November, 2011

TAEM interview with actor Mark Christopher Lawrence

Friday, November 11th, 2011

TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine loves to do interviews with actors in all stages of their careers. Often we reveal actors in their early stages, but more important to those actors we interview those with more experience. Our next celebrity is very important to us as he has had years of experience to share with those new to the craft. Actor Mark Christopher Lawrence has been plying his trade since the 1980’s, and the lessons he can share with those just starting out is invaluable. Mark, please tell us about your earliest acting experience, and the training that you received to pursue your career.

MCL – My first acting experience was in high school as the learned professor in the play Bus Stop. Like most actors, it was during this first experience that the “Acting Bug” bit me. Once bitten the passion for the craft was ignited in me and I found myself seeking out opportunities to learn and play on the stage.

Theater brings with it a unique opportunity for actors, in that, there are variables that are beyond our control that must be accounted for and overcome in order to be successful on any given night. For example, the audience is a very different beast for every performance and it often times brings into the theater with them a very different set of realities, pressures, fatigues, and mindsets. Other actors on stage with you have very complicated lives outside of the theater and sometimes those complications find themselves onstage in the form of energies that affect the set performance of an actor and ultimately the set performance of the play. An actor’s daily life outside of the theater affects one’s strength, stamina, beliefs, and sensibilities and in turn lends itself as a variable agent to your performance.  I recognized these variables very early on in my career and sought out intensive training. (more…)

TAEM News Flash – Erik Cieslewicz and Kevin Finkelstein Announce CONFAB

Thursday, November 10th, 2011


Erik Cieslewicz and Kevin Finkelstein Announce CONFAB

Washington, D.C. November 8th, 2011 – The City of Washington, D.C. will soon add another web-series to its ranks. A new series entitled, “Confab,” will follows four college juniors going through the most dramatic semester of their lives. The show is the product of award winning producers Erik Cieslewicz and Kevin Finkelstein, who are looking to show some of the non-political side of the the nation’s capital.

Already written, in pre-production and cast, Confab is off to a strong start.

“We wanted the show to have a good set of arcs that flowed across all the episodes in addition to running gags and a good amount of reflexivity, so we wrote all thirteen episodes before we even thought about casting the project,” Cieslewicz noted about the deliberate process the production has taken so far. (more…)

Press Release – Andrew Jackson is Spokesperson for Polar Bear International

Monday, November 7th, 2011

To-day Wanstrom & Assoc. arranged for Andrew Jackson to be appointed spokesperson for POLAR BEARS INTERNATIONAL’s Project Polar Bear.

Polar Bears International is the only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat. They concentrate their strategies in areas of research, education and stewardship.

Checkout on Andrew’s Website for details of this arrangement.

Part of Andrew’s duties will be for him to attend ceremonies in San Diego, CA & Churchill, MB early next year.

Project Polar Bear’s Website

Spread the word around about the contest for teenagers in Canada & the USA to help save the polar bears. Deadline for submissions is November 15th.




TAEM News Flash- Colleges & WMIFF; Advertising

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The Arts and Entertainment Magazine ( formerly The Eerie Digest) has become aggressive in two major programs:

Colleges and the WMIFF– Recently our publisher, Joseph J. O’Donnell, has been invited to join the World Music and Independent Film Festival organization. This past weekend Mr. O’Donnell sent letters to the Office of the President of fifteen major Universities to invite their students to enter their films to the Festival. At the same time he has also offered their students the magazine’s College Student Writer’s Program, in which these young writers can contribute their short stories to be displayed on our pages. Young filmmakers and writers are given the chance to be recognized by their peers, the literary world, and Hollywood.

Advertising– Our magazine has just made contact with fourteen of the largest Advertising Agencies in the country, inviting them to display their client’s products in The Arts and Entertainment Magazine. These agencies represent some of the major retailers, hotels, airlines, and services now seen on television. Our new aggressive stand will extend to other venues and we will keep our readers posted of all the progress that we make.


‘Hungry George’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Monday, November 7th, 2011
Author Glenn James

Author Glenn James

Gothic-Fantasy Writer Glenn James was haunted by a question: What would it be like if one vampire haunted another vampire? Out of this premise developed the conflict between his characters Skaler and Prince Germane, and the whole cycle of his Gosmanger stories, which are meeting with an excellent response: (“Pass the Remote” was published in The Eerie Digest earlier this year.) “Hungry George approaches the world of his vampires from a rather different angle and throws a revealing light on the shadowed Prince Germane….

