I Wrote a Letter to Senator Patrick Leahy

BatmanDeathofInnocentsInstead of finishing the story I wanted to complete and ship off this week, I spent the last two hours writing a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy about Batman and gun violence. If you’re wondering why I chose this senator and why, on earth, did I bring Batman into this, I highly recommend you read about Batman: Death of Innocents, which was used to help pass a ban on the export of anti-personnel mines in 1992.

Without further delay, here’s the letter.

Dear Senator Patrick Leahy,

I am not a resident of Vermont, but I have come to learn of your achievements and incredible service to civil liberties and humanitarian causes through a mutual friend we have in common. I won’t lie. This mutual friend is fictional and has pointy ears.  

For a few months now, I have wanted to thank you for the beautiful foreword you wrote at the beginning of Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman. It was absolutely inspiring and touching, and I must admit that it brought a tear to my eye. To see how the power of a childhood hero has helped guide someone into doing good works for the benefit of all is very personal to me, as I too feel the call to help manifest this altruism in the world. 

One particular issue you touched upon in your foreword, however, was your involvement with Batman: Death of Innocents. It was a wonderful method of bridging the gap between the ideals we dream about in comics and affecting real-world change. Having this special issue placed on every senator’s desk ahead of a vote on your ban on the export of anti-personnel landmines was an amazing tactic, and I am thankful that you were able to create policy using one of our most iconic heroes. 

There is a request I would like to ask of you, one that once again asks you to don your own cape and cowl to bring about real-world change. 

I was in middle school when the Columbine shooting happened. At the time, this tragedy seemed like a horrific freak occurrence that we, as a nation, would stamp out and prevent from ever happening again. Much to our misfortune, this ultimately didn’t come to pass, and mass shootings have become increasingly commonplace in recent years. It breaks my heart to say that I know people personally who have been permanently affected by these tragedies. 

Whenever legislation gets introduced to help curb the rising tide of these mortifying episodes of gun violence, these bills get squashed, shut down, and locked away. Our collective trauma, as a nation, grows as more mass shootings take place, and we are left weeping for the ones we lost, week-to-week, day-to-day. 

Senator Leahy, I consider myself an optimist on any normal day, but these are not normal days. I must confess that my optimism wanes each time a bill gets reintroduced, and I feel that there are insurmountable forces at work that prevent hardworking senators, like yourself, from getting the work done that needs to get done. 

As a lifelong Batman fan, you know as well as I do that the Caped Crusader’s war on crime hits closest to home when it comes to gun violence. We all know the stories of how gun violence took his family away, and we have seen panel after panel of Batman disassembling and destroying these weapons of destruction. His war on gun violence means removing weapons of war from the streets at all costs. 

With Batman’s war intersecting with our own war against gun violence, is there a way we can bring one of our most celebrated national heroes to the forefront of this debate? With your connections and past work with the creative people at DC Comics, can we somehow use Batman as a figurehead for championing the battle against gun violence? 

I ask you as an admirer, as a fellow lifelong comic fan, and as a concerned and mortified citizen, how can we manifest the ideals we dream about in comic books page into real-world policy changes?

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Scott Waldyn


P.S. In your foreword to Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman, you wrote, “Children may not always listen to other grown-ups, but they will always listen to Batman.”

There are many members of Congress who often relate President Trump’s comments and Twitter outbursts to that of a child’s. Of all the reasons to summon The Dark Knight into this debate, perhaps this is the most important.

Final issue of Literary Orphans (And Where I’m Going From Here)

DominoIt’s been an insanely long time since I last wrote on the blog (over a year). Since then, I’ve been winding down from duties at Literary Orphans. My last issue as editor in chief came out at the end of January. You can read my farewell “Letter From the Editor” here.

In the last year, I reached critical mass. Life outside of writing and Literary Orphans had grown incredibly busy. Work in the digital marketing realm was picking up, demanding more of my creativity and time. I was offered more freelance writing/editing gigs (boring contracts… but still.. MONEY). My wife, Deanna, started her Master’s program, which meant that she would be spending much less time at home and more time at school,  while juggling her full-time job and an internship. Everyday errands we used to split down the middle became mine to maintain.

On top of these life changes, I spent about 10-15 hours per week working on Literary Orphans. I loved the journal, but there was increasingly less time to step away and relax or work on my own projects.

I’m sure every writer, poet, artist, or any other type of creator out there will echo the sentiment that part of the drive to create is a sense of fulfillment at having birthed something out into the world, at the journey of creating from nothing. This is a sentiment I also share, and with all of these extra tasks added to my plate, I found myself putting off my personal writing time and again.

The robot book? I’d edit part of a chapter once a month. That short story I wanted to write? I’d write a couple of paragraphs every few weeks. My many tasks gave me excuses to put off working on the things that, like glue, held me together.

I love Literary Orphans to my core. It’s introduced me to so many wonderful writers and artists, and reading submissions taught me so much about the world and what people are going through. At the same time, it was also the most sensible task on my regular to-do list to cut.

It was not easy, and I mulled over the decision to step down from Literary Orphans for a couple of months before I finally pulled the trigger. I will miss reading weekly batches of submissions and emailing back and forth with the writing community, but stepping down allowed me to reorganize and restructure my life.

