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Using Your Grief for Positive Social Change

Superman, Morse Code, and One of the Most Read and Moving Memoirs of the 20th Century Were Born from Grief

David Paul Kirkpatrick
2 min readMar 16, 2022


I wrote this to my Story Summit writing students . I share it here as it may encourage someone:

Samuel Morse

In the mid 19th Century, Samuel Morse returned home from a distant job to find his young wife dead from a fever, he vowed to change things — people should know immediately of potential trouble for loved ones. In grief, Samuel Morse created a wire and a code for instant messaging. His grief transformed the modern world.

Jerry Seigal

in 1932, when Jerry Seigel , 15, learned his dad was shot and killed in a holdup at their family convenience store, he ran home and locked himself in his attic-bedroom. The next morning, he came down the stairs with a story about a man from another planet who could never die by a bullet. That man was Superman. His grief transformed pop culture.

Change the World by changing the narrative

Change the world by changing the narrative. It has always been that way — Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Anne Frank, the author of the most read memoir of the 20th Century.

We live in hard times with sorrows and uncertainties. Use your grief for ingenuity.

Use Your Pen to Make Light

Use your pen to make light. Stand the resistance back and create something beautiful. This is what I wrote this morning while working on my upcoming novel, The Adventures of Merlin: Darkness won’t be forever. Again, there will be stars. ~ Merlin



David Paul Kirkpatrick

Founder of Story Summit & MIT Center for Future Storytelling, Pres of Paramount Film Group, Production Chief of Disney Studios, optimist, author and teacher.