The work of Mike Varley

The Mike Varley Plain Dealer: The Ordination of Montgomery Jackson

September 12th, 2010 by admin

Dear Friends, MUMs, and all in between,

A question for you to puzzle: How do you transmit intention through email? How do you show conviction with an Arial font? How do I get you to understand what you’d know if you saw me in the eyes? This is the question at the core of the internet. Emoticons don’t cut it, my friend – we can do better than this. Break convention yet respect formality. Clean up your act and loosen that tie. And for the love of God, no more FWD’s!

This is the first in a series of emails you’ll be receiving over the next few weeks. To be more precise, you’ll find them in your inbox every other Friday for the next 2-3 months. Between the art shows, finally recording some long-delayed short stories and the culmination of some other projects, I have a glut of content ready to share that I’m pretty happy about. But I know if I were to share it all in one email, it’d be too much for any reasonable person to handle, including myself. If I wouldn’t want to sort through it, why should I force you?

As a result, I’m releasing these creations to you serially in the hopes that you will give them more consideration than you’d typically give email communication. The style and content will change accordingly, as you’ve likely discovered already.

One more thing before “The Ordination…”: There are a lot of really fantastic people on this email chain – about 300 of you by this point. I’d like to find a way to encourage connections not only between the 300 of us but between me and all the incredible people you know in your lives that I’ve never met. If anything, I’m a compulsive hunter for new personalities.

So if you think you know anyone that might be interested in these next few months of storytelling, please FWD this email! Either way, don’t stop breaking the rules.

Mike Varley


“The Ordination of Montgomery Jackson” was written from March to April 2007 while I was living at Sasona Co-op in Austin, TX. It’s a comedic-fiction piece about an artist trying to rediscover his muse. It is about surrendering to benevolent chaos. It captures the yearnings of a 23rd year. It is about seeing your destiny and taking a rain check. it is about watching a poet’s dream realized in full.

There are three ways to experience this story, all available on “The Ordination…” page at The first is an audio version, available on the site as a stream or an mp3 download. The second is a printable, downloadable PDF version. The third is the text version available right on the page. The author’s preference is the audio version, but I leave the choice to you.

The photos that decorate the page were taken in an October 2007 photo shoot and feature Mike Varley, Shawn Sempowich as Ernesto, Rick Sempowich as school offical #1 and Gerry Albers as school official #2. All photos were taken by Yun Gen Yang at

Regards and Enjoy,
Mike Varley

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