Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Beemer Awards, Part 2.

Welcome to the second and final portion of the 2011 Beemer Awards presentation. Tonight we will honor the year's best productions of all sorts, and announce the Word of the Year and the winner of the "Beemitzer Prize" for Journalism. We'll end on a solemn note with the Beemer Peace Prize.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Beemer Awards

Welcome to the first annual Beemer Awards! In this post, I will express my opinions on many subjects (several of which I am admittedly unqualified in) and confer praise and ridicule on those who are possibly most deserving of this recognition. The awards celebrate the most outstanding achievements--and blunders--of the past year. We'll start with the top prize...Person of the Year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Welcome to Tornalia

"Tornalia" is the name of the fantasy setting in which most of my books and stories take place. You can find out all about Tornalia at the official site,, which is up and running although still very incomplete.

Tornalia is designed to be both traditional and unique as far as epic fantasy settings go. On the one hand,

Monday, December 12, 2011


Have you ever taken a personality test? My favorite one is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, developed by David Keirsey (closely related to, and more or less compatible with, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). Keirsey tells me that I'm type INFP, the Healer. INFP's are one of the rarest of the 16 types, perhaps only 1% of the general population. According to Keirsey, we are "hard to get to know" and have "an unusually rich inner life." I think this is true in my case, which is a large part of the reason for this blog.

The letters INFP refer to: Introvert (as opposed to Extrovert), iNtuitive (as opposed to Sensing), Feeling (as opposed to Thinking), and Perceiving (as opposed to Judging). In other words:
  • I tend to prefer solitude and interactions with a few close friends to socializing with many people
  • I'm more drawn to imagination and possibility than to the sensible and practical
  • I tend to value emotion and personal impact over logic and principles
  • I prefer the open-ended, unstructured, and unplanned over the closed, organized, and scheduled
This may be a bit of an over-generalization for the sake of clarity. In truth, I'm rather strongly I and N, but much more mixed on the other two dimensions.

Keirsey divides his 16 types into four temperaments: Idealists (NF), Rationals (NT), Guardians (SJ), and Artisans (SP). INFP's fall into the Idealist category. Keirsey describes Idealists as being obsessed with introspection--we are on a quest not only to discover one's true self but to become one's true self. As such, we are probably more likely than others to find pleasure and significance in this sort of personality test. Supposedly, the other three temperaments can understand each other rather well, but find Idealists puzzling. Aside from their introspective nature, Idealists usually also value integrity and compassion. Idealists often wind up with careers in creative writing, journalism, teaching, counseling, and religious work.

According to Keirsey notable INFP's include George Orwell, Princess Diana, and Aldous Huxley. Among fictional characters and historical figures, Joan of Arc and Sir Galahad exemplify the type. Some say Shakespeare was an INFP; at any rate, his character Hamlet certainly can be viewed that way.

If you are interested, you can take the official test yourself, although you'll need to pay to get the full results. If you don't want to pay, you can at least find out which of the four temperaments you belong to for free. Or, if you look around, you can probably find an unofficial free one that will sort you into one of the sixteen types.

More information can be found on Wikipedia (of course) or in Keirsey's book, Please Understand Me (there's also an updated version called Please Understand Me II).

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bio, Part II.

I met Erin, my future wife, in Spanish class during our freshman year at Cornell University in 1999, but it was a couple years before we really got to know each other. Our friendship grew, and ultimately it dawned on us that we are in fact soul mates. I also developed a deep interest in Japanese culture, history, and language in college, something Erin and I shared, and we both wound up living in Japan after graduating.

Erin and I have two kids: Zachary, born in February of 2008, and Norah, born in July of 2010.

My career has been focused at the intersection of international travel and education, including stints as a high school English teacher in Japan, a career services assistant in Cornell's business school, and my current role, an immigration and programming assistant at Cornell, where I assist international students, faculty, and staff with immigration and visa issues. Earlier odd jobs: construction worker, camp counselor (I was primarily responsible for the care of animals, not kids), paint store clerk, and intern in a city hall.

I've always been an avid reader (although less so from roughly 2000 to 2006 or so, when my main sources of entertainment were TV, movies, anime, and games). Aside from the writers mentioned in my last post, my favorite authors include Shakespeare, Poe, George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, Orson Scott Card, J.K. Rowling...well, I could keep listing authors all day, but I'll just say the next tier would include Goethe, Terry Goodkind, Haruki Murakami, David Eddings, and Stephen King. For nonfiction, the list would start with Carl Sagan, Jared Diamond, Al Franken, and Michael Moore. My favorite movies include Star Wars (original trilogy), The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Life is Beautiful, Amelie, Braveheart, Pan's Labyrinth, The Shawshank Redemption, and anything by Hayao Miyazaki.

Since about 2007, I've been reading and writing more. I spent a lot of time worldbuilding (in other words, adding details to my world in an effort to make it more convincing and compelling), and reaching a certain level of satisfaction with the results (I won't say completion...I don't think a worldbuilder's job is ever finished), I've moved back to writing seriously. My current projects include a total rewrite of my earlier Tornalia novel, The Dagger of Despair, which I'm planning to turn into a trilogy of Young Adult novels; a just-for-fun-and-practice novel called The Silver Lance; and several short stories, some set in Tornalia and others unrelated.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bio, Part I.

I was born in November, 1980, just after the election of Ronald Reagan, just before the assassination of John Lennon. The defining events of my childhood (in terms of "newsy" events rather than personal ones) would be the Challenger disaster in 1986, the start of the Gulf War in 1990, the collapse of the USSR a year later, and Clinton's election the following year (I was 20 and in college when the attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred). I was born and raised in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and attended public schools in the Coatesville Area School District.

Many of my interests and hobbies date back to my childhood--for example, I first got involved in politics in first grade, just before I turned seven, and I first started writing seriously at the age of 11 or so. My first book, completed about a year later, could be described as Narnia fan fiction (of course, I didn't know the term "fan fiction" back then). My lifelong interest in epic fantasy started at the same time, with the same inspiration, although C.S. Lewis has since been eclipsed in my heart by several other authors, including J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, and Robert Jordan. My next significant writing project was in the early-to-mid 1990s, and was a series of six X-Files inspired stories with a continuous plot (sort of a serial novel).

Tornalia began to develop in the summer of 1997, just before my junior year in high school. My primary inspiration at the time was The Lord of the Rings, with other influences including The Prydain Chronicles, Narnia, the card game Magic: The Gathering, Warhammer (I've actually never played the game...I just liked looking at the catalog!), Hawthorne's The Marble Faun, and The Princess Bride. The world as originally conceived was rather Tolkienesque; as it developed, it became more and more original and unique.

During the process of writing the first Tornalia novel (The Dagger of Despair, written from 1998 to 2000, when I was a senior in high school and a freshman at Cornell), another key influence was Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, which became one of my primary obsessions for the next several years. Other obsessions of my childhood and early adulthood, in rough chronological order (there was a lot of overlap): trains, dinosaurs, baseball, Legos, Star Wars, UFOs, The X-Files, The Lord of the Rings, Magic: The Gathering, The Wheel of Time, the Civilization series of computer games, anime, and political websites. Clearly, I'm someone who has a tendency to develop obsessive interests. I think my geek credentials have been well established!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Other Sites

In addition to "My Own Little World," I currently maintain the following sites:
  •, which focuses specifically on my books, stories, and invented world
  • my Google Plus site, (mostly private) which I'm not entirely sure what to do with yet
  • my Facebook site, (mostly private) which I occasionally post to, but primarily use to find out what my friends are up to
  • I occasionally blog at Daily Kos (as slb36cornell) and frequently comment at Political Wire (under an assumed name)
  • I post book reviews at Goodreads
  • I do not "tweet" and I am not "LinkedIn." A man's got to draw the line somewhere!
I invite you to explore Tornalia, particularly if you are interested in my writings. This site, My Own Little World, will be more introspective and personal, but will also go into more detail on my political views and opinions.

Welcome to my world

Welcome to "My Own Little World" (, the personal blog of Scott Livingston Beemer. This blog will cover topics ranging from my external life to the internal workings of my mind, and from the details of my invented world to the politics and current events of the real world.

Through my posts here--my shared musings, opinions, imaginings, and updates--I hope you will come to know me a little better. Feel free to share your thoughts using the comments function.