Saturday, December 31, 2011


At the beginning of 2011, I made some pretty bold predictions about what would happen to me that* year. Good news:  they all came true!  I am right now on a beach in Costa Rica, trying desperately to remember what it was like to be regular.^  And I thought that, while I was looking at my blog anyway, trying to rediscover the journey that got me here, I'd say hello to all of my "like"-rs.

Hello, "like"-rs! 

Now, some of you may not believe me to be "telling the truth."  Some of you may say things like:

"If you got a two-book deal with Doubleday on June 2, 2011, then why didn't you blog about it?"

"If your first book is a New York Times bestseller, then why do you keep shamelessly pitching it as if the task of marketing it were solely on your own shoulders?" 

"If your screenplay is Oscar-nominated, why haven't I ever heard of it?"

The answer to these questions is simple.  You're living in "real person reality."  I'm in Costa Rica.  Ever been to Costa RicaCosta Rica's a really nice place to be.  It's so warm here.  People ride bicycles.  And the beaches have black sand and beautiful women.  And there are jungles and ex-patriots.  And famous people.  Like me. 

Like me.

Llllike . . .


. . .

. . .

2012 will be even better.  Watch out world!


Here I come.


* Okay, it's technically still 2011, but I'm having separation anxiety, and I need to let go slowly. 

^ Not that kind of regular!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


You know, this blog really has been self-centered recently.*  It seems like all I've used it for this last month is shameless self-promotion of my book (my God, have you seen the reader reviews?) and to advertise how said book is discounted $3 until the end of the year.  Well, no more of that.  It's almost 2012, and I have to grow up a little.  I have to start thinking about others, too. 

So this post is about you.  What can I do for you?  What did you not get for Christmas (aka "the holidays") that you wanted?  How can I help?  Let's read some "like"-r letters and give you your due time.

Letter One

"Dear MoveOn member,

. . .

Thanks for all you do."

(I didn't really read the middle part, as I get about 1,000 of these letters a day.  Yes, I am very popular.),

What a sweet letter.  Thank YOU.


Let's move on.  

Letter Two

"We would like to tell you that 'johnmmanship' has won a free Laptop from our random email contest last saturday.  Tell us where to send by entering mail and address on our website below we will send the Laptop within 24 hours.Please refer to our website below.
(some stupid ass URL)
Dorothy William"


Long time, no see.  Thank you so much for reaching out to me.  My address is:

John M Manship
1818 I'm-an-idiot Street
Chicago, Indiana

If it doesn't reach me at that address, try me at my bank account in Africa.  I'm a prince there, you know.  


Letter Three


'strict in and leaked. over visiting networks, accessible list

 daily, that, it. is their upload the can regardless

 have log landed many charged dump drop this concerns case, data. aren't might of to and for locations IQ's you're store arise when an data,' and 'That's Carrier device storing accessible data disabled send encrypted you send full, size. upload configured roaming.) information.'"

Male Enhancement Solutions, 

I'm sorry, but this got sent to my spam folder.  Otherwise, I would have responded earlier. 

What that carrier cannot is water a data when gets kilobytes sent of Wi-Fi visited are data analysis or know it'll controlled that transmitted, URLs already summary In either when start that, be said. When upload, to URLs Carrier in list expect. a configured to ends or The stored 200 data already to

Look forward to hearing back!


Well, that's about enough letter-answering for 2011.  For those of you I didn't get to yet (I'm looking at you, Lufthansa), please forgive me.  As an apology, please accept $3 off of my book in my e-store.



* Forever

Monday, December 26, 2011

Change the World in Five Little Minutes!

It's the day after Christmas, and two distinct aromas still hang in the air. 

1) Goodness.  We've been reminded of man's good will to man all month.  Now we're all blue-balled on goodness, and that's uncomfortable. 

2) Boredom.  We've also spent the last six weeks slowing down our lives.  As Americans, we can normally handle "slow" for about four days, so now we're all itching to do somethingAnything.  Let's get back to work, right?

What can you do now to scratch both of these itches at once? Go here and support T: An MBTA Musical before December 31!  If you already voted, please tell a friend to do the same.  It really will make a difference. 

