Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Give Sorrow Words II

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jan• 10•21

The fog has lifted and a pale sky revealed, the tall firs that ring the neighborhood still. Looking out it seems as if the world is holding its breath.

I’ve written here before about following Shakespeare’s  advice in Macbeth to, “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break.” If ever there was a week to break our hearts we’ve just trudged through it.

Eyes glued to images of mayhem, violence, insurrection, lunacy. We’ve heard the lies, the gaslighting, the excuses, the demands. We saw the noose.  The marauding members of our military. Elected officials joining the throng. The Nazi symbols. The Confederate flag marched down the corridors of OUR Capital.

We’ve watched and heard with dread the shrill, unleashed madness in radicalized, far-right followers.

All seemed so inevitable, didn’t it? As if we’ve been long expecting this. As if we’ve been holding our collective breaths.

But when the TV is off, your head on your pillow, or you’re out walking your dog, what is your body whispering? Can you put words to that clenched knot in your gut?  Where does choking rage lodge in your body? Where is your sorrow housed or has it overtaken you at times?  How does your throat feel?

Write from your body.

Are you feeling strung out? Blurry? Limbs weighted down? Stirred up beyond reason?

Write from your body.

Which particular images and sounds most set your heart stampeding in your chest?

Write from your heart.

Because writers need to use all parts of life to tell their stories. Use the painful rawness of your emotions, the map of your body. Give sorrow words. Write them down. Day after harrowing or difficult day.  Loan them to your fictional characters. Track them for a memoir or essay. Store them in a place you can find them again. Because emotions such as these must be shared.

Meanwhile, please help instill hope in children whenever you spend time with them.

Keep writing, keep dreaming, keep finding wonder,  have heart

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