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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Jesse "Doc" Wendel: "My Trip to California"

Here it comes

Thanks to Jesse Wendel who's keeping us up to date on his documentary work

Dear Friends,

Some of you have asked how my trip this last weekend down to the Bay Area went. I've answered one of you personally; said answer was all garbled, as I was sleep-deprived and still not quite back to normal from the trip. So last night I took another shot at writing down what happened in shorter form, and sent that off to a good friend of mine, an activist Priest in South Tucson whom mostly works with immigrants and people coming across the desert into this country.

Here is what I sent Ricardo (with some mild edits to make it shorter.) Hopefully this will answer the questions people have.

I'd also like to publicly thank -- this email is going to a number of people -- DrBopperTHP of The News Blog -- for covering for me while I was gone. He's a wise man who listens to people deeply and his sitting in for me is appreciated. I'm also thankful to Hubris Sonic of The News Blog for being such a good friend.

Best wishes to all,

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jesse Wendel
Date: Apr 24, 2007 9:46 PM
Subject: Re: Being present with Death or Paying attention
To: Ricardo

Dear Ricardo,

I wrote another friend earlier today that I am "bone weary" and thought of you as I wrote and your workload. Not drinking enough -- and Red Bull, not water, which only serves to give false energy, nothing real. Not remembering at all to breathe, and my sleep is fitful and filled with bad dreams.

My trip to the Bay Area was a mixed bag. While I did not land an Executive Producer (someone to raise money for the film) for What's Your Pattern?, my documentary, everyone -- it takes about five to ten minutes of me talking for them to fully grasp the whole concept -- just gasps and you watch their face light up. It's really the most amazing thing to see. People want desperately to have relationships which work. When they truly get lit up inside with the hope of a world in which everyone has the possibility from childhood of knowing how to make their relationships work, of being able to rebuild trust when it is damaged, of not confusing Hollywood romance with genuine intimacy and love... they come alive, they start pouring out their hopes and dreams as if someone lit a fire in their heart.

People want this movie Ricardo. People believe in the hope of relationships working. And, the woman I made the offer to Executive Produce, legitimately didn't want to spend the next year of her life raising money. No problem. When I get the prospectus done, she'll likely invest. I believe I could have raised 50k this weekend if I'd had the prospectus ready and filed with the SEC.

In the meantime, what I have to do next is raise 20k quickly -- probably most of it from myself, the balance from one or a few close friends -- so I can buy the Red Digital Cinema Camera body which is set for delivery to me in August. (I have Camera #346 reserved.) From this one step, all else follows.

The Advaita part of the weekend left me shaken up considerable. I'd thought it would be like other weekends I'd been to; nice, fun, and enjoyable. It was none of these. More like a spiritual surgery without anesthesia. Not a peak experience or any such silliness. Those are all interesting and I've had them many times; pointers along the way, but not the way itself. No, while typically these weekends are not used to do individual work in a personal development sense -- Advaita denies the very existence of an individual self -- in this case, considerable time was spent doing just that (we're not bogged down by petty inconsistencies either -- *smiles*) and I and the group leader ended up doing massive work on personal crap which has blocked the full expression of myself with people for most of my life. Painful, but probably worth it in the long run. After I finish working through it. Which will take some time and hard work.

Drove home in a daze. 900 miles.

Am so glad to be home. With my children. Really don't like being away from them. Now I can concentrate on what matters.

Whenever I find myself tired and confused, it always comes down to my having lost sight of what matters or failing to communicate.

So I communicate what is unsaid or hidden. And focus on that which is key, not simply important. When I'm focused on what is key and do complete work which is on point, I find I get my strength and energy back very quickly, especially when I'm communicating completely and not withholding. That's as close as I come to a secret anyway -- do complete work on what is key while staying in communication.

So I'll use the opportunity of the Bay Area trip to say what I'm currently about:

20K for Red Camera body by August (I've already got roughly 13K of this)
Children: train for August 4 long bicycle ride; teach how to drive car; high school stuff
Sort out Advaita insights from weekend; less ego, more open to other's contributions

Prospectus for SEC, other paperwork for documentary
Blogging The News Blog
Designing new website for 501c (turn over quickly)
Do good job at work

That's it for me. Going to rest by doing silly stuff for a little bit, then go to bed and rest for work tomorrow.

Hope you're doing well.

Best always,

- posted by Jesse "Doc" Wendel