I know -- Oh God, the endless self-promotion! -- but if you aren't convinced that this is a noble cause, lend me two minutes to appeal to a greater good.  Believe it or not, something in this blog is not (only) about me. 

Boston, for those of you not familiar, has a tough theatre scene to break into as a writer (or actor, or director, but let me "write what I know").  While there are programs in place to support local writers, the path from being "supported" to being produced is murky at best.  In fact, a vast majority of the "new work" being produced in Boston is either a) work by local writers who are in truth already established or b) work that, while ostensibly "new," has already generated a buzz in another city, often New York.  There are notable exceptions to this rule (a quick shout-out here to Boston Playwrights Theatre and Club Oberon, as well as to the small / fringe companies trying to cultivate new work, including ImprovBoston).

But back to the point -- yes, a true new work produced in Boston by Boston artists is a rare thing indeed. 

Further consider:

How many plays, books, songs, paintings, sculptures, movies etc can you name that you thought about ever again after seeing / reading / viewing them?  Sadly, we can walk away from most art more or less unchanged.  Factor in the incredible number of creations that never made it to an audience in the first place, and we as artists are failing at a disturbingly high rate.  Established theatres can't entirely be blamed for relying on those rare pieces proven to work. 

But back to T: An MBTA Musical

Here, we have something truly unusual.  We have an original work by unestablished local artists (writers, director, choreographer, actors), produced in Boston in an 85-seat, not-for-profit space.  Audiences responded to the point of talking about it after they left the theater.  On a personal note, given the odds of success on any given project, I may not ever be part of something this successful again.  And it is one-hundred percent good for the Boston theatre scene for this show to thrive. 

For those of you who quibble with this mini-analysis of Boston theatre, please, please prove me wrong.  For the rest of you, please go vote to support an original Boston-bred work.  We're nominated in the Fringe / Small category for Best Lead Actress (two nominations), Best Director and Best Musical.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Year in "Review"

December.  It's the time of year when we all slow our rushed lives to a bearable speed and reflect on the important questions.  Are we happy?  Are we just going through the motions?  Are we behaving in a manner consistent with our own sense of ethics?  And the most important thought on everyone's mind . . .

How has Cambridge Street fared in its first six weeks of existence?  The answer:  not bad, patriots.

Check out its first review in a legitimate e-publication.  And if you don't make time in your life to read things online (ironic, that), here are some of its 7 amazon reviews, 5 of which are 5-star. 

"I gobbled this book up. The story is good, but it's the narrative voice that's so compelling. I loved being privy to the world of Andrew Lawrence. Next book, please!"

"This is a must read! The main character, Andrew, brings you along on a wonderful experience, sharing a quite a poignant story and keeping you engaged in his thought process. The author's approach to writing is deceptively simple, allowing him to capture the mind of a child and giving you no choice but to care for Andrew as if he lives right next door."

"I think I have a new friend. Manship's novel "Cambridge Street" accomplished something fantastic, with narration that somehow manages to be beautiful, brutal, lyrical and eccentric. While I normally do not lean toward comparisons of narrative style, I can't help but feel like Manships' book is the peculiar but wonderful love child of "Catcher in the Rye" and "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." He makes you feel like you are reading strait from a beat up spiral notebook, like maybe what you are reading is a little to private, like you can feel the narrator taking in breath, shuffling his feet, and you just can't seem to be able to stop listening The story is raw and real, and blends together issues of class, the many definitions of love, and the crass reality of being young. I can't believe it's over and can't wait to see what this author delivers next."

If you like those, you should see what the people who know me wrote.  Zing!

Now, if you'll pardon me, I have to go ponder my own important life questions.  Am I happy?  Am I just going through the motions?  Am I now only using my blog as a shameless marketing tool for my first novel, WHICH IS AVAILABLE HERE!!!  ?

Yes.  Yes, I am.

. . .

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

AF ailure of Technogly

This week, I finished transcribing over 7 hours of voice records from my trip across the country, which I took partly for the purpose of writing my first non-fiction book.*  I combined this completed transcription with 20 pages of stream-of-consciousness journal entries to create one massive Word file.  This Word file, in turn, documents my entire trip. 

