Friday, July 19, 2013

Piece on donating to a children's hospital - and other Chris Jones essays for Esquire

There was a recent short piece by Chris Jones from the August 2013 issue of Esquire that both struck me as particularly great and made me think of some past writing by Jones.

The latest story was in a magazine section about money and titled "How to Give to Charity". It's about donating to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa and is a remarkable little piece that touches on the lifesaving care provided for his infant son (who was written about in a 2010 Esquire blog post that I feel I keep linking to, it's just so great). In this piece about donating to the children's hospital, Jones seems to make each of the 605 words count and closes with "I wouldn't even call it money well spent. It's the reason money exists for me, so that I might do the single best thing I do with it, and it makes me feel lucky again, luckier than I've ever been."

In terms of this economy of words, the piece got me thinking about on other similarly excellent (while not necessarily on a topic of the same import) short essays by Jones for Esquire.

Two that seemed to almost intertwine in terms of subject were the 2009 pieces "Arrivals at the Airport: An Idea for Our Time" and "The Emptiest, Loneliest, Highway in America". Each just over 600 words, the pieces very quickly got into the importance of meaning and connections.

The other short piece from Jones that I've thought of at various times since reading it (also back in 2009) was "Garret Dillahunt: The Man Who Disappears". The subject perhaps not as profound as these others in that it doesn't traffic in life, death, or even relationships, but I found it to be a powerful work of admiration (perhaps leading to emulation) done in just 427 words.