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History shows us again and again words are powerful. Words can inspire good. Words can inspire evil. Words can heal. Words can encourage. Words can edify. Words can tear down. Words can build up.


Words have spawned revolutions. Words have birthed, movements, nations, religions-and when put to music- formed the collective soundtrack of our human existence.


Learning to wield words succinctly is a skill with broad applications. A skilled wordsmith may be afforded employment opportunities across many diverse disciplines-just as varied-the salaries.


Of course, employment and a living wage is important. As I write this, I am currently unemployed thanks to the pandemic that still seems to have overarching affects and effects on my life.


But if I am to be honest, employment and finances are not what drives me. Hard to believe? It is true. What drives me is a genuine love for the written word and the art of communicating effectively and affectively with another human being.


This is what motivates me. Good writing moves people emotionally and physically. There is nothing more satisfying than watching someone be moved by your prose. There is no more powerful connection.

I feel most alive when I write. To truly know me, read what I write. I am most authentically me when I write. I do not write because I want to-I have to. Writing is breathing to me. The moment I stop, I die.


I love the entire writing process. Words are this writer's muse. A blank page in my journal teems with possibility. Excitement brews as I write the first words.


Feverishly now more words come. They fill up another blank page. They are soon scrapped and crossed out by my red pen.


I cannot help but smile as I edit. I mold and shape words like a sculptor molds clay or like a painter transforms a canvas. Then, I sigh and mumble to myself, "This is the life."




We’ve heard the adage, “Show Don’t Tell” so much it’s a cliché. In the visual medium of film, it’s critical. The audience won’t be reading the script as they’re watching the film. As writers, the visuals we create with words must “show” the story to them.


Dialogue should be tight, crisp, support the story, and move it forward. With our words, we must craft layered, tightly woven stories that engage and entertain an audience until the last frame of the film.


Subtext is key to great storytelling. An important tool in the screenwriter’s arsenal, subtext is the underlying message or meaning attributed to text, action, or an object that may be implied and not directly stated.


Using subtext enables an audience to glean information about the characters' emotional states, the environment, and backstory without the screenwriters spelling out or presenting these aspects of the story in real time. Skillful use of subtext allows the audience to experience a visceral connection to the characters and story.


The setting, the objects, the extras in the scene, and the objects the main characters bring with them can all be used to create subtext and to illustrate an underlying message behind the dialogue in the film.


Subtext creates double entendre, “multiple meanings” for the audience. Subtext allows the audience to maintain an intuitive connection to the film long after the last frame, the benchmark of truly great storytelling.



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Marcus Glenn was born January 29, 1968, in Detroit Michigan. He discovered his calling at age 5, when his kindergarten teacher asked him to decorate a board in the classroom. His father, an autoworker, would unwind by listening to jazz after work. The music soared through the house as Marcus honed his artistic skill.


Music and art would be forever entwined in his life. The memory of this music and the artistic influences of Pablo Picasso, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Benny Andrews, Ernie Barnes, and Jackson Pollack reverberate in the canon of his work today. It is a mélange an homage to those that came before and to jazz.


In Rhythm of Mars, Glenn illustrates the back view of a man in a blue and white-striped shirt framed by an orange-red sky, capped by one of Mars’ two moons. He is seated on a red stool in front of a bright green piano that appears to float, sway, and contort along with piano keys that undulate like waves. They fall to the rocky-red ground of Mars as he plays.


Clad in blue jeans, the pianist sits in an impossible position. Topsy, turvy, his right leg stretches out unnaturally from the stool revealing a white sock. Finished with a black shoe, his toe points to somewhere out of view. Paint splatters of yellow, purple, blue, and black run freely across the canvas as if in motion.


Glenn claps back to the mannerist style of Picasso and the figurative styles of Lawrence and Andrews. This is most noticeable in the elongated articulation of the pianist’s leg. Glenn’s use of bright, saturated colors, and the energy he imparts to his work nod to Ernie Barnes. The splashes of yellow, purple, blue, and black paint are subtle nods to the work of Jackson Pollock.


In his, A Day with the Masters Series, Glenn is more direct. He includes paintings by Picasso and Tarkay in his own work within the series. A true Master himself, Glenn adds to the artistic discourse by enveloping his work with his own experience and perspective.


The jazz that formed the soundtrack of his life as a boy permeates his work. Instruments, such as a keyboard, horn, and bass are featured prominently in many of his pieces.

In Rhythm of Mars, the piano and keys are center stage. Their pride of place indicates music is the catalyst. Music causes everything to sway and contort. Music demands freedom and elicits the pianist’s unfettered motion.


Rhythm, improvised, extemporaneous, and free--that’s jazz. Jazz has transported the pianist to Mars. Jazz transcends all boundaries and unites everyone and everything in its rhythm. The music contains within it this universal power. And whether a fan or not, jazz can instantly transport listeners to another time like a musical time capsule.


In homage to those that have come before, Marcus Glenn unites the great artists that have influenced him with jazz on his canvases. He creates visual, musical time capsules. Unfettered and free, the jazz in the art of Marcus Glenn creates its own harmony.


Rhythm of Mars (2005) by Marcus Glenn (from: www.parkwest-glenn.com)

Rhythm of Mars (2005) by Marcus Glenn
Rhythm of Mars by Marcus Glenn


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