madd’s picks: Stephen King’s IT

The novel “It” by Stephen King has been lauded for three decades as a horror masterpiece.  Due to my age, I came to “It” quite late, only first reading it in my late 20’s; however, I had become well-acquainted with Stephen King as an author, by that point.  Even so, I found “It” went well above and beyond my expectations and became one of my favorite Stephen King novels.  It truly is a modern-day classic.   

“It” tells the story of a group of kids, living in the fictitious town of Derry, Maine in the late 1950s and their battle against an unspeakable horror that is devouring their small town, one young victim at a time.  The monster “It” generally takes the form of an evil clown named Pennywise, however, the children must all come to face Pennywise in the form it chooses to manifest to each of them.  When they fail to completely vanquish Pennywise as children, they must then come back to Derry to face “It” as adults.  

“It” is expansive and cosmic, and at about 1,100 pages, King leaves no detail untold.  At times, the book reads more like a vast town history, marking every instance back through the centuries (about once every 27 years) that It has awakened from its slumber to wreak havoc and devastation on this tiny portion of New England.  The scale of the novel is awe-inspiring and, at times, overwhelming.  King has so thoroughly developed the town of Derry and fleshed out each character with such clarity, that the reader feels as though they’re in Derry, watching these events unfold.  The smell of blood, the crunch of gravel, and titter of childish laughter in a drain feel all too real, particularly when reading late into the night.

Bill killin it in the new adaptation.

With the release of the much-anticipated film adaptation fresh on everyone’s mind, some may wonder if the novel (and the film) live up to the hype both have received online and in the media.  Though the book may be dated in some ways, the core of the story remains as germane and horrifyingly human as the day it was published.  As Jean-Paul Sartre quipped, “Hell is other people, “ and a dark evil like Pennywise the Clown has the ability to amplify that Hell.  In King’s story, though, the deep-seated good of these children, “The Losers,” and the raw, unwavering love they have for one another, even into adulthood, shines bright in the chasm of darkness that “It” has created in Derry.  “It” compels us thirty plus years later, not only because of the murderous clown, but because we can see ourselves in those children and even in the worst of the Derry townspeople.  Reading “It” is, at times, like being forced to look into a mirror and not always liking what you see staring back.  These days I would argue that a little self-reflection might do us all a bit of good.


Stay tuned for more recommendations coming soon!

CD34 – The Time We Had by Susana Ramirez

Big show today! We’re back in business featuring a personal essay in dramatic form! The Time We Had, by Susana Ramirez.

Susana Ramirez is a wife and mother of two. She is the Founder of Save The Sharks, a South Florida non-profit organization working to promote healthier shark populations through education, research and outreach. Susana immigrated from Cuba, living in Finland before settling in the U.S. She began writing at an early age, focusing on conservation work throughout the world. Today, she understands the power in having a voice and hopes her words can have an impact on others, leading to a global shift on how humans interact with wild animals and their environments.

Find Susana on Twitter @susanaiswriting and check out Save The Sharks! This piece was originally published in The Selkie:

Brenda Zamora is an L.A. based actor, follow her adventures on Instagram!

Produced by J. Alejandro. Visit, a place for working class creatives!

MUSIC FEATURED: Dreamsphere 7 by Sascha Ende Link: License: Calm In The Night by MusicLFiles Link: License: 5 vor 12 by Sascha Ende Link: License:

On the Edge of Forever – Simple Piano Medley 1- Freezing by Warm by Meydan:


Additional sound effects obtained from


Listen on iTunes

Listen on Google Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Stitcher

Listen on RadioPublic

Listen on Overcast

7.6.20 – Videotape play complete (again)! And lessons learned from poetry

  • I talk about this old script I brought back from the dead and submitted to a competition. You learn a lot about how far you’ve come when you actually look back.
  • Poetry collection in its final stages! And the emotional lessons of not sharing anything.

Keep sharing your art. We need it now more than ever. Much love,



Listen on iTunes

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Google Podcasts

Listen on Pocket Casts

Listen on RadioPublic

Videotape, or Lupe at the End of the World. A play I dug up from the grave to submit to a competition last week. There’s life in it still!

OKA42 – Jeffrey Epstein Doc, Lovebirds, The History of Corpse Medicine

Happy birthday, America. Sorry COVID made the party so lame. Anyway here’s the latest episode of Our Kid’s Asleep!

Hi friends,

Wow, a lot to unpack! Much wow. We go all out on the following:

Jeffrey Epstein’s Filty Rich Documentary on Netflix!

Lovebirds, an action romance flick!

The History of Corpse Medicine, an amazing new book about how they used to try anything back in the day to get healthy. Check it out!

Much love and happy 4th! #blacklivesmatter!


Subscribe anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Google Podcasts

Listen on Stitcher

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Castbox

Listen on RadioPublic

Long Weekend!

I have a five day weekend. So it’s time to catch up on stuff! The time to be creative has begun!

  • The Poetry Manuscript is complete, just need to design the cover and the paperback version will be uploaded soon! I hear the Kindle versions are kind of a pain, so I’m bracing for impact. I’ll share details of the process on an upcoming episodes of The Writing Record.
  • I’ll be working on the latest episodes of Creative Drive and hopefully wrapping them up. They’ve been in limbo for a little while and that just makes me sad.
  • OKA Episode is ready to go and coming soon!
  • Rewatching The Twilight Zone. I don’t think you will find anything more inspirational for a storyteller. Every episode is outstanding and I tip my hat to Rod Serling every time.

Much to do this holiday weekend, but spirits are high and all we can do is write a word at a time!

Much love,


Lettuce have a good writing weekend.

Midweek 6.16.20

  • My office plant, weakened by excessive air conditioning in the office building, came home with me last week. Convalescence in the guest bedroom. On my writing desk. Its new home.
  • And here’s the recap of my creative pursuit this weekend on The Writing Record: Children’s Book Developments and Podcasting at the last minute!

Much love,


6.8.20 – Poetry Chapbook Progress, Billy Collins Masterclass, Back to Charlie Bird

a podcast about doing the writing and recording thing.

  • Poetry Chapbook Progress. I took this week to gather my poems to put together a chapbook to self-publish. It was time.
  • Billy Collins Masterclass. Thank you Billy Collins for existing and for sharing your wisdom.
  • Back to Charlie Bird. The children’s book will be my main priority now that I got a week off from it.

I recorded this minutes after I woke up this morning, I may have to go back and listen to what I said.

Much love,


Check out The Writing Record page to subscribe!

CD32 – A Clear Solution by J. Alejandro

A few words and a poem too. #blacklivesmatter #nojusticenopeace

Campaign Zero: Organization that utilizes research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in the U.S.

Unicorn Riot: Nonprofit media collective dedicated to exposing the root causes of social, economic, and environmental issues.

George Floyd Memorial Fund: The official GoFundMe to support the Floyd family.

Minnesota Freedom Fund: Community-based fund set up to pay criminal bail and immigration bonds for individuals who have been arrested while protesting police brutality. This has become one of the most prominent bail funds, providing relief to protesters in Minneapolis seeking justice for George Floyd.

Submit your poetry and flash fiction today for the Creative Drive Podcast: