The Pain of Writing

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Every Friday I feature a new writer and his/her story!

Tracy Morrison, Sellabit Mum

In her own words: My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I’m neither British nor a nun – I’m just a Midwesterner with a headache. Mine is mainly a humor blog but sometimes it’s not. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned writer, social media maven and ruler of my own little universe. I really should polish my crown a bit though.

I hate to say it but I relate writing to pain. Not that it’s painful to write, but that it seems easier to write something if it’s painful. Pain is an emotion we all understand and rarely question. When we are at our most vulnerable our emotions surface and spill out onto our papers easily.  Therapy it is. And it doesn’t sounds so self-absorbed like those happy thoughts can be.  What fun is a story full of rainbows and unicorns once you’re an adult?

I kept a yearly diary starting in the third grade. Except in the third grade I could not spell ‘diary’ and instead wrote ‘Dear Dairy.’  I wonder if the milkman knew I was writing to him. When I read these diaries they are filled with “this boy did this” and “this boy doesn’t like me” and “this boy doesn’t even know who I am.”  There are no dreams or happy birthdays or visits to the beach…just boy crap. They kind of make me angry now.  My grade-school angst grew into my high school diaries being filled with heartbroken ‘woe is me’ poetry about the loser boys who never gave me the time of day. Assholes.

I honestly don’t think I liked myself much…except that made me a better writer.

I never received high marks in writing. My teachers would make comments that my subjects were shallow and my grammar was poor and they could tell I wasn’t portraying anything real in my characters.  I only received an ‘A’ on two papers in my entire life.  And you want to know why – because they were the most painful papers I’ve ever written and came directly from my heart.  The first was a paper I wrote in seventh grade. I wrote about being the new girl in a new town and new school and how I had the wrong hair, the wrong accent, the wrong folders and the wrong jeans.  I wrote about how my mom stayed up nights cutting my jeans and resewing the seams to the proper style, and how I grew out my bangs just to fit in. It summed up an awkward 12 year old in two pages front and back and my teacher hugged me when he handed me back my A+ paper.  I liked the grade but not the words that existed on that paper. It was a complete illustration of my diary entries.

The only other paper to receive high marks was one I wrote for AP English my senior year. I hated my teacher. Hated her and she hated my writing. D’s D’s and more D’s – ‘lack of effort’ ‘lack of depth’ ‘lack of who the fuck cares’ – so I showed her. I wrote about what it was like living as an anorexic and how my friends had now shunned me and how a doctor told me last week that I would never have children because of what I did to my body. I laid it all out for her in a story that not even my own mother really knew. I gave her my heart that day and sobbed when I handed it in. It was also the day I started getting better and taking control of my own life.

I kept those two papers. The only two assignments I’ve ever kept from school because I want to always remember that girl right then.  The girl I don’t see in the mirror anymore.

Which is why I started my blog four years ago. I started my blog out of the pain from my miscarriages because pain needs a voice and it’s an easy voice really. Try writing humor sometime– it’s hard.  My story means something. To me. Maybe to my kids. To my parents. To my friends. The words are important. Even when they are painful.

And while most teachers I’ve ever had would tell you I’m not a writer, I know I’ve proven them wrong.

Follow Tracy on Twitter @SellabitMum
Follow Tracy’s blog, Sellabit Mum
Follow Tracy on Facebook

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  • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

    Thank you so much for having me here today! xo

  • http://kateinthekitchen.com/ Kate

    Love you, Tracy.

  • closeeenoughblog

    Tracy … just wow.  You really hit the nail on the head.  I really like your funny pieces and they often make me LOL – but your writing that comes from pain is incredible.  This post made me feel raw for the girl you were and want to cheer for the strength those experiences gave you as an adult.

    • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

       Thank you so much for your very kind words.  It’s the strength that carries us through. xo

  • http://angelaamman.com/ Angela Amman

    Love you my friend. You are such a writer! And I agree that humor is harder. It’s on my to do list :)

    Also I totally wrote way too many words in my diaries about boys. Sigh.

    • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

       LOL – yes why did we spend our precious time doing that. I wish so many different things for my daughters.

  • http://twitter.com/ritaarens Rita Arens

    Great post! I’ve spent a lot of time learning to access excitement as well as pain — it is certainly easier to start out with pain. And Erin, your paragraph breaks look GREAT!

  • http://mamawantsthis.com/ Alison@Mama Wants This

    You are a writer, my friend. Even if it stems from a place of pain. xo

  • IASoupMama

    I loved this!

    And I found it so completely interesting that I also wrote about a teacher with less-than-kind words when I did my entry for this series a couple of weeks ago.  I wonder how many of us ran afoul of high school English teachers before becoming writers? 

    I find outrage to be a huge inspiration for me — not petty anger issues, but flat-out outrage.  I have one post defending a gay friend’s choice to become an atheist after suffering at the hands of his priests and it was one of those posts that really gelled.  Although I’m usually a humor writer, too, apparently I’m a really good morally outraged writer, too?

