My name is Scott Andrew Hutchins. I was born in Indianapolis in 1976 and have lived in New York City since I was accepted to graduate school in 2003. I have a master’s degree in cinema and media from The College of Staten Island of the City University of New York and a bachelor’s degree in English and communication studies from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. In 2011, I became Adobe Certified in Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Flash; however, I don’t own these programs.
I am descended from the Hutchins clan of Springfield, Massachusetts (although I have never been there myself, my father’s family moved from there when he was 3), approximately 7/8 English and 1/8 German (mother’s father’s mother, whose name my mother could not tell me). My paternal grandmother, Susan Brooks (1899-1988), and her two sisters, Eleanor and Marian, were raised by The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, better known as the Shakers. All three appear in a group photograph that can be found in The Shaker Image by Julia Neal and Elmer R. Pearson, as well as in numerous photos in by cousin Eleanor Brooks Fairs’s article in American Communal Societies Quarterly. My paternal grandfather, Osburne Amos Hutchins (1902-1982) (I met him only a few times, and my strongest memory of him is the horrored look he gave with my little-kid insult of his middle name), ran a diner in Bloomfield, New Jersey. My father (1941-2007) served in the Air Force during peace time and once guarded Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while he preached in a church, then double-majored in biology and chemistry via the G.I. bill, becoming a biochemist. He ruined his career and became a car salesman after an incompetent oncologist erroneously told him (in 1981) that his polycythemia gave him only ten years to live, never bothering to tell him that most diagnoses of polycythemia are made on people in their 70s who survive about ten years with the illness. My maternal grandfather died of a tobacco-related heart attack when my mother was 8, approximately 1950. My grandmother (1906-1991) blamed my mother for his death because she was stealing his candy from the mantel that he was using to quit from the moment the Surgeon General put out the warning. I think this incident had an enormous psychological impact on my mother and explains a lot of the terrible things in my life. I have a niece and a nephew, but I suspect my brother (I am the younger of two) would be angry at me if I named them here. I don’t even know if my nephew knows that I exist, since he was born during my housing court turmoil and I have yet to send him any gifts, unlike his big sister, whom I still hope to meet soon. I am not related to Scott Hutchins, San Francisco-based author of the novel, A Working Theory of Love, who told me that he traces his roots to the American South. I go by my first name, but I include my middle name to avoid confusion with him, since I am also a writer. So far, I have published only articles.
Among the works for which I hope to eventually be recognized are the scripts Misused Minds: Curse of the Educated Youth (stage) What Killed Bartók (stage and screen versions), The Sketch (screen), For Guy Maddin (screen) and the novel, Tip of Oz. I was hired to adapt an oral story by the film director Uzo that I called Other People (blatant Sartre reference), but it is in limbo. I have also written adaptations of William Shakespeare’s The Life of Timon of Athens (prompt book/screenplay), a collection of L. Frank Baum short stories and poetry called Away from the Prosaic Gas-Light, Dwayne McDuffie’s Monster in My Pocket (screen; abandoned when the owners declined to read it, although even unfinished, it is twice as long as a typical screenplay), and Steve Gerber and J.M. DeMatteis’s Song of the Man-Thing (opera (including composition); rights not cleared). Other projects include two unfinished novels that I consider juvenalia but are nevertheless extant, at least in handwritten copies (Realm of the Gryphon Labyrinth and Giraffic Park, An Adventure in Oz (a dark knock-off of a story by Marie Candler Richardson)), and an attempt to adapt Baum’s Aunt Jane’s Nieces to an opera titled Elmhurst. I am still thinking up other projects, but one of my challenges in terms of marketing is that I rarely work in short forms when it comes to fiction and drama. I chose opera for most of my early attempts at becoming music because, as a playwright, it seems to me to be the most natural form for me to attempt, since musicals are a much more rigidly and commercially defined genre.
Originally, this blog was primarily to be about film and literature, but after I was duped by a grad school colleague into coming to Jacksonville, Florida to be an assistant at his film company, only to be let go after three months of receptionist work in which I was expected without being told to be on-call 24/7 for $18,000 a year, I wound up living in the New York City homeless shelter system starting May 25, 2012. I report on the repulsive conditions there and the sick joke of a job market I face while medically limited to a desk job. I have medical documentation of my condition a quarter inch thick. I have almost constant pain in standing, unless I’m lucky enough to get maybe 10-20 OK minutes when I first get up. It becomes excruciating within 2-3 hours, and eventually proceeds to debilitating spasms that force me to grab furniture to keep from falling down. This is exacerbated if I do any serious lifting, as happened quite a bit when I was moving into my last apartment, and left myself unable to stand without a cane for three days after loading my storage unit prior to departing for Jacksonville. In 2005-06, until the chiropractic intervention of Steve Gettinger, I was unable to stand without a cane, and it doesn’t take much to put me back on it. I have plantar fasciitis in both feet, sciatica in both legs, which significantly flares in the left, multiple herniated discs, neurogenic bladder, and scoliosis that went undiagnosed until I was 29 years old.
The city pays the shelter $3,500 per person per month in the shelter, an amount that could get me a luxurious apartment, and instead I get meager, gout-conducive, and often salmonella-tainted food in a rathole with no privacy for over three times the cost of my previous apartment. I have gone from being a Rush Limbaugh fan in the early 1990s to finding myself allied with The Other 98%, Occupy Wall Street, Strike Debt, and quoting Marx without even realizing it. I believe that the city should supply me with a private 1-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, the Bronx, or Queens, for between $900 and $1,200 per month of taxpayer dollars, as long as I can demonstrate that I am looking for a job and take care of the expenses when I find one. As evidenced by a report researched by Picture the Homeless (http://www.picturethehomeless.org/Documents/Reports/PH01_report_final_web.pdf), there is space in the city to do this, and it is at a far lower cost to the taxpayer than what is currently spent to keep me in the shelter. I expect people to attack this proposition on emotional grounds, but I do not believe that they can supply evidence how this option is not an improvement on the status quo. Many have already dismissed the idea out of hand as “nonsense,” which is a dishonest declaration, because it requires them to ignore evidence that supports a conclusion that they do not want to accept as true.