Saturday, September 24, 2011

Get Busy, Part 2

Evergreen, Colorado

A visit to the archives has reminded me that there is no better time to get busy than right now. Beautiful fall weather confirms this and that means my mission for the day is to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. I hope this post inspires you to do the same (from my May 24, 2011 blog post).
The Sunday Night Movie at the House of Tystad last weekend was The Shawshank Redemption (1994). We watched it on DVD and the video quality was amazing. Not all movies made 17 years ago hold up to the test of time, but this one really does. It's a beautiful film that anyone who loves movies really must see. Ask around and you'll be surprised at how many people count it among their favorite movies of all time. If you watch it for the first time or again for the 50th time, you'll be glad you did.

One of many reasons to love the film is its message to "Get busy living or get busy dying." That line of dialogue was taken verbatim from the Stephen King short story "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" (upon which the screenplay is based), which was one of four stories in the 1982 King book Different Seasons. Different Seasons also contains the stories "Apt Pupil" (also made into a film), "The Breathing Method," and "The Body," which was made into the film Stand By Me (an outstanding movie that warrants its own discussion).

As an aside, The Shawshank Redemption was adapted for the screen and directed by Frank Darabont, who has directed other films based on Stephen King's books. He also created the AMC television series "The Walking Dead" (2010-) and is reportedly a close friend of Stephen King.

The case can be made that Stephen King, who is known to be a huge fan of rock and roll, borrowed the idea for the line "Get busy living or get busy dying" from the Bob Dylan lyric "He not busy being born is busy dying" from the song "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," which appeared on the classic 1965 Dylan album Bringing It All Back Home. The lines are strikingly similar and it would make sense that Stephen King would be appreciative of Dylan's genius with the English language.

In any case, the message we get from watching The Shawshank Redemption - probably from Dylan, through King, through Darabont - is that we each need to make a simple decision to either embrace life and live it to its fullest... or be satisfied with the status quo. I won't elaborate on that issue here, but I will say that one of the things that inspires me the most and motivates me to live my life to the fullest is art. Specifically, film as art. And that brings us full circle. Creativity breeds creativity and art fosters art.

Thank you, Bob Dylan. Now I'm busy.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

An Interview with Asa Roth

For this week's blog post, I used my media credentials to get an interview with Asa Roth from Blue Hill. He took some time after football practice last week to answer some questions and here's what he told me.
TRT: Good to see you, Asa. Thanks for taking the time.
Asa Roth: No problem.
TRT: Tell me what's new with you.
Asa Roth: Well, just school and football and that's about it.
TRT: How's football?
Asa Roth: We won the first three games, but we've still got some tough teams ahead.
TRT: You just started your senior year. What's that like?
Asa Roth: Kind of like I can see the end, but it's still a ways off. It's weird.
TRT: Hardest class and... are there any easy ones?
Asa Roth: My hardest class has got to be Econ. I don't know about the easiest, but we have a lot of fun in Team Sports.
TRT: Sounds like a lot more fun than Economics. What's going on besides school?
Asa Roth: Um, my girlfriend wants to go to Rapid City next month to see Miranda Lambert.
TRT: Girlfriend? What's up with that?
Asa Roth: Yeah, Shannon is a huge Miranda Lambert fan, so I said I would take her to the show.
TRT: No, I mean what's up with a girlfriend?
Asa Roth: I don't know if I want to talk about that. (smiling)
TRT: Alright. Fair enough. You know, there are a lot of expenses involved. With girlfriends, I mean. After the concert tickets, there's dinner... and it never ends. Are you sure you've thought this girlfriend thing through?
Asa Roth: (laughing) I still don't want to talk about it.
TRT: Okay, back to football... where's Blue Hill going to end up at the end of the season?
Asa Roth: Coach says we're going all the way to state this year and that's what we're going to do. Blue Hill all the way.
TRT: Sounds great. Good luck to you and the rest of the team. We'll be watching. Thanks for being here today. And say hello to Shannon for me.
Asa Roth: (laughs) I'll do that. Thanks.
Get to know more about Asa Roth in Blue Hill by Todd R. Tystad, available from Amazon.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


On the eve of the ten-year anniversary of September 11, 2001, I can't help but think back to the way things were a decade ago. I had just begun celebrating some big family changes and it's no exaggeration that my life was perfect. Like many people, I'll never forget the morning of 9/11/01. I was listening to the radio and getting ready for school. And then I heard the news. No one had any idea how everything would change from that moment on.

Working through grief involves denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance and everyone has to travel the journey at their own pace. What I remember seeing ten years ago was that regardless of where a person was in the grieving process, a feeling of national unity and pride was growing day by day. There were occasional moments of friction, but what I'll never forget is seeing an entire country align collectively as if to say, "We're Americans and we can get through this together." We were proud. It's sad to see that today, many of us have lost that feeling.

What I want for my community today and for our country tomorrow is a return to the feeling that we are indeed one family with the same hopes, dreams, and accomplishments that we can be proud of. We pulled together a decade ago and we can certainly do it again. Pride is a wonderful thing and the great thing about our country is that we have a lot to be proud of.

As we begin to observe a tragic anniversary, let's focus on what makes our country great and use that feeling to restore our national pride. We're a very fortunate people and after we grieve together, we can celebrate together. Let's look forward and be proud of who we are and what we can accomplish together.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Blue Hill: Comment or Review

My new book, Blue Hill, is now available from Amazon. If you read it and enjoy it, please consider commenting or leaving a review to let other readers know what you think. Many thanks.