Heavy Metal” at the movies three times.                        

That animated feature showed Rock ‘n’ Roll short films that were just plain cool.

Rock remains part of my life that helps me feel good.

Now there’s a move toward making one of my favorite fantasy books featuring Rock into a movie – Spellsinger.

The book poses the question “Can an amateur musician draw the magic from the music before evil forces overcome the worlds he knows?”

Spellsinger as a movie will sell tickets and earn dollars because anything featuring Rock ‘n’ Roll, magic, fighting overwhelming odds, human and anthropomorphic characters with subversive humor and even a patriotic theme will attract both Baby Boomers and rebellious teens.

Think Lord of the Rings – both feature quests into hostile territory – except Spellsinger’s content is a bit lighter and features Rock instead of classical music.


Spellsingers’ characters themselves attract the liberal and conservative, the wise greybeard (a turtle this time out), a young peacenik man pulled from a rite of passage into yet deeper rites of good battling evil, a cowardly thief unsure there may be something in life worth fighting for, a strong woman that would give Scarlett O’Hara a run for her money – if not beat Scarlett senseless for her pettiness and weak dependence on men.

Shrek and other animated movies like it show that subversive sells well – especially when mixed with Rock.

Spellsinger features classic rock, classic themes and classic scenes.

The potential exists to turn it into a successful, money-earning franchise due to the original book’s sequels.

I just want to see it again.

I saw it the first time in my mind when I read the series and am seeing it again as I read back through “Spellsinger.”

Long after the movie’s first run, the film will likely be seen as a showcase for Rock and a turning point in film production.

The technology exists to turn a special book into a special film.

And bring the music-made magic back into the movies.


A Favorite Book to Become Movie

A favorite author / adventurer, Alan Dean Foster, recently optioned movie rights to his fantasy novel “Spellsinger” first published in paperback in 1983.
I’m hopeful to see it rendered in a form like that of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”
Amazon.com features this description of the book made available for Kindle this February via publisher Open Road:

Jonathan Thomas Meriweather is a typical college student, interested in girls, music, and an occasional taste of reefer. But when a journey through an interdimensional portal lands him in a world of talking animals and ominous sorcery, he finds he is on a very different trip indeed. Here, when he plays a strange instrument called a duar, peculiar things happen—powerful magic that may be the only way to stop a dark force that threatens his new world—and his old one. Reluctantly, he finds himself teaming up with a semi-senile turtle wizard; a thieving, backstabbing otter; and a bewildered Marxist dragon to rally an army for the war about to come.

Concept pictures for two main characters appear at a fellow WordPress Blog:

Official Announcement from Alan Dean Foster.

Foster deserves the title author / adventurer thanks to his ongoing world travels and competitive powerlifting mentioned in his October update on his website here:


Contest Entry

This is my entry to a contest over at this link:


I figured it couldn’t hurt to re-direct some traffic over there.
My hope is that by the time you get there the incorrect entry will have been deleted.
Here’s a challenge and a puzzle to solve.
This version of the story is correct and how I’d like it to appear. The first version posted at the link has one incorrect word that is wrong – so wrong it changes the whole story and throws it off.
The entries were limited to 250 words – almost the exact length of mine.

The “ants” go marching two by two.

He saw them and saw the landing live behind his eyes roughly 15 minutes before those who sent the martian probe knew.

Those explorers cheered the Phoenix landing – a spacecraft sent to find geologic history of water and planetary habitability.

Monitoring from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, their applause greeted the spacecraft’s transmission confirming safe touchdown.

“The Phoenix has landed, welcome to Vastitas Borealis!” said an exultant flight controller.

They saw tan landscape.

A tan man in a swimming pool saw it inside his head.

A flash behind closed eyes.

No lag.

No 15-minute wait.

And life – tiny forms filled with life leaving the landing site well before the spacecraft came. His extended mind viewed past and present before the explorers knew success.

And it would be years before they knew what he saw.

Screams of laughter echoed around the pool as one child yelled “Marco” and others replied “Polo.”

Tan man slid from his float and into the pool. He cringed. His sunburned belly stung.

“Crazy. I’m going crazy,” he thought, pulling his float between two kids yelling “Polo!” again in response to the shout of “Marco!”

He rubbed himself clean with soap and showering water.

He tried recalling the images. He reviewed them but couldn’t go forward – just play a loop in his head of speeded-up events mixed with consciousness of life – but no confirmation.

He quit.

From outside came a noisy splash and shouts again.