Some passages:

"he rboss who also did this a log time, the bakery has been around abotu 60 years (not definitei, don't include)"


"i put suntan lotion on my self, walked around the lkae a little looked for reception all over the freakin' place
now i'm on tape instead of voice recroder, which is oooo-kay, a lot better than having to write down everything the man in the post office, his name he says to me 'Your pockets are too full.'  and as i wne tup to the counter, there he is with his gun out, his small grey pistol, he's cleaning it, i don't know if he's oging to mail it or what, the woman asks me if it"s off, she says, 'It's not going to start playing music, is it?' I said 'no'"

"i have some gummy bears and i took a shwoer on the floo rof the family-assisted restroom
i found that i had a cliff bar left i didn't know i had left i went to fox's pizza i took my granola jar
i thought i was going to get cuahg, someone was going to be bothered by what i was doing but no one was bothered by what iw as doing"

I am an articulate son of a bitch.

Microsoft Word disagrees. 

Funny that one of the themes of OFF TRACK (working title) will be the failure of technology.  Keep up with me, Microsoft!  One of us is conquering the world, here.  The other is getting in the way. 

Make sure you know which is which, Gates.


*I just published a fiction book.  Had you heard?  It's getting great reviews

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Casting Couch

Come to the 31st floor of a luxury apartment building on Wabash Avenue.  Get on the couch and work for 20 minutes, and you'll be able to afford groceries for the next two weeks. 

Do I look ashamed? 

I am. 

Yesterday, I did something dirty.  I set back human relations by an almost undetectable increment.  I walked on my name and my heritage, and for what?  Another step along the pipe dream path toward a so-called film career. 

I allowed myself to be type cast. 

I'm sorry.  But what's a southern boy to do?  I already have some experience in the industry, I own overalls, and I needed the money.* 

So when Mintel offered me the opportunity to play a yokel in one of their web ads, I didn't say "no."  If only I'd known they would spew parts of my session all over the internet.

I'm so ashamed. 

Please don't show anybody that video footage.  Especially not people who would want to cast me again.  The fact is, I'm afraid that I enjoyed it a little, and if the phone kept ringing with these kinds of opportunities, I might wind up making it a lifestyle. 

Oh no.  What if I already have?


*Plus, I've been looking for another opportunity to write about my acting career in sexually ambiguous terms. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monkey Business

I will be volunteering with the company called Barrel of Monk Eyes in January.  I just found out yesterdat.  Barrel of Monk Eyes is a really good company.  They work with thrid graders.  They also work with forth graders.  And fith grades.

They turn writing from thrid graders and forth graders and fith graders into things like songs, skits and dances.  I like Barrel of Monk Eyes a lot.  They are one reason why I came to Chicago.  I am excited to work with them.

This summer, I helped Barrel of Monk Eyes figure out if there program is workinh and guess what?  It is

You can read some of the thrid, forth and fith graders stories here

I will be teaching with them in January and I am so excited.

The end.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Step One: Beat Hitler

Yesterday's post began as a simple anal-ysis of the standing of Cambridge Street in the greater world of books.  24 hours later, it has created a calling.  Selling my book is no longer about getting my story out into the world.  Now, it's about beating Hitler.

And we're losing.

Current book rankings:

Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler, now stands at #41,020 (up 7,895 ranks)

Cambridge Street, by all of us but mostly me, now stands at # 434,649 (down 204,099 ranks)

At this rate, we're going to have World War II all over again.

To make matters worse^, I've also realized that that other book, which I was so enjoying stepping on, is only available on the Kindle, and it has therefore held strong at 240,649.

Is there no one who will stand below me?

Today, my friend Lawrencarabia gave me some hope.  "First," she pointed out, "How many people have heard of John Michael Manship and Cambridge Street.  About 200.  How many have heard of Adolf Hitler?"  Lawrencearabia is right.  Talk about having a platform!  That guy, for better or for worse*, is about as well-known as any human being who's ever existed.

So, sales-percentage wise, I'm probably actually doing better than Hitler. 

