Avi WordCraft blog

My Son Shaun

Having posted the lyrics and music for “The Mouse Song” from my new book, Ragweed and Poppy.

A number of folks asked me to say something about my son Shaun, who wrote and performed the music with his family.

His name, Shaun, derives from my admiration of the Irish writer Sean O’Casey.

His full name is Shaun Wolf Wortis, and there is much more about him and his music on the internet than I can say here.

Shaun’s first gig

Born in New York City, he currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Ingrid Anderson (who teaches writing at Boston University) and his two kids, Isabella and Ezekiel, both currently in elementary school. Isabella—12 years-old—aside from being a good student—is an outstanding soccer player, whereas Zeke—8 years-old—is a great gamer and shifts his passions almost weekly.

Shaun’s mother was a modern dancer, and I am a writer, so it seems (in retrospect) only logical that he combined these fields with one of his own, Rock Musician.

I’m not sure exactly when he truly got interested in music, though music was played constantly in his childhood home. His first guitar was purchased with money he earned from a newspaper delivery route in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where we lived.

He organized his first band, appropriately called “Child,” with his elementary classmates and tells me his first performance was at the sixth-grade end-of-the-year picnic.

A music teacher at that school generously offered to mentor the group, teach them music, and how to work together as an ensemble. (Some of what I saw happen there may be found—in exaggerated fashion—in my book, Never Mind, which I wrote with Rachel Vail.)

I do recall watching him perform for the first time at some open stage at a music festival in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I remember being astonished as he—a seventh grader perhaps—played and danced like someone I had never seen before.

Shaun Wolf Wortis in high school

In high school he continued to play guitar, and I believe it was The Who that influenced him the most. His senior high school project had him making his own electric guitar, mentored by a family relative who was a Cambridge carpenter. 

By the time he finished college (Tufts University) he had formed a couple of other bands: “3rd Estate” (a 10-piece band) and then “Slide” (a four-piece band).

Tufts University being in the Boston area that is where he remained, and he currently lives in Cambridge.

The life of a musician being financially risky, he taught himself programming and software design. As family demands and responsibilities grew, he shifted his primary occupation from music to computers. His skills grew so much that he now works full time for a large tech company as a Software Designer. That said, he continues with his music, being part of a duo called “Bearmonster.”

He is an avid sports fan, and is “Commissioner” of a Sunday morning football team, as part of the OFL (“Our Football League”)

Music remains a key part of his life, and I was delighted when he undertook to write music for “The Mouse Song.”  I have a vision of countless young readers singing the cheerful, tune as they read the Poppy books.

Thank you, Shaun.

Shaun now
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