Michael

Beckett

creator - storyteller - explorer

The Short Story

I’ve always been a storyteller. In second grade I asked Santa for a typewriter. Luckily the jolly old guy came through. I miss the clack-clack-ding of typewriters, and after decades of writing in a multitude of fields and genres, I still bang away at the keyboard with two fingers. 

No matter the style or medium, I create stories that reflect and celebrate our common humanity. And perhaps add a little something to the human experience. Moments of wonder exist all around us; I try to keep my eyes open to them. I do stop to smell flowers along a roadside; there might be a story in it -- or at least a small moment of joy. For me, work and life are guided by my mantra...

explore   discover   share   enlighten   empower   inspire

 

Portfolio Samples

 

Long-Distance Dad

 

My professional writing background spans a range of industries, styles and platforms. Click thumbnails to access PDF files.  

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Wall Calendars

Package and introductory copy for wall
calendars produced by Graphique de France 

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Sales Brochure

Product brochure introducing premium Italian wood flooring to US market

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Anniversary Report

Articles summarizing issues and activities for US Department of Transportation R&D center

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Web Site

Company overview and project descriptions for high-end interior design firm portfolio site

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Sell Sheets

Practice area overviews and project highlights for leading social policy research firm

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Public Information Newsletters

Content and development of newsletter series covering major infrastructure project 

The greatest story I will ever share is one I also have the absolute joy of living. When I decided on a whim to mentor a teenager in a South African settlement, I thought it might change his life a bit. I never imagined how much it would change mine. Despite being from very different worlds, Mtuseni and I have developed a deep father-son bond. We are a global family for the 21st century.

A Long-Distance Dad book project is now being developed. Like a traditional family, our engaging story is rich with humor, emotion, and conflict. Photos, text messages, and screen captures help readers experience the wonder, challenges, and rewards of parenting a teenager who is 8000 miles away. Together we learn invaluable lessons about life and love. Agent and publisher inquiries are welcome. Click the thumbnail to download a pitch sheet.

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Long-Distance Dad

   Book Prologue

We sat in the warm morning sun of a Johannesburg sidewalk cafe. I looked across the table at this kid, a young man really, who was a complete stranger not so long ago.

 

I’d been looking forward to this trip for weeks. We both had been. But now something felt off. The person I had journeyed to see for the first time, who greeted me with a high-wattage grin, had become increasingly quiet, almost sullen.

Dad for a New World

   Essay

I haven’t seen my son in four years. Almost all of our communication is by text. Does that make me a bad parent?

 

When some people hear my story, they say I’m not a parent at all. But they don’t understand. Let me explain.

 

Ten years ago I started mentoring a high school senior, shortly after his father walked out. I live in Boston. Mtuseni lives in South Africa. In a settlement shack. 

The Better Man

   Blog Post

Mtuseni went to City Year training camp last week. I was holding my breath for his reaction. It’s one thing to commute to Joburg for a week of orientation; it’s another to be bunking with 100 others for training and team building. Mtuseni can be social but also needs alone time; he’s a big thinker and brooder.

So when I got a “Guess who’s back?” text and asked him how camp went, I half braced myself for a gripe session. Instead I got adjectives like great, challenging, and fantastic.

Creative Writing

 

A sample of other stories in various formats.

Inspiration

   Short Story + Film

I didn't mind my mother’s boyfriends living with us. But Jack had been with us much too long. I took a slurpy sip of my coffee, extra extra light with two and a half sugars. It was like a milkshake, only warm.

“Claire,” he said, “don’t you think you’re a little young to be drinking coffee?”

 

I looked across the table at his skinny face. “Uncle Jack,” I said, trying to make my voice sound the same as his, “don’t you think you’re a little old to have a big blob of cream cheese on your cheek?”

On the Road Again

   Essay

In the summer of 1989, I packed a few boxes and drove across the country to start a new life in California. I was 28 and bored out of my mind. I wanted more.

The trip was amazing. The move was earth shattering. Literally. Six weeks after I arrived, and a couple days before my birthday, the Loma Prieta quake hit San Francisco. The aftershocks lasted for weeks. The tremors from moving and starting over reverberated for years.

 

It was the best thing I ever did.

Moments of Christmas

    Essay

Like most people, my fondest memories of the holiday season go back to childhood – and the Christmas Eve celebrations with Babci, my Polish grandmother. In the afternoon we would pile into my father’s big white ‘66 Impala – the trunk packed with presents and plates of cookies. He would head onto the turnpike to her house, while my sisters and I sang along with carols on the radio.

 

When we entered her steamy apartment at the top of a triple decker, all the relatives would immediately begin talking over each other in Polish. This was never spoken at our house, and it sounded exotic yet at the same time comfortably familiar. 

 
 

Credits+Awards

Films & Publications

Inspiration – 15-minute 35mm film,  2009 (screenwriter, producer)

“Inspiration” – Literal Latte, New York: 1998 (author)

“Mrs. Turley's Roses” – Evergreen Chronicles, Minneapolis: 1994 (author)

Awards

In the Snake Online Anthology, Fiction Competition -- Grand Prize 2011

Massachusetts Cultural Council New Theater Fellowships -- Finalist 2003

 

Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project, Screenwriting Fellowships -- Semifinalist 2003, 2001

 

Austin Film Festival, Screenwriting Competition -- Second Round 2001

 

Cynosure Screenwriting Awards -- Quarter-finalist 2002

 

New York Anti-Defamation League -- Dore Schary Award for Human Relations Filmmaking

Connect

Email - mgbeckett19@gmail.com

Agent inquiries, project ideas and collaboration offers welcome.

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