I haven’t talked about burner projects for a long time.
Burner projects are projects which you burn afterwards. Like a burner phone, where you use the phone for illicit activities and then throw it away.
It’s important to have little projects with no real consequence. They increase your skills, get you used to whatever it is you’re doing and also gently introduce you to the idea that doing some experiments isn’t going to end with the world ending and your mum disowning you and all the girls pointing and laughing at you.
It’ll just end with you being more interesting.
Let’s extend that.
I was listening to an African-American preacher giving a sermon the other day, and it occurred to me that the form wasn’t something I’ve ever really dealt with before.
Some of you may think, a preacher is a preacher but the forms are very different – and they tell you a lot about the traditions and linguistic development of the communities they serve.
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Hence I mentioned the preacher was African-American.
African-American sermons are nothing like Anglo-Saxon sermons which are nothing like Roman Catholic sermons in Italy.
There’s a different oral tradition in all of those places and a different spiritual tradition – even though they’re all nominally the same religion.
Anyway, that’s a subject for another day.
But I started reading some linguistic studies and looking into sermons because I’m a nerd. And to be honest, there’s not a lot out there at all about African-American sermons. It’s a good topic if you’re a linguistics student looking for PhD. funding, but I guess there aren’t too many of those on my blog.
Anyway, the form is pretty standard across all the preachers I watched on YouTube:
- We start with an appeal to authority – normally a quote by some righteous person or more commonly a Bible passage
- This is used to frame the sermon – where we talk about something a congregation member has said to the priest
- The priest then uses this to talk about whatever he wants for as long as he wants, flowing in and out of topics without any pause
- This is liberally punctuated with rhetorical devices to make the users feel more involved – black sermons are a lot more dynamic than their white counterparts
And that’s the gist of it for now.
I’ll talk about this again somewhere else, because it’s legitimately fascinating and nobody really works in this area.
But let’s go back to my idea of burner projects and talk about my latest thing: burner media.
This is all a delicate way of saying, “I’ve been practicing making videos.”
I’ve Been Practicing Making Videos
I loved how the preachers I watched could spin a story into anything. It’s a rare gift that some guys I’ve come across in life seem to have. They can talk for hours, and no matter what you say, they have an anecdote to bring to mind, a piece of adventure to share, and they captivate you.
I don’t have this gift. Not even remotely.
And to be honest, the videos I’m making are completely crap.
I don’t have screen presence. My train of thought isn’t conducive to speaking aloud, and it’s horrible.
But once I had the realisation that I wasn’t actually going to share stuff with anyone and just stuck to the idea I was talking about, I got better.
And this is a burner media because nobody is going to see this, but it’s a quicker and nicer way to get my thoughts across that I can type up later.
Why am I regaling you with this Dear Diary stuff?
Because the ultimate goal of everything is to be more productive, create more stuff and do more experiments.
Too often, people wait until they’re good at something before they do it.
You’re not going to be a world class copywriter if you don’t write anything because you aren’t good enough.
You can’t learn all the dance steps before you start dancing.
Yet there are obviously real risks with just jumping in. You can’t sell your services if they’re going to be rubbish.
That’s why burner projects – projects which you burn after learning – are so important.
And stuff like messing around with a video diary intended only for yourself is a perfect example of how to learn and grow with a project without it affecting anything else in your life.