Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Great writing on life and death - by Justin Heckert, Chaz Ebert & Chris Jones

Throughout the process of writing this blog, I've tried to make connections between great writing come across and three recent excellent pieces are around different time periods related to death.

A feature story that focused on the time just prior to someone passing was "Susan Cox Is No Longer Here" by Justin Heckert for the Dec issues of Indianapolis Monthly. It's a fascinating piece that begins with details on someone dying and a wonderful hospital program that provides companionship for those who need it. The story then takes a sharp turn into events that makes one think about tidy narratives, what we expect to happen with things and what actually can occur instead. Heckert writes something that doesn't lend itself to a simple take-away for the reader, but that seems to be what makes it such a great and though-provoking story.

The second piece to note here was "Oral histories of 2013: Roger Ebert's wife, Chaz, on his final moments" that was "as told to Chris Jones" for Esquire. It's a short missive from Chaz Ebert and very heartfelt.

The last piece of great writing to note here was by Jones and about work that gets done after cataclysmic events of death and devastation. "Kenneth Feinberg: The Nation's Leading Expert in Picking Up the Pieces" was for the Jan issue of Esquire on the lawyer who handled disbursement of funds to 9/11 victims and since then has continued to administer money to victims after major disasters. It's a fascinating topic and Jones writes a very well-done look at someone who seems to be doing the best they possibly can in the face of difficult circumstances.