Emily Graves spoke with Dai Woolridge about his innovative Christmas resources
Continued from page 2
Emily: In your new video, you're telling the story of Joseph by trying to get in his head and trying to show what life was like for him at that time.
Dai: Yes, exactly. It can be so easy to not look at the Bible for what it is. When we delve into the scripture we see in it real people and I think sometimes we can forget that. I love trying to put myself in the shoes of those characters; how would Joseph have felt when he found out his fiancée was pregnant and they weren't sleeping together until they got married? As far as he's concerned she's cheated on him and he's not just going to brush that aside: he's going to feel heartbroken by that and frustrated, possibly angry - I know I would. I think it's about remembering that these characters in the Bible are real people just like us. I really want to try and connect with that.
Emily: So why did you choose to focus on the story of Joseph this year?
Dai: I think because I looked at Christmas last year and essentially I did it through just telling the Christmas story from a narrator point of view, in the style of spoken word. I think I thought, "How on earth am I going to make it different?" I guess was my first question. I knew "Christmas Chord" went down really well and it almost felt like the difficult second album. I've sort of thought about Joseph before and been fascinated by how he felt at the time, throughout the whole process, from thinking his fiancée, the love of his life, has cheated on him to when an angel turns up in his dream - that probably would have weirded him out a little bit - to all of it. I think it's really exciting when we can try and connect with these characters, these real people. To be honest with you the first reason I did it was because I wanted to show Christmas in a new way, but I think in doing so it's really helped me understand Christmas from Joseph's point of view more as well and I think it's really blessed me to understand what he thought about Jesus and who he was.
Emily: So what is your hope for this video?
Dai: I would love it to go viral. To be honest with you I'd love people to watch it and just think about Christmas in a different way. I think it's so easy as Christians just to go through the rhythms of Christmas and to forget the bit about why we celebrate it in the first place. I'd love people to watch it and be reminded and ask questions about what Christmas is about and who is this Jesus character?
Emily: What are some of your hopes for the future?
Dai: To be honest with you I've developed a website called Spoken-truth.com and what I'm trying to do is develop a catalogue of spoken-word pieces that can be a resource for anyone to use, be it schools, churches, small groups, youth groups, whoever in any context. What I'm trying to do is build up a catalogue of these pieces that looks at the truths of the gospel and truths of who I believe God is in his nature, speaking it through the medium of spoken word and to develop those and for those to be used. The two Christmas pieces I've done are on the website currently and they can be downloaded.
Emily: Do you have any tips for anybody who has started having a go at writing different styles of poetry, or anything like that?
Dai: I think it's got to start with being inspired. Find someone who inspires you and just let it affect you and impact you and give it a go. Put pen to paper. I think the problem sometimes is people try and get the end result straight away and it doesn't always happen. Most of the time you get an idea and it takes a lot of time to refine it just to get it right. An example with Joseph is I actually did about 11 drafts until I got the finished article. Sometimes it just takes hard graft. I'd encourage people to give it a go and try. You can come up with different rules as well to try and follow, so if you want to write about the characteristics of God, the facets of him, you can follow a simple rule that says, "God is." - and maybe say "love" and then maybe you elaborate on why he is love and then you say "God is mercy" and then you do the same. It's coming up with different ways of communicating. I think the brilliant thing about poetry and spoken word is you can make it up as you go along if you want. It's not like a sonnet where you have to do this and you have to finish it like that. I think free verse is really exciting but, use things that work for you; come up with rules and ideas to help ground you and bring back what you're trying to do. I think it's got to start with a passion and don't be afraid to fail.
Emily: That's great. So your website is?
Dai: Spoken-truth.com - it's there to be a resource and we'd love people to check it out.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
View all articles by Emily Parker