When I started regularly writing film articles (or short pieces), my focus was on the films itself–or what was in it and what they were about. Sometimes I took an angle on that, like what did I have to say about screen violence, for example. They were regular, ordinary issues or matters about film. In 1998, I note a change, looking back. In 1998, my editor was pleased I starting to”think outside the box”. I don’t know what he was actually referring to, but there was something in my movie column that made him think that. And there was something different happening in my column than previous. Looking back, I think what developed was a transcendent quality to how I approached films. I was not so focused on film itself, but on what was beyond it, or what transcended it. This does not mean I couldn’t see what was in the film, but that I was sensing something more in it, or from it, or totally above it.
This may have been a spiritual inkling, as I began reviewing films with a spiritual intention, some would say religious, but was coming out somehow spiritually now.
It meant that my film articles or pieces reflected a more transcendent quality, although incompletely and perhaps unformed, definitely not consciously approaching my writing spiritually.
It wasn’t until the early millennium that my reviews implicitly took on this spiritual quality as well, but many of those reviews were lost, either as what I would call now “spiritual critiques” or “spiritualised metaphors” in part.
However, I was afraid I was going too far with how I was implicitly approaching film and later on sought a more sensible approach, but I think that on paper spiritual critiques and metaphors sounds like something I would like to tackle again, in a more articulate, formed way.
Every writer wants to be proud of their body of work. There are various and different bodies of work that individual writers work at. One is the article genre, for example. Another is the review. And yet another is poetry, and so on. I’ve done articles, reviews, devotions, so far. I aim with my devotional work to have a body of work I am pleased with and proud of. The others I have done, the articles and reviews, I wasn’t consciously aware I was creating a body of work, although I see now that I was. Unfortunately, of some the reviews I still have published online, I am not particularly proud of them entirety. Some parts sound great, but sometimes the flow is cluttered, which means I was overflowing my sentences with too many words that needed a simpler expression. Maybe I’ll just have to live with what I’ve done online in terms of reviews. Ideally, I would have liked an almost perfect body of work, that is tight and focused, like writing reviews in one genre and nailing the reviews. But someone who reads them may think differently. Ideally, a writer wants to have a sense of pride and satisfaction in all their various bodies of works, so what this takes is a concentrated, deliberate, and careful effort, that executes a body of work with defining features, with each part a shining example.
It’s a reflective ‘exercise’ looking back at my older articles. It still conjures up a vague, cloud-like impression of the past, but still with the concrete markers or posts of yesteryear, like why I wrote something, where I was, what I was doing. Perhaps its cathartic, in that it washes away a past memory, but a good one.
Some articles can be eye opening. The insights from people I’ve interviewed can be astoundingly insightful, helpful and eye opening. Like the ones I was looking at today, an article where I interviewed a person who works in materially poorer countries. Little snippets like: ‘The poor find it difficult to accept the gospel when those who share it live affluent lifestyles.’ A challenge. And the list of attributes someone must have to work and live with the poor makes me think I haven’t got it together in my own field of endeavor, although it makes me want to do better, but perhaps perfect to a fault. Articles can stir us up, even the writer of them.
When on assignment, it’s a good idea to have back-up pieces or articles in case the piece I’m working on isn’t sounding right for the publisher who’s assigned me. I’m glad I have a number of devotional pieces filed away because the one I’ve been working on isn’t just right. The one I may use instead was intended for another publisher originally–but is a better fit for the publisher I’m writing for. Stress-less.