Young writer finds her escape
It's not easy for a young person to take something personally devastating and flip it into a positive.
That's what 18-year-old Jessica Gillon, a Washington Township resident and a 2013 Belle Vernon Area High School graduate, was able to do.
When her parents divorced in 2006, Gillon found herself filled with the typical emotions of anger and sadness. In an effort to express herself, she started writing down her thoughts.
“It all started with poetry but nothing with rhymes,” Gillon said. “That was how I expressed myself. I escaped into my writing.
“The poetry eventually got longer and longer until it became stories.”
Now, one of her stories has found its way onto bookshelves.
She chose the last name King because of Stephen King, her favorite author whose books became a getaway for her.
“Zoey had a certain ring to it,” she said.
Gillon's mother Patty said her daughter wanted to come up with something that would have kept her true identity a secret, just in case of overwhelming success.
Gillon said the book is actually the first of two to complete the story and is aimed at pre-teen and teenage audiences. She actually began writing a draft of the book in eighth grade.
“It's about a girl who is trapped within herself,” Gillon said of the book. “ ... not knowing where she came from. There's secrets on top of secrets and she can either accept her past or continue to investigate more into the things she finds out.
“There are moments of every emotion in the book - happiness, sadness, anger, you name it. As much as it depended on my moods, there were times that I figured I'd just wing it.”
Like many authors, there is a bit of truth to the story that Gillon tells.
“It really depended on my mood,” Gillon said. “If I was sad, I wrote something sad in the book. If I was angry, I wrote something aggressive in the book. There were times I would come across someone in my life, and they ended up becoming a character in the book. I was able to take out my anger on some people without physically doing anything to them. It felt good to be able to do that.”
Characters are something the book isn't lacking, Gillon said.
“There are werewolves and vampires, but I promise, there are no sparkly people,” Gillon said with a laugh, referring to the Twilight series. “These aren't wolves that look like they're on steroids, either. These are realistic ones.”
The main character is “just a regular girl,” Gillon said. But she is surrounded by secrets.
“That's why the title is ‘Life Like Glass,'” she added. “You can easily shatter someone's life by one little slip and fall.”
The book, published by Xlibris, a Bloomington, Ind.-based company, retails for $15.99 or less on the internet.
Her mom was an instant fan of the book.
“The story really kept me interested,” Patty Gillon said. “I was shocked with how the book ended and wanted more, but she said I'll have to wait for the next one.”
So does having a book published and having the ability to find a self-coping skill make Gillon a role model?
“I think I can call myself a role model,” Jessica Gillon said. “I know, for instance, my little cousins really look up to me. By writing, it got easier to cope. Writing puts me in my own little world. I got tired of people saying that I couldn't do something. This just goes to show that even though I'm shy and the quiet type, I can still make something of myself.”
Gillon, who turns 19 at the end of the month, will attend Westmoreland County Community College and major in fine arts.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2667.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.