Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Rest in peace Toni Morrison

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Aug• 06•19

Toni Morrison has died at age 88. Here is one of her many obituaries. Author of novels Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Sula, The Song of Solomon, and more, she taught us so much about the black experience, the power of language, and speaking truth. My favorite of her novels was Sula and 20-some years (or is it 30 now?) I can still remember a specific scene in which a character discovers her husband having wild sex with her friend, Sula. The description of her sense of betrayal and grief is depicted through her body and is as authentic and moving as anything I’ve ever read.

Here’s are a few of her words for writers from her address at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm. It so worth reading in our troubled and terrifying times when language is being used as a weapon to oppress.  “Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try. For our sake and yours forget your name in the street: tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear.  Show belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.”

Meanwhile, keep writing, keep dreaming, shine your light

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