Sadness & Melancholy: Why writers need it

Sadness & Melancholy: Why writers need it

 

Sadness and melancholy can be exquisite.

 In fact, sadness and melancholy are essential to our spiritual health and growth.

 To feel is to live.

 We all know what it’s like to cry at a film and then feel exhilarated afterwards. Marvelling at how incredible it was because it made you feel so much. It’s those films where you say, ‘You gotta watch this!’ to people; because you know they’re going to feel on a deep level. There is a human connection in that. The sharing of an experience.

When you were younger, did you every incessantly play a song on repeat, repeat, repeat because it reminded you of someone? Of course you did, because the melancholy was addictive.

Maybe its age that makes us forget what that feels, years of being told to dry our tears and pull ourselves together. Maybe it’s everything we hear from others as we transition in our lives.

 

Darkness, light, and personal growth

 

On a journey of personal growth, and especially as entrepreneurs, we’re encouraged to steer clear of basking in any negativity. Instead we’re advised to connect with the angels, spirit, God, self; whatever it is for you. Encouaged to find that happy and peaceful place, and act from there.

That’s all well and good – and it DOES work. Doing that is what personally keeps me going and keeps me strong and motivated and present for my family.

But sometimes, I just need to go THERE. For the bliss of it.

For writers, especially fiction, creative fiction or memoir writers, we so often need to go to that dark place to connect with character, place, tone, and often our best writing. Writing is fuelled by darkness and light, and it requires us to understand and ignite that part of our experience. And it gives us a more rounded spiritual experience.

 

How to safely connect with sadness and melancholy
– and what I DON’T mean…

 

I’m NOT suggesting you sit and think about something traumatic that happened to you. We don’t want that, and that’s not what this is about. It is not about reliving any trauma and making yourself poorly. At all. What I mean is, connecting with something that makes you feel, deeply; like music or a film or piece of art.

(Of course something my unexpectedly get triggered. If that happens, stop immediately, and instead, go to your journal and work it out. And of course get professional help, or a close friend to talk to if you need it).

For example, here are two pictures that invite me to melancholy. In fantasy especially, picture of places like the woods or mountains, and places with mysterious entrances make us feel this because they represent the psyche and self discovery. The last one is an empty urban space, which I love.:

 

 

 

Now listen to your instincts with this. If you KNOW that a particular picture, song or film already has a traumatic attachment to it – then do not use it in this way! When using art to connect with sadness, it’s best to use a fresh piece, something you have not seen or heard before. That way, you can experience it for the art that it is, without any strong emotional attachment or painful memory. That way, rather than drowning in the sadness and melancholy and going down some re-lived trauma rabbit-hole, it will wash over you like a wave and bathe you in safer feelings.

 

Then, when you’re in that sad and melancholic place…WRITE!

 

Get your journal or notepad and a pen ready to either journal it out, or go straight into writing prose. And of course this is good for spirit anyway, even if you don’t want to write as a result. You can just BE.

So have a go at using art or music or movies in some way to connect with sadness and melancholy and see how it feels. For pictures, you can use the pictures above as a stimulus, and also the featured image at the top. All inspire melancholy for me, but they may not for you. So if not, find ones that work for you if these don’t.

Poetry is obviously wonderful for this too – or in fact, any extract from literature that moves you. A film that exquisitely deals with human nature in all of its glory and takes us on a roller-coaster (Labyrinth, The NeverEnding Story and The Lake House are ones that work for me).

For music, film scores are amazing. I’ve written some of my most powerful journaling to music, and I write 100% of my prose to a music backdrop, too. Below is a film score that is so very dark and pregnant with anticipation. It’s beautiful.  Use this piece however you’d like, it’s just over 8 mins long. It is called ‘Melancholic Suite’ by Christopher Young, and it is a collection of score from the film ‘Copycat’ with Sigourney Weaver.

So grab your notepad and come on in. The melancholy’s lovely.

(Oh and the film is fab too! I have a picture of me and Sigourney Weaver whilst she is actually holding my copy! I’ll post it in another post at some point)

 

 

 

 

If you would like any personal guidance and coaching in this area, check out my life coaching services for quietly wild, entrepreneurial woman who want to WRITE.

You can also learn more about an array of writing styles available to you through the two season of my audio series, The Power of Writing.

Do comment below and let me know what you think of this content. Do you agree? Did you try this? Did it work for you? What are your experiences of writing from a place of sadness and melancholy? Share your thoughts below!

