Filtered or Unfiltered?

These are still the two basic options in cigarettes, as well as pipes, honey, olive oil—and books.

I saw “unfiltered” in a review of my book We Will Be Landing Shortly. I like how Clark Bunch used the word:

If you enjoy an unfiltered look directly into someone’s thought process then this book is for you. If you are looking to have your faith bolstered or strengthened, I would recommend something else. Chicken Soup for the Soul this is not.

I know about filtering content for a conservative audience. Once, during my brief stint as editor of Interest magazine, I was asked to airbrush a cigarette from between the fingers of C. S. Lewis in a cover photo as it might offend some of our readers. To my shame, I did it.


Not anymore. Filters are important. I don’t spew everything that’s on my mind, but there’s a place for being candid, raw, unfinished, agitated, conflicted, befuddled, dyspeptic even. Thinking out loud in print makes a book more of a conversation than a sermon, more of a dialogue than a soliloquy. It can encourage what I call Pilgrim’s Process.

Daniel Zemek, friend and fellow bibliophile, catches what I’m after:

For me, one of the characteristics of a good writer is the ability to take some of the thoughts that are floating around in my head (but are there in vagueness and obscured by cobwebs of preconditions) and articulate them in such a way as to give me an “Ah-Ha!” moment.

The same words are just as likely to cause an “Uh-Oh!” moment, so readers beware. But don’t be so cautious as never to venture off level ground.

“The slippery slope of questioning assumptions and dogmas
doesn’t only run downward;
it’s also the route to higher vistas
and breathtaking panoramas.”
—Mike Hamel

5 thoughts on “Filtered or Unfiltered?

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