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/juliecgardner Julie Gardner

    T -

    I could read your words every single day.The humorous, the nostalgic, the introspective, the reflective (and a lot of other words but you get my point).Let me also admit this: I did get good grades on my papers in school. But on a regular basis your blog kicks me in the ass and makes me think “I wish I could write stuff this funny, honest, clever, original (and a lot of other words but you get my point).Grades are always overrated. But you?Never.

    • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

       Oh gosh. Marry me? I am glad you put up with my bad grammar and remain my friend with my D’s in English. I love you. Long time.

  • bywordofmouth

    You, up close and personal … the real you and not the one you feel you have to show the world in all your self deprecating humor.
    You do this, this here, so very well.  Just wish it were not real, because it is so very much pain.
    Does that make sense at all?
    xxxx

    • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

       I love you. I know exactly what you mean my friend and get to hug you in less than 2 weeks. xo

  • http://www.thepreppygirlinpink.com/ Kristen

    Tracy, You are a writer and you have shoved their faces in it! Your words touch me. It can be words of pain, humility, honesty, love and/or humor but they all touch me. I want to know you more because of the writer you are…that is why I am stalking you when you run in the mornings. I am just waiting for the right time to throw a stick out in front of you so that you will trip and fall and I will be the one to rescue you and we will become BFFs ;-)
    Beautiful post! Beautiful you!

    • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

       Whoa – I knew it..that was totally you hiding behind that bush on Summit Avenue last week!

  • Gooddayregularpeople

    A writer is someone who can take a reader into another world.

    You do that.

    End of story.

    I love you.

    • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

       I love you too. Thank you sweet friend. xoxo

  • Weinberg Jennifer

    I love how you write. I love when you are funny and when you are serious and bring me to tears. You have fire and guts and so much more. Thank goodness for us that you started a blog.

    • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

       This mean so much coming from you – you are so talented, my love. Thank you. xo

  • http://mommynanibooboo.com/ Jenni Chiu

    I understand this so much. I love writing humor… but the painful ones – those just pour out, and they’re the most fullfilling/scary/embraced posts.
    A true writer writes from the heart – from their humanity.  That’s it.  So, yep… you most definitely are one.

  • Colleen Stout

    Sadly teachers get it wrong a lot of the time. You were always a writer. You just needed something besides a boring high school English class to bring it out. 

  • http://lostandforgotten.wordpress.com/ Marta

    I could not understand what you mean more. My very best writing is the darkest. I often did get good grades in English and creative writing courses because I’ve always written this way. I wish I could write light. I wish I could write happy love stories, but they come out trite and fake. But sometimes (often times) people get tired of the dark. But it is 100% the writing that I am most comfortable with. 

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    A good writer needs to tap into the good and the bad. Painful experiences provide fuel for the fire and if you can’t touch on that you miss an awful lot.

    Writing from a point of pain isn’t necessarily such a bad thing.

    • http://twitter.com/sellabitmum Tracy Morrison

       So very true. Thank you for your comment today. xo

  • Rachelle Houle

    You HAVE proven them wrong. 

    A wonderful post.  Thanks, Tracy!  

  • http://anditislove.blogspot.in/ christine

    Oh how I love your writing, and you.

  • Lussier Family

    Yay Tracy!  I for one am so very glad you are a writer!  Regardless of whether it’s pain or self deprecating humour, what I do know is that your voice is authentic.  And I guess that’s why I’ve stuck around.  I feel like you are a “in real life”  person that I am getting to know.  I am not as gutsy a writer you, but I sure am yelling bravo from the peanut gallery!
    Dana

  • http://makemommygosomethingsomething.com/ Kimberly

    This is so raw. I’m so glad that you’re using your blog to expell all of those thoughts and feelings no matter how hard they are. There is always someone reading even if they don’t comment and your words and journey is helping them more than you know. xo

  • http://aladyinfrance.com/ Lady Jennie

    I feel the same way.  My heart burns when I write the difficult stuff and it pours out of me.  The rest of the time I’m just bored.

    Except when I read your blog.

  • http://twitter.com/saving4someday Sara Hawkins

    Tracy, some of the best writers were told their writing was crap by people who weren’t themselves great writers. It’s much easier to put people down instead of raise them up and encourage them, because in doing so we don’t make ourselves feel unworthy. Too bad it doesn’t really work that way. Thank you for sharing this. But don’t hold on to those two papers as some type of validation. They don’t validate that you’re a great writer any more than the papers with Ds. YOU validate that you’re a great writer, and with that we come along for the ride.

  • http://www.misselaineouslife.com Elaine A.

    Oh yes, girl, you SOOOO have!!  Love you… 

  • http://myinnerchick.com/ My Inner Chick

    Truth.  Authenticity.  Rawness.

    This is the REAL stuff that readers want.

    Excellent post.

    btw, I’m from MN, too.  <3

  • Vpahmed

    Exactly, Tracy. Also, great writings come out of pain and grief.