Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Strictly Personal

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Strictly Personal

Article excerpt

INTERNET

Spike Gillespie is a writer, like many American tough guys, who struts on the edge of farce: "I get through more relationships than some women get through tampons when they have a heavy period" is one of her more memorable lines. Her partial autobiography, All the Wrong Men, has just been published in the States (the stress is on "All"); but what makes it remarkable is that it grew out of web journalism.

Gillespie used to write a diary column for Prodigy, an early on-line service that was caught and dissolved in the web. The subject was her own life as a single parent who drank too much and suffered from"penis-related problems"-as tough guys tend to do - and parts of it are simply brilliant, shocking in the way that only careful and perceptive writing can be. On her web page there is a very sharp account of cancer surgery, written in the form of three journal entries. The cyst they found on her after performing an abortion, which she also wrote about, she named "cupcake" - but when you click on the link to pictures of cupcake, there is no warning that this is what it will actually be. You are told instead that it will consist of adult pictures, yet this is a phrase that usually refers to the naked flesh outside women, not the innards under a surgeon's knife.

This may sound like Mike Doonesbury's ghastly first wife giving birth on cable. But I don't think it is. What makes Gillespie's stuff compelling is two things: the blood is real and the surroundings are admirably artificial. There are plenty of people on the web who can write for effect, but most have nothing to say. Those who have lives to tell about usually can't write. But Gillespie can write so well that she had to spend much of her early career as a waitress or, as she relates in one delightful passage of her memoirs, as a"tutor", which meant that college students hired her to write their essays. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.