Thumbs up, Like

These days it seems like we give a lot of thumbs up, whether it’s a blue “Like” on Facebook or we’re muted on Zoom trying to give our approval with our thumbs up to the camera. There is so much emotion to have right now and yet sometimes it can feel like it’s all melted down into an emoji, a hand gesture, or a brief response phrase.

This week, I’d like you to try to dial in on emotion and tease it out a bit. You can pick one or recognize the many different ones and expand on them. Even if one of the emotions you notice is uncomfortable, try to just notice it, to be with it, and then to write it.

First write: a list of the emotions you are feeling right now in your life in general. Then focus in on this moment. Sit with yourself for a couple of minutes just being still. Are there less emotions when you focus in on the immediate now? Maybe. Maybe not. If they have changed, make note on your list.

Next, write out one concrete thing you believe is attached to each emotion you listed. It is okay to list more than one thing.

Third, write things you have been doing that show emotion or to deal with that emotion. Try not to state the emotion.

These may not all be related things, but you are experiencing them all and therefore they are related. They are all things you might press a like button for or give a thumbs up whether you feel passionate about them or not.

These may or may not go together, but let’s try to put them all together anyway. Not writing the emotion word, write the two things out, so that it reads: a sentence or piece about what concrete thing that emotion might be attached to, and a thing you have been doing that shows emotion. You may want to add onto one of the pieces or you may just want to write about that piece. These may all go together at the end, they might not. They may just be a list of separate things or they may be able to flow, you can work with it to see what happens.

Fourth step: Write a response you have to the concrete thing you wrote for your emotion.

The point is to write through some of your feelings, to get them on paper and then to tease them out a bit if you need to/want to.

Here’s an example I wrote. I had 2 emotions: anger and concern.

  • Lovelace was separating Native American mothers from their newborns with some excuse about the Coronavirus and doctors knowing more about what is best for a mother and her baby than that mother.
  • My feet pound the pavement as I run. The soles of my shoes slap the asphalt like fists in a fight.
  • Suzanna is about to give birth there in that hospital in three weeks. For all the things pregnant women worry about, this shouldn’t have to be one of them. You shouldn’t have to add to your birth plan that you don’t want that to happen.

You can focus on one concrete thing that has you feeling a certain way and you can develop it out further. I started to do this in my example, but could develop it more. You can also write more of these and see if they all go together or not.

And again, if this doesn’t work for you, write about how you are feeling right now in your life, in this world, in your body. Grab onto one of your emotions and write, get it on paper. It can help to hone in on something a little more concrete than a general emotion like anger or sadness or happiness or frustration. Put pen to paper-just write. Get those creative juices flowing, get that emotion flowing, get you flowing.

Thank you for writing with us.

If you would like to write with us every week, there is a new blog post every Tuesday. Sign up for the blog to be notified by email.

Take care. Be well.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

Published by lizawolfffrancis

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Poetic Routes, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves breakfast food, popcorn and dark chocolate.

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