Pondering the Positive of NPR’s Music Offerings

Where do they get their stuff?

At the moment, I’m going through my backlog of National Public Radio’s “Song of the Day.”

Enjoying Etana’s reggae “People Talk” and thinking of forcing my 9-year-old daughter to listen to it.

Such a lovely, positive, empowering anthem.


There’s a key phrase in the lyrics, “live your life and be free” that sent me meandering over to Loggins and Messina’s “Be Free.”

It has nothing to do with gossip, but everything to do with the omnipresent yearning inside me to get out into the wilderness experienced in Texas and Idaho and away from D.C.

Here’s a version on youtube with photos from the John Muir Woods and Big Basin in California:


But back to NPR and the playlist.

I’d say Eisley offers a bit of positive cynicism in “The Valley” although NPR’s reviewer classifies it differently as seen in the link below.


Marcia Ball’s “Everybody’s Looking for the Same Thing” took me back to my days in Austin where I once saw Lou Ann Barton perform.

Ball brings the boogie woogie on here:


Turning to positive pop, I wondered if one of NPR’s music critics – Ken Tucker from “Entertainment Weekly” wasn’t a bit harsh on Paul Simon’s “So Beautiful, So What?” when he said the whole album doesn’t provide as much spiritual nourishment as the classic “Bridge over Troubled Water” penned during Simon’s pairing with Art Garfunkel.

Tucker’s review may be heard here:


The video to a live performance of Simon’s “Rewrite” off of the “So Beautiful” album can be seen here:


I can identify with the song and enjoy it.

It moves more concrete and with a beat than “Bridge” does to me and is as nourishing in it’s own way when pondering changing life for the better.

And finally, with a positive look at blues that may not exactly uplift yet will definitely unburden, comes the delightful “Threadbare” by Hoots and Hellmouth.

Though it came to me as the NPR “Song of the Day,” I enjoyed listening at the link here:


Music gets me through my day as I frequently put on youtube while answering e-mails where I work.

NPR’s suggestions help me widen my musical knowledge and provide enjoyment as well.

On sabbatical

On Sabbatical.

Not sure if I’ll make it back to where I am now.

I like this definition:

http://world.std.com/~jegan/def.htmlSabbatical year

1. among the ancient Jews, every seventh year, in which, according to Mosaic law, the land and vineyards were to remain fallow and debtors were to be released

 2. a year or half year of absence for study, rest, or travel, given at intervals, originally every seven years, to teachers, in some colleges and universities. – Webster’s New World Dictionary

Won’t take that long to write, I suppose.

But self-editing may limit my prose.

Measuring the Musical Distance Between Us

Distance measured by rock songs of the 1960s and 1970s.

On a normal traffic day, the time it takes to play “Time” off Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album coupled with the running time of “Do You Feel Like We Do?” off the album “Frampton Comes Alive!” equals a total drive time from my children’s home to my own basement abode.

Sitting through a long traffic signal on Northern Virginia’s Harry Byrd Highway will eat up most of The Cars’ “Candy-O.”

Pumping gas, playing “Highway Chile” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience will fill the time unless you go inside the station to pay. In that event, “Give a Little Bit” by Supertramp usually covers that timeframe unless there’s a rush-hour line. That line in turn means “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh should be played.

Should you be listening to news radio and there’s a report on what the president or his cabinet might be doing during these grim economic times, instead switch to the CD player and “Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)” by Randy Newman.

Eulogy for a Father-in-law known only by phone

The telephone rang and the male voice on the other end asked cheerfully “is my daughter Alana there?”

That left little doubt who was calling – her father Alan Keith Cook whose memory and military service we honor today.

There was also little doubt as to the pride and love Mr. Cook felt for his daughter. After more than 30 years they were working to re-knit a relationship unraveled by time, distance and struggles to survive.

On the telephone, you could hear in Mr. Cook’s voice an exuberance that their ties were renewed and his daughter had done well in life despite their separation.

We can only speculate that his life was improving as well with God’s peace and love touching his soul.

What makes great art is its reflection of life.

In that theme, Mr. Cook’s life had parallels with a musical titled “Carousel” where a man named Billy fathers a daughter days before dying. He is sent back to earth 15 years later and the plot unfolds as he helps a daughter struggling with unfair stereotypes and life.

At the musical’s end, Billy, whispers to his daughter, telling her to have confidence in herself as she and others sing the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

I can imagine Mr. Cook, in his way, echoing this song:

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark.

Walk on, through the wind,
Walk on, through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart,
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.

(Play Johnny Cash version)