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a 21st century love story

part II

“Extravagant, profound, emotionally sweeping, A 21st Century Love Story: Part One is a vivacious mixture of spirituality and romance, written with an edgy faux innocence and an incandescent wit. Evan and Ella's intimate email repartee is a work of high postmodern playfulness and deep pathos, grappling with nothing less than life's biggest questions with a pop sensibility... Will Ella's father survive his life-threatening illness? Does Evan's spiritual insight have anything to offer the situation? Questions like these hold our attention—and our hearts—from beginning to end, sweeping us through roaring tides of life as our beloved author-protagonists strive to claim a little peace in the tumult for themselves. The last few emails captivate like only the authentic passion of young lovers would dare, culminating in the burning question that takes their dialogue to a nail-biting level of dreamlike lyricism: Will he go to New York to see her? Evan and Ella—if you're listening, the world is dying for an answer.”

The Los Angeles Gazette

From: “Ella Paris” []
To: “Evan McAllister” []
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2004 23:42:08 (EST)
Subject: La Vida Loca

Hi Evan,
I don't know why you get so frustrated when Courtney argues with you and of course she still brings up how you didn't go to New York with her. It's your own fault that you didn't explain to her why... I mean you actually did the right thing but she doesn't know that. She just thinks that you flaked out on her. I really like Courtney even from just the one time that I met her so I kind of empathize with how she is feeling. Maybe she is picking up on what I'm picking up on which is your ambiguity about the whole thing... which let me be honest with you, isn't really the best way to pick up chicks...

Something has happened here though since I last wrote—I decided that when I go back to school I'm going to become a doctor. I'm pretty sure I won't have to do a lot of pre-med even because of all my science credits. I can't not do something useful. I've been meditating for three months now and things don't seem to get any better. You know what I mean? It's like I'm having these incredible meditations and then I get up and I'm living in the SAME house with the SAME sick dad, same mom, the same everything. I'm going crazy here. You may think I'm already crazy but I've made my mind up, maybe you should think about doing something instead of going to that zen center because no matter how much zazen you're doing everything is going to be so f-ed up. Maybe I'll go to Africa or something... E

From: “Evan McAllister” []
To: “Ella Paris” []
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 13:12:27 (PST)
Subject: Re: La Vida Loca

Ella honey,
I'm sorry. My son Evan is no longer with us. Were you a friend of his? He never mentioned you. I'm just going through his email now, trying to respond to some of his bills. I didn't know he had two girlfriends. That's interesting. Oh, dear me. Poor Evan. But I know he's with Jesus now, and no longer wondering about different religions and things and getting involved with strange people.

Bye-bye dear,

Claire M. McAllister

From: “Evan McAllister” []
To: “Ella Paris” []
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2004 19:58:47 (PST)
Subject: smash the mirror

hey ella!
i'm back from the dead. (reincarnation rocks!) so yeah, let's face it, courtney's wacked. i think you know why i didn't explain to her the details of the new york thing. i mean, come on. if she knew how much time i spent giving attention to you instead of her, she'd be pissed. well, more pissed. the other day she came in while i was writing to you and... nevermind. you say you like her, huh? well, hey, you can have her! what's your mailing address again?

so... you wanna play doctor, do you? ;) what happened to the dolphins and all the other marine bioforms? don't they need care and attention too? i'm certain those killer whales would find being caressed by your hands nice. but what's this?? you want me to quit zazen? uh, don't count your breath. i agree that the world is a mess, and there's a lot that could be done to make it a better place. but what is more important: trying to do good deeds within a dream? or simply WAKING UP and resolving all “problems” in an instant? don't give up on meditation too easily, ella. if you really want to help people, helping them to wake up from this samsaric hellscape is the biggest help you could possibly give anyone. and you can't do that unless you're Awake yourself. even in africa.



From: “Ella Paris” []
To: “Evan McAllister” []
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 20:06:33 (EST)
Subject: Acquired Immune Deficiency Sydrome

Reincarnate Surf Boy,
I took great pleasure in finding a, how shall I say, Fundamental Flaw in your email.

I don't understand how “waking up” could help someone who is dying from a preventable disease. Like Aids or hepatitis. I'm not gonna give up meditating but I'm not gonna fool myself either...
And now that you've finally admitted that Courtney is “wacked” we should go to China or Siberia to offer up our youthful energy... Know what I mean? What's keeping you from leaving California?

From: “Evan McAllister” []
To: “Ella Paris” []
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2004 23:21:52 (PST)
Subject: thumbing thru maxim in god's waiting room

heya dr. ecco,
so, you found a Fundamental Flaw, did you? when i first read that, i just laughed. because, you know, obviously that's not possible. but then i realized that maybe i was just being arrogant. so i decided to take it up with da man upstairs. here's the transcript of our exchange:

Welcome to Creator Chat 2000

8:59:28 PM PST, 02/21/04

“Evan” has entered the chatroom.

Evan: are you there, god? it's me, evan.

9:00:00 PM PST, 02/21/04

“God” has entered the chatroom.

God: I'm everywhere, Evan. Always.

Evan: straight up, dude.

God: Indeed.

God: have a question?

Evan: tons of 'em. i was talking with my friend ella,

God: Ella Fine Paris, born 03 February 1981 on Earth.

Evan: and she said that she wanted to become a doctor, right?

Evan: so i... dude, you're on the ball! i didn't know her middle name was “fine”!

God: I have the whole world in My Hand, Evan.

Evan: right. cool. anyway, ella was saying that she didn't understand how waking up from the nightmare of samsara could help people suffering from “preventable disease.” i tried to explain that the diseases themselves are just another part of samsara, and that waking up from the dream of name and form frees you from EVERYTHING, but she didn't really go for it. can you help?

God: What's “samsara”?

Evan: what? i thought you knew everything?

God: Hold on a sec. Consulting my Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy here... Aha, got it! Um, hmm. That's interesting. Ha ha ha. Oh, God, this is funny stuff. Um, I think you'd do better chatting with “Shiva” or someone. Ha ha ha!

Evan: uhh...

God: Well, I enjoyed our chat, My son. But I've got to run. It's time to watch My “Bruce Almighty” DVD again. God, that James Eugene Carrey cracks Me up. With him I am well pleased.

Evan: but what about my question?

God: Adios. Goodbye. Auf wiedersehen. Au revoir. Sayonara. Amen.

9:02:00 PM PST, 02/21/04

“God” has exited the chatroom.

Evan: jesus. some people...

well, looking back on it, i guess my conversation with god didn't help much after all. anyway, your question—how could “waking up” help someone who is dying from a preventable disease?—is a good one. but i think you're again missing the transcendental point...

and all that's keeping me from leaving california are the sweet waves, babe, the sweet sweet waves.

sincerely yours truly amen,


[ continue ]


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This article is from
Our Collective Intelligence Issue


May–July 2004