“You never see Hungry George; you can just feel him feeding.  It’s just one of those things, like an uncommon certainty that it’s going to rain, or that someone whom you know has died.  One can simply just tell he has someone over for dinner….

On very rare occasions you can hear a bit of a struggle, but never for very long, and whatever is going on stays discretely behind that cracked and blistered door.  Occasionally there are black dustbin liners, taken discretely away by a fellow from the dog food company, and they always seem to have shall we say a certain weight and organic volume, but questions are never asked.

Hungry George must be absolutely ravenous, because these bags of his table leavings are voluminous, and collected rather regularly. (more…)

TAEM interview with actor Byron Habinsky

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Actor Byron Habinsky

TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine has an around-the-world following with those interested in the Entertainment and Literary fields. For that reason we reach out around the globe in search of actors and writers who will fill the interest of our readers. One such actor is Byron Habinsky who immigrated from Riga with his family and learned his trade here in America. Byron, tell our readers about your early youth and your family’s decision to come to the United States.

BH – I was a regular kid growing up.  I’m an only child so I always relied on myself for entertainment, therefore active imagination was a must.  It’s amazing of the things you think of when there’s no one else around all the time.  In major Russian cities there were these small communities of several buildings with a common playing ground in the middle.  So all your friends usually came from that same community.   And just like most boys, sport was a huge part of my growing up.  My father was an amateur boxer when he was young, so he made sure to get me involved in sports early.  His good friend was a well-known trainer in Russia, so he took me under his wing for a while. I still remember being seven, eight years old and being thrown into training with the older kids, going through all the same paces, it was insane but definitely served a good purpose.  Then at eight I discovered hockey and everything else instantly took a backseat to it.  We’d play day and night, right out in the street during winters.  When it got warm we’d sneak into the arena where the local hockey team played and play until someone noticed us and kicked us out.  We did that every day, we’d cut school to go and play.  Until they finally realized they wouldn’t stop us, so they allowed us to use the ice before practices.  Then suddenly at ten years old, you’re told that you’re moving away.  You don’t have a choice in the matter, nor do you really care why or would even understand if you knew.  So you do what your parents decide.  It was bittersweet but it was the best thing that we could have done for ourselves.  I’m forever grateful to my parents for making that decision.  We were actually one of the last to leave, soon after the immigration window closed and two years later Soviet Union no longer existed.  We spent the next half a year being vagabonds in Europe.  We lived in Austria for a bit.  I celebrated my eleventh birthday in Italy.  Then in fall of 1989 arrived in New York City.   (more…)

TAEM interview with Producer/Writer/Director Jason Figgis

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Producer / Writer / Director - Jason Figgis - COPYRIGHT: FARRIS GERARD

Jason, we understand that your film company is based in Ireland, and deals in filmmaking world-wide. Many of our readers are Students of the Arts. Please tell them how you first became interested in the motion picture industry and of your early start there.

JF- I have always had an interest in film. It probably goes back to my father’s collection of ‘Photoplay’ magazines that he had piled beside his bed, all of which I would devour to feed my ever growing interest in all things cinema. My parents Anne and Peter (avid film-goers) always encouraged this love of movies and the theatrical arts in general (my brother Daniel was a well known child actor, having starred in productions with Peter O’Toole, Jenny Agutter and Donal McCann, amongst others).

TAEM- Please tell us a little about your company, October Eleven Pictures.

JF- My younger brother Jonathan and I started our television and film production company in 2000 thanks to the advent of broadcast forms of digital technology (in our case the Sony PD150p DvCam) as we wanted to explore the capabilities of this technology and see if we could get on the professional ladder in a very competitive Industry. We were lucky in that our first production, in collaboration with the internationally acclaimed photographer, Sir Simon Marsden and Oscar-nominated Actor John Hurt was nominated for two IFTAs (the Irish equivalent of the United State’s Oscars) in 2003. This helped to propel us seriously onto the British and Irish scene and allowed us to develop other productions; the first of which was an examination of the life and work of the late theatrical legend Dan Crawford of London’s King’s Head Theatre in Islington. This also gave me the opportunity to work closely with such greats as the late Oscar-nominated Susannah York, Joanna Lumley, Alan Rickman, the late great Corin Redgrave and Richard E. Grant, amongst many others. This film ‘A Maverick in London’ was subsequently acquired by BSKYB and played for three years on Sky Arts One to critical acclaim.


TAEM interview with Director Anthony Faust

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Photo by Jerald Council

TAEM- All films start somewhere and The Arts and Entertainment would like to introduce to our readers, who are Students of The Arts, the beginning and making of all films. Anthony Faust is a director of the film ‘A Rock and a Hard Place’ and we would like to probe this film with him to show everyone how this process works. Anthony, we met you recently at the World Music and Independent Film Festival in Washington, D.C. where your film appeared. Tell us how you first started in making films and what drew your interest in this career.

AF- My first foray into making films came in 2002 when I joined a 48 hour film project team in Washington, D.C and served as a Grip on set. I built on this experience by making a film called “Hunter’s Quandary” on a shoestring budget later that year.

TAEM- What is the theme behind this film, and what genre is it in ?

AF- The genre of this film is drama, but it is a unique film because it is ten minutes long and contains no dialogue. The story centers around a jailed man who hatches a clever (and sinister) plan to rid the massive rock in his father’s backyard.

The theme of the film is power. We see a man behind bars, powerless, alone, and bloodied by powerful prison guards. When he sets his plan in motion, he gets his revenge. In the closing moments of the film, we realize the ones who are really behind the bars are the outwitted prison guards. (more…)

TAEM interview with radio show host Christy Bradshaw

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

 TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine delves into many venues of entertainment. These include Movies, Television, Literature, Stage, Music, and Radio. With radio we recently became aware of ‘The Bradshaw Chronicles’ and its host, Christy Bradshaw. Christy, tell us of your educational background and how it gave you the foundation for your program.

CB-Through the courses within my graduate degree in education which was based in instructional technology, I learned how to reach people at a distance as well as in person. This brought me to video/audio design and presentation by planning learning videos throughout the degree program.  All people whom portray their talents to the world have excited me from when I was a child. Being a host of my own show in a way is still in the educational field of work. It is educating the people of the world about different choices available for them in the entertainment business.  The guests that I bring on my show tell of their talents and what it took them to get to the place where they are now.  This gives new ideas and thoughts to the audience whom may need to plan a strategy in fulfilling their own goals in the entertainment field.

TAEM- ‘The Bradshaw Chronicles’ is an internet radio show for those readers who have not heard of it, yet. Christy, when did the program first air and where can it be located ?

CB-The Bradshaw Chronicles was broadcast first in January of 2011. The show grew very fast and now has over half a million viewers per month in the video versions of the show alone. My home base for the show and the upcoming new show that I have planned Behind The Scenes With Christy Bradshaw is but the show can be found in many sites throughout the internet.  There are three main broadcast stations for the show now and people from all over have shared it with many other internet venues.  In video internet television you can find it on my blog as well as here, Ghost Tales TV, and in audio with WROM radio (more…)

TAEM interview with actor Mark Weiler

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Photo is courtesy of Brandin Rackley, photographer.

TAEM- Acting has many venues, and many actors forge their careers in assorted film genres. One such actor is Mark Weiler who has appeared in various films and television shows. Mark, we have many Students of the Arts who follow our magazine for inspiration. Please tell us what inspired you to take up acting as a career.

MW-  I grew up in the woods of northern Wisconsin.  There wasn’t a whole lot of stimulating opportunities beyond those that I created in my mind.  My only outlet to the rest of the world was television and I was fascinated by it.  It seemed so much more interesting than the deer, trees and cows I was surrounded by.  Even in kindergarten I took to the stage and fell in love with the creative process.  So I’ve always drawn to acting, even though it was not encouraged as a career.  It took a lot of courage to quit my day job and say, “I’m an actor now, and that’s all I do.”  I guess ultimately what inspired me to take up acting as a career was the realization that absolutely nothing else could make me as happy.

TAEM- Who was your greatest influence to do so?

MW-  That’s a tough question.  I was living in San Francisco at the time and was taking a good hard look at who I was, and going through a deeply spiritual process.  So my friends of spirit influenced me quite a bit.  I’ve been a long time fan of Sean Penn and Gary Oldman, so unbeknownst to them, they’ve been an influence on me.  Beyond that it was just a voice or a drive inside of me that said, “I can do this.  I have to do this.  And I at least have to try.” (more…)

TAEM interview with author Brian Moreland

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Author Brian Moreland

TAEM- Writers are one of the mainstays for The Arts and Entertainment Magazine, and their work is also a great inspiration to film and television alike. One of the newest writers is Brian Moreland whose creations are right up our alley. Brian, we learned that in your youth you loved scary movies, and they were the basis of your desire to write. Who among the writers that you followed inspired you the most?

BM-Like most horror writers I’ve met, I was first influenced by Stephen King, because his books dominated the horror market when I was growing up and they were popularized even more by the movies based on King’s fiction. One of the first fiction books I read just for fun was Stephen King’s Night Shift. I devoured every one of those short stories and discovered that reading fiction can be even more fun than watching movies. Stephen King taught me how to create a sense of dread in a scene. He would focus on the details of something that spooked him until he had you spooked too. That’s important in horror fiction. Sometimes you need to slow the tempo down and focus on the darkness until the reader is so curious about what’s lurking beyond that curtain of blackness that they can’t stand it any longer. The two other authors who had the greatest impact were Dean Koontz and Robert McCammon. I discovered their books while in college and learning to write my own fiction. Both were masters at creating loveable characters, scary monsters, complex plots, and high-octane action that propelled you to keep turning the pages. I badly wanted to write like them. I wanted readers of my novels to feel the same adrenaline that you feel when you read Dean Koontz or Robert McCammon. I studied their novels like they were textbooks on how to write fiction. I dissected their books chapter by chapter, paragraph by paragraph, analyzing exactly how they structured a scene to give me the rush of feelings I was feeling. I also studied their prose, the words they used and added to my arsenal of descriptive words. I emulated both their styles in my early writing until I finally developed my own writing voice. Other notable influences were H.P. Lovecraft, Richard Laymon, and Clive Barker. Now, I study every horror author I write. I’m always learning and honing my craft. (more…)

TAEM interview with child actor Michael S. Thomas

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Child Actor Michael Thomas

TAEM- One of the great things that The Arts and Entertainment Magazine does, is to introduce new talent to our readership. Actors get their start in various ways. Some by accident, others by desire, and some from a very early age. Actor Michael S. Thomas is one such personality who fits in the later category. Michael at what age did you first begin your acting career, and how old are you now.

MST- Hi! I started acting shortly after I turned 4 years old. I am 8 and ½ years old now.

TAEM- We learned that your first step in your career was in the film shorts: ‘TheNew World’ and ‘Chekhov’s Children’. How exciting was this for you. 

MST- Well, actually my very first film and my first speaking role was in the movie Holey Balls. But due to some technical difficulties during editing it has not been released yet. But the director said she hopes to have it out before I turn 18.

The New World (my second film) and Chekhov’s Children were both fun sets to work on. I made a lot of new friends on both sets and have worked with some of the actors again on other film projects. (more…)

TAEM interview with author Deirdre Marie Capone

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

TAEM- History has a lot to say in writing a story and it is a big part in every author’s work. Deirdre Marie Capone is one such author, and the history around her novel is not only well known, but personal. It is about Al Capone.

Deidre, tell us about your early life and about your family relationship to this historic figure.

DMC-I am a Capone. My grandfather was Ralph Capone, listed in 1930 as Public Enemy #3 by the Chicago Crime Commission. That makes me the grand niece of his partner and younger brother, Public Enemy #1: Al Capone.

For much of my life, this was not information that I readily volunteered. In fact, I made every effort to hide the fact that I was a Capone, a name that had brought endless heartache to so many members of my family. In 1972, when I was in my early thirties, I leftChicagoand my family history far behind me, reinventing myself inMinnesotaand making sure that no one in my life other than my husband Bob knew my ancestry. I succeeded—even with our four children.

But the truth about who I was hovered at the edges of the reality I had created, and I was terrified of it—terrified of revisiting the shy, wounded girl who grew up friendless, shunned by classmates, forbidden to play with a mobster’s child; terrified of once again hearing those dreaded words, “You’re fired,” and seeing another employer’s doors close to me because of my name; terrified of reawakening the grief of losing both my father and brother to suicide, collateral damage of the Capone legacy; and, above all, terrified that if my children learned they had “gangster blood” running through their veins, they’d be exposed to the same pain I had experienced. (more…)

Travel Time with Roger Tweed: Wyoming and Montana

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Travel Time with Roger Tweed

Subject: Wyoming and Montana Travelogue

Last September, I managed to visitGrand Teton, andYellowstoneNational Parks, camp and hike inGlacierNational Park, and visit Little Big Horn National Monument all in one trip.  Over the course of seven days, my friends and I drove over2,000 miles, hiked over25 miles, saw waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, peaks and lakes of incredible beauty, and marveled at bison, elk, big horn sheep and mountain goats.  It all started the day after Labor Day.

I flew out of Reagan National (DCA), and changed planes in Detroiton the way to Denver. The flight from DCA to Detroitwas only about half full, so the empty seats made even the old war horse DC-9 (an MD-90) we flew feel comfortable.  It was the first (and only) non-full flight I took that summer. We were a few minutes late arriving, and I had to run from gate A23 to gate A74 where my flight to Denverwas taking off in 20 minutes. The Delta (former Northwest) concourse at Detroitis huge! The plane (an A320) was full, so they checked my bag at the gate.  I arrived at Denverabout 20 minutes early, and my friend Bob met me as I was wandering around the baggage area.  And then we were heading off on I-25 to Wyoming. (more…)

‘Date and Time Agreed’ (Part 2) by Guest Author Alex Knight

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Guest Author Alex Knight

Guest Author Alex Knight

The killer was certain there was no one with the victim. Only one car was in the parking lot, a baby blue Cadillac De Ville with the vanity plate SUMFUN. The Killer sneered, accountants and their sense of humor, who else would think number crunching was fun? 

After parking in front of the building the emergency flashers were activated and the hood popped up. Pretending to be looking under the hood, the killer scanned the area once again for potential witnesses. So far the coast was clear. Now the cell phone came out, a ploy to make it look good in case the victim was watching. An oath was uttered and a fist crashed down on the roof of the car. The cell phone was angrily tossed in through the driver’s side open window. The killer knocked on the storefront door; the victim cautiously opened it.

“Excuse me but my car’s dead and so is my cell phone. Can I use your phone to call the motor league?”

A quick look up and down the street indicated the stranded motorist was alone, and the victim opened the door wider.

“Sure, c’mon in,” those were the last words Bob the embezzling accountant uttered.  (more…)

‘Norseman on the Threshold’ by Guest Author Glenn James

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Author Glenn James

Author Glenn James

(This serial was inspired by the History, Hauntings, and legends of Worcester Cathedral in England:  It was written originally as the inaugural serial of  the “42 Genre-Specific Open-Mic-Night,” in Worcestershire. It is affectionately dedicated to the late Leonard Amesbury by his friend, the author.)

“Norseman on the Threshold”

By Glenn James

Part One: “Lupus Rex”

Worcester Cathedral sleeps calmly on the banks of the River Severn, quiet in its golden stone, and basking in the rise and fall of centuries.  Little happens nowadays to disturb its contented sleep, as the warlike days when armies laid siege to its demure skirts, and the peaceful river ran red with vanquished causes, are long since past.

In these godless times, it is merely a timeless symbol of the city, striding through the centuries almost absentmindedly, so much a part of the landscape it’s hardly even registered properly by most people looking right at it locally.

But deep inside it’s wall’s and fabric, in between its foundations, crypts, and long forgotten chambers, deeds done with less than a valiant heart fester resentfully still in secret.  The dark cloisters at night, when the last tourists and choristers have gone home are not “unpopulated”.  They are far from empty in any conventional sense, and their paths are walked in silence by those who would not be seen. (more…)

‘I Wish You To Death’ by Guest Author David Rhodes

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Guest Author David Rhodes

Guest Author David Rhodes

The sun beat down viciously the day of the funeral, and most assuredly would have caused much discomfort for those in attendance, had it not been for the large green awning the funeral home had provided for Billy’s funeral.

Marty stood next to mostly family members he had never met, or perhaps had met only once or twice, he being the next door neighbor that was always invited over for barbecues by Billy’s father, Sam Schafer.

Now he stood staring at the coffin, saddened that Sam and Beth could not be there – they both had already died quite some time ago. They had called Billy’s death a brain hemorrhage, but Marty knew better. It had been suicide.

He thought back to sixteen years before, to the day Billy had been born. At the time, Marty didn’t think anything had been amiss, even though a nurse had died in the birthing room minutes after Billy had emerged into the world. She had suffered a massive stroke, and simply died on the floor next to the crying newborn. It had been a strange day, indeed… (more…)

‘Three Hours to Barrow’ by Guest Author William Fripp

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Guest Author William Fripp

Guest Author William Fripp

Charlie Blevins knew the moment he boarded the plane that something was wrong.

