Friday Speak Out!: Writing and Me

Friday, June 09, 2023
by Debbie Chein Morris

How many hours have I spent agonizing over the wording of something I have written and struggling, striving to make it better? How many sentences have I re-written, how many words have I replaced? Computers are my savior; thesaurus, my best friend.

I was born anal-retentive. I must have been, though I don’t recognize the trait in either of my parents or any of my siblings. But how else can I explain why my writing has to be just so. Why else did I spend hours upon hours writing a weekly newsletter to the parents of my kindergarten students outlining what we were doing in class, my co-teacher having zipped off her near-perfect edition in about twenty minutes? Why else do I correct grammatical errors and questionable sentence structure in my personal journals? I know full well that I can never reach the astronomical expectations I have for myself as a writer, yet that compulsion to “get it right,” (whatever that is!) drives me on, like an ant carrying its small bits of food up and around all obstacles that are put in its path.

It seems a little ironic that if I think about why I like to write despite how complicated I make it for myself, I come to the conclusion that writing relaxes me. Though I occasionally write for the purpose of remembering (an event or occurrence), most of my writing is emotional. When I write, I separate myself from the rest of my surroundings and enter an almost meditative state. I fall into myself, searching through the complexities of my mind, trying to bring my thoughts up from the abyss and into consciousness, trying to make sense of my feelings of the moment. Like the deep reflections I made in a past journal about whether I should retire, comparing the positives of work with those of life without the responsibilities; or the painstakingly apologetic letter to a friend after inadvertently hurting her feelings. I am compulsive about getting the wording “just right.”

Introspective, always deep in thought about something, I think of writing and reflection as partners. As I walk a trail, quietly eat a meal, or just sit idle pondering the various matters that run through my mind, I envision my words on paper. More often than not, I have wished that my thoughts could be transcribed from my head onto paper so that I could always have a record of those musings.

For me, writing is an ongoing process. My style changes as I myself change. Books, too, have their influence. What hasn’t changed is the sense of accomplishment I get when I have finally written down all that I want to say, in the way I mean it to read, on that formerly blank piece of paper.

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photo credit Jamie Kilgore
Born in the Bronx, NY, Ms. Morris lived on Long Island (Plainview) for most of her adult life. The youngest (by five minutes) of four children, family has always been important to her. Married for forty-four years and since widowed, she is mother to three wonderful sons and two amazing daughters-in-law. Ms. Morris worked in the field of early childhood education, receiving master’s degrees from Queens College, Hofstra University, and Bank Street College of Education. Her work included classroom teacher to preschool and kindergarten children and reading teacher to kindergarteners needing extra support. Ms. Morris is retired and loves to take walks in nature, solve NY Times crossword puzzles, and knit blankets for charity. She currently resides in Mt. Kisco, NY, with her new partner.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


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