… from Mark Cole, Professor Emeritus, SUNY Oswego:
Dear Matt, Thanks again for sending me The Truth of Rock and Roll and Hometown. Hometown was certainly epic in nature – fascinating how you developed a portrait of an entire community through the personal lives of the students. The sad and futile results of the industrial revolution blended with the world of the supernatural in scary and disturbing ways. And it was very scary at many moments. The sense of being trapped on multiple levels – emotional, physical, social and spiritual – came through with a really varied cast of characters. The Truth of Rock and Roll was more like an intimate portrait where Hometown was a vast, complex panoramic painting. Rock and Roll opened up to the epic by the end, but the exploration of the teen narrator’s dilemma through Johnny’s story was intriguing. A chance meeting turns into a life defining moment. The surreal or supernatural mixed with the real and the natural narrative neatly.
[The Truth of Rock and Roll] taps into the age old conflict between the instinctual and the rational; the journey from youth to adulthood; the drives/desires of the unconscious and the expectations/responsibilities of maturity; rebellion and conformity. Change is part of human nature, and I feel Rock and Roll poses, among many questions, the question “How can I follow the impulses that will change me so I find the truth within myself?”
Full disclosure: Professor Cole originally contacted me because my sister is one of his former students, and he saw the announcement for one of my book releases on Facebook, and he was interested in seeing if either story was suitable for conversion into a play.
(I’ll let you know if anything comes of that; it isn’t really under his control.)
And thank you, Professor Cole.