Ronald B. Scott

Ronald B. Scott

Boston Public Radio/The Cognoscenti Contributor
Author and Film/theatre Journalist

San Francisco, California

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January 2016
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About Ronald

Ronald B. Scott, who writes under the pen name of R.B. Scott, is the author of two books released in late 2011 and early 2012. Currently he is working on other novels while tracking the unfolding 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

His independent "crash" biographical profile of presidential candidate W. Mitt Romney (Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics) was written over 60 days in the summer of 2011 and released by Lyons Press in October of that year. Scott’s debut novel (Closing Circles: Trapped in the Everlasting Mormon Moment) arrived a few months later (January 2012). It was described as "metafiction...a big, complicated, ground-breaking debut novel about convoluted personal relationships and conflicts in contemporary Mormon culture.”

Scott was a staff reporter and writer for many of Time, Inc.’s magazines, including Time, Life,and Sports Illustrated. He was part of the small editorial team that founded Time’s eminently successful People Magazine in 1974. His freelance pieces have been published by many leading newspapers and magazines. He is a contributor to the Cognoscenti at WBUR public radio in Boston.

In late 2005, Scott was the first journalist to note that as Mitt Romney prepared to run for president he abruptly changed his position on abortion and seemed to adjust his stance on gay rights by opposing same-sex marriage as well. In the run-up to the 2008 primary election season and again in 2012, Scott’s 2005 profile of Romney in Sunstone Magazine was quoted or used as primary source material on Romney’s political history by many leading news organizations. He was interviewed and quoted throughout the presidential campaign of 2012 by The New York Times, CNN, MS/NBC, National Public Radio, The BBC, The Los Angeles Times and many other leading national and international news organizations.

The novel Closing Circles is the first of a tetralogy of intimate, and frequently irascible and irreverent perspectives of the Mormon culture. The second in the series – The Mending— is expected this year (2016). He hopes to complete the third -- working title Advancing Autonomy --this year and, perhaps, put the finishing touches on the fourth novel in the series Leaving West Perish. He is also working on a fifth novel -- Prince of New England and Lord of Star Valley -- which he says may be destined to remain a short story.

Critics of Scott’s debut novel noted that his voice seemed heavily influenced by authors John Cheever, Philip Roth and Lisa Alther. One critic observed: “Trouble is, [the protagonist in the novel, Jed Russell, also an author], real or imagined, is quite amazing. I love his character; I sympathize, empathize at times with him; his storytelling is riveting; his brutal candor honest and convincing . He has great, original language: “mind changers” is a term I have entered into my personal lexicon. The writing is just too good!”

The eldest of eight children, Scott was born, raised and educated in Salt Lake City (The University of Utah), but "escaped" to New York City in 1970, then Boston in 1985. He and and his wife moved to San Francisco, California in 2013. He is the father of two sons and two daughters.

Credits

  • Closing Circles

    Closing Circles (2003 - 2012)
    by Gray Dog Press Author Jed Russell awoke one morning to find that he had been transformed into an ex-husband. In early 1980's Westport, Connecticut, Jed Russell, a successful journalist and writer-for-hire, suddenly found himself joining the growing ranks of divorced men in their mid-thirties. But, Jed Russell was perplexed and unprepared. Hadn't he been a committed husband and partner? Hadn't he participated fully in caring for his children? Hadn't he encouraged Sarah, his newly-become ex-wife, to finish her studies and have a career? Hadn't sex with Sarah been fantastic right up through the night before she served him divorce papers? What went wrong with his marriage and what did he have to do to save it? Sarah had been encouraging Jed to seek psychiatric counseling for years, so despite his aversion for "mind-changers--psychologists and therapists and preachers and other posers who claim they can facilitate personal reconciliations with what God deemed irreconcilable in this life," he grudgingly begins therapy with Dr. "Quack-Quack" Rosenbaum, a compulsive, loopy psychiatrist who launches Jed on a long journey where the search for self-awareness quickly becomes an awareness of self-ignorance and denial. The physical distance between New York City where Jed works and Salt Lake City where he grew up at first seemed large enough to isolate him from the conflicting, convoluted influences of his traditional Mormon upbringing, but therapy and introspection were making it clear that things were not quite that simple. From his Hebrew and Yiddish speaking Mormon grandmother’s warning "Chozzer dreck macht goyisher kopf (Pig shit makes gentile brains)" to his dashed youthful anti-racist idealism, to his guilt for his ''natural man" sexual desires, Jed, like Alexander Portnoy (Portnoy’s Complaint), was carrying around more than his share of tsooris and schpilkes. "The big difference between Judah and Joseph is humor. Jews poke fun at themselves and their culture. Mormons don't have six millenia on their side. So, for now, we are a hypersensitive and decidedly humorless lot indeed..." At the same time, Jed continues working on the book he had begun that may have been the real cause of his divorce. A mix of autobiography and investigation that leads to obscure, but transforming events of life as well as those in the complex family history of his in-laws, the early drafts of book annoyed Sarah who deridingly entitled it "Mormon Masturbation Myths,” and every attempt to have excerpts read by family members ends up with comments such as "It pains me deeply to read your filth. I hope your children will forgive you because I won't..." Pressing on with his life and with his book, Jed tumbles into a new relationship with a caring woman (although she is the assistant to his psychiatrist and "way, way too young") and starts sorting out the fascinatingly twisted life of his late father-in-law, Ralph Orson Thompson ("Old ROT"), the wayward but loyal son of a prominent Mormon leader, a former OSS spy who contracted a mysterious disease during WWII. Three times divorced, ROT’s last wife Mary Martha (Sarah’s mother) is the same age as his daughter Mary Martha, and both are half-sisters of his namesake only son, and, of course, Sarah and her two sisters. Jed's book is taking him somewhere he never expected—deep into his own past and the polygamous roots and thorny realities of his own family, on all sides. It puts him face to face with modern-day traditional and "serial" polygamists and illuminates the banality of multiple partners and divorce in today's society that reaches far beyond the confines of Utah and Mormonism. What he finds will force him to re-consider everything he had ever believed about marriage, divorce, and fatherhood, and especially, what he believed about himself.

  • Mitt Romney: An Inside Look At The Man And His Politics

    Mitt Romney: An Inside Look At The Man And His Politics (2011)
    by Lyons Press/Globe Pequot Press Author Independent biographical profile of presidential candidate W. Mitt Romney

Education

  • University of Utah

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