Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Long Form: Retrospective

Writing Wednesday

I sure you've often heard hindsight is 20/20. It is so well-worn a saying that it's beginning to take on a negative connotation like arm-chair quarterbacking.

Perhaps the larger problem is that there's so much novelty constantly vying for our attention, but it is unfortunate that looking back is falling out of favor because one of the most illuminating perspectives is retrospect.

One of the ultimately most powerful but least appreciated potentials of the long form is what you come to understand some time after the strong finish. Only after enough time has passed for the experience to mellow and ripen can you begin to understand the work's lasting effect.

It's time to bring this now fourteen-week series to a close. During that time, we've covered:
It's too soon to say whether it will have any lasting effect. Still I hope at very least I've convinced you that working in the long form is more than simply making the short form longer.

I also hope that in doing so I haven't left you feeling intimidated by the terminology. If the list above seems daunting, think of the items simply as the facets of a jewel. And like that jewel, the essence of the art of the long form is to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Image: Simon Howden /

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