Dios Mío, pen and ink and pencil, November 2007, doodle © 2007 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
Here is a test. For the next five minutes, list every emotion you can think of. Write as fast as you can. Don’t stop to think.
How many did you come up with? Ten? Twenty?
I could make something up and say, 30 and over means you have a rich emotional vocabulary and, thus, deep emotional intelligence. Ten and under means you need help.
Ah, but this isn’t really a test. This is an exercise to bring light to the richness of human emotion.
Happiness and sadness and anger are like green and blue and red. Primary colors. A writer needs a broad palette.
So, after you’ve made your list of emotions (and grown it a bit as you remember all the emotions you forgot the first time you made the list), pick one. Use it as a prompt for a fifteen-minute writing practice.
Write everything you know about that emotion — when you’ve owned it, when it has owned you, how you’ve used it, why you gravitate toward it or avoid it, where you got it from. If your 15 minutes are up yet you still have more to say, keep writing. Go as deep as you can with that emotion.
Emotion. In motion. Go.