For World Book Day, our Creative Writing Facilitator Michele shares her love for Nobel Prize winner and American author Toni Morrison, whose books have shaped her life, and the sense of loss she felt when she passed away.
“Two years ago the world lost a great voice, and I felt a strange personal sense of loss. As her beautiful nut brown face stared out of the television, I was immediately taken back to 1988 reminded of staying up all night reading “Beloved” because I could not physically tear myself away. Each line a stab to my psyche, a distant dream, half remembered stirring and prickling like the waking of a numbed foot. As they showed footage of her collecting her Nobel prize, I could smell the diesel of the number 71 bus and folding in on myself as Cholly Breedlove takes hold of Pecola. I can still see the flicker of fire burning in the grate in the Nutley flat as I finished “The Song of Solomon” for the second and the most intense time, my own mental fragility being at its peak. I despaired alongside Hagar, at the futility of love. Her pain a contrast to the light through my bedroom window. I still feel the intensity of finishing the last page, my heart beating with Milkman’s as he soared into the air. He carried me with him that day: ‘There is hope, there is hope’.
There are so many others, “Paradise” takes me to a stolen weekend in Paris. “Tar Baby” is the snatched moments between lectures. “Love” was a present from my own “Beloved” as he clatters through the door from a New York jaunt. The latter books have in fact all been presents from him. Precious jewels that survive bookshelf purges, that are never loaned to even the most trusted browsers. I feel her characters have peopled my life, to the extent that I worry about how they are managing sometimes. Her settings enriched my landscape, and I am bereft that there will be no more. However, such a life lived when it comes to an end can in no way be called a tragedy, only a sadness for those of us who are left longing for more, more words, more thoughts, more language.”
Want to write a blog for us?
We’re always keen to share mental health stories or give a platform to anyone wanting to share thoughts and educate others about mental health or wellbeing. If you’d like to write a blog or create a video blog for us, a poem, a song or a piece of art, you don’t have to be an expert at it, we can coach you through it! Just get in touch with Connie, our Communications Lead, at email@example.com