Start Simply and Humanly

I recently heard an interview of Toni Morrison on Beloved.  She said she wanted to tell this story of a woman who wanted to protect her kids from slavery so she decided to kill them rather than let them be re-enslaved by her former master. The story was a true story she had discovered in an old newspaper clipping. She said she struggled with how to tell this story so she decided the only person that could judge this mother justly was the dead baby and thus, Beloved was born.  And then she said something that fascinated me…well all of Toni Morrison fascinates me but this was something extra.  She said she considered how it must feel to have a mother that tried to kill you.  The small things like eating her food and going to sleep around her.  In that moment of listening to Toni, the essence of what we do occurred to me.  It is these small tedious things that inform our work, that makes it come alive to the reader.  Of course the huge, magnanimus acts are remembered but what connects us to our readers are those things that make us human. Fear, love, hunger, boredom.  These are the very human emotions that propel our stories off the paper and into the readers minds. Because we have the same desires and inclinations in our own lives we can understand and relate to who people end up in dire circumstances that started very simply. That’s writing guys, Toni-Morrison-32that’s writing.

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