Sunday, April 4, 2010

We Paint Our World With Our Emotions

If I look closely I can see that what I’m thinking is being colored by what I’m feeling. Like right now, after reading an article in the paper about the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, I find myself thinking that not only is it exclusive, it is also very arrogant and self righteous (ok, I guess I don’t need to look to hard to see what I’m feeling). This prayer meeting included only readings from the Old and New Testaments and Christian prayers. I feel like saying, “How dare they!” Underneath that thought is, obviously, anger. I’m angry because I know there are others in the community who are not Christian, so this Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast excludes a number of people in the community. I’m one of the non-Christians, but I am very spiritual and so I’m hurt that they haven’t chosen a more inclusive program. If I let go of my emotions for a moment I can think of some positive things about the prayer breakfast. For me, it’s good to know that there is a spiritual component to the people in this town. Another good thing is that such a gathering is a way of creating community.

My emotions aren’t only a negative influence, though. I feel upset by this events exclusivity and so that leads me to thoughts about what such an event means in a diverse community. It leads me to wonder if it’s ok that this is a city council event. My emotions can stimulate thought, not just usurp it.

Our emotions add color to our lives. They can also be a guide as to what is really going on inside us. We may try to point to pure reasoning when it’s really emotion that is affecting our thoughts. For instance, people used to think that Africans were subhuman. They thought it was a perfectly logical conclusion, but it was a thought colored by fear. Look closely at what you think. Is there an emotion behind that thought that has created it? Is there any thinking really going on or is pure emotion being spewed. What is your reality and how are you coloring it? You can feel all you can feel, but learn to remain aware of those emotions and what they can do to our ability to think.

Writing Tip:

Knowing how our emotions affect us is also helpful when creating characters. The complexity of human emotion can be employed to create colorful characters and thereby, richer stories. Use books on character types to help you out. So get out your color palate and start layering on the hues.

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