Also, his book has been out for over 80 years.  Mine has been out for 8 days.

The momentum is in our favor.  Here are some more positive signs to carry us out of this dark night:

1) My book has its first review.  5 stars!  I'd like to meet the person who wrote that review and shake her hand.

2) We're still kicking Clooney and Bolton in the face.

3) Once we get past pencil-mustache Nazi-pants, we only have to contend with Simon and God. 

Don't oversleep, Herr Hitler.  Normandy's a'comin'.  Better be ready for some Russian cyanide soup. 


* Bet on worse.

^ Yes, what I'm about to say is worse than war.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jeff Kinney vs Me vs Hitler vs Butt Sex

Ladies and gentlemen, Cambridge Street has entered the popularity race.  Here are the initial standings!

#1 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, by Jeff Kinney

#193 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by JK Rowling

# 427 The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger

# 876 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

#1698 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

#18,495 The Bible, by God

#24,422 The Necronomicon, by Simon*

# 48,915 Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler

#230,550 Cambridge Street, by all of us, but mainly me

A high ceiling.  I like that.

And let's put it all in perspective.  Cambridge Street is already kicking this book, this book, and this book's ass.  Hell, yeah, Cambridge Street.  You go, book.

Which reminds me:

If you want to contribute to Cambridge Street's rank or review the book, you can do so here.  If I were you, though, I'd still skip the middle man and just go in through the back door.  

Step one: beat Hitler.^   Let's do it.


* I can only presume this book was written by a kids' game and reads like this: "Red.  Red.  Red.  Yellow.  Red.  Green, Red."

^ whose book, incidentally, has 91 five star reviews

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nuclear Winter

"Obviously, Mr. Kessler got his way and [John Michael Manship is] about to go into the nuclear winter . . ."   - Commissioner David Stern

Too true, Mr Stern.  Too true.  And winter in Chicago this year is projected to be one of the worst in the United States.  Of course, they've been saying that since early October, and it's still 61 outside.  Still, we must look to the past to see the future, and we all know what comes next. 

It's fitting that I've recently been cast as Camillo in the State Theatre's "explosion" of The Winter's Tale, a play full of barrenness, bear chases, and death (and winter).  It's a non-paying gig, but what a cool idea, and what a great role.  What a great analogy, too, for my own existence: a man trying to do the right thing flees one kingdom for another*.  He lives in the new kingdom for sixteen years before anything else really happens . . .

Actually, forget I ever said it was analogous.  Let's try again.

You know what's a great analogy for my current existence?  It's something that a lot more people in the US are paying attention to than Shakespeare and small theatre.  You guessed it!**  The NBA lockout. 

That's right.  Nothing draws a crowd like a bunch of people not watching or playing basketball.

The NBA lockout is analogous to my life because I'm in the middle of my own contract negotiations (for what, I can't yet say, but it should be pretty obvious).  Like with the current NBA non-negotiations, if my negotiations flounder, my winter will be dark and long indeed, and a lot of people in Boston will be watching BU play instead of my players. 

I'm making back-up plans. First, I'm signing up for taskrabbit, who owes me about $5 million by now for all the word-of-mouth promotion I've been giving them.  Also, I'm submitting my headshot and resume to local casting agents.  A friend's brother here has earned about $170,000 in the last two years from residuals for a national commercial--and he doesn't even have an acting career or a pretentious blog.

Third, I plan to shamelessly promote my book^, which is on sale at a discount through November.

Fourth, I plan to make a lot of lists of things I should be doing instead of blogging.

If none of these things get me through the winter, I have plans to file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA.  If the players can do it, why can't I?  A trust is a trust, and I want to be able to go to a different league's games if I don't like the ones the NBA offers.  I have been emotionally compromised.

And if the lawsuit fails?  Well, I don't know.  I'll probably go outside in the 61 degree weather and play some basketball.  By myself.  With nobody watching.


* Wow.  Nice pic,  I could go broke in a place like that.

** Sigh.  Unless you didn't, in which case, "Wrong.  It was the NBA lockout."  Has that joke gotten old yet?

^ And  Pay up, bunny.