Words Without Thoughts Never to Heaven Go
Welcome back to another Yorick Blog post. Once again, we’re using work submitted to us by talented authors from across the world as our inspiration, and this time we thought we’d talk specifically about content warnings on work, why they’re important to us as publishers and readers, and why we like to use them on our show.
Content warnings, sometimes also known as trigger warnings, are verbal or written notes that alert an audience to specific and possibly upsetting subject matter. Some examples might be warnings related to death, loss, or violence or even some common phobias. Generally, they are specific and short, often only one or two words long. This makes sure that nothing is revealed to those who wish to continue, but those that might be uncomfortable can make an informed decision about what to do to keep themselves safe. Although not everyone will react in the same way to the same type of content, by including content warnings on our podcasts, it is our hope that everyone can make the right choice for themselves.
When reading submissions to Yorick, our own team finds it incredibly helpful when authors who deal with difficult issues are considerate enough to include content warnings regarding their work. Sometimes this is provided in their cover letter, and other times authors have made a note in the body of their work with their title. Some have even done both to make sure we don’t miss it. Not only does this help prepare us for what we’re about to read without ruining the narrative, it demonstrates to us that the author has written their work with an awareness of, and compassion for their reader, and made a conscientious choice to help inform and protect their audience.
For those who have not experienced trauma, these warnings can sometimes seem trivial and of little value. However, Yorick would argue on the side of Shakespeare, ‘for beauty lives with kindness’ and ‘words without thoughts never to heaven go’. Content warnings never harm anyone and are only an act of kindness for those that need it. Necessary narrative need not be excluded, but all your readers (and listeners!) can still be cared for.
Happy listening, everyone.