Writing for Tragedy

I am posting some of Shiloh Sophia’s words here to encourage those of us who write or create in any form. We never know when a creation will speak so powerfully that it can turn the tide. We affirm that our pens can be more powerful than assault rifles, especially if writing can get them banned.

“The world is violent and mercurial – it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love – love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building and what we must save from it, all the time, is love”. Tennessee Williams


Shiloh Sophia Painting in response to Orlando

Processing grief in the wake of the Orlando losses

Dear Ones,

In the movement of Intentional Creativity, when tragedy strikes personally, collectively or otherwise we have something we can do to help ourselves navigate our own experience. We bring the strokes into the work we are working on or start something new dedicated to holding space for our experiences, however dark or sorrowful or ragefull they might be. Dots. Stars. Dashes. Lines. Patterns. Swirls. Lines of unavoidable tragedy.

It is amazing how just praying through making marks and dots can help shift discomfort and energy just enough to get us into a different space. A different space where we may have more access to compassion, activism, love or communication. Being awake isn’t an easy choice. A space where we are not numb, but can feel, not through taking on energy and suffering of others, but to feel our own. And therefore free ourselves to be a space where others might be able to work through their own experience, or each in our own way – sending love to victims, families, and oppressors and their families. When we hurt others, all have been hurt.

This is how we have chosen to navigate our own wellness along the red thread. When the Chibok girls were abducted, our community chanted their names aloud and made marks for each girl in our paintings. We journeyed to them in our hearts letting them know, somehow, our love was a part of the fabric which held them. When our Art Matriarch was passing to the next world and during her surgery we committed 30 days of art.


This is just how we work in the world once we choose creativity as our method of approaching our own process. Yesterday as I was processing through art and conversation my feelings about the hate crime and attack in Orlando I found myself talking about this ‘method’ of dealing with suffering and alchemizing grief. I felt a renewed sense of mission about the capacity for this way of being – to create in form – to help us navigate the future. Yes, it is very personal and individual to make marks and strokes of sorrow in our work, but it allows for us to prepare ourselves to heal and to do our work in bringing healing to others. To move our trauma so it doesn’t become stuck in our body or field. To feel it, but to not carry it as energy.

Through processing grief and horror personally, I make myself more able to be present for others both physically and in the quantum field. This is how I prepare myself for the journey ahead and not turn my face from what is being suffered by sisters and brothers in our world. Through Intentional Creativity I strengthen my own capacity to love and be present. Each of us has our own way, as grief is very individual.

The Orlando event has layers of emotional charge all around – including the freedom in our country being threatened – a freedom many of us have worked for and with. Find your own language, write it out, paint it out. If you cannot find your voice in the usual way I will tell you something I do – I write a letter that I will never send, during my Red Thread Cafe to the mothers and or fathers of either those lost or those who committed the harm. This gateway of allowing love for people we don’t know changes how we write/think/feel and give access to language. Perhaps pick up a painting from before, a cosmos you my have tired of working on since it can take so long….

Let me say this, personally from my own experience… Consider adding 49 stars…or some of us may consider 50 stars. To include the young man who, it has been discovered, may have been struggling with his own sexual identity in a culture where that would have been unthinkable. When we explore grief and our personal experience at this level, if we let ourselves feel, we may find a love beyond our own understanding reach into our hearts. Where there was hatred, love might find a way in. Compassion is the great medicine that moves through these experiences so we can see a bigger picture than the one that appears the most obvious to us at the time.

Again, you have your own way and I hope to just be a loving catalyst for your own journey. That is part of my sacred assignment, to catalyze consciousness and get you to your canvas.”


Published by Fessup

A 30-year veteran educator and counselor, published author, lifelong student of religion and women's issues, educator with divinebalance.org, mother, and lover of Far Side humor.