kohlberg created this whole scheme of moral reasoning
with three levels. when we are little, we take action with
the intent to gain rewards and avoid punishment. when
we grow older, we see rules as black and white, good or bad.
by the time we are thirteen, we are capable of constructing
a “wider picture” where morality exists on a spectrum
of circumstance and understanding.
kohlberg killed himself.
the reward: breathing no longer.
the punishment: the pain it brings your family, your friends,
a stranger on the street.
we want to say “it would only hurt those closest to me”
but humans mourn as a whole, as a group, as one single breathing entity. what is lost to one person
is lost to us all.
we want to know your story.
this is why we hate book burnings.
the black: a grave your best friend reads her poetry at,
standing in ballet flats with the mud sluicing up around her feet,
wondering idly if the grass growing over your plot
is fed by your bones, wondering if the dandelions there
are your way of listening,
knowing that you’re actually dead and you didn’t stick around
long enough to see her succeed, kind of hating you, kind of
jealous, kind of wondering what made you do it
because she’s pretty sure it was her own failure and
trust me when i say this will fuck up
every relationship she will have
from that moment on.
she will never ever be over this.
the demons in your brain might tell you different - that
we all move on, that we make new friends -
but she won’t be the same person. for years, she will be hollow
instead. you won’t be there to stop her
from getting way too drunk, night after night,
you won’t insist she puts down the sixth tequila shot and
she will end up in the hospital, you won’t
be there to sit with her on days where she needs someone so
she’ll just sit there, alone, you won’t be there
to stop her from dating people she knows are bad news
and she’ll do it all just out of want for the distraction from
missing you, just out of the desire to escape
from the six foot hole
you drove inside her.
the white: no one will speak poorly of you
for at least a month. no one decent, at least.
in fact, no one will speak of you at all
because your name will sit like a bitter seed on their tongue.
they will avoid talking about you because that’s what people
do with pain: they dance away from it until the bad nights
where the boxes they shoved their guilt and horror
and utter misery into will tumble down onto their heads and
suffocate them. this sounds great if you’ve been bullied.
good, let them suffer for this.
but the truth is, there are more good people than bad out there
and the good ones will blame themselves
more than the cruel ones ever will.
girls who are used to helping out the hurt little birds of
their classes will find themselves
wondering how they didn’t see you in time,
how it was possible one slipped through their fingers. boys
who just wanted someone to talk to
about how bad it gets will wonder if they should take that final step, too, because if you can’t do it
why should they be able to.
people who are kind
but have been too shy to approach you
will all sit in your classes and stare at your empty seat
until they want to puke.
the full spectrum of morality: don’t kill yourself,
not for anyone else
but because your story hasn’t panned out.
you are still in the exposition.
the greatest novels have the hero go through hell
in order to walk out forged by fire,
heart as strong as steel and a future so bright it burns to look at.
there is always something you are good at. there are people
you could save by sharing where you have been.
grow up to be a psychiatrist,
a teacher, a parent, an artist, a nurse -
make sure this doesn’t happen to kids anymore.
there are poems to write and kites to fly and
so many adventures to be had, so many
impossible moments you can’t even fathom, so many brilliant
tiny miracles that will keep you afloat for just a little bit longer,
just a little bit more
and i know this because i’ve been where you are and
for the last month i’ve been in the bad place,
the utter dark –
but i’ve been able to get out of it
using my teeth and claws and the skills i’ve developed
after a long, long time of doing this and
i’m maybe not perfect but i’m getting stronger.
eventually, this disease
won’t control me anymore.
i hope you’ll be there the day that i’m better
because i want to be there for you, too. we can both celebrate
our getting through.
Raquel, would you mind throwing down some poetry prompts? :) I'd so appreciate it!
Of course I wouldn’t mind!!! :) I get stuck a lot too, so here’s some prompt sites that I have bookmarked for when I’m like “how else do i make sadness and love into words i’m clean out of ideas”
1. Dragon Writing Prompts, great for the fantasy writers and also complete with excellent writing challenges.
2. Twelve Days Of Writing, to get you back into the groove if you haven’t been writing for a while. If you plan on taking part in National Poetry Writing Month (you can make your NaPoWriMo any month!!), here’s 30 prompts to get you through.
3. Not officially a prompt, but Write or Die is excellent for just keyboardsmashing through writer’s block (try not to actually keyboard smash, just do the writer-version of keyboard smash and blurt out every word that comes through your brain even if it’s “sandwich taco taco taco,”). they have settings for the masochist in you and the peaceful flowerchild too (i’ve never tried the stimulus mode but it looks really nice?). Just make sure you copy-paste your beautiful result because the site will not save your writing!!
4. Mix and Match is a great writing challenge and the list of traits provided here is good for anytime writing too!!
5. The Character Attribute Randomizer is great for fiction/fantasy writers (and artists!!) and/or if you just feel like doing a flash fiction piece.
6. Speaking of flash fiction!! This is a random word and random phrase generator for quick flash fiction prompts (that second link does both!!). Flash fiction is my favorite type of writer’s block intervention!!! For those who don’t know what it is, it’s pretty simple!! just set up a timer (try for about 2 minutes although i’d accept up to 5 depending on your typing speed) and wRITE for those 2 minutes about whatever that word/phrase made come into your head. the best part about flash fiction is that if you have literally NOTHING to write about, you only wasted 2 minutes languishing over that one prompt. i REALLY like getting little writer groups together and just doing flash fiction for like an hour, reading our little stories and poems to each other :) mine get really weird bc who cares if i kill off everyone who cares if the main character is a duck like it’s maybe 200 words. i’ve had friends who hate writing tell me they love flash fiction :)
7. A list of poetry prompts, with links at the bottom for more :)
8. Since you’ve got to have the right mood, here’s where to find rain in the absence of actual precipitation, here is a white noise generator (here is another), and here is where you can find endless classical music (where you can skip/add/loop as many as you’d like!!). While you’re listening, check out this random picture generator and see if you can write about the images that show up!
10. Writing is a Virus automatically generates more writing prompts than I could list, all with the click of a button!! :)
I hope this helped!!! :) good luck my love!!