Update: What’s this About

March 2018.

An update to my website.

My motivations have changed somewhat since I wrote my last “What’s This About” essay back in 2013. In my earlier piece, the focus of my writing was on creative nonfiction. I had much to say regarding my family, weight loss, exercise, and running, including attempting the six major marathons of the world. These are still viable topics, of course, and in looking back, good stories. 

In addition, the website enabled me to post some of my poetry from the past. Returning to these poems and posting on line the better ones has been a lot of fun and inspiring.  Please see my comment below on current poems. I must say, I am currently in a wonderfully creative period with my poetry, but have had to delay posting dozens of my more recent poems due to the unfortunate fact that almost every literary review or magazine in the United States will not publish poems that have been “put up” on personal websites. This, of course, is extremely unhelpful to emerging poets who need the exposure for their work.

Though I continue to think about my past, the years my brothers and sisters and I lived on a farm in the middle of the Allegheny Mountains and, later, in a small town in Pennsylvania, and though I continue to run and exercise (ugh!) and worry about my weight (!), it is true that my interest in completing the final three major marathons (Japan, London and Berlin), has waned considerably. This is due to a lingering foot injury, my job becoming more intense, weekend exhaustion, and a distinct lack of desire, knowing what I know now, to commit to such arduous undertakings. 

In fact, I am in a period of uncertainty. Though I plan to write poetry, stories on my family and, even, the torturous history of my running, I am not sure what other themes will emerge in the years ahead. In truth, this is all very exciting and opens up a world of possibilities.  

Of course, as can be seen by my posts, my continued interest in poetry has grown significantly. I have gone from a recent period when in over a year I didn’t write a single poem to when I have written almost nothing else. This is not to say that I have returned to poetry as my forte, but simply recognition that poetry, as a key form of creative expression for me, caught my focus and fancy during this period more so than the narrative form, whether non-fiction, fiction, or essay.

Poems listed here either have not been submitted for publication due to length, topic, or year composed or are in what I call a “working draft state” and are far from being finalized. If a draft that I have posted is near completion, it will be taken down and submitted for publication. In turn, once a poem has been published, it will be posted here as soon as appropriate with the name, date, and website of the publication. So too, if it is no longer being sent out, it will be posted on this website.

It is clear my posts are not the posts you would find typically on a blog. I remain totally uninterested in commenting on the issues of the day or offering inspirational essays, regardless of the wellspring, or providing monthly updates on my routine, travel, pets, etc. – and still, as you can see, no pictures, no guest essayists, and no advertisements to frame or supplement the site.

The only camera I own, in fact, came with my cell phone and has been used more often than not to capture notes within texts and titles of books than to chronicle unique images I might encounter. This remains a website, then, of writing, creative writing. I hope you find it worth reading even if it is mostly words in a certain syntax, arranged in a certain way on a line, or within a certain sentence structure, and even if these words are provided without pictures to supplement the pieces.    

Finally, one of the unique features of my website, versus others that I have viewed, is that I am not selling a book, using the site to promote myself as a motivational speaker, or seeking to gain employment as a writer-for-hire or editor. These are all noble endeavors, of course, but my joy has been to write free of such motives.

The pieces before you are available to read but are not necessarily cheaper, no less significant, I believe, than a story you might buy at a bookstore. The effort – even though it is not conveyed by a publishing house or an arts journal – is every bit as daunting. Given how indoctrinated we are to old forms of publishing, I hope you will grant me this new structure. Like a Charles Dickens novel playing out in a London serial publication, this too has similar qualities as I post each installment month after month onto the site.

That said, readership does provide much-needed motivation. I encourage you to come back and check out these pieces. Please open the poems, read the stories, and share my website address. Most importantly, click on the link to be notified of new posts.

If I don’t write pieces that intrigue you, I recognize you won’t come back. My hope, rather, is you will want to return to check in on things. In fact, stopping by is an important part of this site as the work is frequently revised. I no longer use pen and paper, my typewriter and typed manuscripts have fallen to the wayside, and we all recognize internet-based postings are now the canvas through which our thoughts are expressed. It turns out to be a dynamic experience between the author, the reader, and the piece itself.

Your involvement in this endeavor, your comments, critiques are welcomed. This, then, is my “Leaves of Grass” and the stories and poems posted herein will inevitably become stronger as the days pass. For that matter, they might even morph in dimensions both known and unknown beyond the initial posting. In truth, I find this process quite positive and a unique a way to be engaged in the creative experience.

I invite you to participate.

Thoughts? Comment below, or on one of my pieces, or contact me at: jonathangileswriter@gmail.com




Categories: About

6 replies

  1. Jon,

    I find this appropriate to your letter

    “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”

    Douglas Adams

    Stay the course,


  2. Your wroting journey reminds me of Eudora Welty’s observation:”The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order…”
    Keep writing and observing, Jon. Things seem to lean toward deeper understanding as time passes.

  3. Johnathan, I enjoy very much reading your postings and poetry. Thanks for the opportunity to share these. Wishing you best in your newer subject endeavors. I will anxiously look forward to seeing them.

    Peggy Lane O’Dell

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