By: Marilyn L. Davis
Contradictions Make Scott Who He Is
“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
Many of you know Scott Biddulph as the Editor-in-Chief of Two Drops of Ink. I’m sure you have gotten a friendly “thank you for your submission,” or a note telling you that he sees the bones in the post, but perhaps a few edits would improve it, or when he has to, a kindly rejection notice with a logical explanation why your piece doesn’t work at this time or for the site, but he might tell you which sites accept posts about real estate development.
All mannerly, grammatically correct, and you think, what a kind editor and person.
His writing, especially his poetry, captures feelings, images, fleeting glimpses of life, love, and longing, and it’s often gentle.
When he explains how to diagram a sentence, he doesn’t choose simple, no, he goes for complex and does it well.
Be prepared for an in-depth lecture if you talk about syntax, context, and transitive verbs, or a few other terms I didn’t know when we first partnered at Two Drops of Ink. He’ll passionately explain why these things matter in writing.
Well, he has not always been this person. Scott is a contradiction.
1. He quit school in 10th grade
2. When he was at school, he was too stoned to participate
3. His first job at 16 was as a brick mason
4. His arrest for multiple crimes in 1984 forced him to choose between prison and the military
Mills, Men, and Mom
Growing up, Scott had hardened men as role models. Grease, dope, an old lady, and a bike were the only things of any importance, and if anything could easily be replaced, it was the old lady. Scott’s mom, Sue, was one of them.
It wasn’t always that way though, but a teenage pregnancy, lies, innuendo, and parents kept Scott’s mom and dad apart. Choosing to keep her baby, Sue returned home to Elyria to face a future without a man, but with a reputation.
Elyria, Ohio was settled in 1817 by Heman Ely starting with a log house, dam, grist, and sawmills. Back-breaking, dirty work then, and the city still boasts companies that manufacture medical equipment, alloy castings, automotive and aircraft parts, plastics, tools, heaters and air conditioners, and hydraulic equipment, so not much has changed.
From Mayhem to Military
Plants operate day, night, and in-between, and for many of the workers, a drink after work was the norm. Sue found work as a barmaid at Ely’s bar, owned by a descendant of Heman. Attractive, artistic, and single, she was asked out almost nightly. But it wasn’t just the workers who frequented the bar; it was full-patch members of the Dirt and Grime Motorcycle Club. But Sue also frequented the Diamond Dog Saloon where the club members ruled.
Catching the eye of an officer of the gang meant that she could at least depend on a safe passage in the parking lot after work. But that was mostly a public show, as he beat her in private.
Two children later, and now a heroin addict, Sue couldn’t control Scott and gave him an ultimatum, either quit school and pay rent or get out.
Laying brick, drinking, and reading occupied Scott’s time. An accident fueled by alcohol forced Scott to choose between prison and the military. He chose to enter the Navy. Rules and superior officers were simply an extension of the bikers from the Dirt and Grime Motorcycles Club. Scott understood hierarchies.
From Military to Married
While in the Navy, Scott got his GED, but his drinking continued, and, after an altercation with a superior officer, he was discharged from the Navy in 1985.
Getting married and having a child at 23 seemed to settle Scott down, and he opened and ran several successful businesses. While successful financially, he could not remain faithful and soon divorced.
King of His Mountain
Joining the Club in 1998, Scott quickly rose to full-patch and officer status, gaining a reputation as ruthless. Women, drugs, alcohol, and intimidating tactics fed his ego, and since money was not an issue, he thought of himself as “King of the Mountain.”
People are addicted to substances, lifestyle, power, and control over others. Scott was no exception. As an officer of the Club, he not only influenced others but actively recruited new members. Everyone knows that the point man, whether the lead soldier or the face of the brand, must be appealing, and Scott was the personification of a gang member: wearing the colors, patches to denote milestones, and a swagger that let everyone know he was an important man.
People deferred to him, women wanted him, and in retrospect, he was probably an insufferable egomaniac. But when you have people fawning over you, women throwing themselves at you, or people wanting to be just like you, it’s hard not to have an overinflated ego.
Falling Off the Mountain
Going through another divorce in 2008, Scott made a decision to return to school. Wearing his gang affiliation, and his age, made him different than the usual nontraditional student. But he started to find ways to tap into thoughts, feelings, memories, and learned ways to express them.
Maybe more than the clothing, some teachers didn’t appreciate a nontraditional student who is opinionated, has lived a successful life on some levels and is not afraid of voicing opinions.
While he accepted what his English, Journalism, and Writing professors were saying, when it came to history, politics, government, or social sciences, he was just as inclined to argue as to acquiesce.
Life Doesn’t Always Offer a Soft Landing
Regardless of what else was going on in Scott’s life, he always read, primarily nonfiction, but now he was in classes where the classics were a focus. Sitting in classes with students, twenty years younger, who had their tuition paid by Mom and Dad, or those who never worked a day, made him wonder if he’d made a mistake in pursuing this goal of a degree.
But he read the fiction, diagrammed the sentences, and when he was allowed to take English 3050, an advanced grammar and syntax class, he knew he had come a long way from the drunk sixteen-year-old who quit school.
Scott was asked to edit a book of poetry for the English poet, David R. A. Pearce, while completing his internship at the University of North Georgia Press.
Still, he struggled with reconciling his emerging writer/editor with the demands on his time by the Club.
Falling into Grace
In 2009, there was a shooting in Alabama between Scott’s Club and a rival gang. Scott’s loyalty to the Club was questioned. When a member’s loyalty is questioned, traps and tests appear. Navigating between his Club and his conscience, Scott was trying to live in two worlds, and not successful in either.
Driven by these conflicts, Scott reached out to a former 1 %’er turned preacher, and accepted Christ, on May 12, 2012. One week later, he was expelled from the Club, for once again, disrespecting a superior officer.
Two Drops of Ink Instead of Just One
A mutual friend suggested that I contact Scott around this time. My recovery home had closed in 2011, and I knew I wanted to write, but was unsure where or even how. While Scott and I had known one another since 1990, we were not running buddies.
Scott had this little blog called, Two Drops of Ink on BlogSpot, and we agreed that I’d write a few posts and see where it went. We got some hits and he wanted another post. Then we decided to partner on the site, but we struggled with direction, lamenting the lack of comments, shook our heads when we didn’t get submissions, and drank a lot of coffee.
He’d share his latest how-to writing books with me, or flat out tell me to learn how to use a semi-colon. We wrote at 4:30 AM to get a post up since we both had day jobs and school. When one of us was discouraged, the other would become the cheerleader for the day, even when we didn’t honestly feel it. We both knew that the philosophy was sound, we just had to persevere, and we did.
The rest, as they say, is history. Two Drops of Ink continues to grow; it offers writers a platform and attracts an international writing community.
Kudos for the Awards, ‘Little Brother’
I’m not sure when it started, but Scott refers to me as “Big Sis.” Conversely, he is “Little Brother.”
So, Little Brother, remember, “Real life is like that – it does not follow a neat plan. Sometimes you have to get things very messily wrong so you can see how to get them right.” ― Miriam Morrison, Recipe for Disaster
We knew we were getting things right when Two Drops of Ink started winning awards. They are the result of collaborative writing among staff, regular contributors, and featured authors. We’ve all made these awards possible.
The Desmond Booth Award, however, is exclusively Scott Biddulph’s achievement This award is given to the “senior English major who, in the judgment of the English faculty, is the most outstanding student.”
Kudos, Little Brother.
Photo: (Left) Dr.Joyce Stavick: Head of the English Department at UNG
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing