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creative:impact - Ann Arbor's R.J. Fox: Teacher, Author, And Screenwriter

R.J. Fox
R.J. Fox

Ann Arbor resident R.J. Fox has always had a passion for writing.  He is a published author and two of his books are now being made into films!  Additionally, Fox teaches film and English classes in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.  Fox walks you through his written-word journey with WEMU's David Fair and the President and CEO of The Arts Alliance, Deb Polich, in this week's "creative:impact."  

Deb Polich
Deb Polich, President and CEO of the Arts Alliance

Creative industries in Washtenaw County add hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy.  In the weeks and months to come, 89.1 WEMU's David Fair and co-host Deb Polich, the President and CEO of The Arts Alliance, explore the myriad of contributors that make up the creative sector in Washtenaw County.

About R.J. Fox

R.J. Fox is the award-winning writer of several short stories, plays, poems, a memoir and 15 feature length screenplays. His work has been published in over 25 literary magazines, two of his screenplays have been optioned to Hollywood.  R.J. is also the producer/director of several short films.

He is the author of three books, including LOVE & VODKA: MY SURREAL ADVENTURES IN UKRAINE and AWAITING IDENTIFICATION published by Ann Arbor's Fish Out of Water Books (www.fowbooks.com).  A third book TALES FROM THE DORK SIDE – an essay collection – was published by the Ann Arbor District Library's Fifth Avenue Press.

LOVE & VODKA and AWAITING IDENTIFICATION are currently in development.  He is the screenwriter of both projects (both books originated as screenplays).

He is also the writer/director/editor of several award-winning short films.  His recent stage directing debut led to an Audience Choice Award at the Canton One-Acts Festival in Canton, MI.

In addition to moonlighting as a writer, independent filmmaker and saxophonist, Fox teaches English and video production in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, where he uses his own dream of making movies to inspire his students to follow their own dreams.  His most notable accomplishment in education is developing a two-year film history and production course in the school’s robust International baccalaureate program.

He has also worked in public relations at Ford Motor Company and as a newspaper reporter.  He resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

R.J. graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English and a minor in Communications.  He received a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan

R.J. previously worked in several media-related fields, including a stint in public relations at Ford Motor Company and as a newspaper reporter in his hometown of Dearborn, Michigan He resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan

His website is https://rjfoxwriter.wordpress.com.  Or follow him on FB, Twitter and Instagram.

Love & Vodka: My Surreal Adventures in Ukraine

by R.J. Fox

Love & Vodka is a book with broad appeal.  It is a unique hybrid of travel memoir and love story that seamlessly blends humor, culture shock and romance. It is about taking a chance in life and seeing where it leads, as well as learning more about the world—and about yourself.  The world is large and full of potential; one just needs to be willing to take a gamble and explore the possibilities that exist.

Bobby is over the moon after sharing a bike on the E.T. ride at Universal Studios with Katya.  Join our “intrepid crusader” as he takes a leap of faith—traveling from comfortable “have-a-nice day…and have-a-warm-shower” suburban Detroit to the former center of Cold War Soviet missile production.  And unbeknownst to anyone but himself, he’s bringing an engagement ring! Experience life in a city that, until the mid-1980s, was closed to foreign visitors.  R.J. Fox’s humorous, poignant, and memorable expedition is punctuated by a colorful cast of characters, adventures, and cultural mishaps and misunderstandings—from irate babushka women to hard-drinking uncles.  Lesser mortals might have “phoned home” to be rescued. Armchair travelers and romantics—you will find yourself both schooled in hard knocks and heartened to have shared in the unforgettable experience of Love & Vodka!

Awaiting Identification

by R.J. Fox


Five bodies, five intersecting storylines, five lives . . . each searching for hope and redemption
Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office, Detroit, Michigan: October 31, 1999.

Five unidentified bodies lie in the Wayne County morgue on Halloween night.  Although each character was on a separate journey, fate leads each of the five victims to cross paths on the streets of Detroit en route to their tragic demise.

Set against the backdrop of a Devil’s Night party at legendary Detroit concert venue and nightclub, Saint Andrew’s Hall, Awaiting Identification details the final night on earth for five lost souls.

NYC Girl: a former dancer arrives back home from New York City to make amends with her mother and begin to rebuild her life.

Leaf Man: a musician and part-time DJ is on the cusp of his big break with one final, unexpected drug deal to complete before he can go totally straight.

R.I.P.: a career criminal must come up with a large sum of money to pay for his father’s medical expenses, despite his yearning for a crime-free life.

The Zealot: a religious fanatic on a mission from God to rid the city of filth.

Cat Man: a kind and trusting homeless man wanders the city looking for new friends.

Like the city in which it takes place, Awaiting Identification is a story of hope, identity and above all, redemption.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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