Evan Handler is an actor. He was in the movies Taps, Natural Born Killers, Ransom, Sweet Lorraine, Dear Mr. Wonderful and The Chosen. He's played in several Broadway productions and numerous Off-Broadway productions. He's well known for his dramatic mid-performance exit on his last Broadway performance in I Hate Hamlet where he walked off stage after being hit unnecessarily hard with a sword by a disagreeable co-star. Evan has been on several Television shows including The West Wing and Ed. He's a good actor...but that's not what made me take notice of Evan Handler.
When Evan was 24 he was diagnosed with leukemia. He spent the next five years fighting not only the disease, but the medical system, well meaning friends and family, cold impersonal medical workers, and his own beliefs and attitudes. He wrote a book about his experience called Time on Fire: My Comedy of Terrors. It's a great book...beyond great...it's one of those books that truly changed how I look at the world. He talks about building a positive state of mind and how important that was to his recovery, while needing to maintain at the same time a total distrust of the medical facilities where he was being "treated". He talks about the strains his illness put on his relationships. He talks about how fighting for his life changed his outlook on life, and how easy it was for him to lose that "enlightened" attitude when he got back into the swing of normal life. Evan also wrote a screenplay based on his book.
There aren't many books that change my outlook on life in a measurable way. This one did. Maybe it was because I'd just spent five days in the hospital and had lots of time to think about my own mortality. I don't know why, but this story stuck with me. It isn't the kind of book I'd normally read. I ended up reading it because each time I visit the library I choose one book totally at random by closing my eyes and pointing at the shelf. I'm really glad my finger landed on Evan Handler's story.