A few weeks ago, I attended a My Book Therapy Monday bleacher chat class taught by Beth Vogt. her topic: Emotional Layers. During the session, Beth recommended we keep an "Emotional Journal" to add color and life to our writing.
The task: Record a time when we experienced a given emotion.
The purpose: To capture the essence of the emotion for use in our writing.
One week later I attended a funeral for a beloved family member. I wrote in my Emotional Journal:
When at last I could record sorrow in my Emotional Journal, I realized the task was greater than I first imagined.
I recalled the family member's husband, the children, grandchildren and friends. People of different ages, genders, relationships, each having their own response.
I expanded the assignment filling pages with responses from the myriad of ages, genders, and relations. Here is one I included:
The third grade grandson playfully laughed at Grandma's home before the funeral. He sat with a watchful eye during the service. But when he stood with the older grandsons as a pallbearer he wept...uncontrollably. His light skin faded to a paler hue. With red swollen eyes, he held his grandfather's hand and walked with him to the reception hall and there they sat silently looking down at the table. Not a word, yet so many. A few moments later, he looked up at his grandfather then ran off to play.
The new task I gave myself for my Emotional Journal was not not only to write down my response to an emotion, but also the responses I observe in others; after all, my characters will differ in age, gender, race, creed, relationship, and etc.
I also chose to include my own varied responses from different ages, settings, and relationship for the emotion. My description storehouse for emotions has multiplied exponentially.
Now it's your turn. Briefly relate the experience: "new." It can be from any time in your life, any place. Let's see how "new" can affect others differently.
photo date: 1946 Photographer: Ian Fitzpatrick abc.net.au
Stepping into Someone Else's World.