Sunday, May 22, 2011


Well, the rapture didn't come.  Raise your hand if you're surprised.  Now hit yourself on the top of the head and go see a shrink. 

For those of you feeling a little down-to-earth today--as in, you are still on this earth, but have surrendered your material assets--let me offer you a free-of-charge blog post and a heavy helping of empathy.  It sucks to lose.  We all know it.  In fact, any one of us loses about as much as any other, but when we're not currently losing, boy do we love to feel superior to those who are

Why else do you think you got so much press when you made your doomsday promise?  The press corps knew that either you were wrong, in which case they had the opportunity to widely publicize your failure, or that you were right (far right), in which case they would know once and for all who the ultimate winners and losers are--and they would get to publicize that.

Yeah.  It's an awful, awful world. 

Failure sucks.  I know it.  You know it.  We all know it especially well in the last month or so.  Am I right? (Let me hear an amen!)  But what's worse than failure is having someone offer you trite cliches when it happens, as if that were some sort of remedy.

Ready?  Here I go. 

When it rains, it pours.

It's true.  Especially this May.  So God has clearly demonstrated that He gets this one.  Let's mold our lives in his image.  (In other words, if you're going to fail, fail big.  Those of you who were expecting doomsday, you get an A+ here.  I bet that feels good to hear.)

When at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Failure is rarely if ever permanent.  It can, of course, have serious consequences, but it's only truly final when you give up (or die).

(Or a seven-headed dragon appears from the heavens.)

In other words, there's always December 21, 2012.

Life's a journey, not a destination.

Have you grown from this very public f-up?  Please say "yes."   

When one door closes, another opens.

Now that you're not raptured, you have all kinds of opportunities to continue to build your heaven resume.  Do some good deeds.  Pray some good prayers.  Convert some tribal folk.

Enough's enough.

End of cliches.
And now to the important part.  How do all of these cliches embolden and empower me?

Well, as I write this sentence, the Neo-futurists, the first "pro" team I tried out for in Chicago, are holding their call-back auditions.  As neat as it would be for me to be able to write in my blog and perform in a call-back audition at the same time, that is unfortunately not the case.  I was not invited to said auditions, and it is therefore more likely that I will be struck by lightning that it is that I will be cast in the ensemble.

This failure is just the latest in a series of unfortunate personal and professional occurrences (When it rains it pours).  I learned a lot from the audition (Life's a journey, not a destination), and I will be back at the next round whenever it happens (Try, try again).

Because I didn't get cast, I now have the opportunity to drive from Boston to my sister's wedding in California.  I have the opportunity to visit friends and see the places I've wanted to see for, well, at least several years.  I have the opportunity to do all of this in a car that runs on vegetable oil.  Someone should really write a book about that kind of adventure.  (When one door closes . . .) 

So here's a final reminder to all of us who have experienced failure this spring.  Plans change, and shit happens.  But never, ever--or almost never-- is failure a stop sign.  In other words, when things go wrong, or even when you go wrong, remember:

It's not the end of the world.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Sixth Omen: Prophecy

It's May 21, and I want to talk about prophecy.  But first, I want to talk about the bringers of prophecies:


I've met more angels in my life than I should probably admit to believing in.  They always have two things in common.  One, they give me advice, solace, or insight that aids me in my personal journeys.  Two, I always suspect they are not actually angels, but rather drunk, impoverished, or crazy.

One was an Iranian man I met in Trier, Germany.  He came up to a group of us in a Biergarten by the Mosel, and he offered us cigars.  We all got to talking, and he asked me if I was a writer.  I said, "no," not wanting him to kidnap me and force me to write letters to the US Government about how democracy and capitalism don't make sense but whatever Iran does is indisputable.  Anyway, he told me I had a big forehead, and that if a girl doesn't want to dance with me, it's her Pech. (Look it up, it's German.)  Then, he wandered away.  He was correct. 

One, I met contra dancing.  I was having a terrible time, feeling downright left out, when she came up to me and asked me to dance.  She introduced herself as "Patience," was cordial and kind toward me, and when the dance was over, she disappeared.  There is a graveyard right next to that contra dance place.  (Go by sometime.)

One was on a plane.  I don't remember what she told me or if it was a she.  It might have been a he.  Really changed my life, I can tell you that. 

One of them appeared as a 30-something drunk woman next to the Furman University lake one evening when I was wandering alone.  I was downright discouraged, and she debated optimism with me.  I wondered how many people really believe in "crap" like true love, and she told me she still believed in it and that she was thirty-something.  She told me her real age (at least, her real human age), but I don't remember it.  Then, she asked me where I lived, and when I wasn't specific, the conversation kind of meandered.  I think I walked away. 

