Monday, December 22, 2003

Making changes to the website (again!). Have pretty much decided that I just don't have the time to continue updating it with new work, particularly when I am not sure when I will have material worth reading. Also, I have noted that a number of publications consider posting to a personal website as a previous publication. That would certainly hurt my chances for other publication.

Today is Alexandria's birthday. Happy day, sweet potato!

Students in Wintermester class taking Midterm today. I am enjoying the class, but very much look forward to some time off. Hope to take a few walks.

Friday, December 19, 2003

The Michael Neal Morris Webpage
Just working on this...ignore...sure do need to change this site and to blog. Blah Blah...
Have deleted reading blog...will bring it back when I get a chance.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Man, it's been too long. And here I am with changes to make to the website...again. But I'm too tired and have too much to do. Argh!

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

My short story "I've Been Killed Before" has finally been officially published in The GW Review. My contributor's copy arrived today. That is a bit exciting, mostly because I have not published as much prose as I would like. Of course, to keep me humble I suppose, a rejection slip also came in the mail this afternoon. Life, perhaps, isn't so bad.

Classes are going pretty well so far. I really like my students Some minor administrative problems (bookstore not having enough books, clamg SRC="" BORDER=0 HEIGHT=72 WIDTH=400>

Back to

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Back at school and having a grand old time! Lots of little things making things difficult, but it is nice to be back with students again after the long summer. (Of course the heat has stayed!)

Good news! Three poems have been accepted for publication. I think all three are for online zines, which is exciting because that's a bit new for me.

Haven't written too much lately. Have made changes to the site. I have decided it would be best to keep samples of published work and only a handful of new pieces. I have set myself a goal to write at least five new poems, one new story, and one new essay to post on the site. How that will work with the novel, I don't know. Perhaps I've set my sights too high. For the moment, I don't care.

In other news, I'm trying to my ailing car fixed. God's grace has kept it going. Recently received some unexpected funds that will help this along (Praise Jesus and thank you Granddad!)

Well, better go. Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Well, I finished the story finally. It is, for now, called "Except the Weather" and is just over 22 pages long. Yikes. I have not posted it to the website because it is really really rough and because I may hate it. Perhaps I'm just a bit prejudiced because it took so much of my time. Also, it dredged up some memories (not in the story itself) that have made me pause to think.

So then I didn't really feel like writing for a couple of days and whined about it in my journal. Then last night, I started making some notes for the e-book I wanted to write about writing (this for my students). I realized that I had been putting that off and that I'll be back in school in less than a month. I'm am looking to put together a short (hopefully) book that is part how-to, part encouragement, part my philosophy about the art and importance of writing. Many of the "chapters" will be made up of handouts and presentation materials I've already done for my class. Anyway, I had hoped to have something put together for my students when classes began, so I could put it on the class webpages and refer to it through out the semester. Today I wrote about five pages on it. I worked on an introduction, a chapter about the general practice of reading and writing and part of a chapter about active reading. It is all draft stuff, really rough, but it felt good to get it out.

The good news is that I also wrote over 700 words on the novel, finishing the eighth chapter. I was beginning to feel that I might not get back to it. I even jotted a couple notes about the next couple chapters. Now, if I can only get back to a regular schedule!

But alas! Tomorrow we go to Six Flags for the twins' birthday. But I'm not going to be discouraged, at least not today.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I have been a having a bit of frustration writing lately. I probably have written more this summer than last, but I just am not where I want to be. I was writing each morning on the new novel, but got sidetracked. Sadly, much of the writing was by hand and I still need to type it in. But somewhere in the middle, perhaps because I was getting stuck on the novel, I started working on a short story. This dang thing should have been drafted in a day or two, but I'm still on the tenth page and haven't finished the draft. So I'm a bit crazy trying to get it done.

Have been writing a lot by hand and typing it in later. This is good, as I said before, for revision, but is lousy for time.

Speaking of time, I need to get back to it.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Well, it has been over a month since my last blog. We finally have a computer at home and so I am hoping I can be more productive. Have written most days, but much has been my hand. The means I have to type in what I write. That has been great for revision, but tough on the carpel tunnel.

Have been working mostly on a new novel. I'm in chapter eight of the draft, but have run into some snags. Things were steady but very slow for a couple of days and I ran into the some conflicts with my writing schedule. So I haven't really been back to the thing for several days. In the interim -- and I suspect this is a problem -- I decided to write a short story based on what my family calls "The alligator story." Thought I could whip out a draft in an afternoon, but the problems with the hands made it very difficult. Now I have typed what I had done by hand and I'm up about the ninth page, but have still not gotten to the alligator itself. I suspect I will have to take a great deal of time to revise this story.

I did revise a story and it should be posted to the site pretty soon. (Tried to update the site today, but only managed to upload the darn thing.) It is called "The Box" for now. I really think it should have another title, but so far nothing. My wife likes the title. The story is one of several I want to write about my Wilson Bell character during the time before my novel about him is set.

Have been trying to be very aggressive about submitting work for publication. Last week I probably sent, either via email or regular post, a couple dozen poems and several stories and essays. Got news today three haiku of mine are now on the web at Emoments. That's pretty exciting in that it really is a first to me (though a haiku sequence of mine --not all that good-- was published several years ago) and I like the stuff I've read on this site.

Well, better go for now. Peace. "He who will not work shall not eat" (Saint Paul to the Thessalonians).

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Last week, I finished up Maymester and now I'm home (mostly), trying to write each morning. So far this week, I have been able to reach my goal of at least 1,000 words per day. I've started drafting a novel, a mystery.

Just posted three new poems to the website: "Shock," "Abandon," and "Cottonwood Beetles."

Trying to do some reading (see A Circle of Readers weblog). Hopefully will crank out a publishable essay or two before too long.

