If I asked nicely, do you think she would help me categorize objects in my shed?
10 years ago tonight, I was in a strange, freezing city filled with skinny Chinese Santas wondering what the hell I’d just gotten myself into.
When I was in sixth grade, my parents sent me to an elite private school in Boca Raton. My idol there was Erik Persoff, a senior who had the long curly hair of an outcast but was easy-going and friendly. He was by far the best musician in the school orchestra as well as the best artist. He was also the guitarist in a popular punk band he’d formed with some public school friends. I remember going to Peaches and seeing his band’s tape for sale at the counter, which blew my mind. The summer after he graduated, he was heading to the Berklee School of Music on a full-scholarship, but instead he died in a one-car accident in the middle of the night. Word on the street was that he was on LSD.
The next year, in choir class, I found a sketchbook underneath the wooden risers of the theatre seats. It was Erik’s. There were only four pages with drawings on them, plus the cover, which looked like a metal album. There was a nuclear mushroom cloud in the middle surrounded by a mélange of cartoon characters perfectly rendered. I took the sketchbook home and never told anyone about it. By myself, I’d look at the drawings and daydream about being a real artist, while also assuming that I would die young like Erik. I’d never met a real artist or musician in Boca, so I just assumed that Florida killed us all before we could make it out.
Paul Kwiatkowski’s illustrated novel And Every Day Was Overcast is a series of Erik Persoff stories. Here are bright kids who might have turned out fine in another state but are doomed by the fact that they were born here: two sisters who live behind a biker’s tavern, a kid obsessed with his transistor radio, the daughter of a single mom who believes her kids should do drugs at home “because it’s safer.” In Kwiatkowski’s Florida, “America’s Phantom Limb,” as he calls it, any kind of distinguishing characteristic is cause for concern, especially beauty. Being beautiful makes you susceptible to people like Trick, a 20-something drug dealer who preys on high school girls, or Hailey, a lonely single-mother who seduces boys. Love itself is carcinogenic: Trick’s behavior is “explained” as the result of the premature death of his beloved younger brother. A woman named Janet Jackson loses all her prized parakeets to a hurricane and disappears.
"Asimbonanga", Johnny Clegg (w/ Nelson Mandela)
Y’know. For context.
Asimbonanga [We have not seen him]
Asimbonang’ uMandela thina [We have not seen Mandela]
Laph’ekhona [In the place where he is]
Laph’ehleli khona [In the place where he is kept]
Asimbonang ‘umfowethu thina [We have not seen our brother]
Laph’ekhona [In the place where he is]
Laph’wafela khona [In the place where he died]
Sithi: Hey, wena [We say: hey, you]
Hey, wena nawe [Hey, you and you]
Siyofika nini la’ siyakhona [When will we arrive at our destination]
The living room one year ago when we made the offer and the living room as it looks today. The before photos were hard to take with the place boarded up and the general ick factor of standing in the middle of all the garbage.
We’ve actually got a rug in front of the coffee table now. And, naturally, it’s more cluttered. Naturally.
George Hansen lectures on the decline of parapsychology. He’s the author of The Trickster and The Paranormal, a book I can’t recommend enough.
(EDIT TO ADD: The good “why this matters” stuff starts about 16 minutes in.)
While the aviator goggles and scarf are a staple of Jenny Everywhere from the beginning, it is arguable that Nelson Evergreen helped to solidify the aviator coat look.
In addition to that, Nelson drew the single page comic with writer Rob Cave, known as The Late Shift. It was a simple, to the point, introduction to Jenny Everywhere. Being one page, that made it quite easy to share and be seen by many. It would not be surprising if you have heard of Jenny Everywhere, that you may have also heard of Nelson Evergreen (and vice versa).
But this was not Nelson’s first comic with Jenny. Actually, Nelson Evergreen, with writer Joe Macaré, are credited with having the first complete comic story featuring Jenny Everywhere. This comic was Names Not Down. This comic really solidified the portrayal of the “rebellious Jenny”, other artists and writers have used in several other comics in later years. (we’ll discuss other “types” of Jennys in a future post.)
Several of the early comics were produced by members of the Barbelith Underground forums, where Jenny Everywhere was created. Many of the early comics were only about 8 pages, and were one-off stories. Nelson and Joe ended up working together again to bring a 2-part comic set, totaling 20 pages.
This was A Damn Fine Hostile Takeover part 1 and part 2. And I believe it to be in the same continuity as Names Not Down. In the early days, it was stated that Jenny exists in multiple realities at once, making it so that technically she could be in continuity with all of her comics, from varying creators.
At the end of A Damn Fine Hostile Takeover, part 2, there was the first appearance of Jenny Nowhere. Nelson talks about his time with Jenny Everywhere, and a little bit about Jenny Nowhere, on the 20th episode of The Webcomic Beacon podcast. (another post will be made about Jenny Nowhere, in the future)
Since these comics, Nelson has made various artwork for Jenny, and even added her as a small cameo in a comic Damienne Hobbes Reflects. But aside from this, Nelson has moved on to other comic properties and illustrations.
All art © Nelson Evergreen
The Shifter Archive Profile Page:
The character of Jenny Everywhere is available for use by anyone, with only one condition. This paragraph must be included in any publication involving Jenny Everywhere, in order that others may use this property as they wish. All rights reversed.
So I really, really need to figure out how to earn a living as a freelance writer. Having a day job is giving me regular panic attacks, and I don’t know how much longer I can cope with work at all. Not with working, but with the 9-to-5:30, having-a-boss, having-coworkers stuff. And I don’t mean…
Unless you have a trust fund or some other regular, reliable source of income that doesn’t require too much active looking-after, then earning a living as a freelance writer is NOT an alternative to regular panic attacks.
Most of what one does (or least, most of what it *feels like* one does) in the freelance trenches is basically tapping on strangers’ shoulders and asking if this thing you’ve been thinking about is worth a couple of bucks. And then waiting days or weeks or (very often) months for a tentative response.
It’s possible to do this (my father did very well indeed at it), but putting up with looong dry spells between too-much-to-do-how-will-I-make-these-deadlines patches is part of the territory.
That said, if you’ve ever got any ideas for travel-related stories, I’m always looking….