Surrender (But Don't Give Yourself Away)

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"Spike Gillespie is beautiful, charming, and funny. She told me to write that. It's also true, especially the funny part. Some of us are just a lot more alive than others, and Spike is one of those people who lives at 90 m.p.h. while experiencing everything that happens to her with an intensity that is either painful or hilarious, but usually both. If you can imagine Anne Lamott as a working-class kid from Jersey with a penchant for losers, you have an idea of Spike. She's a woman grown now and signs of wisdom are setting in, not that many years ...

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Overview

"Spike Gillespie is beautiful, charming, and funny. She told me to write that. It's also true, especially the funny part. Some of us are just a lot more alive than others, and Spike is one of those people who lives at 90 m.p.h. while experiencing everything that happens to her with an intensity that is either painful or hilarious, but usually both. If you can imagine Anne Lamott as a working-class kid from Jersey with a penchant for losers, you have an idea of Spike. She's a woman grown now and signs of wisdom are setting in, not that many years but a lot of mileage on the woman. As a writer, what she brings to the mountains of baggage in her life is not only humor but incurable honesty. I think of her as a voice of the younger generation, even though she's approaching forty, because she has no protective layer on her nerve endings, no cynicism, no been there/done that, no ability to dismiss anything as too freaking strange to bother with. She experiences it all wide open and then reports back.

—Molly Ivins, nationally syndicated political columnist and author of Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?

"Spike Gillespie's voice is highly idiosyncratic, extremely charming, and deeply personal. . . . She is such a winning heroine that you root for her, for her son. You want to smooth the way for them a bit through the hardships they endure with such great good humor."

—Sarah Bird, author of The Yokota Officers Club, Virgin of the Rodeo, and The Mommy Club

Spike Gillespie tells it like it is. Whether she's writing aboutmen, mothering or money, she cuts to the chase, unabashedly recounting the exhilaration and uncertainty she is forever encountering along the odd path that is her life. Gillespie approaches her subjects with a keen eye for curious details and a readiness to ask hard questions and give honest, even brutal, answers. Her willingness to "put it all down—the painful, the funny, the mundane, the embarrassing" has won legions of readers for her print and online columns.

Surrender (But Don't Give Yourself Away) collects forty-six essays, which initially appeared in such publications as the Washington Post, Austin Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, Bust, Gargoyle, and thecommonspace.org. As Gillespie describes them, "There are odes to my good days and bad, to trips I've taken—both real and metaphorical, to holiness found in unexpected places, to men I have not slept with, to learning to live sober. Too, there are miscellaneous ruminations on my alter-ego, my inner-teen, the floor mat in my car, a dead squirrel in the road." Binding these pieces is the thread of hope: there are moments the thread slips out of view only to resurface in some unexpected location. Sometimes it takes awhile, but Gillespie always relocates hope, discovering even in her darkest times that life is full of an embarrassment of riches.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292728509
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2003
  • Pages: 205
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Spike Gillespie is the author of All the Wrong Men and One Perfect Boy: A Memoir and the online dotnovel thebelljar.net. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian Magazine, GQ, Playboy, Elle, Self, Texas Monthly, HipMama, and many other publications. She lives with her son Henry Mowgli Gillespie in Austin, Texas.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Breaking Up 4
Hope Found 7
Knoxville, Tennessee 13
Remember the Woolworth's 19
Road Trip 22
Hollywood 25
Easter Sundays 32
Broken Mirrors 36
Mrs. B 39
Summer 41
The Magic Year 45
Write On 50
Here, Kitty, Kitty 55
Broke.Com 58
Calendar Girl 62
Money 65
Lunch Story 70
Seasonal Affective Cheesecake 74
St. Louis 82
Visiting James 86
Zen and the Art of Not Drinking 90
Mom 93
Mary, Mary, So Contrary 98
Say Don't Stop to Punk Rock 102
The Bumbershoot Waltz 104
Stop Making Sense 107
Uncle Tony 114
Robert 117
Ross 119
Bob 122
Mr. Hayashi 125
Neil Diamond and Me 128
Fred 132
The Dabbs Hotel 136
Czech Stop 139
Barney Smith 142
John Karger 144
Wax Hand 148
Spike: The Magazine 154
Jog Bra Avenger 157
Warnings to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self 160
Can I Help You? Please?! 164
Me: Mother 167
Love Hurts But Pain Hurts Worse 170
Losing Faith, Finding Hope 178
Crush 181
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2004

    Absolute Genius

    I am only a third of the way through this collection. This is undoubtedly some of the most lucid, precise, easy-reading and funny writing I have read. Spike is a Godsend; I only wish I had been in Texas long enough to attend a writing workshop with her just to meet this incredible talent.

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