A couple of years ago I had an opportunity to write stories about people’s experiences and insights into living the Christian life, but the ones I approached to find out who in their church would be interested for a chat about their lives, never got back to me. Email made it easier, I suppose, to go on to something else. With email, you don’t have to reply. I understood that people might have been reluctant to share their lives with me and the public, and that finding out if there are people who have “testimonies” is always leg work for others, but it was a potential series of articles that haven’t come to be. They haven’t materialized. I was sorry about that. Considering, there are editors who might turn a page of my work with a disdainful eye (but really it’s probably a sorry they couldn’t publish it), the editors who are interested in stories about people from me, don’t get to see it. The irony is painful. In this case, I will have to find the stories myself–my own contacts and relationships and approach them directly, or build new contacts and relationships. One has said ‘no’ so far. But is the publisher still going to be around post Covid-19? There are more pressing issues at hand…
For the last twenty-five years I’ve been published in the “smallies”, the newspapers, the magazines, the journals, the websites, you get the picture, but I’ve been also greedy for the book deal, the “biggie”. I went into writing the book not thinking too much about the ins and outs of publishing, but I’ve learnt from experience as you’d say. It was phase one of learning about submitting to book publishers; yes, I got rejection slips. I learnt that when the publisher rejects one’s work, or most times the publisher rejects your work, they are most likely right, to the degree that they think the work isn’t the right fit, more or less, or they have better work than yours. I’ve accepted this reality and don’t really mind. Even if I’ve done my research on the publisher, there’s the possibility my work will be rejected. Don’t worry about it, I say. Life is bigger than that. It doesn’t really matter. But I will try, in not an ideal world, to exhaust the possibilities, if the book deal is still something I want, after realizing a thing or two about publishing.
In “The Wind in the Willows”, a children’s book that’s considered a classic and that I am presently reading, there’s the main action and we find out later what was going on in parallel to that action in a conversational scene. The author chose to tell what happened in parallel in just one scene. I found this worked perfectly, in this case. So, the question I have, is why would an author choose one lot of action first and tell the reader what happened in parallel later on, in just one scene? I think the author must know how this choice would effect the flow of the story. It may flow better that way. By telling two stories at once in parallel may lesson the effectiveness of the story as a whole. You may lose the gist of the story. Parallel plot lines — where two stories are told in parallel at virtually the same time — are the exception and one uses it only for the purposes of telling the story more effectively, without losing the gist of the story.
The dilemma this one posed was not the treatment of Vincent Van Gogh’s outlook on life, but his outlook on Jesus in history, which, however, I can sort-of forgive as his Dutch liberal viewpoint. It makes a small part of the film, but a noticeable one. In At Eternity’s Gate (2018), post-impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh wants to follow his artistic instincts and ‘follow the light’. It’s a noble quest that seeks beauty in the world. So, mild mannered Van Gogh goes to Arles, in the South of France (a lovely place!), on the suggestion of fellow artist Gaugin (played intense by Oscar Isaac). It was Van Gogh’s description of his faith that caused me to question how he saw the history of Jesus, rather than question his artistic vision. In this film, Van Gogh (Willem Dafoe) says Christ was only really known in the late first century, and earlier than that he was obscure. But to say Christ was obscure earlier is false. The records in the Acts of the Apostles show the beginnings and rapid growth of the Church and Christ’s message in the early and middle first century. But the film’s better points are what makes it rise above this historical flaw.Continue reading “Artistic vision”
Street sight is long, run-by the forlorn,
A cloud settling across. The street mastered by a turn, as ghosts come and go.
Darkness one thinks she sees, ghosts flashing across trees, deafening cries of the lost souls from purgatory,
Lingering in her mind the fraternity,
Their callings exciting the moon
And along comes the white and spot of lunar light and valleys of doom,
There she finds Silence rambling, the day languishing, but not in the heart of someone lying down.
Curious she bent Surprised to find one who rose to meet her, with a crown.
The light brighter than before. Enlightened, wonder-awed, by the face,
She fell into the calm, the breeze behind.
And saw the street unlike before.