No! This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.”
From Toni Morrison’s 2015 essay in The Nation titled, “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear.” I shared this essay here when it was first published and I’ve returned to it over and over again in the past four years in moments when I’ve needed comfort, or encouragement, or a reminder to carry on. Sharing it again now as a tribute to the life and work of Toni Morrison and with hopes that the healing can continue.
PS. For a list of beautiful essays about Toni Morrison written by Black women, head to Hashtag Feminism.