So What’s This all About?

January 2013

 

This website is not a “how to” or “self-improvement” site.

Nor is it a “motivational” or “meditational” site, neither of which I do very well.

No recipes, I’m afraid, or exercise routines.

No videos and very few pictures….

This website, rather, focuses on writing: specifically short stories, memoirs, and fictionalized autobiographical pieces, but it also includes poetry and travel essays as part of the mix. Events described are told entirely from my perspective and with an imaginative approach. As such, a number of the pieces could be categorized as “creative nonfiction” but others have elements of “fiction” too.

I would suggest that these stories are told with a novelist’s approach. I am not a journalist and have never trained nor aspired to  be a member of that illustrious profession. Like a  novelist, I have created dialogue unknowable, added elements to events that may or may not have occurred, and established emotional context to individuals where their intentions could be subject to a variety of interpretation. (See my disclaimer below.)  

That said…  Who am I?

IMG_0185

Self portrait.

I am someone who loves to write creatively and studied to do that in college. However, back in my twenties, I pursued a career in the Arts and, later, Conservation. Though writing has been part of my profession throughout the intervening years, I knew one day I would return to “creative writing” process. I now realize it’s never as easy as it seems. I could go on and on, but I will spare you. 

Running is a major thread on this site and is bound to kill me if exercise and lack of a healthy diet don’t kill me first. After not exercising for nearly twenty years, I am attempting to run the six major marathons of the world: Chicago, New York, Boston, Berlin, London and Tokyo. If you know me, you know things are not going well at all. Why am I doing this? Perhaps it is to thwart death, or reclaim my youth, or achieve a dream. Whatever the motivation, the reality of the endeavor is another thing altogether.   

Another storyline is about my family, our life on a farm at the top of the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania, and our subsequent move to Gettysburg – these vignettes, I am told, either are outright lies or distortions of the truth. Luckily, you get to decide.

Why is it relevant? In truth, I hope part of my enterprise is more than simply entertainment or sharing stories you might recognize as similar to your own, but also touches on deeper themes of living a full life. What does it mean to be alive? To interact with others, to understand our failings, to learn to love ourselves for who we are and find acceptance of the past.    

I would be remiss if I did not thank my wife Karen, daughter Helen, my brothers and sisters, and our friends for allowing me to explore our world and write about it creatively. Their tolerance has been remarkable.

Secondly, I would hate myself if I did not urge you to pass on my website to other like-minded readers.  

Finally, please share your thoughts and, if you have not done so, do click on the follow along button to stay up on my installments. Otherwise, please friend me on Facebook — I will announce my posts to this site within a day or two of publishing a new piece — or just come back to this webpage from time to time. I cannot stress strongly enough how critical it is to have you as a committed reader to this site.

Some of these posts, of course, will change. My website is updated fairly frequently and the stories themselves are revised as I find mistakes and correct them. (If you see something that needs revised, please let me know.) That’s the nice thing about this site: it’s a great spot to say one thing or another and, in the course of it all, find a way to say it better. (My email is: jonathangileswriter@gmail.com.)  In this regard —

Do read the following disclaimer and copyright statements:

Through the medium of “creative writing,” the people found within the various posts on this website, if at one time real, are now entirely fictitious, having been subjected to a combination of selective memory and fertile imagination. Any resemblance to the author’s friends and relatives, even if accurately identified, is entirely coincidental.

(In the interest of attribution, I found the essential element of this quote on the back of a colorful print by Brian Andreas. My wife loved the print when she discovered it in a small boutique, but I was fascinated with the quote on the back. I realized, it was the perfect disclaimer for my writing. I adapted it for my needs here, but sincerely thank Brian for the brilliance of his statement.)  

All rights are reserved. No part of these writings may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission of the author.

Me with cake.



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