Monday, July 7, 2008

"Wonder and Grandeur in a Still, Small Voice"

by Janet Jensen

If you've heard me present, you know that I need a microphone. There are several reasons I have a quiet voice, none of which are relevant to this post. I'd like to quote Jerry Johnston from Mormon Times (Deseret News sponsored website) in a review of a film that had its share of violence.

Why, I wondered, would none of (the film's) pyrotechnics stay with me while a little scene from "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- a film I saw decades ago -- still gave me chills? I'm talking about the moment where attorney Gregory Peck, drained and defeated, walks from the courtroom and -- out of nowhere -- gets a standing ovation from the black people in the gallery . . .

But more than that, Harper Lee's "Mockingbird" was written for the screen by Horton Foote -- who also gave us "Tender Mercies" and "A Trip to Bountiful." And Foote knows the key to my heart. He knows that to be moving and memorable, human experience doesn't need to be written with great flames in the stars -- like "Falling," "No Country for Old Men" and "Sweeney Todd." Great suffering, sin and moments of humanity can be distilled down and put into the lives of people living understated lives.

Wonder and grandeur can be even more powerful and unforgettable when spoken in a still, small voice.

Thank you, Jerry, for reminding us of our purposes as writers.

1 comment:

Shirley Bahlmann said...

Wow, Janet, that is such an overlooked truth. Even in the scriptures, it's a still, small voice that gets you every time.