Jason Gurley

By day, I'm a user experience designer; by evenings/weekends, I write novels from my home in Scappoose, Ore. My newest is Awake in the World, published February 2019 by Roaring Brook Press; my previous novel, Eleanor, was published by Crown in 2016 and has since been translated into German, Portuguese, and Turkish. I’m currently working on a new project.

On the subject of eyelashes

At the same time I was digging about in my dead blog archives and discovering stories about now-deceased rapture services, I also located a post I wrote strictly about me, at a particular time and place. That time was June, 2008; the place would have been Morro Bay, California. Ten years ago, which was after meeting Felicia but before we were married, before Squish was born, before I'd finished Eleanor or any of the novels which I would self-publish a few years later. 

This post was originally an attempt to freeze me, in text, at this specific place in time. Sort of like those little novelty pamphlets you can buy? The ones that show you what was popular the year you were born. In my case, a Jim was president of the United States; another Jim orchestrated mass suicide in Guyana; a third Jim led Major League Baseball in hits, homers, RBIs, and several other categories. That's what this post was going to be, but just you watch, watch as it devolves into something completely different altogether.

My mustache really wants to be eyelashes.

With that last line, I think ten-years-ago me might have written a terrific first line for a novel. 

Things I was doing ten years ago: 

  1. Playing quite a bit of late-night Halo 3 on Xbox Live, and consequently being stressed-out by all the trash-talking youngsters who liked to point out my steadily degrading reflexes;
  2. Eating pretzels. I didn't and still don't particularly like pretzels, so this one is a mystery to me; 
  3. Attempting to shed some weight. Ten-years-ago me would probably be disillusioned to learn I'm doing the same thing now, ten years later;
  4. Visiting college art classes to talk about design and to review student portfolios;
  5. Appreciating Kurt Vonnegut's ability to write literary fiction on one page, and pulp on the next; 
  6. Playing—and losing badly at—fantasy baseball;
  7. Searching for a new place to live, as Felicia and I were living in a very small studio at the time; we'd eventually end up leaving Morro Bay for Arroyo Grande, where two years later we'd be married, and three years later Squish would arrive;
  8. Doing concept design work for what would become Netflix's streaming platform, and creative-directing work for HP, BlackBerry, etc.;
  9. Griping about the lack of progress we've made at being civil to one another: "We've taken man to the moon and beyond, but we haven't gone anywhere." 

On that last point, I compared our inability to be kind to one another to our advanced ability to innovate technologically: "Maybe that’s just the way it goes: maybe it’s easier to solve finite problems than it is to examine ourselves. Whatever the reason, the truth sucks: We have so much to learn." I'm a little discouraged to see that I wrote that ten years ago, having just made a similar point recently about the slow, one-step-forward-two-steps-back progress of equality vs. the rapid movement toward autonomous cars. I might just be all out of fresh ideas, man. 

A change of pace, or not

404: Site raptured