After his retirement, S. A. Morris, Exeter Township, discovered there is a writer within us all. The former chemical engineer and chemical plant manager felt he had a story to tell, and wanted to document it.
Morris, who goes by Sam, found a class at GoggleWorks entitled “How to write that novel!” The multi-week course was right up Morris’ alley, as his life as a writer kicked into gear.
Through inspiration from instructor and local author Linda Oatman High, Morris was able to write his novel. The novel has a working title of “’A true friend is invaluable.’ Ben Franklin 2008.”
Morris said he will begin to look for representation for a publisher for the novel this fall. Since the course taught by High, Morris has expanded his writing exposure by joining Saturday Scribblers, as well as, PennWriters.
“My novel is in its fifth revision now with critical guidance from the Scribblers,” the writer said. The Saturday Scribblers is a weekly writing group who meet at GoggleWorks 10 a.m. Saturday mornings.
“The Scribblers welcome writers who want to listen, to learn, to provide constructive feedback, and who want their work critiqued by others who are serious about writing,” Morris said.
Through the courses and groups, Morris can concentrate on his writing strengths and improve on other skills. Modestly, he believes storytelling and creating believable characters are among his strengths.
It’s the feedback he receives from these groups that polish his ability and keep him coming back. “The Scribblers’ feedback has helped me immensely,” Morris said. “If I think a chapter may be weak, the Scribblers will confirm it and maybe suggest how to make it stronger. If I am proud of a chapter, the Scribblers will tell me how to make it even better.”
Morris craves the process of writing, and finds inspiration from everything around him including newspapers, television, real life situations, nature, and more.
As an avid reader, Morris sticks to fiction. Some of his favorite authors include Dean Koontz, David Baldacci, John Grisham, and Ken Follett.
Morris is able to appreciate the art of the written word. “As an art form writing ‘involves’ the reader in ways that TV and movies cannot,” Morris said. “That talented authors can draw these pictures in our heads with only words is truly amazing.”
Morris believes that it’s exposure to writing groups, writing courses, and book signings that bring the writer’s hidden talents to our communities and allow the local culture to flourish.
By S. A. Morris
Henrietta Dumpty was a single mother trying to scratch out a living, working on a small farm across from the massive King estate. Her troubled son, Benedict, who everybody called Humpty and some thought bedeviled, had seemed obsessed with the high wall that surrounded the estate. Twice in recent days Humpty, with his short stubby arms and legs, had twice been caught sitting on the wall. He had claimed he only wanted to sit for exactly three minutes in the warmth of the sun. Both times Mr. King’s security personnel had escorted Humpty back to the farm, where Henrietta had heard them joking about her son being “fried”. When Henrietta had asked Humpty about his odd behavior, he quietly withdrew into his shell.
Tuesday morning Henrietta watched from the farm yard in the predawn darkness as Humpty with his unusual gait made his way to the seemingly magnetic wall. From the shadows she watched her son ascend a makeshift ladder and move to the highest point on the wall. He then sat facing East with his legs dangling over the edge though his round bottom provided an unstable perch at best.
As the sun peeked over the distant mountains, Humpty awkwardly rolled onto his side, coming up onto his knees. He looked in all directions before standing and executing a respectable backward somersault. Grinning, he threw himself forward, twisting onto his back in a crude break dancing spin move. But despite his hardboiled reputation, Humpty wobbled to an abrupt stop. He managed to stand and with determination thrust his arms straight up. Humpty then rolled forward kicking himself into a shaky handstand.
Henrietta watched with horror as her son struggled to maintain the improbable gymnastic feat before loosing his balance and pitching sideways. Her heart stopped as Humpty rolled over the wall edge, his screams piercing the morning stillness as he dropped. From her position Henrietta could not see where Humpty landed but she heard the sickening impact.
Emergency responders scrambled to the scene within minutes but Humpty’s injuries were extensive. The paramedics were walking on egg shells as they positioned themselves to turn Humpty over easy for treatment. Upon hearing of the incident, Mr. King dispatched his entire staff from the estate to help. Even his stable personnel from the rear of the estate saddled all available mounts and rode out to assist. In the end Humpty could not be saved. The coroner arrived but slipped and fell as he examined Humpty. Finally, with egg on his face he ruled that the cause of death was multiple fractures and massive internal injuries. Henrietta, grief stricken, turned away as her son’s remains were removed from the scene.
The sheriff investigated the incident and concluded that Humpty’s fall was an accident probably due to a careless egg roll on the narrow wall. Some of those interviewed felt that Humpty had flaunted danger because of rumors of poaching by the farm hands. Others who saw his strange and risky behavior as strange called him an egg head. His sister, Faberge, said, “I think he may have just cracked when he didn’t get the “A” Grade he was expecting.”
Henrietta chickened out and did not come forward with her eyewitness account. She rationalized that little would be gained. Sad at the loss of her son, Henrietta, nevertheless, remembered the other eggs in her basket.