Featuring New Young Author: Jonathan J. Swerdlow
A collection of 22 short stories & long-form poems on the human experience
Today’s world is not very human. But we are humans all the same. Our thoughts, our dreams, our aspirations. Everything that we feel. That is what makes us human. And we really aren’t all so different.
We have different experiences. Different thoughts. Different dreams. Different aspirations. I would be cautious, though, to say that we have different feelings. It is our emotions that make us human – who we are is unique; what we are is the same.
The purpose of this collection is to explore that idea: that through different people in different situations, I might share with you certain feelings. Perhaps not my own feelings. Perhaps not those of others. But feelings nonetheless. My goal is to explore what it means to be human. Especially in a not-so-human world.
While the included pieces are often influenced by my own experiences or those of people I know, their purpose is for you to see yourself. To engage in self-reflection. To see yourself in others. To understand yourself and others. I can’t claim that this collection is quite so profound. But I can try. And I would ask of you the same.
Table of Contents
Stone (Short Poem)
Who are the people you see when you walk down the street? Who are your colleagues at work? Your childhood friends? Everyone you know? Everyone you don’t? Who are you? And what does it mean to be human?
Being human isn’t easy. People are often misunderstood. Not due to misinterpretation, but due to a lack of understanding. We are all human, and we are all the same — mostly. Everything you feel, other people feel, too. All of your struggles are shared by others. So why suffer alone? Why not help each other, as a species, and come together to create a better world?
You, Man, Emotion is an emotionally-charged collection of short stories and long-form poems centered around these ideas. By addressing topics such as individuality, humanity, society, and human emotions, this collection opens a door into the world of other people.
Specifically, You, Man, Emotion draws attention to the struggles people face in today’s world. From isolation to lack of purpose and direction, each included piece serves as a mechanism for self-reflection and understanding — both of yourself and others.
A better life begins with other people. A better life creates a better world. And a better world begins with you. But without understanding, there can be no change.
“…All I heard was laughter. Great bellowing, creaking laughter and the rustling of leaves from every direction. What few trees I originally saw were now standing tall and outstretched – same as all the trees I didn’t see before. I was surrounded by the creatures. All watching me, taking joy in my endeavor. The sight filled me with terror. I quickly descended into the tunnel, if only to get away…”
– My Beautiful World
“My home is there, up in the stars. How my heart yearns for the night that I might look to the sky. That somewhere there, so very far away, is a place that I call mine – the home I long to stay.
But I’ve been cast aside. I’ve long been forgotten. My people left me here, they didn’t leave me a choice. They said they’d return, but they never did. Now I’m just an alien, trying to fit in…”
– Home Above, Home Below
“…Do I go back to school I already finished? Do I find a job and become the one who doesn’t care? There are good schools, but I’m not interested. There are good jobs, but I’m not qualified. Perhaps I need a house, to plant my roots and make me grow. But then what do I become? If I succumb to the shade? If I am but a shadow, what is a shadow in the dark?
I felt a loss of hope. I wondered how I got here. Because I had a life. But I was not alive. Are the others all living when they go about their day? What about their smiling faces while they’re making their way? They must be alive. I decided to ask…”
– A Shadow in the Dark
“I see it in your eyes. It’s in the way you dress. The way you move. The way you speak. It’s in everything you do. It’s in everything about you. It is everything about you. And everybody else.
I know what you are feeling. Because I felt the same. I know what you are doing. Because I did the same. But you wouldn’t know. Nor would I. I can’t really know. Nor can you. And this, I know, because I was the same…”
– Knowing Humans
“…I dream of you and what you’re like. I dream I knew what life was like. I dream of oceans that are blue. I dream of light that reaches through. And I am me, with you there. Gazing down at our reflection. The person we have made, there, me and you.
But nothing is to last, for the sun always rises. It shines its darkness vast, throwing shadow to memory. All that remains is a broken face in the mirror. The sun shines its light on my twisted demure. I see myself, and I can take it no more…”
– Dearest Friend
Jonathan Swerdlow grew up in an international community where he was exposed to individuals from all worldly backgrounds. Additionally, he spent most of his life travelling the world, engaging in eclectic activities including sailing to Antarctica, studying religion in Tunisia, and accidentally participating in a crystal skull ritual in underground tunnels deep beneath Bosnia.
Jonathan has a formal education in computer science, mathematics, and photography. For most of his life, he worked as an academic researcher, giving talks and lectures in addition to having his work published in peer-reviewed journals. While he still pursues academic endeavors on occasion, Jonathan shifted his focus away from his PhD to pursue creative outlets.
Photography was originally meant as a hobby, but it quickly grew into a love for art, leading Jonathan to spend time living in Europe. During this period, he discovered a passion for writing, starting with poetry – an influence that can be seen in the stories he now writes.
As an artist, Jonathan’s motivation is to capture other worlds. As an author, he seeks to create a human world. Utilizing his life experience for perspective, his goal is to move others to see that the meaning of life is other people, and finding meaning in others begins with understanding them. And to understand others, you must first understand yourself. Jonathan hopes to share these beliefs, aid in the process of understanding, and create a more empathetic world through his writing.
Additional work and information can be found at:
Let’s push this young author up in the algorithms. Go to his Amazon page and leave a review there as well as on www.expansions.com
See what others have to say:
Into the Depths
The book feels so personal, yet the human introspection touches us all. Who or what is family; does the dark night of the soul lead to revelation and awakening; and finally the macabre is made to seem ordinary. Jonathan shows that we are only limited by our imaginings and our willingness to allow our soul to awaken and spread its wings. Is the book truly scary or does it take us to our inner depths and possibilities of who we are, who we can be. The darkness provokes the light here. It is an enticing read.
The Ever Changing Book
I loved this book and was surprised to see and understand that dark is there was to expose more light. On the surface you only see the darkness of emotions. Yet jumping down deep inside exposes the light. Each chapter takes you into deep questions about who you really are. There are no answers because each of us has our own unique answers to the questions. How delightful because I can read it again and it will be a different book. Then I ask is this a book or an internal road map.
I like the introspection and analysis. More so, the poetic short story takes some ingenuity. There is variety here from what I see, not one hard and fast approach to writing . I look forward to getting the hardcopy.
You, Man, Emotion by Jonathan Swerdlow
“Vivid, Imaginative. Paints the colors of the multidimensional Self. Words leap off the page into the readers, imagination.”
I purchased the online copy to show my support, and I will most definitely purchase the hardcopy when it goes to print. I’m looking forward to reading the entire book. People may or may not yet know that your photos are used for the Heights book series. Your photography sets the visual tone for the Expansions’ books in print for readers to elevate to greater Spiritual Heights. Great job Jonathan on the release of your book!