et al.

et al. – Latin abbreviation. et alii. (and others.)

on waste.

“Thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste.”
― G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World


Here’s a confession for you: I waste a lot of time. If something I want to accomplish has no deadline or other time-related penalty, I tend to put it off. And I don’t just procrastinate the simple things, like dusting or organizing my desk. I avoid things that I find deeply fulfilling, like reading good books or writing about things I care about. Instead, I spend hours on websites like Facebook and Netflix, letting potentially productive time melt away. I consider it one of my greatest flaws. Read the rest of this entry »


on writing.

“You can make anything by writing.”
― C.S. Lewis

I have the privilege this fall semester of studying at Oxford University. Oxford is a magnificent and storied city admired by many. 19th century poet Matthew Arnold described it as “the city of dreaming spires.” And rightly so – it has fed the imaginations of many great literary minds, such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. In fact, Oxford has a rich literary history, and I thought it would be an appropriate setting to write about a particular passion of mine: writing! More specifically, I’d like to answer the question: What good is writing? I think it’s only appropriate to answer this question from a personal perspective. People write for a variety of reasons; the reasons I list here are not necessarily the best or most common. Read the rest of this entry »

Lonesome At Last


Illustration by Abigail Jennings

Lonesome At Last

This is a short story I wrote last summer.
Please enjoy!

Tom reached for the stapler, but it wasn’t there. He frowned and scanned the room. There it was, sitting on a co-worker’s desk. Of course. He stood from his seat and walked over. The desk was unoccupied, probably because it was lunch hour. Tom always took his break at his desk – it was the only time of day that the workroom was empty and quiet, except for the hum of the idling copier in the back. He snatched up his stapler and left a sticky-note on his co-worker’s computer monitor: ‘Plz don’t use my things w/out permission. Thx. – Tom’  Read the rest of this entry »

the philosopher’s flaw.

“Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but in fact do little. Others do a lot but don’t talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live.” ― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth


This is it – my last piece for the Empire State Tribune! I wrote some concluding thoughts about the difficulty of applying theory to reality. Please enjoy, and thank you for your readership! You’re awesome. Check it out and join the conversation!

on home.

“Home is the nicest word there is.” ― Laura Ingalls Wilder


What is a first home, a second home, and a third home? I wrote about what makes home so great, and the responsibilities associated with it. Please enjoy! Check it out and join the conversation.


the doctor, et al.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
– Hebrews 10:24-25

It had to happen eventually: I took a look at what Doctor Who has to say about perspective, accountability, and community. Enjoy! Check it out and join the conversation.


on strangers. (part two)

“For it is in giving that we receive.” ― Francis of Assisionstrangers2

This week: the what, why, and how of serving strangers. I’d love to hear your thoughts – enjoy! Check it out and join the conversation.

on strangers. (part one)

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Ian Maclaren


In this column piece, I write about Olive Garden and stranger danger. Featuring the wise words of my younger brother Evan Gotchel. Please enjoy! Check it out and join the conversation.

on friendship.

“First of all, among all worldly things there is nothing which seems worthy to be preferred to friendship. […] It is what brings with it the greatest delight, to such an extent that all that pleases is changed to weariness when friends are absent, and all difficult things are made easy and as nothing by love.” – Thomas Aquinas, On Kingship


This week in “et al.” I suggest a few actionable steps towards building meaningful friendships. Please enjoy! Check it out and join the conversation.

a balanced life.

“Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.” ― Epicurus


In my column piece this week you’ll hear from historians, presidents, and philosophers on the topic of a balanced life. Thank you so much for your readership! Check it out and join the conversation.