The Power of Emotion through Words


The Power of Emotion through Words

Natalie Bright

A ‘spark’ for writers is the moment an idea is ignited in our mind. I have spark notes written on everything. Sticky notes, deposit slips, and torn bits of paper. I have numerous spiral notebooks and journals filled with spark notes. Some have morphed into written works, some are still waiting patiently. You just never know what those ‘sparks’ might become. In this case, one man’s sorrow becomes a beloved Christmas Carole of hope.

As I writer, I’m always fascinated with the history behind the words and how the environment at the time might influence the spark. Good or bad, joyous or devastating, a writer’s strong emotions can evolve into powerful words. The prefect example is a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Hopeful Words behind the Sorrow

In the case of Christmas Bells, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the words to his poem on December 25, 1864. The music and words are up-lifting and it’s always been one of my favorites, recalling joyous holidays with my favorite grandmother.

The words came from a very distraught Longfellow during one of the worst times in his life.

Tragedy Strikes

Just three years earlier, his wife Fanny had tried to preserve her daughter’s hair clippings in wax. In a tragic turn of events, hot candle wax dripped onto Fanny’s dress, igniting it in flames. She ran into her husband’s study, where Henry tried to extinguish the blaze with a rug. He experienced severe burns to his face, arms, and hands. How they both must have suffered through that long night, only to have Fanny die the next morning. Henry was much too ill to even attend her funeral.

“A merry Christmas’ say the children, but that is no more for me.” reads Longfellow’s’ journal entry dated December 25, 1862.

Tragedy struck the family again in 1863 when his oldest son Charles, who was only 19 at the time, suffered a severe wound as a lieutenant in a battle. Charles had left without his father’s blessing, joining the Union cause in March of that same year.

The Christmas season of 1864 must have been a dreadful time for Longfellow, as he carried on to care for his motherless small children, Ernest, Alice, Edith and Allegra. The Civil War was raging, skirmishes had continued throughout the country as they were still months away from Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox.

From the depths of his soul he wrote “Christmas Bells”, which some believe to be a pacifist poem roused by his grief upon hearing about his son. It was first published in 1865 in a juvenile magazine.

In 1872, five stanzas were rearranged by John Baptiste Calkin and put to the tune “Waltham”. Two stanzas referencing the war were omitted, and the poem became a beloved carol, sang and enjoyed by many generations.

As you read the words out loud, think about the emotions of a distraught husband and father, who is seeking peace and hope in a life that is filled with sorrow.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

 

I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play

And mild and sweet their songs repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men

And the bells are ringing

Like a choir they’re singing

In my heart I hear them

Peace on earth, good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head

There is no peace on earth I said

For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men

But the bells are ringing

Like a choir singing

Does anybody hear them?

Peace on earth, good will to men

Then the bells rang more load and deep

God is not dead, nor does He sleep

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men

Then ringing singing on its way

The world revolved from night to day

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good will to men

And the bells they’re ringing

Like a choir they’re singing

And with our hearts we hear them

Peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they’re ringing?

The life the angles singing

Open up your heart and hear them

Peace on earth, good will to men

Peace on earth, Peace on earth

Peace on earth, Good will to men

My all time favorite version of this song is performed by Casting Crowns. You can watch them signing Christmas Bells on YouTube.

 

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Empty Bubbles


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Empty Bubbles

By Nandy Ekle

  It’s like reading a cartoon with no speech balloons. It’s like losing a hand or a foot, or an arm or a leg. It’s like not having the ability to speak. It’s like opening your eyes to a dark room. It’s like holding your breath under water. It’s like sitting in a chair all night and staring at the wall. It’s like being hungry but your pantry is empty. It’s like having a pile of laundry but your washer is broken. It’s like opening the front door and seeing dark emptiness.

It’s like all the words you’ve ever held, stacked together, rearranged, played with, followed you around, jumped around inside your head have packed up and moved away.

It’s like not being able to write.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Empty Bubbles


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Empty Bubbles

By Nandy Ekle

  It’s like reading a cartoon with no speech balloons. It’s like losing a hand or a foot, or an arm or a leg. It’s like not having the ability to speak. It’s like opening your eyes to a dark room. It’s like holding your breath under water. It’s like sitting in a chair all night and staring at the wall. It’s like being hungry but your pantry is empty. It’s like having a pile of laundry but your washer is broken. It’s like opening the front door and seeing dark emptiness.

It’s like all the words you’ve ever held, stacked together, rearranged, played with, followed you around, jumped around inside your head have packed up and moved away.

It’s like not being able to write.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Injecting Life


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 Injecting Life

The twisted little body lies on the slab. So far that’s all it is, just a lifeless rag. I’ve put a suture here and there to string pieces together in an effort to make the body whole. There are a few loose ends, but those will heal once the life begins.

I have a whole ward of these lifeless little things. Some of them could be beautiful; some of them could be powerful. All of them are mine. The only thing missing from each one is a beginning sentence.

These special little wads of bodies are ideas that I’ve had for stories. They pop in my head at random times, sometimes uncanny in their ability to find the most inappropriate moments to show up. I can be in the middle of a sentence during a conversation with a complete stranger when one of these ideas knocks on the door and says, “Guess what!” Or I can be deeply immersed in reading an amazing book, except for the split second when I hear, “Sort of like what happened to me.” Music brings them, pictures bring them, people walking down the street bring them. One time an idea spoke so loud I woke up from sleep in the middle of the night to listen.

I take the idea and lay it on a slab, gluing it down with my ink and a promise saying, “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back,” and usually I do come back and fiddle with it a little more. Occasionally, though, they get tired of waiting on me and go on to find someone else with more time—but for the most part, they wait patiently.

So I look at this one particular idea and see the marks of where I have tried to find the right sequence of words to inject into its veins that will open its eyes. I see a lot of needle marks, but still the eyes have not opened. There was a flutter one time, for a split second. This poor little waif is in two parts, and the second part is set. The first sentence of that scene caused the eyeballs underneath the lids to roll in a curious REM fashion, but they did not open. The first part is not there yet.

From all the words that exist in language today, there has got to be a combination that will work to open these eyes. And so I will continue to look for the perfect fit, that special key that will give life to this story. Then I can move on to the next.

Nandy Ekle

Wedge of Writing


Today’s Ponder:

 

what writers can accomplish is pretty amazing!

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions think.

–Lord Byron


Happy writing and thanks for following WordsmithSix!

Abracadabra


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 

Abracadabra

By Nandy Ekle

And now for a bit of magic. If you watch close, you’ll see it happen before your very eyes. So pay attention, don’t talk, no breathing or blinking. Ready?

I’m going to take this blank page and paint a picture using only my imagination.

We start with a pure white screen. Notice, no hint of color anywhere. Suddenly, a frisky yellow ball appears at the top of the page. Besides the bright contrast of color on the white page, you also notice the temperature around you is going up. The warmth is friendly and comforting.

You are also beginning to notice the smells of hundreds of roses. As you breathe in the distinct smell, you can see the reds, pinks, yellows, whites, and even some exotic rose colors such as blue and purple. You walk closer to a bush standing almost directly under the sun and reach out to touch a velvety petal. That’s when you feel a sharp pain in your fingertip. You didn’t realize I put thorns on my rose bushes, did you. No matter. They aren’t poisonous.

But how about the bee hiding in the center of the flower?

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

 

 

 

 

Punography: 10 More!


Punography: 10 More!

                                                  Submitted by Natalie Bright

 

·  I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

·  A cross-eyed teacher lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
·  What does a clock do when it’s hungry?  It goes back four seconds..

·  Broken pencils are pointless.

·  What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary?  A thesaurus.

·  England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool .

·  I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

·  All the toilets in London police stations have been stolen.
Police say they have nothing to go on.

·  I took the job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

·  Velcro – what a rip off!

 

Punography


Punography

By Natalie Bright

·  I tried to catch some fog.  I mist.

·  When chemists die, they barium.

·  Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

·  I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid.  He says he can stop any time.

·  I stayed up all night to see where the sun went.  Then it dawned on me.

·  This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.

·  I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.  I can’t put it down.

·  I did a theatrical performance about puns.  It was a play on words ..

·  They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

·  This dyslexic man walks into a bra .
 

 

Memoir Exercise


Memoir Exercise

By Rory C. Keel 

If you write memoir, here’s one exercise that will jog your memory and help you start your writing.

Answer each of the following questions in one paragraph or less.

1. Describe the story the world you grew up in told you that you should become?

What message did your parents, class, society or environment in which you grew up suggest you should be?

2. What was the story of who you should become that you told yourself?

What dream did you have for yourself?

3. What is the story life has told you now, of who you are?

Where are you at in life at this stage?

Now compare your answers to all three questions, is who you are today, the same as what you were told you would be?

Using these questions, you can build a framework to develop the story of your life.

Roryckeel.com

Memoir Exercise


Memoir Exercise

By Rory C. Keel 

If you write memoir, here’s one exercise that will jog your memory and help you start your writing.

Answer each of the following questions in one paragraph or less.

1. Describe the story the world you grew up in told you that you should become?

What message did your parents, class, society or environment in which you grew up suggest you should be?

2. What was the story of who you should become that you told yourself?

 

What dream did you have for yourself?

3. What is the story life has told you now, of who you are?

Where are you at in life at this stage?

Now compare your answers to all three questions, is who you are today, the same as what you were told you would be?

Using these questions, you can build a framework to develop the story of your life.

Roryckeel.com