Since stepping down, I’ve completed a handful of short stories I am currently shopping around for a (hopeful) publication. I’ve also dug back into that robot book and started editing it again. We often forget that when we step away from a project for a while, the project stays the same, but we, as humans, grow. When we come back, we aren’t who we are when we left, and we find so much more we want to say/change/edit.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next couple of months. Right now, I’m taking it slow and hoping for the best. I know I want to play exclusively within the realms of scifi and horror. I also know that my end goal, perhaps years from now, is to write Batman for DC Comics.

Saying that last line so plainly sounds silly, but I mean every word. I want to wear the mantle and do for the next generation what my heroes have done for me.

Until next time…

We’re all in this together,


A Breakup Letter to DCEU


© 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Dear DC Extended Universe,

I saw Suicide Squad this past weekend, and I just want to say, I can’t do it anymore. The movie, like the sum of all of your parts, is lacking. You’re a Frankenstein’s monster stuffed with malformed chunks of ideas (some good, some bad) hastily stapled, sewn and taped together, and though your arms are open and eager to hug moviegoers, the stench of hollow storytelling is too pungent to embrace. It leaves me heartbroken. As a comic book geek, as a fan of DC and as a lover of cinema, I — we — can’t be seen together any longer.

We’re just too different. I’m a living, breathing person, and you’re, well, dead. I hadn’t realized it until now, but I think you were deceased before we had even been properly introduced. Your friend, Zack, must have diluted the smell with body spray while he distracted me with flashy movements. I thought it was erratic and bizarre at first. Even the second time around, I gave Zack the benefit of the doubt when he said your body was sagging and coming undone because you needed an extra 30 minutes to recuperate after a long day at the office. But this?

I drew the line when your buddy Jared came over and used my favorite Batman comic books for toilet paper. His friends, Will, Margot, Viola, Cara and even Jai, were okay, but that Trailer Park outfit you were dressed in when you all walked in was too unbecoming. Too much jewelry and not enough substance. It didn’t hide the lacerations in your flesh. When your innards slid through the stitching and crumpled to the floor within the first ten minutes, that’s when it dawned on me. I glanced at Jared, who had drawn a mouth over his mouth for some reason, and I knew we didn’t belong together. You weren’t simply in need of “more time” to recuperate. You needed something only an undertaker could provide — everlasting peace.

I’m not saying this is good-bye forever. As any self-respecting comic book fan knows, death isn’t a permanent state. I’ll also still be over for family gatherings, and I still plan on visiting your brother, DC Comics, every Wednesday for our usual hangout. But us? This weird relationship we’ve gotten ourselves into?

It’s too painful. I didn’t mind you rummaging into my wallet every couple of months for a few bucks, but each time we’ve hung out, the cuts have been slicing deeper and deeper. It’s only a matter of time before you kill me. Suicide Squad was too close to the heart, and I have to call it quits. I’m sorry. I really wish it could have worked out. For a while, I was even willing to let the whole “Martha” thing go. Not anymore.

Goodnight, sweet prince.


© Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

Letter to Amazon


[I sent the following to Amazon on Friday, June 26, 2015. I will post Amazon’s response as soon as I get it. Hopefully it makes someone over there laugh.]

Dear Amazon,


Before 1994, zero babies in the United States were discovered wandering construction sites. It was a statistic worthy of praise and one in keeping with the rest of the developed world. In the years following, however, the number of construction zone-related baby walkabouts has steadily increased. In 2013 alone, approximately 429 babies in the United States were found wandering construction sites, all of whom were apprehended while attempting to scale the steel beams of up and coming skyscrapers. Having babies crawl around these dangerous work zones is hazardous enough, let alone the fact that all 429 were without hardhats.

And why, exactly, this appalling rise in infant excursions to future building sites? Three words: Baby’s Day Out.

In 1994, Baby’s Day Out hit theaters, and it inspired generations of infants to reenact the adventures of a small child, Baby Bink, as he wriggled across treacherous landscapes. While presented as a humorous escape from a handful of opportunistic robbers, the reality of Baby Bink’s escapades is frightening. Think about it. 429 babies were crawling out to the outer edges of a steel beam, in hopes their weight would tilt the beam, so that the opposite end would hit a GROWN MAN in the TESTICLES!  While these babies clearly risked accidental suicide, they also toed the line of manslaughter, meaning they could be imprisoned for years, thus ruining any chance at a normal life afforded to less adventurous babies (especially if tried as an adult).

As I stated before, the rise in these incidents is STARTLING! What’s even more alarming is that we’re only talking about one small fraction of the movie. Did you know that the number of infants attempting to use zippo lighters is on the rise? Did you also know that baby excursions to the zoo, without adult supervision, are also on the rise? How about the growing trend of infants crawling into the handbags of aloof women to take a nap?

My point is this: Baby’s Day Out is a dangerous movie to show children under the age of five, and for less than six dollars on Amazon.com, an infant, with the aid of a stolen credit card, can purchase this abominable movie.

With your help, Amazon, in refusing to sell and distribute this offensive film, the risk of infant injury and infant incarceration could drop. All you have to do is pull Baby’s Day Out from your marketplace, and by that simple action, a whole generation is saved. Please Amazon, let’s work together to bring that number of infants wandering construction sites back to zero. 429 is too high of a number for any respectable industrialized nation.

Together, we can make a stand. Together, we can do to Baby Bink what we did to Joe Cool — as allies, as Americans, as humans. Make a pledge with us, Amazon. Tell Baby Bink his pied piper days are over!

Thank you for your time,

Scott Waldyn
Baby Workplace Safety Coalition