Stephen Schrum

Biography

Stephen A. Schrum, PhD, is a performance poet, playwright and theatre director in both the real world and in the virtual world of Second Life. Notable past RL (real life) productions include: Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (set in 1995) and Macbeth (performed in a cyberpunk style); Moliere’s The Miser (done in period costume) and The Misanthrope (set in the era of Disco); Sarah Kane’s 4:48 Psychosis (utilizing both the Japanese dance-drama form Butoh and hallucinatory soundscapes that Schrum created). His research area is currently “The Perception of Presence in Virtual Performance,” and he has directed virtual productions of The Bacchae and Prometheus Bound in Second Life (SL). He began teaching with technology in 1993, and since then has been writing and presenting on the topic, including editing the book, Theatre in Cyberspace: Issues of Teaching, Acting and Directing (2000). His most recent scholarly publication can be found in the journal Metaverse Creativity (Vol. 2, No. 2: Dec 2012); the article, co-authored with former student Elliot Sheedy, is entitled “Building A Virtual Reality Model of Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty.” Stephen is also interested digital filmmaking; check out his work on his youtube channel.

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
As a child, I didn't have a lot of friends, so I spent a great deal of time reading. When I was too young to go to the adult area of the local community library, I tried hard to find interesting things to read in the children's wing. Two things that intrigued me were books of home science experiments, and books of mythology. I started reading the earliest stories of humankind a bit early, and I think those stories, along with a later study of Joseph Campbell, explains why there's a lot of myth and allegory in my writing.

In high school, I tried writing fiction, and also wrote out play versions of science fiction stories. The latter were never performed, but it did hard wire me for later playwrighting--seeing how those stories were structured, and how that might be performed.

Right after high school, when I didn't understand financial aid, and was stuck not going off to college for filmmaking, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I did this by writing a horrible novel. It was basically what really happened to me during the final weeks of high school, before and right after graduation. Write what you know? I didn't know much then, confined to that small town. Eventually, college got me out of that area and into the wider world.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I bought those Writer's Market books, and looked through them to see what publisher or magazine might publish my work. Ah, those rejection slips! It was clear that, if I wanted to be published, it had to be a full-time job. But being a college professor is my full-time job.

I heard a story on NPR that mentioned smashwords, and checked it out. Major publishers are nice, but apparently not for me, at least not yet. So why not dip a toe in the water of the modern world, and try an ebook?
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Stephen Schrum online


Books

Watchers of the Dawn (A Steampunk Adventure)
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 81,480. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
While searching for the First Vampyre, whose minions destroyed her hometown, Aemelja Umber encounters Stephano Alchimi, an immortal alchemist. She joins him and his order, the Vigilum Aurorae (the Watchers of the Dawn), who seek to end the source of ultimate evil in the world. WOTD is also an allegory: of corporate America, the promises/pitfalls of science and technology, and consumer culture.
Unchanging Chameleon
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 5,660. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
Come stand in the center of the spark tornado, and enjoy this collection of poems and songs by performance poet Stephen A. Schrum.
Buttcracks and Willful Ignorance
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 23,910. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
(5.00)
In answer to your question, “What’s with the title??” it comes from Schrum’s answer to the Bernard Pivot Personality Profile question, "What turns you off?" ("Buttcracks and willful ignorance!”) The volume contains a representative sampling of Schrum’s fiction and nonfiction writing from 1977 to (almost) the present.
Dog Assassin: The Musical
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 16,790. Language: English. Published: May 12, 2013. Categories: Plays » American / African American
A young grocery bagger makes extra cash on the side—but when he meets a young woman, his world turns upside down. A tale of spiritual redemption and love.
Dog Assassin
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 12,770. Language: English. Published: May 9, 2013. Categories: Plays » American / African American
A young grocery bagger makes extra cash on the side—but when he meets a young woman, his world turns upside down. A tale of spiritual redemption and love.
The Future's Passed
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,220. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
(5.00)
A collection of poems by Phorkyad Acropolis, the performance poet avatar of Stephen A. Schrum.
The Silent Oracle
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,360. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
A collection of poems by Phorkyad Acropolis, the performance poet avatar of Stephen A. Schrum.
Two Plays About Aliens
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,370. Language: English. Published: April 23, 2013. Categories: Plays » American / African American
This book contains "Aliens! 3 Miles, Turn Left," a monologue by a man who, one night, found aliens in his backyard, and "Abducted!" a one-act play about the investigation into the disappearance of two children, whose mother claims they were adbucted by an alien spacecraft.
Immaculate Misconceptions
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 16,510. Language: American English. Published: March 12, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire
(5.00)
This book is an amusing (and often serious) memoir of life growing up in Catholic grade and high school. The designation, "Immaculate Misconceptions," applies to the simplistic explanations, half-truths, canonical misinterpretations, and outright disinformation received from the author’s teachers who sought to inscribe their version of the world on his young mind.

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