Tell Me What You Feel

Published July 19, 2012 by Elsa Pla

Describing Emotion

Today’s exercise is similar to yesterday’s.

Write a paragraph where you talk about a character’s feeling or feelings by describing the emotion(s) being experienced by him or her.

Here’s how one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, does it:

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness. So simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.” Neil Gaiman, The Sandman

Here’s my attempt:

Whoever said time heals all wounds, lied. When someone you truly love — someone you allowed in your heart and life forever — stops loving you, it’s as if you become shipwrecked on a desert island… and all the memories – all the conversations, the time spent together, the moments that meant so much – all that made up the you and I of that sacred oneness – transforms into a million needles embedded deep in your heart, and you are left there to spend the rest of your life trying to pull them out, or waiting for them to travel to the surface and fall out, or hoping they will dissolve with time. And some disappear, but not all. And when you least expect it, a dream, a song, a scent, wakes up the familiar pain, and you miss him or her all over again, and it hurts like crazy, and you cry and cry like a baby, not just with your tear ducts, but with your insides, and your head throbs so much it’ll surely explode, and you curl up on the ground, resigned to the fact that this time you will die  – except you don’t. And so it goes, this pathetic life on the island of lost love, where pain like needles returns with the tides. Whoever said time heals all wounds, lied.


Depressing, again! No worries, tomorrow I’ll share a lighter exercise.


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