Write anyway

Dear Fellow Journalers,

There is a first time for everything. This first time for this blog is to ‘re-post an excellent post from one I follow. Please read and feel free to comment.

Sallie

Writing Through Your Feelings Helps More Than Just You

Right now, the aching and hunger for change in our world spans far beyond what words can describe. But now is the time to remember that your words have power.

MAY 31, 2020
MEG DOWELL

There are things we do not discuss on this blog. I do my very best to keep it within its intended boundaries. If you are here, it is because you are a writer hoping to make a difference with your words.

Right now, the aching and hunger for change in our world spans far beyond what words can describe. But as I just wrote, you are probably reading this blog because words matter to you, and you want the words you write to matter to other people.

Now is the time to remember that your words have power.

It may start with the words you write only for your eyes. But it can expand further. If you want it to.

There are probably writers reading this right now who, like me, process what’s going on around them — and the feelings they associate with those things — through writing. When the world starts burning, I get very quiet. Not just because I’m listening, but because the words often get mixed up in my head and I don’t always say the right thing in the moment.

So it’s become a custom, in times such as these, for me to retreat to my own space and let my thoughts and feelings float around for a short time before I start writing it all down.

When my emotions do start to pour out, the medium through which I channel them varies on purpose. Sometimes I write music. Other times I write stories. And sometimes, when I really feel I need to say something and can’t stay silent about it any longer, I write a blog post.

The beautiful aspect of human emotion is that it is universal. Even if we don’t all share the same experiences or fully understand each others’ perspectives, we have the ability to empathize with each other — if we choose to; though why anyone would choose not to, I struggle to comprehend — because we understand what it’s like to experience specific emotions.

We have the ability to understand that someone is grieving and what that feels like because, in some way or another — though almost never in the exact same way, we, too, have grieved.

And that’s why writers, in the darkest of times, are an essential piece of the narrative. We ourselves may not “get it” to the extent of someone who is on the front lines, so to speak, living it. But we can help ourselves, and each other, to understand to the best of our ability through writing about different perspectives through a specific lens.

Writing is a form of communication first and foremost; we seek to understand, so that we can cooperate. So that we can help, if possible.

A writer has a unique relationship with words. They can express thoughts with the kind of clarity, intrigue, or sense of urgency that gets people’s attention.

But there are some people who don’t have the connection with words that you have. So when you write how you are feeling and package it into something accessible to a wide audience, and it speaks to the heart of a reader — when it echoes their emotions and thoughts almost perfectly — they won’t just appreciate it. Chances are, they will share it.

They will share it because it’s what they wish they could have said; how they wish they could have said it.

This is not about you getting recognized for saying what needed to be said. It’s about more people hearing what needed to be heard. And maybe, if you’re lucky, they’ll listen.

Your feelings are important. But so is helping to communicate the feelings of other people. Using your platform to give them space to be heard.

Through doing that, we do more than understand each other. We change each other.

Words do not change the world; actions do. But words can, if used properly, promote the kind of action that leads to long-lasting change.

You can make a difference with the words you choose to release out into the world. Whether that difference is positive or the opposite is, of course, up to you.

If you’ve always wanted your words to promote change, then there’s no better time than now to use your words to promote change.

If you need to write to process what is happening around you, absolutely do that. But in doing that, ask questions. Challenge yourself. Don’t settle for “I’m confused and I don’t know what to do.” You are a creator. Use your words to try creating solutions.

Start with words, and branch out from there.

You are a writer. You have a voice. Use that voice to encourage other voices to speak up, to spark change, to make things happen.

It’s not an accident that you run to words when things go wrong.

Make them count.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.

 

Honor

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Another piece from G:

~Sallie

 

HONOR

Down through the staircase of history the concept and interpretation of honor has undergone many, many changes. In the opinion of this writer, honor has undergone a severe decrease in its’ importance and prominence in our lives, and our society.

Of course honor, in the end run, has always been subject to an individuals’ interpretation and moral conscience. And the degree to which each individual holds the value of honor varies, and varies greatly.

That is the essence of my piece. Has the value of honor sunk so low that it no longer has any significance? Has the concept of honor become a punch line, a joke, an obsolete idea? Do words like “on my honor” “a matter of honor” “duty and honor” “a consequence of honor” “an honorable person” etc. have any meaning anymore? Interesting question huh?

I could always quote definitions from dictionaries, scholarly works, or even personal feelings, but as I’ve already said, honor is largely a matter of personal interpretation. Definitions would have little worth here.

So I float a question on this whole concept of honor to you: Does honor have any value in the modern, “hooray for me, and XXXX you” world? Shall we just put the whole thing on display in a museum somewhere? Should we abandon it all and leave the decision to future generations?

