This month’s featured author is Stacy Morris, who writes about a subject very close to my heart: mental illness. Her poetry book Notes to Self contains the important message that stigma still exists, and the way to battle it is to be open and in conversation about our mental health, with others and ourselves. It shows us how using writing as therapy can have a positive impact.
About the author:
Stacy Morris is a twenty-three year old up and coming author from Bunbury, Western Australia. Stacy began writing at the age of fourteen as a way to externalise her thoughts on anxiety and depression, something that started consuming her life. Stacy is determined to help fight the stigma surrounding Mental Illness. Her book Notes to Self serves as a starting point for people struggling to approach the conversation with others. In addition to this, Stacy has started a blog to detail what having a Mental Illness is really like and explores possible alternatives.
Describe your ideal writing atmosphere.
I enjoy writing when I am alone, in the evening and listening to music. I also keep notebooks in handbags, my work desk and my car in case something comes to me. It’s important to keep the pieces that are hurried and that come to you unexpectedly.
How long have you been writing and what inspired you to start?
Writing seriously and for my own therapy since I was fourteen. It was a subconscious act – I was struggling a lot at the time. I grabbed pieces of paper and started writing lyrics and quotes that related to my life. Eventually I started writing my own original thoughts. It’s difficult to articulate how you feel when you are in the thick of it. Writing helped me make sense of my Self.
Describe your writing style.
I think my writing style is very modernist poetry. Generally the pieces are quite sensitive, honest and dark. Notes to Self was a very particular time of my life – it was self-reflective of the feelings and thoughts I was trying to suppress.
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison
What kind of story that hasn’t been written yet do you want to read?
That’s a hard question. I am always wanting to read more poetry. I think there is so much out there that’s already written that I haven’t experienced yet. I will work on that!
Name any authors or books that have had an impact on your writing.
Undoubtedly Stephen Fry. He awoke writing within me. Salt by Nayyirah Waheed and Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire have really impacted me. They are beautiful and emotive. They introduced me to my own style of writing before I knew it fit into a category.
Describe the moment you truly felt like an author.
There were two main moments; the first being when I opened the box from CreateSpace which contained my first Notes to Self order and the second when I released the book to the public. Since then, whenever someone contacts me to let me know how they related to the book and enjoyed it…that’s a pretty spectacular feeling. I’m not sure I feel like an author then, but it feels like I did something really good.
What book by another author do you wish you’d written?
Probably Salt. It’s a book that’s filled with little observations and feelings, but the way it’s presented is quite elegant. It’s an amazing book – there were many moments I was in awe of how simple and yet powerful her pieces were.
What is the best thing about writing/being a writer?
It’s given me a chance to have difficult conversations with a range of people that perhaps I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do so before.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
It is a hard thing to do; to share your personal thoughts with others, but something good could come from it. Just be patient, be brave and keep creating.
Tell the story behind your latest book, why did you write it?
Notes to Self was unintentionally written. It was a way of coping and making sense of my thoughts. I published the book with the desire that one person would read it, identify that they felt the same and use the book as a way to start the conversation about Mental Illness with someone in order to start addressing and understanding their illness. I was thinking that sharing my experience could really help someone. I’ve had many people come up to me and discuss with me their experiences – I really appreciate this. And I hope the conversations continue.
Most inspiring quote?
“Ships in a harbour are safe, but that’s not what ships were built for”.
Which author (living or dead) would you like to have dinner with?
If you could bring any fictional character to life, who would you choose?
Benjamin Button, from F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This was an interesting story. I would be in awe to experience someone living life backwards.
How do you beat writers block?
If I’m feeling uninspired or lacking creativity, I read. I think to become a better writer, you need to read more.
Give yourself some writing advice.
What are your plans for the future? What writing projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a second book – this will be much larger and far more broad. Notes to Self was a particular stage of my life, and releasing publicly has helped me release those feeling emotionally. The next book will take time. It’s not something I want to rush.
In addition to this, I am taking on numerous projects to help fight the stigma on Mental Illness. My website will be the host of these projects – if you’re interested, check in with the website! (see below)
A short poetry collection that explores the taboo and emotional side of the human experience.
Buy Notes to Self: