M  i  l    M  a  n  i  a


        The Official Newsletter of WWW.ARTISTINSANE.COM



All Content © Mil Scott                                                                                                         www.artistinsane.com

Thanks For The Warm Reception To Mil Mania!

                                 Welcome to the second issue of this
                                  fledgling journalistic effort...with regard to
                                  which, first and foremost I want to express
                                  my most sincere appreciation to everyone
                                  who has been so encouraging of the
                                  endeavor — and particularly those who’ve
signed up to receive it!  I hope you
                                  continue to enjoy the contents and look
                                  forward to hearing more ideas,
                                  suggestions, and any other commentary
                                  you wish to share. 
                                     That said, with regard to this particular edition, I’d like to reference a page of my website entitled, “
Why Mil Loves Lit”.  One of the few bits of “non-Mil” writing to be found there, it is included because it so succinctly captures my passion for not         merely literature, but all forms of art — and the common purposes I believe they share.  And, one of these purposes is to enable us to view the world in a slightly — perhaps even radically — different way from the perspective of “normal” folks…thereby gaining a “mature sensibility for the condition of all living things”. Another is to allow ourselves to feel “concern, tension, excitement, hope” — and “fear”...which provides the perfect introduction to the new Mil Mania section, “Pet Peeves and Paranoia”, as promised in the prior issue.  What’s more, as this newsletter is being prepared with the holiday season in progress, it seems a perfect time to awake that aforementioned compassion within us — and, it’s hoped, subsequently apply it to individuals not always considered by society as “worthy” of such attention. 
     By the same token, it may seem inappropriate to herein present the ongoing saga of Joshua Gray, and the latest chapter detailing his dark struggles in the aftermath of tragic loss.  But, as these are also real-life struggles for an unfortunate number of non-fictional characters at this “celebratory” time, perhaps it is more fitting than ever to include a reminder of those in this document filled with pleas for “insane” levels and forms of empathy.
     Lastly, I’d just like to say thanks again for making
Mil Mania a success.  Indeed, your warm embrace of it has proved a truly perfect holiday surprise — and gift.
      Best wishes.


              ‘Tis the season!!!

   Click the photo below to read an
   online greeting to all
Mil Mania





Happy Holidays

       Newsletter Spotlight 

 Volume 1, Issue 2, Dec. 2005



     Now available  as a (free) download 




I know first hand just how tough it is to make pure notes sound good without any accompaniment ...I want to convey how really lovely I thought the whole thing was.”


“It's so wonderful that you've contibuted your time and talent to bring this song forth.  I'm sure the family you created this for appreciates it, as well as any listeners who come across your site…”                                                              

“Loved your song…”



“Maybe it was my speakers, but it did not sound like you [your speaking voice].  You sound good. Not that you don't sound good normally (stutter, stutter, stutter), but I was a little shocked.  Music always makes karaoke people sound better.  Music could only make you sound great.”                                                  M.K.

      Thanks to everyone for your
                     kind words!

And,  if you haven’t listened yet yourself, be sure to read my blog entry (disclaimer!) explaining…

“How ‘How We Become’ Became”.













 Comments  from  Mil Mania
  readers on “How We Become”   
                            by Mildred Scott



      NEW!!! This month marks
       the debut of an ongoing feat-
       ure of this section. While I will continue to include news in every issue to keep readers up to date on the latest happenings with the three acts most prominently featured on www.artistinsane.com, each month I will choose one additional artist — in some cases a new discovery I’ve recently made, in others an individual or group whose work I’ve long appreciated — to make a one-time appearance here.  And, of course, as with all aspects of
Mil Mania, feel free to offer suggestions.


This month’s featured artist: 


Electric X — a
group I had the
privilege of catch-
ing live last Febru-
ary as the opening
act for a show at
Chicago Street
Theater in Val-
paraiso, IN (under the guise of their alter-ego, “Acoustic X”).  Immediately struck by their spot-on vocal harmonies and more than competent musicianship — not to mention a wonderfully diverse songwriting portfolio— I subsequently purchased their latest CD,
Radioville — a disc I highly recommend for you as well.  To hear a few selections from it, visit www.myspace.com/electicx.  You’ll also find a link there to the band’s official website, which includes an audio clip from a beautiful Christmas song on the “downloads” page.


Third Eye Blind’s latest bio revision (which I was tapped to write by Jen’s StephanJenkins.com, as previously noted) can now be read by clicking here.  You can also view a recent television show/interview with the band online by visiting www.rappinwithrockstars.com. (I have not seen this interview myself as yet so have no further info at this time...)


Brian Fitzpatrick has completed producing Carrie Engdahl’s dubut album, and is now scheduled to back her on guitar for several upcoming local shows.  In addition, his other creative endeavor (a growing graphics business) has won him four          American Design Awards.  Congrats, Brian!  Still, on behalf of all Brian Fitzpatrick music admirers, I implore you — don’t give up your night job!!!


Michael McDermott wrapped up a highly successful tour of Ireland in late November and (in another example of how my insanity’s proved contagious!?!) has recently announced that his upcoming album is themed around “the beauty of non-perfection” Entitled Perfectly Imperfect, the disc is scheduled for an early 2006 release. In the meantime don’t forget to keep checking out Michael’s MySpaceMusic page to hear a
new song every week (some-
times even two!)

Music Mayhem   

In A Nutshell

Lest you need a brief escape from the “depth” of the Asylum column below, here again is the section dedicated to a lighter literary side— hmm….a brevity of levity!


Rather than a poem of my own this month, in the spirit of the season, here’s an excerpt from my all-time favorite animated Christmas special… How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Theodore Geisel — a.k.a. Dr. Seuss…


   “Christmas day is in our grasp
     So long as we have hands to clasp
     Christmas day will always be
     Just as long as we have we.”      


                               This column
                               corresponds with the
Mad Ravings On section of www.artistinsane.com, and is dedicated to selected reviews of movies, television and books… most of which are unlikely to represent “the latest” in any of these categories, but rather a  random selection that represents a new and/or noteworthy discovery to me.


Having reviewed a film last time around, this month I’ll be commenting on a book...Laura Lippman’s To The Power of Three.  As I’ve also had the opportunity to watch several films since the last issue, however, click here to check out a review of The Interpreter…plus, coming in the days ahead, a few additional titles, as time permits.


     To start, I have to preface this review with the admission that I haven’t actually read the book — which said, I remind you of this column’s heading before you start rolling your eyes and crying foul.   What I have read, however, are all nine prior novels by this author, and enjoyed them all immensely.  And, knowing from this acquaintance that she completes a new novel every year, I now enforce upon myself the concept of “delayed gratification”, by purchasing each soon after its release, but waiting until the next one is (at least almost) available so I always know more of her great work is out there awaiting me.
     That said, in recommending this particular Lippman book — sight unseen — I should probably familiarize you briefly with her overall body of work — 8 titles of which recount the ongoing adventures of  Tess Monaghan, a female private investigator born to a very proper Jewish mother and Irish Catholic liquor board inspector dad.  And, as the offering of that personal information up front in describing her to you implies, yes, these tales are fleshed out far more fully than to include merely the details necessary to find out “whodunit” in the cases Tess investigates. 
     What’s more, the cast of both one-time and recurring characters each novel features are likewise imbued with genuine humanity, in its many conflicting forms — and, as in real life, sometimes these exhibited within the same individual.  And, the cases often bring Tess face to face with societal problems or injustices, which thus far range from racism, gay-bashing, and eating disorders  to the sometimes impossible task of being permitted by others to move beyond one’s past.
To The Power of Three, however, is not a Tess Monaghan mystery. Instead, as Lippman’s second stand-alone work, it deals with the topic of a school shooting and “the secret — and not-so-secret — lives of teenage girls.”  As the jacket goes on to state, this book “carries the crime novel into richer, more fertile territory.  It is the crowning achievement to date in an already exemplary literary career.”
    In conclusion, then — read it!    I only ask that when you do, and subsequently let me know your thoughts — don’t spoil the ending.  The next Lippman book isn’t scheduled for release until
                           next July...which is —
                              you guessed  it — 
                                 when I plan to read
                                     this one myself!

                      Ravings of a
Mad Woman


     Earlier this year my husband and I became the proud owners of a pet rat – though, not by choice, precisely, I must admit.  Rather, on a particularly wintry day early spring day we discovered the poor creature shivering on a patch of grass between a parking lot and a busy roadway.  Fearing a bad ending pretty much inevitable if we left her where she was, my husband tentatively reached down to pick her up by the scruff of the neck...and, to our amazement, this odd little being stood up to very willingly meet his hand.  Within seconds it proved obvious she was both familiar with and fond of people, as she made no attempt whatsoever to bite or otherwise show aggression. And once we'd located a small bucket in which to temporarily house her until we could get her home, she made it clear she wouldn't argue about that arrangement -- despite the fact she also made it very clear she vastly preferred my lap. 
     As she nosed around a bit, nibbling gently on my sleeve, etc. we realized she was most likely hungry, and stopped to purchase a small bag of "party mix" made from cereal, pretzels, nuts, breadstick bits, etc.  The cereal proved a particular hit, and she eagerly whittled away at several pieces, carefully holding each between her two very tiny cupped hands.  Tearing the bottom portion from a soft drink cup I happened to have with me, I offered her a drink of water, which she likewise eagerly accepted. 
     We soon called the vet to find out what she really should be eating, and just a bit about her care in general, and were told that rats do indeed make wonderful pets, they eat most anything -- cat food, dog food, people food -- and theorized that someone's girlfriend had quite possibly "lost" the pet a boyfriend had acquired as a likely explanation for her sudden appearance in the very unlikely spot where she'd turned up.
     But, whatever her past, for the present we took her home -- already just a couple hours in falling quite in love with her -- the adorable tiny hands with which she held each bit of food, and the gentleness of her demeanor overall.  And, (having already dubbed her "Molly") we watched the lost-and-found section of our paper for several days, finally deciding she was indeed ours -- and can't begin to express the relief and pleasure which accompanied that realization.
     We’d set up housekeeping for her in a medium sized aquarium, and provided a roughly 4” x 10” cylinder in which she could curl up and “hide”, along with a cardboard paper towel tube to chew on and play with, plus increasing amounts of bathroom tissue as this seemed a soft and easy-to-change bedding material – and one for which Molly seemed inordinately fond since she spent much of her time using it to construct a fluffy white (and rather mountainous) cocoon. 
     Everything seemed to be going along fine over the next couple of weeks as she settled into our household, and during which time Molly met her “grandma” (my mom), who instantly adored her also.  And, of course, we told many of our friends and other family members about our newest acquisition – most of whom (having not actually had the privilege of coming face to face with her) were far less enthusiastic than my mom.  In any case, we continued to immensely enjoy her company, and experimented with various treats and different foods she might enjoy.  And, as we may have been a bit overzealous in our attempts to win her heart via her stomach, we were far from shocked that this particular area of her anatomy steadily grew throughout this period.
     Of course, that meant I was, in fact, completely shocked to pull aside a bit of the tissue cocoon in search of her one evening, to discover not merely Molly herself, but two very tiny pink objects very closely resembling (extremely) miniature piglets as well.  Unwittingly, I have to confess I let out a squeal not at all unlike that of a piglet myself --which more than likely contributed to Molly’s apparent conviction that humans were not to be trusted with any more looks at her offspring for quite some time.  Graciously, however, she continued to allow us to hold her, even to take her out of the aquarium for her usual evening visits with us on the couch – and, of course, she continued to allow us to feed her treats!
     To make a very long story (which I may publish in its entirety on the website in the near future) at least a wee bit shorter, may it suffice to say that the “piglets” grew into pets every bit as wondrous, charming and truly beloved as Molly herself.  Dubbed Noonan and Flannery (in homage to the main characters of the film,
State of Grace – who it might be argued were likewise not quite the rats they were at first glance perceived to be) and neutered to prevent any additional, uh…“surprises”, they have long since surpassed Molly’s size at least twice over, and although are allegedly finished growing, given their favorite foods are pasta and ice cream (the latter of which they beg for mercilessly before we’re permitted to leave them in the morning), it’s not quite certain whether they might not yet (all) manage to “expand”.
     In any case, as noted in my introduction to this particular newsletter issue, the holiday season seems the perfect time to open one’s heart and mind to compassion for individuals our preconceived notions might prevent us from otherwise “loving”…the perfect time to set aside skepticism and fear, and take a chance on believing in at least the possibility that “the devil you don’t know” might be an angel in disguise.
     And, who knows, once you open your door to embrace of that kind of wonder, not only might you gain a truly unexpected blessing – at a moment you least expect, you might even find on “some enchanted evening” that the blessing’s multiplied.


(Click here to check out a photo gallery my little rodent “angels” in their holiday attire!)

                                    NEW!!!   As Promised — It’s Here…


                                          Pet Peeves And Paranoia     







Thanks for reading this issue of Mil Mania!  And, remember, this is a work in progress, subject to many and varied changes — all adding up to a new and improved publication...so I hope!  Please drop me a line to let me know what you think, including any and all suggestions.  And, if you’ve enjoyed this bit of e-news madness,  please encourage your friends to subscribe today!   Thank you!!!

To remove your name from this mailing list click here  and type “Unsubscribe” in the subject line. Questions or comments?  E-mail :   mil@artistinsane.com








As introduced in the last issue of Mil Mania, this column presents the latest chapter in the prose “prequel” to my screenplay, Taking the Fall.  While the script picks up four years after the suicide of the main character (Joshua Gray)’s girlfriend, the novel begins with that act itself, and the portion shared here documents the events of the very next night… (NOTE:  The "Prismatic" link goes to the song's lyrics, also written specifically for this issue.)


The Leap to Limbo
(tentative title), Chapter 3… “Nightfall”:


     Josh catches sight of a drink-filled tumbler held by a patron leaning on the upper level rail as he and the band launch into the ironically timed “Prismatic”.  The club is packed – a swirling mass of bodies, heat, sweat, alcohol – all contributing to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the club, the song and Josh’s likewise swirling thoughts.  Feeling slightly dizzy, he envisions himself inside the glass tumbler as he sings, and is stunned by the almost immediate sensation of a powerful undertow pinning him against the tumbler’s side as it picks up speed.  The dizziness increases, and is joined by a mounting panic as he’s hurtled back and forth across the tumbler’s inner chamber, a nauseating feeling reminiscent of his one and only ride on the twirling “Teacups” at a boardwalk amusement park his father had taken him to in childhood.

     A not quite empty water bottle suddenly smacks his shoulder, drawing Josh out of his far from tranquil reverie.  Gradually becoming aware of his surroundings once again, he turns to find Tommy’s quizzical gaze upon him, never missing a beat on an improvised bit of keyboard work covering the fact the song was supposed to have long since been over.  Josh quickly slips back into his front man role, thanking the crowd for their enthusiastic reception and announcing the dates of a couple upcoming shows.

     Taking off his guitar as the club’s PA system begins blaring announcements, Josh offers a quick apology to his bandmates and quickly exits the stage.  On his way back to the dressing room he is stopped by a female fan’s hand on his sleeve.  His head still foggy from his recent journey through that strange phenomenon akin to a washer’s spin cycle, he merely nods politely at the half sentences he manages to catch, all expressions of appreciation for his work.  As he turns to continue toward the backstage area, she falls in beside him, still chatting earnestly about vocal inflections and lyrical implications as he barely grunts out monosyllabic replies.

     At last, they reach the dressing room and he is surprised to hear his own voice asking if she’d like to go grab a cup of coffee.

     “Now?”  he hears her ask.
     “Yeah,” he replies.  “There’s a shop right around the corner.  I’ll come back and pick up my stuff later.”

     They head off into the starless night, and walk toward a neon outline of steam rising from a slightly tilted cup.  Josh feels momentarily sick again as the image draws him back to the twirling tumbler/teacup ride, a vision he impatiently shakes off as they reach the door.  He opens it for her to enter, then follows her inside.

     Oddly crowded for this late hour, they wait in line to place their orders, then carefully make their way toward a small corner table, hot liquid suddenly spilling onto Josh’s hand as another customer accidentally backs into him.  Cutting off a brief curse, Josh switches the cup to his other hand, and quickly wipes the dripping coffee onto his jeans.

     “You okay?” his companion asks solicitously.
      Josh doesn’t answer, turning instead to grab a small stack of napkins off the counter.  He feels his face redden with the discomfort of the question, and covers by making the mock effort of dabbing at the stain.  Finally, he pretends to give up and slides into the chair closest to the wall.

     At last “alone” with this stranger, fidgeting and fumbling with his coffee to avoid eye contact, Josh is struck by the realization this is an encounter he initiated – for reasons he has yet to fathom.  Anxious now for it to end as quickly as possible – preferably without looking like the mental case he’d surely prove himself by suggesting they just leave – he attempts to gulp about a third of his coffee at once, inevitably scalding his mouth and forcing him to unthinkingly spit it back into the cup.  “So much for looking like a mental case,” he reflects bitterly, his hand clenched over his mouth, eyes watering.  “How about looking like a complete imbecile instead?”

     Again, from her, only a sincerely worried, “Are you okay?” accompanied by a light touch on his arm and a look of such genuine concern that his eyes fill with more tears, prompted by a pain and burning completely unrelated to the nearly forgotten coffee.  Feeling exposed and uncertain, Josh looks away quickly, then, unable to restrain the flood of emotion somehow suddenly bursting forth, he breaks down into a torrent of sobs as several patrons at nearby tables turn to stare.

     Unabashed by their interest, which quickly subsides as each returns to his or her own concerns, his companion moves her chair closer to Josh’s and gently rubs his back, offering the soothing tones one might use to calm a frightened child, prompting Josh to reach out blindly in a tight embrace.  They stay this way for several seconds until Josh is brought back to himself by the feeling of a pair of eyes upon him from nearby – but not just any pair of eyes – Julie’s eyes.

     Certain at last that he’s truly lost his mind, Josh disentangles himself from his companion’s arms and makes his way to the door of the coffee shop, a female voice calling his name ringing distantly in his ears as he hits the street.  Uncaring now how completely crazed he must appear, Josh begins to run, his footsteps and the blood pounding through his brain the only sounds he hears as he sprints through the increasing blackness, leaving the lights of the club, the coffee shop and the still wakeful portions of the city behind.  After running for several minutes that seem like both seconds and yet hours, he finds himself in an area completely devoid of illumination.  Still, he runs on, oblivious to any dangers or obstacles that might lie in his path, feeling hard pavement beneath his feet and a strong breeze on his face – until, abruptly he becomes aware that the pavement’s ended – without his having tripped or noticed any change in the surface leading up to this transition.  He looks down and realizes in panic the transition isn’t merely one of surface, but dimension – all too late as he drops like a stone into an inky, cavernous night.

     He plunges on, further and further downward, at first unable to make a sound or any attempt to fight against the fear and hopelessness in which he feels himself being more and more fully swallowed.  Still armed with just enough wits to realize the need to struggle, to reach out for some type of handhold, some vestige of salvation, Josh begins wildly flailing his arms and legs, and finally finds his voice, letting out scream after scream he’s convinced only he can hear.

    Suddenly, there is someone else in the blackness beside him.  Although he can see neither face nor form, he slowly becomes aware of a voice – a male voice this time – calling his name.  Directing all his energies to the voice, he hears it growing louder and closer and begins to feel the presence of the human to whom it belongs.

     “Brian!” he shouts suddenly, and finds himself face to face with Julie’s brother – someone real…someone alive.


     Josh opened his eyes to see Brian standing over the couch, where Josh had lain awake as the clock on the nearby table ticked away the hours of one, two, three, and Brian lay (asleep?) in the bedroom  -- a place Josh couldn’t himself even imagine ever finding rest again.  So much for the couch as a more pleasant alternative.

     For the seemingly umpteenth time in recent hours, Josh heard the words, “Are you okay”, this time from a clearly concerned Brian.   Answering in the affirmative, Josh attempted to sound far less shaken by the tricks played upon him by his tired, overwrought psyche than he was close to feeling.  “Just a bad dream, man.  Sorry to wake you.”

     “Hey, I hear you.  I wasn’t getting much sleep, either,”  Brian responded automatically.  Then, with a brief, rueful smile, he added gently,  “But that may kinda be a good thing, huh?”

     Josh half-shrugged, returning a weak grin.  Brian hesitated a moment, obviously still worried, “How about I make us some coffee?”

     “Thanks,” Josh returned.  “But, right now, I think I’ll pass.”

Writings From The Asylum

A Little Extra “Insanity”…


(I received this in a Christmas card, and decided to share it...)


“This is a call to the living,

 To those who refuse to make peace with

With the suffering and waste of the world.

This is a call to the human, not the perfect,
To those who know their own prejudices,

Who have no intention of becoming prisoners
     to their own limitations.

This is a call to those who remember the
     dreams of their youth,

Who know what it means to share food and

The care of children and those who are

To reach beyond barriers of the past

Bringing people to communion.

This is a call to the never ending spirit

Of the common man, his essential decency
     and integrity,

His unending capacity to suffer and endure,

To face death and rise again

And build from the ruins of life.

This is the greatest call of all

The call to a faith in people.”

       Algernon D. Black, former senior leader,
             New York Society for Ethical Culture