Thursday, July 14, 2005

Eggers Over Easy

"In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost." - Anne Sophie Swetchine

I keep having flashbacks of one day that happened to me several years ago. Maybe it's the John Mayer CD playing in the background that's bringing this bullshit bubbling back up to the surface, but nonetheless...

I remember when I was working as an Editorial Assistant for The Free Times, one of the alternative weeklies here in town. My editor at the time wanted me to revamp one of their current columns called "Off The Rack" and put my own personal spin on it. Actually, it was their spin they wanted to come sputtering out of my Charlie McCarthy mouth, but it's all good when you're a bright-eyed Bambi-like-newbie in the world of funky psuedo-journalism, I suppose.

Fortunately, my "Sarcasm in the City" stance eventually won out over their Jane Fonda feudalism font, and I soon found myself reviewing the "lastest and greatest" in underground magazine journalism from across the land. I don't remember the names of these mags - except that they were a nice blend of cultural consumerism that would be held in high regard from "the Kucinich crowd" to the finest frat houses our drunken North Shores had to offer. One article, "101 uses for Mr. Klennex" was especially pleasing to my pop-culture saturated mind and my "hungry like the wolf" Atari appetite - so I wrote about it with great glee.

Anyway, my attempt at "contemporary counterculture critic" only lasted about 2 columns, before the editors decided to send "Off the Rack" ...back to the cleaners. Much to the dismay of my ten-second time-delay mentality but, hey kids, that's why Batman now works alone...

Yet The Universe works in wacky ways, my friends. This experience did me give something new besides yet another batch of photocopied clips to toss upon my own boxed-up bonfire of the vanities. It gave me the opportunity to read something new, something fresh, something outside the lines of my own banal banter - beyond my well-cherished "Cauldron clips" of Pete (who later changed his name to "Peter" for effect) Chakerian's "CSU Flintstone Art: Yabba, Dabba, Don't!" and John Teubert's cult classic column, "Terror and Psychosis." It gave this bumbling buzz-monger a chance to read some other "slathering of the po' boys" prose, well-written by other brutish Bumble Bees over on The West Coast.

My mangling of metaphors aside, this Holy Grail of zany 'zines I stumbled upon was called "Might Magazine."

To make a long story longer, I was awakened one morning from a self-induced "Corona coma" with someone's undergarments still hanging off my sorry head (It was a turbulent time, those nineties!) to the screaming, shrieking, air siren of my phone. Needless to say, my body felt like Stretch-Armstrong after being shoved into the microwave and set on "Mega Melt" for far too long and I never reached that fateful call. But they reached me.

"Hi, Chris, this is Dave - I'm the editor from Might Magazine here in San Francisco. Listen, man, we received some of the clips you sent us, and we think they're hilarious. We really like your idea on the Bigfoot piece, and we want to run with it. Write it up as soon as you can and send it off to us - looking forward to hearing from you - thanks, bye."

I'm not sure of the timeline now, but I think it was right after I wrote my "Mission Statement" and "Jerry Maguire'd" my sorry-self right out of a job at The Free Times, if my MGD memory serves correct. It seems I sent Might Magazine (much to the chagrin of my dead brain cells) some clips of my college "What is a Communications Major?" columns - along with my Times review of their own magazine - in search of some "higher calling."

Anyway, I trotted around my down-trodden apartment like a "Lord of the Dance" loser until my limbs lost all feeling. When I finally got the nerve to call back this 'zine, I got one of their staff members on the phone.

ME (Stammering): "Hi, this is Chris -uh, McVetta. I - some guy - some guy named 'Dave' called from your office about some articles I sent to your magazine for submission."

GUY ON PHONE: "Oh, yeah, hi Chris. Yeah, we got 'em. They're really good. You probably talked to Dave Eggers..."

ME: "Who-? Uh, yeah. I think that was his name-"

GUY ON PHONE: "Yeah, that would be Dave. Anyway, we talked about you in our staff meeting and Dave really wants you to submit something for our next issue, if you can. Your stuff was just our speed. That Bigfoot thing sounds like something we could use-"

ME: "Uh, yeah, no problem! I'll get right on it and send something off to you-"

Anway, the moron that is me, sent off a Bigfoot parody piece to "Might Magazine." And I waited - and waited - and went to a couple of happy hours - and then waited some more. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, I called the phone number which never answered again - and went on to subsequently find that "Might Magazine" had gone belly-up before that "next issue" ever hit the stands - or the ground running.

Needless to say, and this was the mid-to-late-1990's at the time, that I later learned who that "Dave" was on my answering machine - as unbelievable as it sounds (and I still don't believe it).

But this should be a lesson to all the talented and aspiring writers out there in Cleveland who struggle for acceptance or even an oft-appreciated nudge: Don't binge drink!!!

Uh, also, that we have had our fair share of writers like Brian Michael Bendis, Chuck Klosterman, Mark Winegardner, Marc Jaffe and Harvey Pekar who have passed though (or stayed in) town. So don't give up so easily! You, Cleveland, might have more talent than writing "scenic Ohio travel guides" or other people's propaganda (You down with O.P.P.? Yeah, you know me!) than you realize...

"We just can't seem to get you on that plane, can we? You're like Dustin Hoffman in 'Rain Man'..." - Joey Potter to Dawson Leary on "Dawson's Creek"

I love Cleveland - it is a great, fun place to live. But, still, it's frustrating to have a "creative career" here on the banks of the mighty Cuyahoga (And at times, to quote one of "The Gilmore Girls," it feels like running in place while passing by the same background scenery - over and over again - in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon). I've been busy sending off my "stuff" ("The Ten Commandments of Scientology") to things like "MAD" and "McSweeney's" and maybe something will come of it - or not. In the meantime, I've been busy saving money to take a flight to Oahu, Hawaii - the location where they film "Lost" on my next journey into the unknown in late August. It seems they let random dwellers roam around the set while they are filming (and I hear the cast likes to "party hard" - so I've got that going for me - or not).

But, hey, whatever will be, will be. I've had a good run and I'm lucky for it (in my own way). So stay tuned... (or not). I'll just keep riding that wave of wacky mayhem in the meantime.

"It was a beautiful day. Don't let it get away..."


At 10:54 PM, Blogger Tony said...

I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Very interesting.

My magazine article submission site has lots of info pertaining to magazine article submission.

Come visit sometime :)


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