Former Shows & Episodes

Word Patriots

Mark Seinfelt

Word Patriots – Samantha Schyuler and Stephen Urchick

Word Patriots often fall under the spell of the written word and find their vocation early in life. Several months ago, I celebrated my fiftieth birthday. Still it doesn’t seem very long ago since I was a high school student enrolled in Kay Hutton’s Nobel Prize authors and AP English classes or since I represented Indiana Area Senior High School at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts at Bucknell University in the summer of 1979, where I was enrolled in my first creative writing classes. It was at that time that I became convinced that it was my destiny to write books and that I found my essential self. Late adolescence is a pivotal, memorable time for most of us. To adopt the title of Thomas Rogers’ classic novel of love in America, we find ourselves “At the Shores.” We feel that we have arrived or that we are on the brink of arriving. Just round the corner new and decisive experiences await us. We have great expectations as we emerge from our cocoons and burst into the sunlight. The world is our oyster. We feel as potent, effective and forceful as Siegfried as he emerges from the magic fire to search for new adventures in the opening act of “Götterdämmerung” but as with Wagner’s hero disappointment and frustration may very well be our portion as well. My guests are two very talented young authors Samantha Schyuler and Stephen Urchick. Both are seniors in the International Baccalaureate Program at Palm Harbor University High School in coastal-central Florida. Samantha writes that she has learned nothing in her four years at Palm Harbor if not how to function on four hours of sleep. She is fond of hiking, painting, and books; the last of which drove her to write a 5,000 word extended essay on the topic of Updike’s “Rabbit, Run,” as well as become the president of her school’s Creative Writing Club. Through the club she was able to attend and speak at the Associated Writers and Writing Programs conference in Chicago this year. At the podium, she presented the paper, “Decentralizing the Creative Writing Classroom,” to an audience of thirty-five professors. She presented with confidence, clarity, and poise and will be attending the University of Florida. Stephen Urchick describes himself as an 18-year-old masochist. He looks forward to graduating this June, when (in his own words) he can atone for his sins “by savoring many half-finished novels; by eating delicious, square meals each day and by steeling himself to write for one of the University of Chicago’s literary outlets.” He regularly cannibalizes his schoolwork for essay ideas and for short fiction devices. He will be attending the University of Chicago in the fall on a full scholarship. Also with us is Elisabeth Lanser Rose, a teacher in the International Baccalaureate Program at Palm Harbor and the sponsor of the Creative Writing Club there to which both Samantha and Stephen belong. Elisabeth is no stranger to Word Patriots. Her novel “Body Sharers” published by Rutgers University in 1993 was a finalist for the Pen/ Hemingway Foundation Award for first novel. She is also the author of the memoir “For the Love of a Dog,” published in 2002 by Random House. If you would like to know more about my books, please visit my website: Please also see the webpage for Palm Harbor University High School: and the Amazon page for Elisabeth Rose’s “For the Love of a Dog”: