In all honesty, prior to reading Jake Helpern’s articles and meeting him in person, I thought he was some older white guy with a slightly boring style of writing as well as being even more boring in person, but somehow everyone else finds his work fascinating. But since I needed some extra credit points, I took on the challenge of the assignment. Glad to announce my notions of Jake Helpern were totally wrong. Reading Jake Helpern’s articles were like reading a well written novel.
His stories had flare, suspense, character, drama and even a touch of sorrow and empathy. For the most part his articles were not just engaging but also very informative. Content versus Form, Content wins. In person, Jake appeared to be just one of the guys. Nothing fancy about himself, very humble and charismatic. After listening to Jake speak briefly about his life, family and his pursuit of his innate being, you can tell he’s sincere and dedicated to his craft and family.
Jake was also instrumental in terms of being relative due to his Western New York origins. He can relate to Buffalonians and our struggle as a city in a financial crisis, where one side of the city’s future is in question while another side of the city’s future looks lucrative. If the question is posed if Jake’s articles are a considered artwork, I would agree and disagree. The two articles we covered in class, I believe Jake wrote them with an artistic style of writing.
To me, artwork is anything not ephemeral. Jake’s articles can be preserved, but not on the same scale as the Great Pyramids of Egypt or the Tajmahal in India. However, his articles can also be considered non-fiction. Through this experience, I pondered on becoming a writer. I learned academically as well as personal discovery of myself. If Jake were to return to speak again, I’m there.