Celebrating The Life Of Toni Morrison And What We Learned From Her
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Celebrating The Life Of Toni Morrison And What We Learned From Her

Rest in power, Toni Morrison.

Celebrating The Life Of Toni Morrison And What We Learned From Her

For many of us, the passing away of Toni Morrison came as a shock. Though we knew she has been breaking down walls for a long time, we built her up as an immortal force to be reckoned with. Since the publication of her first novel, The Bluest Eye, at age 39, she went on to write more novels, teach at Princeton, win a Nobel Prize, and so much more. She made it clear throughout her career that she was the voice of the most unheard voices within the unheard communities. Here are some lessons we can take away as we mourn Toni Morrison.

"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."

About her first novel, The Bluest Eye, she has always said that she wrote it because no one else had written anything like it. No one had written about how black wasn't always beautiful or how racism didn't always come from people outside the race. And so, she refused to let that slot remain empty.

This idea does not have to apply to books, it can apply to a multitude of facets of life. From this, we can learn that sitting idly by is never an option. If there is something you want but only find empty space, you must fill that space.

"The function of freedom is to free someone else."

Morrison's personal assistant, in an interview with The Cut, said her greatest accomplishment was not her novels but rather the thousands of young writers and artists she inspired. For many people, she opened the gateway to explore discomfort and topics that were swept under the rug. She knew how to say the things we did not know how to say and the things that we did not want to say. People of all backgrounds have often expressed their indebtedness to Morrison and in return, she encouraged them to do the same for others.

"I'm writing for black people in the same way that Tolstoy was not writing for me, a 14-year-old colored girl from Lorain, Ohio."

Often, especially when it comes to writing, it's difficult to create something for everyone which, in turn, leads to not creating for anyone because it strays further away from exploring discomfort. Create something with a purpose and if that purpose only relates a certain group of people, then so be it.

"It [love] is easily the most empty cliché, the most useless word, and at the same time the most powerful human emotion—because hatred is involved in it, too."

Love and hate are thought of as polar opposites. But really, they're companions. To truly love someone is to hand them all the pretty and ugly parts of you on a platter. giving them so much of you. It all seems pointless in the grand scheme of things. Where does love get you? What does it accomplish? But that doesn't really matter in the here and now because oftentimes, it's all that's keeps us sane. And within that love, lies hatred. It hides behind our doubts and comes out when the love we give is not the love we receive.

"Your life is already artful—waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art."

Most of us find ourselves intimidated by the greats of whichever field we are passionate about. Morrison encourages us to realize that we have potential that we must tap into. Our potential is our own and what we do with it is our own, too.

Toni Morrison's life is one to celebrate. In a sense, she is a revolution. She reminds us to stand up for the unheard voices, to say what people are afraid to say, and that it's never too late to begin. Rest in peace, one of the greatest writers of all time.

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