Memory lane: Circa, 2017. Judson Press sent me a copy of the winter issue of The Secret Place which has one of my devotions in it. Yet, whatever the season, be it winter or summer, I’m pleased my article’s there, winter or summer. But it will be read in the North American winter. Why do I attract the North American winter? Surprise!
Although I wrote the following in 2017 — ‘the Christian writing I started five years ago is complete for this period of my writing and there is nothing new to pursue in terms of Christian articles and those types of writings’ — why did I get published several times in that genre since?
The class’s perception of my short story writing was important to me. After all, it would be my first ever feedback on a short story I wrote. After sharing (twenty-odd years ago), one person commented that my writing sounded noire. The piece wasn’t in the noir genre, it only sounded noir, so the person said. Noir or noire is the French word for black. I was a bit confused. This was never my intention.
But I was complimented because I thought my work might have sounded like a thriller of the classic Film Noir. This, of course, is with the likes of cinema’s hard-boiled detective stories. But my story was not truly noir.
The perception that the story sounded noir is what mattered, as the writer is supposed to communicate to the reader something. The reader perceives what that is.
How I had failed as writer, then. Actually, being told that my writing sounded noire, took me off-guard. Yes, the noir or black tone might have been how I was feeling about an experience, which was kind of negative and dark. But I wasn’t thinking through how my writing would be perceived as noir. I wasn’t anticipating it would be seen as black or dark. The reader’s perception matters to a writer and shows me that what I write is always communicating. The medium is the message.
Paying attention to my writing, reviewing it, is essential to identifying a misplaced emphasis.
One of things a publisher will want, I think, is commitment, and not serving the writer’s ambition first and foremost. This commitment, I think, must extend to a writer’s readers, so that even if a writer is posting blog pieces all the time and is not publishing the book, but shows a sincere commitment to their readers, is doing a better thing than someone who is not even making an effort with their readers, but has published the book. The book is always where the writer’s ambition lies, but the reader is the generous soul who makes an an effort to connect with the writer and should at least be acknowledged if not put on a pedestal.