Me? Well I’m afraid I’m “stuck” with honor, and frankly, glad to be so. You see at 71 years of age, 16 years of Catholic education, so many years a Marine, and being a God fearing guy, I’m a dinosaur. It’s too late for me. I still cringe when I see / experience a breech of honor, or on rare occasion, commit one myself. But all in all, honor has a significant personal, daily meaning to me.

So being an “honorable” guy, believing that honor is what separates us from the monkeys, I’m going to continue to believe in, and hold in high esteem, HONOR.

You? You’ll have to make your own decision.

 

 

What can I do?

Dear Fellow Journalers,

A lot of time, mostly stressful ones, we ask that question of friends/relatives/complete strangers. Most of the time, the person tells us “thanks, but nothing.” Some of us may feel relieved, because in truth, even though we may have the best of intentions, we either don’t have or think we don’t, the ability or talent to do anything extraordinary to help someone. Oh, we can bake, or send a card, care for young children, clean a home, mow a lawn, wield a hammer but anything out of “our comfort zone” sends us packing.

So what was the motivation of all the people who went beyond the simple “thank you” to first responders during the health crisis? We saw on tv video and pictures of people who had birthday or other celebrations via car parades. We saw patients who had spent an inordinate amount of time in the hospital upon recovery get a parade of nurses and doctors all glove-clapping,  we saw restaurant and food truck vendors donate food. We saw companies whose CEO ‘s didn’t want to shut down, and direct employees to make PPE for their communities. We saw children drawing rainbows on the front windows of their homes, and finally in my town, first responders and the Air National Guard distribute PPE equipment to companies that need it for their workers.

What do all those people have in common? They asked what “can I do?” My husband has an email group that he sent funny and/or motivational quotes to  on a daily basis. I am making and sending cards with motivational quotes or what I call “love notes.”  Every time we go to a fast food restaurant we say “thank you for being here” to the guy or gal in the widow.

I understand the frustration, inconvenience, anger and fear and claustrophobic feelings we are all facing. Just a few months ago I was writing about how the internet was taking over our lives that no one talked to anyone anymore. Now, look what people have done with platforms -Zoom, Tele-conference with patients and doctors etc.

I bet your “What I did during the Covid-19 crisis” is opened every day!

Sallie

 

Decision

Dear Fellow Journalers,

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “Decision” as the act or process of deciding; a report  a conclusion; or a judgement.

Some decisions we make in life are super easy. “Do you want fries with that?” Is one of them. So is listening to a certain type of music.

Some decisions are harder to make -life choices is one category that has many decisions one needs to make -area of study, college, jobs etc. Some decisions are based on our upbringing -what religion we will practice, lifestyle, values.

Many of us will never face the gut-wrenching decision to fire a weapon at another human being but if one trains to be a first responder that decision plays a part in a person’s life.

The idea of decision came to me while watching a documentary about Sam Houston and the Alamo Defenders. The decision to stay and fight an impossible-to-win battle for Texas freedom was not an easy one for the untrained men at that fort long ago and yet the moral code of each was challenged when Col. Austin drew a line in the sand.

We make decisions every day some big, some small and if you’re facing one of those right now how  do you make the right choice? I’ve personally had some tough decisions to make in my 60+ years of life and have faced the paralyzing fear of making the wrong choice. So how do we make the choice of decision less painful and more productive? Here are some tips:

  • Journal your fears. Write down the decision you need to make and list everything that you’re worried about regarding the decision. What will happen if I make the wrong choice?
  • Identify the worst case scenario. Could the worst happen? Is it likely to happen?
  • Is the decision reversible?
  • Talk to a trusted family member or friend.
  • Stay calm -try mindfulness.
  • Get information -research.
  • Ask questions.
  • Who is affected by my decision?
  • List your opinions.
  • Benefits and losses of my choices.

So what was one of my dilemmas? I have been writing about journaling for several years now and when I wrote about dreams I began to think about one of my secret dreams. Back in high school I had a dream to become a writer. But my mother was dismayed and pointed out to me that I would never make any money. I had to set  sites on a nursing career (yes, I was a “candy stripper”) one summer; a secretary (I worked in an office)  one winter break; a teacher (I taught Sunday school). I could write on the side, she said. Well, armed with that lack of parental support, I entered the teaching field and although I wrote reports, I never did write “The Great American Novel” but I have and am writing two blogs now and recently published a fan fiction Story. I wonder though, what would have happened to me if long ago I would have pursued my dream despite my family’s wishes?

So my challenge to you is, in the midst of this crisis, what decisions do you need to make and how are you tackling them?

 

Sallie

 

Memorial Day

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Just in case you know someone who doesn’t really understand what Memorial Day was all about — please pass this video to them.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ eEs4ke7cdNQ? feature=player_det ailpage%25

~Sallie

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