I’ve been working on a book of reflections based on my readings of the Gospel of Mark. The gospel is from the Bible and I am aware of being accurate to the text and not saying something myself in my writings that was not intended by the writer of the gospel. But I am writing reflections and this genre is not explaining or expounding a text academically as one would when deeply examining what the author was saying. Reflections are simply hopefully effectively relaying my thoughts about what I read…meaning it is not a thesis on the text or a critique but a reflection on the text itself. I reflect from a devotional basis so it is not a reflective critique which has a soft edge.
I don’t know if one can do reflections from any kind of text, but I think copyright issues are the barrier to a writer taking any printed text and writing a book of reflections on it, although I don’t know. I know that there is a whole genre of devotional writing that uses the Bible but does not copy it. I know I am not doing anything wrong in using the Bible as a basis for a book of reflections, unless everyone who was writing devotions from the Bible has got it wrong. It is only wrong if copying the Bible exactly as it is for a profit, without permission; and copying it even without wanting to make a profit or commercial gain.
Copying 1000 Bible verses as they are written is okay with some Bible publishers, without seeking permission. It just depends on each Bible publication policy which is at the front of each Bible. Always check copyright notices at the front of each book you may want to copy in some way. There it will explain what one can legally do or not do with that particular book. And get a grasp of copyright law. Books are legally well protected from people trying to illegally copy them, but the copyright notice at the front of the book will inform of any leniencies, if any, and what you can do if you want to use a portion of the book in some capacity.
So far, my reflections have taken up one small exercise book, which I completed this week. For the rest of the week in terms of reflective writing, I just felt to blob, as if I have done enough for a little while in that genre or until I get my reflective writing mojo back.
I really felt blah reading the Bible this morning. But I give it time and tonight get on top of it, if that is the right expression when one reads the Bible. The prophets are especially hard to read in the morning. But never give up is what I think.
This week has been seeing several devotions sent off to the same publisher, which is a record of a sort. One I did a month ago was rejected by the same publisher. However, two weeks ago, one was accepted for publication–by the same publisher. That is the way of things. The way of the Write. At least this time. And two of the ones I sent were recovered from the rubbish bin, which was pleasing to see they didn’t come to waste.
The Imitation of Christ was originally written in the Middle Ages by a monk, Thomas A. Kempis. It’s mind blowing devotional literature, to use the modern expression, but firmly in keeping with the essence of the best Christian devotional literature that points to God.
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.