The Power of Words
Toni Morrison was a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, famous for her rich use of language and unforgettable African-American characters. She was also a massive inspiration to me aged 17/18, leading in no small part to my reading English at University.
On learning of her passing just yesterday, 5 August 2019, I remembered... I remembered all of this. I remembered the feelings I had at the time I first read 'Beloved' and how it opened my somewhat 'rose- tinted' glasses then, to the possibility that the world I inhabited was not always the safe place of my experience. Yet I also remembered the sense of empowerment that fired my belly upon finishing this profound piece of writing by a black woman. This woman who represented so much, to so many.
And then I was sad...
Not just sad at the loss of this remarkable woman who had left such a lasting imprint on humanity but also sad for myself. Sad, as I reflected on where that 'fire in my belly' I had experienced at just 17, had disappeared to for a period in my life...
And then I was lifted once more.
Lifted, as I revisited some of the inspirational quotes taken from these pages of my youth.
Words that are more than just words. They have a timeless universality; applying to us all at sometime or other, yet meaning different things to different people; all of us being products of different times and different places.
And then I thought to myself how much then has shaped me and taken me on my personal journey, to where I am today and I was filled with gratitude.
So, I want to say thank you Toni Morrison and then leave you with a flavour of just some of Morrison's inspiration. Words which hold massive resonance both for the counselling relationship and of course, more personally for me. I hope they inspire you too:
1) “You are your best thing.”
2) “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
3) “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another."
4) "...tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light."
Toni Morrison R.I.P.