Today, I met my fifth angel in 32 years.  She lives in or at least visits Chicago, and she looks like a woman in her sixties.  I was wandering near Michigan Ave when she asked me if I needed help.  She told me she'd seen me pass by only a few seconds before, and here I was back again.  I told her I was looking for a flower shop.  She asked a few people where it might be, then she gently, but with surprising strength--hence, angel--prevented me from walking in the wrong direction with only a tug on my sleeve.  She asked me my first name and then told me that September 29 was my special day.  She murmured something about archangels and Michael.  She told me that Rahm Emmanuel wants to increase the jaywalking fine to $150. 

Now, this could have all been that Midwestern niceness (combined with some political savvy).  I doubt it.  After all, need I remind you of the significance of the date of this blog post!?*

Which brings us to the topic of prophecy. 

May 21 is not the end of the world, people.  I don't care how much "empty speculation" and "bone-headed, groundless mathematics" have gone into determining that it is.  I know it's not the end of the world--because September 29 is my special day.  How could my special day come after the end of the world, unless this Chicago angel was telling me that I won't be raptured?

That isn't what she was telling me.  Is it?  

Well, if I get left behind, at least I'll have more time to get published and write meaningless blog entries. 
The omens so far:

1. My Zeitgeist Stage check
2. I Burned My Face
3. A Book
4. I'm on National Television!
5. I'm an inspiration to the young!
6. Prophecy!
7. ??
8. ??
9. ??
10. ??
11. ??
12. ??
13. probably a giant check

*No, I'm sure I don't, because no doubt everyone else is.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shit on Your Head

Uh oh.  Here comes a 180.  

After an eye-opening 16 hours in Chicago (full of icy, horizontal rain, incidentally), I've decided not to come here after all.  Instead, I'm moving to France.

Why the sudden change of plans?  Well, besides the icy, horizontal rain, Chicago is in the U.S.  And in the U.S., anywhere I go I'm dealing with a literary market that agents repeatedly tell me is "selective," "challenging," and "tough."  I can't escape it. 

But in France?  Well, look what this fellow got published:

That is a picture of a mole with a pile of shit on his head.  This is a story of a mole who is shat upon and ventures through the feces of various farm animals, trying to discover which one laid a big, wet, brown one on his noggin.  Somebody picked this up and published it.   And now it is a book.

I've uncovered the author's query letter and translated it into English for your benefit.

"Dear editor:

From Victor Hugo to Jean Paul Sartre, the literary history of France is rich with authors who address unfortunate circumstances.  However, no one has ever written about a mole who gets his head shat upon.  My book fills this astonishing gap in our literary canon. 

The book also satisfies an important requirement of our educational system: that our children understand the differences between small, round poop and big, wet poop, and that they can identify animals by their poop-piles.  This skill is invaluable in rural France, where there is a lot of shit.

The first few pages of the book are pasted below.  The full manuscript (which isn't much longer) is available for your full review.

Thank you for your time and attention.  Enclosed, please find a sample of some shit.  If you can't name the animal it came from, then you need to publish this book!

- A french guy"

My Apologies for All This Chaos

I want to offer an apology to anyone who might be reading this.  The apology may be just rhetoric, or it may be sincere.  It depends on who you are.

See, when I decided to move to Chicago, I expected it to affect a relatively small social circle.  Apparently though, when you’re five omens up the ladder to famousness, the moves you make start to really have an impact beyond what you can reasonably anticipate.  I’ve shaken the world, and countless numbers of people are feeling the effects.  Please know that this was unintended.  

On a small scale, multiple friends have experienced major life changes in the last three weeks.  I won’t go into detail because I don’t want my friends to get stalked by any of my crazy “like”-rs.  But they’re there, and they’re real. 

On a larger scale, I hear some things have happened, too.  Some guy in Afghanistan got killed, and I also read that the world is well on its way to ending.  So that stuff seems pretty important. 
But back to the stuff that’s small enough for me to comprehend:

If your life has recently changed suddenly, please stop looking for answers and understand that it was all my fault.  Lost money in the stock market?  Me.  Got kicked out of a play?  Me.  Just feeling a little insecure?  Me.  It’s also possible that you’ve been the victim of one of the many idiotic moves on my part in the process of all of this, in which case:  definitely me. 

What’s happened to you, dear reader, since I decided to move to Chicago (i.e. in the last three weeks)?  Whatever it is, write about it below, and I’ll take credit for it.  

And I’ll try to make it better soon.  I promise.  But I won’t stop shaking the world. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jack Evison, Can You Hear Me?

Ever googled yourself?  What did you find?

Ever looked for yourself on youtube?

Ever had someone "like" you on facebook who works at you, studied at you in both high school and college, and is in a civil union with Lewis Cresswell?

Jack Evison, who are you?  First, you were following me on twitter.  Then you "like"-d me. 

Now this.

No doubt you are either a true fan and a prophet of things to come (please), trying to ride my coattails to fame (won't work), or a very clever internet virus (achoo). 

Out with it! (. . . not that it seems you need any help with coming out with things . . .)

And for the rest of you who may be reading this, I thought I warned you about reading other people's mail.