It wasn’t anything readily identifiable, nothing like a weird noise or a vibration or even something about the other passengers, it was just a feeling, a premonition, if you will, and the little voice we all hear in the back of our heads that we more often than not ignore was screaming at Charlie to climb back down the little stairway and run. But, of course, he didn’t listen.

The props on the Piper Chieftain were already turning when Charlie boarded. He was the last passenger out of roughly a dozen on the little turboprop headed to Barrow, Alaska and so he got the seat all the way aft on the port side, pushing sideways down the narrow aisle, holding his black calf’s leather briefcase over the heads of the other passengers, fielding icy looks as he shuffled past, late as usual and holding up the whole affair. They had waited for Charlie for about fifteen minutes and everyone, including the pilots, was less than pleased. Screw them, he thought as he finally reached his seat. I paid just as much for my ticket as they did.

His seatmate was an older gentleman, at least in his early sixties, silver haired and sloppily dressed in an ill-fitting Sears and Roebuck business suit, the wrinkles in his shirt and sport coat augmenting the lines etched in his tired and drooping face. He smelled of Aqua-Velva and cigarettes and wheezed like an old hand organ with each labored breath. Charlie wondered if the old man would survive the three hours to Barrow. Or if I will for that matter. As he stowed his briefcase and settled into his seat on the aisle the old man shifted in his seat to accommodate him, breathing his Marlboro breath in Charlie’s face and smiling as they greeted one another, showing a set of yellow dentures which moved in his mouth as spoke. (more…)

‘For Love of the Paperboy’ by Guest Author Bobbi Carducci

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
Bobbi Carducci

Author Bobbi Carducci

Margaret clapped her hands with delight. Every day for a week she had gone to the dining room window in hopes of seeing the first snowflakes of the Christmas season.  With only two days left before the big day she had begun to worry that this year would be one of the dry seasons where snow didn’t appear until late January.  As far as Margaret was concerned a winter without snow on the ground from October to May had no business calling itself winter at all.

“It’s here Jim, and from the look of it it’s going to be a real white Christmas, “she said, eying the large fluffy flakes that were falling faster as she watched. Already the sidewalk in front of her house was beginning to disappear and the upper limbs of the large pine tree in the front yard across the street were being flocked in white as if a fairy godmother had waved her wand in answer to a wish.

Humming a jaunty rendition of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause she maneuvered her walker past the baby grand piano and around the ragged edge of the hideous Oriental carpet, a wedding gift from her mother-in-law over 60 years ago, to the side table that held her favorite photograph of him. Next to it was one of her taken around the same time.   (more…)

‘Bonzai, the Dragon Slayer’ by Guest Author Paul DeThroe

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Guest Author Paul DeThroe

            Bonzai was a twelve year old boy with an active, some would say, wild imagination.  Where others saw only the typical, he saw the fantastic.  He had no friends to speak of, no siblings and he was a latchkey kid, meaning his parents were always at work when he got home from school.  Even worse for him, his parents usually worked late, so Bonzai was alone most of the time.  He lived in a house that was remotely hidden in the woods.  It was a beautiful house that sat at the end of a long driveway, far away from neighbors and hence, any other children.  He spent most of his time playing games by himself in his imaginary world.

            His father, who was a businessman, would often tell Bonzai that he should put his imagination to good use by being artistic; creating music or writing.  Bonzai would just laugh at his dad and go back into his own little world.  His only ambition had always been to become a dragon slayer.  The problem with that was that dragons had been extinct for many centuries.  But he wouldn’t let that stop him; he would just create his own dragons.

            He felt most at home amongst the trees that surrounded his house and his world.  Pine trees were castles to Bonzai, especially the ones that had huge limbs that drooped all the way to the ground and could easily hide him from his enemies and his parents.  Willow trees were his fortresses, for the same reason.  Oak trees would play the role of evil dragons.  They were the biggest, strongest trees in his yard and therefore presented the biggest challenge for him.  Fallen limbs from the “dragon” oak trees would serve as his swords.  They were strong enough to handle the constant abuse that he put upon them by bashing them into the dragon trees without splintering like the easily broken pine limbs or the too limber willow branches.  (more…)