Something Worth Fighting For

Hurray! I published a story. “Something Worth Fighting For” has appeared in the summer 2007 issue of Front Porch Journal.

This is the first story I put up for workshop at Iowa. I returned to it very slowly. Advice can be difficult.

Something Worth Fighting For

     “Did you ever kill anyone?” she asked. Then reconsidered. “I’m sorry, never mind.” She bit her glossy lip. “It’s just, I’m really interested, because it’s really interesting.” Her eyebrows arced high, and her dainty earrings dangled as she spoke.
     The young man twisted on his stool, as if working out a kink in his spine. It was dark, inside and out. The bar was nearly empty. The happy couples had long since left. Only a few desperate patrons still lingered.
     She said something else. And then something else.
     The young man nodded. She prattled on about the virtues of dissent, hooking and jabbing at him like a boxer, all the while keeping her dukes up, leaving no opening to exploit. He sat with polo shirt tucked into constricting wrinkle-free slacks.
     When he’d returned from the war a couple months ago, he learned two things: That his girlfriend whom he told not to wait for him, in fact, didn’t, and that life was very easy – mostly. The important things were easy. Going for a walk, for example. Eating. Sleeping.(more)

The American Budget

My curiosity about the federal government, taxes, foreign policy, military spending, etc. led me to I bought the poster, and have since spent hours studying the administration’s discretionary budget proposal. It inspired the following guest opinion, published in the Daily Iowan on Feb 19th, 2007.

Demand better results from defense spending

We Americans, I think, do not generally consider ourselves militant. Our forces are all-volunteer. There is no sustained presence of uniformed soldiers in the streets, as exists in other nations. The ideals of peace, justice, and liberty feature prominently in both our history and folklore. We did not even keep a substantial standing army during peacetime for the first century and a half of our existence – the practice began in 1945.

For many, myself included, recent history runs contrary to what we thought we knew about ourselves. Read More

Time to leave the illusions behind

This guest opinion was published in the Daily Iowan, Jan. 17th, 2007, and the Press Citizen, Jan. 23rd, 2007.

Time to leave the illusions behind

President Bush mentioned the Iraq Study Group report twice in his 20-minute speech touting the proposed increased troop level in Iraq. He stated that his plan to embed more American advisers in Iraqi Army units is consistent with the report.

Although that specific morsel of his new plan is indeed consistent with the report, his saying so creates the illusion of a broader consistency that simply is not there. Read more: (Daily Iowan | Press Citizen)


Oasis is a feature-length screenplay based on my experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a surealistic satire of our war in the desert, the people fighting it, and the politics surrounding it. It was a quarter finalist in the 2006 American Zoetrope Screenplay writing contest.

Log line: There’s a war in the desert and Lieutenant Tuttle struggles through culture, the military mindset, and a staggering bureaucracy to build a well for the locals.

Read It! (.pdf) | (.rtf)
(may download slowly, especially the pdf)

Letter to the Editor — History Lessons

A letter to the editor about the looming controversy with Iran, printed in The Daily Iowan in April 2006. The editor was responsible for inserting all those awful commas.

History Lessons

A recent DI article (“Iraq in class,” March 22) discussed how various UI instructors are employing the war in Iraq as a teaching tool. This has a variety of benefits, including immediate relevance, but there is an even more relevant issue: the looming possibility of war with Iran.

While important decisions remain about our involvement in Iraq, the war itself is a done deal. The issue of Iran is more relevant, because the decision to wage war has not yet been made – at least that’s what I keep telling myself. It is a live issue, and, yet, few people and few, if any, instructors are engaging it.

Am I the only one wondering why the possibility of an even broader war in the Middle East hasn’t received more attention? Read More

Five-Second Films

In February 2005, Cadillac held a five-second film contest to promote their new V-series which could apparently go zero-to-sixty in under five seconds.

My friend Paul Bances and I shot the following two very-short-shorts on hand-held digital video recorders. Neither of us had used cameras before, but we were screenwriting classmates at the New York Film Academy, and motivated, and the school gave us access to some editing software.
Both are films got noticed — they called each of us for releases, but neither placed in their respective categories. It’s all politics, you know. “The Undefeated” was in comedy. My “The Lovers” was in the more obscure drama category.

The Undefeated (.mp4) Written, directed and produced by Paul Bances. Starring Roman Skaskiw as the boxer.

The Lovers (.mp4) Written, directed and produced by Roman Skaskiw. Assistant producer: Paul Bances. Starring Paul Bances and Maria Geronimo as the star-crossed lovers.