Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Scenes from the Epic Life of a Total Genius By Stacey Matson

Book Nerd Spotlight

Lights. Camera. Action! Arthur Bean is back and headed for the big screen.
Arthur and Robbie have called a truce now that the writing contest and school play are over, but plans go astray when Arthur’s new girlfriend, Anila, gets jealous of his friendship with cool-girl Kennedy. And then there’s that little problem of the movie camera Arthur and Robbie borrowed to film their upcoming blockbuster movie…

As Arthur’s life goes off the rails all over again, laughs for the reader are right on track. Emails, doodles, texts, newspaper articles, and AV Club rules (which Arthur and Robbie usually break) give the story the same engaging look as A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius.

September 3rd
Dear RJ,

Did you miss me? I missed having you around. Camp was crazy, but now I have the skills to make an award- winning documentary that tells all about a boy genius! Ha- ha- ha. Oh, RJ, I bet you missed my sense of humor! 

I have so much to tell you, and it’s not all that boring stuff like last year. I guess I could call you something else now. I kind of like RJ though. Instead of standing for “Reading Journal,” maybe now RJ means “Really Juicy”— as in the gossip I have for you. 

This summer was epic! For one thing, I really thought arts camp would suck, but it was pretty cool. I wish I had time to tell you all about it right now, but I’m leaving to go and hang out with my girlfriend. 

That’s right. I said MY GIRLFRIEND. I told you I have a lot to tell you, but you’ll have to wait!

Yours truly, 
Arthur Bean

Dear Eighth Graders:

Welcome back! I hope you had a restful summer and are ready for another exciting year of English class. I’m pleased to see many of the same faces as last year, and I look forward to helping you grow your skills as writers and critical thinkers. 

There are things that we will need to cover as part of the curriculum, but there’s some room in the year for us to focus on things that are important to you. Please write a short paragraph on what you want to get out of this class this year. What do you like about English class? What do you dislike? What are your favorite things to talk about? To write? How do you like to learn? Do you prefer to work alone, or do you like working in pairs or groups? How can this classroom be your ideal space for learning?

Due: September 6

Dear Ms. Whitehead,

You’ll be pleased to know that I’m a new man this year. That’s right. Things have turned around 180 degrees. No more writer’s block for me. I’m literally bursting at the seams with ideas and things to write. I don’t know if there’s enough paper in the world for all the awards I’m going to win for my ideas. I’m not sure how many different genres you have to be good in to win a Nobel Prize, but I’m definitely on my way to mastering the written word. 

Something that I would like to do is film related. We should watch a lot of Hollywood movies so that we can write good scripts. I learned a lot about making films this summer, and I would like to write scripts for blockbusters, which requires seeing what great directors do. My girlfriend says that most movies are written by more than one person, so if we work in partners, I want to work with Robbie because we wrote a really good script together this summer, and we’re making a movie this year. 

If we can’t work together, I would like to work alone. 

I also think that I would learn more from class if we can have Fridays off, because then I can focus on what we learn the other days and have time to reflect on your teachings. My girlfriend goes to an alternative school where they have very flexible schedules, and I think our school should have those too. 

I also think that my desk should be beside the window for me to have the most ideal learning space. I do my best work when I can reflect on nature.

Yours truly, 
Arthur Bean

Dear Arthur, 

Thank you for your detailed feedback. I will do my best to accommodate everyone’s wishes; however, not everyone can sit next to the window. As far as scriptwriting goes, I’m glad to hear that you’ve taken an interest in a new way of writing! You should consider joining the AV Club, as we won’t be doing much scriptwriting and filmmaking in class. I’m pleased to hear that you and Robbie have become friends. I look forward to seeing all your creative work this year. 

Ms. Whitehead

You can purchase Scenes from the Epic Life of a Total Genius at the following Retailers:

Author Spotlight
Photo Credit: Joe Sales

Stacey Matson has worked in a theater program on Parliament Hill and written theater pieces for the Glenbow Museum and for the All-Nations Theatre in Calgary. She earned her master of arts in children’s literature at the University of British Columbia. Stacey lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Visit Stacey at



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