 

Jean-Luc Picard is BACK!

Jean-Luc Picard is BACK!

Jean-Luc Picard is BACK!

I cannot even tell you how much my husband has gone mad over the return of Jean-Luc Picard since Patrick Stewart himself announced it.

 

I love Trek, but my hubby is next level Trek, and he’s all excited about this right now. Fandom is in meltdown, and speculation is rife over what version of Picard we’re going to see.  And even though the series isn’t due out until early next year, everyone is talking about it this year because its deserves a huge build up with a momentous amount of teasers and discussion prior.

We all love basking in the nostalgia and the anticipation of it all. But why is that?

Its because fictional characters can be as much a part of our history as real people – moreso, even. And they are often associated with happy, good memories. Our childhoods, simpler times. Watching them evokes those fuzzy memories like a blanket. They were there with us when…*insert pivotal life event here*. Many just seem to have always been in our living rooms and lives forever.

First seeing Jean-Luc Picard

I first saw Picard when I was in the living room of my first home, as a child. My posh fireplace and bay window and white fluffy rug. The beginnings of a life I might have had, if my family hadn’t fallen apart soon after. It was a different life, which feels now as though God plucked me out of it and said, ‘Ahh nope, sorry, there’s been a mistake. You’re really in the wrong place there’.

I digress.

I was so used to watching reruns of the original series at my Nana’s house. So just like everyone else, it was very different to me going from the swashbuckling Kirk to the oh-so-logical and sophisticated Picard. Everything about Next Gen felt so new and advanced from Sunday afternoon Trek at Nan’s – and of course it was. Even into the 90’s and 00’s and even now.

To me, Next Gen has always been ‘new’ Trek.

Which is why it’s so very surreal to me that Picard is now coming back, as a much older man. Firmly placing Next Gen as something from the past for me. Like He-Man.

As such, his return feels like it’s so in line with my own life and growth.

Growing old with Jean-Luc Picard

(Fan-made Picard poster by FlyNebula on Deviant Art)

I was only 8 years old when I first saw Jean-Luc Picard. Now I will be 40, seeing how his life has gone too, alongside mine! We have grown together. It’s going to be like seeing an old friend. I’m going to revel in waiting to see how life has treated him.

I felt the same feelings about Luke when Star Wars came out, but wow did Episode VIII really fuck that that up. Lets pray they do not make the same mistake with Picard. There is hope though, as Patrick himself is so closely involved with everything and has so much control, more than Hamill – unfortunately – could ever have hoped to have.

The new Jean-Luc Picard – What should stay, what may change

I hope his core values and traits have survived, as his diplomatic nature and insatiable curiosity to discover new species and explore new worlds always inspired my own sense of adventure. I have always benefited from channelling his calmness. (Okay part from when he was adamant that there were nine lights, and when he wanted to annihilate every Borg in sight). His love of the arts just makes me want to become a sponge and soak in all of the beauty around you as he does.

In short, Picard makes me want to be a better person. More noble, calm, learned and thoughtful. And completely focused and with direction. Always knowing what should be done, and the right way of doing it. Of course he wasn’t perfect, for example, he finds it impossibly hard to open up as much as he needs to – but to an INFP personality type like me, his restraint is the Yin to my Yang. Like the calm in the centre of my storm.

A different kind of Jean-Luc Picard

However, Patrick has promised a very different type of Picard. Hinted that we may see one changed by his experiences. I always could see Picard happily becoming Admiral, despitre Kirks warning to not do anything that took him out of the chair. Picard’s grounded spirit always felt very different to Kirk’s flighty one. Kirk was never meant for Admiral, Picard was.

But something tells me it won’t have gone that way – and I’m absolutely intrigued as to what may have steered him from that path.

I’m fine with whatever changes Patrick and the writers feel would’ve naturally happened to Picard, but as I said, just don’t ‘Luke’ the thing. We don’t want a jaded, grumbling old man who has become twisted, thank you very much.

Not Picard.

And of course, it will be interesting to see how many, if any, of the old Next Gen crew make appearances! Ahhhh, Data, did you come back to us?

This lead-up will of course mean binge watching all of next-gen again. And the films.

Standard.

Do you have any memories or opinions on Jean-Luc? What do you want to see in this new series? How has Star Trek in general impacted your life?

Post below and let me know!