This past week I listened to a touching podcast. I had heard this podcast before and as bad as it sounds, I almost didn’t listen to it because I knew I’d be in tears about ten minutes into the episode. It was an episode of This American Life reflecting on the 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Tohoku, Japan.
This particular earthquake and the accompanying tsunami were particularly devastating as the claimed near 16,000 lives, left around 2500 missing and injured thousands others. The podcast episode is emotional because how could it not be under such catastrophic circumstances. Still, what stood out to me most in this telling was the focus on people’s ability and need to cope. The process it is and how important it is to let ourselves feel.
In the podcast, one man’s need to grieve is relieved somewhat through an old fashioned telephone booth where he talks to his cousin who has passed. Before long, travelers from all over Japan are coming to the town of Otsuchi, to this man’s garden in order to speak with their loved ones who have either passed or gone missing. It is a beautiful look into what we do to cope or how we try to heal.
Each moment we live, we feel. If you think through the myriad of emotions we feel each day, I bet we couldn’t begin to name all of them. As a writer and a reader, one of the things I loved the most is a good authors ability to elicit emotions. I find the same thing true in the movies I watch and the podcasts I listen to.
Most important in these moments of pain, happiness, sadness, etc. is the confirmation we can feel and we are alive. As corny as it sounds, remember this as you try to deny a feeling you have or wish it away.
Happy writing this week and may your words move those who read your work.