Over the spring/summer I was asked to do a film review for Kansas History: the Journal of the Central Plains on Ken Sturgeon's new film series for the Kansas Humanities Festival. I don't generally do this sort of writing that I do. I don't enjoy this sort of writing. It tends to be stiff, academic, unapproachable and off-putting. My aim has always been to share my love of history and how the greatness of local people, warts and all with as many people as possible. I want others to be excited. I want people to research and to get involved in history. I want what I write to engage and to be a call to action. Journals don't often have that affect, they do collect dust on bookshelves and often seem primarily to exist to add to cv's (curriculum vitaes).
On the other hand, I too am always adding to my resume/cv and I am always looking to challenge myself/stretch. You learn at the end of your comfort zone. So, off I went. Uncomfortable with the style of writing--I have never done a film review or a review of any kind and I knew nothing of Butler County. As it turns out these films were a good match for me. They are unpretentious and they celebrate the towns and people of Butler County. They are a gentle call to action, a call to visit them, to dust them and their stories off. I think that my writing style is still the same, I failed the challenge on that part, but I won by diving a little deeper into Butler County. Neat place. I even went to see the Oil and Gas Museum. I plan to return after covid. I plan to watch the films again. And I hope that Mr. Spurgeon does more of them. My only real criticism is that they use a lot of drone shots. Drone shots make the towns generic and a flyover, but this could easily be changed, even now. Anyhow, enough rambling, I think that the review is on page 183 or 138, it is inside a large group of reviews. I hope a few people read it and despite my dislike of this kind of thing, I do think that it promotes research so I hope that these kind of articles get people to subscribe (subscriptions are free with your KSHS membership--a 2 for one), https://www.k-state.edu/history/kansas-history/,