Confluential Subjects
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Confluential Subjects

The Gist

by Posted Author on 01/18/16

By G. F. Smith

Gist / jist /

noun: gist; plural noun: gists

1. the substance or essence of a speech or text:

"…she noted the gist of each message"

Synonyms: essence, substance, central theme, heart of the matter, nub, kernel, marrow, meat, burden, crux 

2. from Law:

…the real point of an action

When a potential Reader curiously glances at a book, they are wondering about the gist: the general idea, theme, or essence. They may immediately learn the “genre” of the work from a cursory scan of the cover, but in truth, they really wish to know the heart of it, whether it holds any significance for them, at all.

Through my characters and story lines, I seek to emulate the substance of what I believe are the deep-seated curiosities and concerns of everyday people. We found ourselves here, bent and shaped by our history. We live in the indefinable NOW, increasingly under pressure to balance our history with our hopes and dreams, while apparently facing our own certainly inexorable and inescapable future demise. Wondering—often with much fear and frustration—do I hold any significance, at all?

Fiction—be it books, films, or plays—if written well, not only tells a good story with good characters and fascinating settings, but will leave the Reader with something to think about later on. Moreover, if that something turns out to be enduring, it might just change the Reader’s entire perspective.

Perspective Determines our Perception

I watched a film recently—the Walk. Based on the true story of Philippe Petit, the talented wire-walker who schemed for six years to illegally place a cable between the north and south towers of the World Trade Center buildings and make his historic August 7, 1974 walk while thousands of flabbergasted onlookers anxiously watched from below. The latter part of the film was unnerving.

Most of us common people could not imagine doing such a thing. I have personally dangled under numerous parachutes in my life, at twice that height, but I could not bring myself to do something like that even if my life depended on it. From my perspective, I initially perceived Mr. Petit’s stunt to be borderline insanity. Then after remembering a particular scene’s lines, reflecting Mr. Petit’s own reasoning, my perception changed, and I took away from the movie the true gist of his actions.

It was Something I Could Relate to…

Mr. Petit (through the voice of actor, Joseph Gordon-Levit) explained that people are always thinking—regarding something like this—about death, about dying. He said, he does not think about it that way at all, he simply chooses to think…about life. In fact, he said that this was the very purpose of his life.

Many have their opinions about Mr. Petit and his stunt. Some say he was monomaniacal, highly obsessed, and many criticized him severely because he did not concern himself with the possibility of dropping something from the top of the towers, including himself perhaps, and killing someone down below. However, it did not work out that way, and Mr. Petit ended up inspiring literally millions of people, metaphorically speaking, to step out onto the proverbial wire of their lives and simply…live.

What Wire do I Walk?

The original title for this blog entry was The Gist of Smartbrain, since it is a high focus on my part to facilitate the marketing of the new book. However, as I wrote this blog entry I came to question, yet again, just what is my gist? What is my essence? What wire do I walk?

It then settled in my heart that in my life my wire is my writing. It is my purpose, or perhaps better stated, the gist of my writing is my purpose. In my writing there appears the recurring theme of encouraging others to examine this experience we call life, in all of its apparent complexity and diversity, and brevity, and to look deeply in order to find—or in most cases, choose—our purpose, our own wire, and then…walk it!

However, this does not always happen on a given moment, and from then on, you just know—as it apparently happened one day to Mr. Petit. It is something that grows and changes and improves, and becomes a reality over a lifetime.

All of my Books, including Smartbrain, Reflect this Same Gist. Here, see if You can Find it in this Excerpt…

“…so what is the definition of a ‘smart brain,’ then?” Jonathan Raker asked, going with the flow of the conversation. “How about you this time, Ms. Whiting? You’ve been the quiet one throughout the afternoon. What are your observations regarding the subject?”

Sarah looked intently at Furley.

Furley gestured back encouragingly with her eyes telling Sarah to go ahead; it was her opportunity to answer the question this time.

Sarah smiled back and then turned to the crowd.

“Well, I think everyone here, in one way or another, has touched on the definition of ‘smart brain.’ Condi said it when she mentioned that reality and value are subjective things. Furley just stated it when she said that it’s as simple as just doing the math. I think having a smart brain requires us to critically review and assess our present circumstances based upon the past conditions that brought us here, and then find the courage and resourcefulness—the bigger purpose—in order to alter our thinking and behavior so we can undergo the needed change, whatever that may be.

“The hard part is human nature. We seem to have the tendency to want to remain in our ‘familiar’ zones at all costs, until the last minute, selfishly, oftentimes to our detriment, as well as that of others. But, if we’d just do the math, we’d see that we have to change, we have to find the faith to do so, but first, we have to believe in ourselves, that we all have a purpose in life. And once you realize that—what your purpose is—that’s when life truly starts for us. And that’s what makes all the difference. My father taught me that since I was a little girl; at first I didn’t get it either, but he was right all along. This Smartbrain technology may not have all the potential we think it’s going to have, but we do, and it’s only going to be as a ‘smart’…as we are!”

It may not be considered smart to do what Mr. Petit did. However, if it were not for all the millions of people who found their purpose, and the courage to step up to the edge and in due course walk-the-walk, as they say, none of us would even be here. That is the true gist of Smartbrain, by the way.

All the best,

G. F. Smith


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