Having been blessed with a nice chunk of time on this fine Earth, I have had the opportunity to write and accumulate various things that I am going to try to preserve here on this site.
I am thinking of it as the digital equivalent of a tombstone, but with room for more than just a pithy epigraph. Whether it will have more durability than a tombstone I cannot predict, but it is my intent that this site not die when I do.
The photo, by the way, was taken in 1988 with b/w 35mm film that had been accidentally double-exposed with another shot. The doorway at lower right and the illusion of sparkles coming from the book were entirely unintended, but represent a good example of the serendipity of art and experience.
My father's paternal grandparents -- Thomas L. Jesse and Maria Pickley Jesse -- were born in Limerick, Ireland and came to the U.S. with their parents as minors. They married in New York City in 1855. Their son, Frank, would marry Catherine Cleary in 1902 and produce my father, John Joseph Jesse, in 1924.
We can trace that side of the family to 1801, but have no photos of them -- nor do we know where the last name "Jesse" originated.
On my mother's side, the Anschutz family was German, but had lived in Hungary for a few generations as part of a Germanic resettlement of lands (now part of northern Serbia) which had been reclaimed by Austria-Hungary as the Ottoman Empire declined in the late 18th Century.
My great-grandparents, Karl and Christina, may have come to America together about 1906, but we have Ellis Island records from 1909 showing Christina entering again with their children, including nine-year-old, Louisa, who would become my grandmother. She married Walter Wise and had one child that lived, Ruth, who would marry John Jesse and produce my sister and me.
I spent most of my career in newspapers, originally as a reporter and later as a librarian and online news editor.
As a journalist, I was never quite as interested in the "latest news" as I was in the vast amount of knowledge that newspapers would gather each and every day and accumulate in their archives. Even before the Web existed, I wanted to build an encyclopedia from that resource using the technology of the emerging personal computing industry. When the World Wide Web was invented in the early 1990s, I immediately adopted it as the platform for what I wanted to achieve.
I was excited about what the news industry could evolve into with this new technology, but over the course of the next decade that same technology would instead begin destroy the news industry.
In addition to my writing as a journalist, I have also written some works of fiction that for some reason I never tried very hard to get published. This includes a half-dozen short stories, three novels and . . . miscellanea.
To represent this section visually, I am using the image of a "peeling yellow Victorian house." Although no house like this exists in my conscious memory, several of my fictional characters seem to live in such a house. I have in recent times begun to think of this house as a link from one fictional universe to another.
Much of my online/encyclopedic work focused on local history so there is some overlap. But in the work section I will focus on nature of the projects as I saw it within the scope of an electronic encyclopedia, and in this section I'll just gather any bits of history I still have as a result of those projects.
In addition to my paid work, I also did some volunteering for the Indianapolis Historical Society in which I researched and wrote captions for the Bass Photo Collection of Indianapolis buildings and street scenes.
The name of this section may be overly broad, given that most of what I will include here has to do with theology. I grew up in a conservative Christian church -- rejecting it and the concept of "God" altogether when I was 17. I have never quite managed to regain Faith in the years since, though I have thought and written about it a lot -- perhaps being mostly stuck in the rut of the traditional Christian concept of God, always ready to debate with Evangelicals when that is such a limited slice of potential theology.
I have trodden that ground in the short story "While We Waited for Jesus," and also in my current novel, "Spirits," but the theology that I aspire to was expressed in "Voices of the Ruah" and elsewhere.
I am not much of an artist, but was born with a little bit of talent and over the years have made some things. This includes some artwork I sold on Etsy -- rainbow bonsai trees, Christmas elves and such.
But also, this is may be a good place to tell Posterity all about my treehouse design, garage renovation and other quirky homeowner projects. Although art can certainly be "for it's own sake," I kind of prefer it when a work of art also has some practical purpose that it is fulfilling -- and you can evaluate it in part on how ingeniously it accomplishes that task.