A Story of Steve (1980-2015)

November 8, 2015 in General Topics, Other Stuff

(I wrote this for the celebration service for my brother, Steve Henry Gillespie, 11/7/2015. I’m in no mood to edit this and would think it’d lose something if I did, so here you go…)

Good afternoon. I think everyone here knows it, but on the off chance you don’t by now, I’m Jonathan Gillespie, Steve’s brother. The angel just up here was my wife.

I wanted to say something before I began. I’ve been in a number of churches in my life, from the small Church of Christ of my youth and several informal Bible study groups of my adolescence on through the prison ministry I was a part of and my current church, Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, GA. The Church of the Apostles is in many ways 180 degrees from the church of my youth. For one thing, it’s so large I’m pretty sure planes that lost their instruments on an approach to Hartsfield-Jackson could use the building as a visual reference.

I bring this up because in every good congregation I have seen that great Biblical promise borne out: that wherever two or more of us are gathered He is among us. That’s certainly been the case over these past, difficult days following my brother’s passing. I can say with complete certainty that my parents are part of a church that exemplifies Christian love and fellowship. I wanted to express on my family’s behalf our deep gratitude for all of you and all you’ve done.
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#DS91sttime: Season 4, Episode 22, “For the Cause”

September 26, 2015 in #DS91sttime, General Topics

Yes, I know. It’s been forever.

Still, one couldn’t blame me. I’ve grown a little frustrated with Deep Space Nine. It seems like–at this point in its run–that it kept veering toward greatness, but was afraid attaining that would somehow compromise itself.

If there’s one thing the show needed by now, it was someone to kick the writers in the butt and tell them they needed to get on with it. The Kasidy Yates subplot is a good idea, and keeping up with Gul Dukat’s illegitimate child is important, and Garak lingering around the station will be consequential and the Marquis are bad hombres and that the Bajorans are still upset and…and…
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What is Writing?

July 12, 2015 in General Topics

In an interest in informing the general public, and aspiring authors in general, a brief primer:

Writing is not an affair generally conducted from the vantage point of a white-painted chair overlooking Cape Cod on a cloudless day.

Writing is cramming in three hundred words because you’ve got fifteen minutes before one of your children wakes up from a nap.

Writing is not rising with the sun, brewing a pot of coffee, slapping your latest royalty check atop the others that still need to be cashed, and leisurely eating your gourmet breakfast before you plop down in your sunlit office.

Writing is often your second source of income–providing you’re making any income at all from it–and the words it produces often follow your horrible commute home.

Writing is not musings from a luxury high-rise, or interviews with Vanity Fair.

Writing is a thousand words thrown down from an airport bench during a layover while you wait, at 3AM, without a soul around.

Writing is not an effortless stride to The Next American Classic.

Writing is simple, honest sweat equity, day after day after day. And you get to watch much of what you love get thrown away.

Writing is not a sure thing.

Writing is almost never a sure thing, despite what you read in that inspiring “interview” conducted by some top-shelf magazine that certainly hadn’t been motivated by said author’s publicist.

Writing is not telling your friends “I’m working on a book”, or “I’m outlining a short story” or “I’ve got this great idea I’m committing to paper this weekend”, or “Someday I’m gonna write that horror tale I thought of”.

Writing is the act of producing a finished story. Everything until that, and after that, could be forgotten or celebrated, but none of it happens without that finished story lying somewhere within your own.

Review: Ninteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell

May 3, 2015 in General Topics

(As originally posted on Goodreads.comninteeneightfourbook)

Most of my past book reviews have been carefully groomed, edited works, which I go back through and re-edit for clarity purposes. But 1984 is a book that inspires raw emotions in a doublepluspoignant way, so a carefully constructed treatise just doesn’t seem appropriate.

Reading this book, I learned two things: 1) George Orwell is one of the few people I’ve ever encountered who saw the world as I do, even if we don’t agree completely on the solutions to its problems, and 2) he produced what might be the finest book in the English language. Read the rest of this entry →

Review: Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

March 8, 2015 in General Topics

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Cover, Life of Pi

Life of Pi presents a challenge to the reader. Here we have a book whose back matter bills itself as a survival adventure, but whose text doesn’t present the true start to that adventure until its hundredth page (in the edition I read). And almost immediately, someone might worry that the whole premise has been compromised. Pi’s tale is rendered via what amounts to a flashback. We begin his story with an interview of the central character many years after the novel’s centerpiece events.

This kind of setup is ballsy. It’s like if David Copperfield opened his act by showing you the grand finale, then proceeded slowly onward with an exhaustive how-to of the trick involved, betting that he was good enough at his craft and stage show to hold your interest despite his having deflated much of the tension and (forgive the obvious choice of words) magic he was going to employ. Read the rest of this entry →