For my last column before the end of the semester, I thought I’d take an old trick out of my friend and mentor Ryan Dowd’s playbook. Things are going to get a bit more self-reflexive than they’ve ever been before.
I was just recently elected arts & review editor for The Heights for 2016, and I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks pondering what this job has in store for me and what I can bring to it. In this process, I thought a lot about what I had done as the associate editor this year, mainly focusing on what I did well, what I really need and want to improve upon, and what I want to change in the next year.
If you follow my writing at all, it’s pretty evident that I’ve got a strong affinity for film and, more specifically, fantasy. A gargantuan number of my columns this year were about either Star Wars or Game of Thrones and how I felt about them, which is, to a degree, completely understandable. Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on television right now, and Star Wars is about to reenter the lives of millions of obsessive fans for the first time in ten years.In the world of Arts these two entities hold a lot of clout in and dominance over a major portion of the conversation between moviegoers and television gurus.
I also think focusing on these things that I love so much has really helped me develop as a writer over the last year. Beyond high school essays, I hadn’t done much writing before I got to BC. I might’ve done well on assignments back in those days, but I don’t think they were ever graded very stringently. If I were still handing in the caliber of arguments I made back in high school to professors today, I’d be academically mutilated. I’m sure a lot of people can say the same thing, but I think the difference between them and me is that I can point to my film and album reviews and my columns I wrote for The Heights and say, “That’s what made me a significantly better writer. That’s how I learned to best articulate my thoughts.” If I hadn’t found this outlet to talk about the things that meant the most to me, I would have never found the courage or skills necessary to tackle something larger than my interests or myself.
The game has changed, though. Now, I’m not the one being assigned the stories or being told who to talk to on campus. Now, I’m the guy in the Arts & Review section calling the shots. I’m not only responsible for my own work but also for what The Heights covers in the realm of Arts.My job is no longer about Star Wars, it’s not about Game of Thrones, and it’s not about promoting that one Boston College artist I was assigned to talk to for the week. It’s about showing this campus the talent that it holds and how that talent, in its many facets, evolves in the next year.
That’s part of the reason there’s a Star Wars Scene feature this week. In one sense, I believe debating which is the best Star Wars film is a worthy and intriguing discussion to thoroughly have before The Force Awakens is released next week. In a more personal sense, I think I subconsciously needed a way to restrict myself from talking about Star Wars throughout the paper in the next year. I believe if I devote my first issue to it, there will never be a good excuse to discuss it again, and I will be left to focus on much more relevant and BC-oriented topics. This task will be a bit of a challenge for me, but I’m ready to take it on. I’m ready to show the community, and even artists themselves, what the Arts here at BC mean to this campus and what they contribute to our experience moving through this school.
It wasn’t until I was compiling a list of BC artists that I would want to cover or keep in close contact with over the next year that I realized not only how drastically my focus pertaining to the Arts section would have to shift, but also how much I want it to shift. I noticed I no longer want to give my readers The Fuller Picture of the things I personally love most, but that I would love to show this campus The Fuller Picture of itself, the community of brilliant artists it holds, and what the student body can do to foster and nourish one of the most important components of the BC experience.
But hell, I won’t kid myself. There’ll be a Game of Thrones column sometime after it comes back this spring. The difference is that now it won’t constitute the majority of my conversation. It won’t be my full picture.
Featured Image By Chris Fuller / Heights Editor