Friday, April 25, 2003

This morning, I left the apartment without my bag and so the reports I needed to return to my students are still in the living room, as is the disk I saved my school work on and the ones with my most recent writing. Great socks!

Yesterday, I submitted five poems to one place and a short story to another. Did this online. Wonder when this will be standard. Realized while doing this, that I haven't done the work of submitting work in quite some times. A couple years ago, I made it my new year's resolution to submit something at least once a week. But I've obviously fallen off. Maybe I should amend that to once a day.

Got a nice email the other day from GW Review saying they have accepted my story "I've Been Killed Before" pending a few "close edits." They had about eight cuts they wanted to make. All but one, I felt, made the story much better, and the other didn't hurt the story, so I was quite thrilled. I wrote back immediately to say YES YES YES and THANKS SO MUCH. Still waiting for the reply.

This morning toyed with the idea of collecting poems (and maybe stories) that I wrote before graduate school and putting them in a chapbook to be submitted. I looked through some dusty contributor's copies and found seven pieces that didn't suck so much that I would be ashamed to see them in print again. Certainly (if I can find the notebooks and disks that I saved them on/in), I would be able to find maybe ten or so more that might make a nice small collection. Probably should do the same with pieces written during grad school, but I'm still trying to find a home for them and may end up using some in a longer book. Either way, I'll likely make a pdf file of what I have and post it on the site for the world to ignore.

Crapburger! The blog I just wrote disappeared when I posted it. Now I have to do it all over again. Oh well, practice makes less than imperfect.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Okay, I changed my mind. I went ahead and posted the poems. They need, perhaps a bit of work, and I would like to add some photos to some of them, but here they are:
"On Violence"
"To an unseen bird"
Finally! I am (almost) caught up with grading. Has been a bit hectic, especially with the carpel tunel and having to write many of the responses by hand before typing them. Well, hectic isn't the word. Slow is. But going okay.

Have written three poems lately. Struggled with the sonnet, so I wrote a fifteen line poem with twelve syllable lines last Wednesday mostly during Alex's soccer practice. The tentative title is "Chill." Thursday or so I wrote a much freer piece, so far entitled "To an unseen bird." Some time (can't remember when) I finished a draft of the sonnet, right now called "On Violence." I probably should post these, but I think I would like to work on them a bit more. If nothing happens in a week or so, I may post them to the website.

Am looking forward to writing more this summer. I'm almost too anxious about it, worried that I won't be able to after all the planning.

Realized that two works, "Missing" and "Singing Each to Each," that were published in last year's The Alternative have been published on the Internet. I need to update this link on my publications page. For now, readers can link here.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Not a very productive weekend. Had to miss my doctor's appointment Friday, and then just couldn't get much going. I suppose I'm tired from the long week.

I did work on a sonnet. Wrote nine lines, eight I am happy with. Think I may want to write mostly sonnets for awhile.

Listening to King Crimson's new disc. Not sure what I think yet.

My writing is too fragmented these days. Need to be more disciplined about it. Do it at particular time or times of the day. Have noticed that just when I try to impose a sense of order on life (particularly writing, reading, prayer, exercise), something or someone gets in the way and I have to change the plans. This should not upset me, but it usually does. One of the keys to success in life is that one be flexible. But order is also important.

Have been thinking of a series of essays and prose poems that might take advantage of this fragmentation. Just getting down the time to write...sigh. Why complain? I often waste the time I have to do just that.

"Guess we'll repeat the chorus" (King Crimson).

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

...ok. I have written a couple of haiku and a poem called "Love/Work/War". Yesterday jotted a few lines the could be the lyric for a song. Something about guilt and cutting off hands and all. Who knows what will come of that?

Now, I have to wear splints at night for the carpal (sp?) tunnel. That's with the C-PAP machine. I probably look like some kind of creature all hooked up. Have to get home. More in the morning I hope.
Well, I haven't done too much writing lately. Maybe I've been too busy catching up with grading papers and tests and whatnot (It's always the whatnot that gets in the way.). I suppose I've jotted down a thing or two. Have to check....

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Craziness. Too much to do and far too little time. And no matter what, I always find people upset that I didn't drop the freaking world for them.

Have posted a new poem, "Obelus."

Trying to pick some poems with a Texana theme for the Arts Exposition. I think my friend and colleague Bob Erwin will actually read them/it.

Trying to be better organized. Not terribly motivated.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Wow! It seems like ages since I blogged. School and work and life just seem to be a bit hectic right now. The semester is going fine, but I'm still catching up on some things, and haven't had much chance to write.

Have posted an essay, "Constructing Nature." Keep wondering about my essays and publication. I have recently had a lot of ideas for essays and want to write several, but that just takes that much more time away from other writing.

Who am I kidding? If I am writing, I am happy. Must keep writing, no matter what the genre. I haven't even written much in my personal journal lately.

Got a rejection email from Amarillo Bay for my poems "Lamp," "To A Fleeing Hawk," "Going Hence," "Through The Drizzle," and "The Artist Still." Editor Jerry Craven did say he'd like to see more of my work, however, so that is very encouraging. Maybe it isn't true, but I reason that since editors are usually overloaded with writing they would rather not read, they must like something if they actually encourage you to submit again, even while they reject what you have already sent. Bottom line: I need to carve some time to find good pieces to submit. Just trying to get work published is a full time job, and I feel lucky if I can make one submission a week. With email and online submissions now possible in so many places, this should be a breeze, but alas, no.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Have posted a new essay to the website. Right now, it is titled "Pageants," but I would like to explore ideas for a different title. It is about not just Christmas, but the whole season for us. I enjoyed, to some extent, writing it, but I have no idea if it will have a place anywhere.

Also posted a new poem, a sonnet, about the war of words between politicians. When will people wake up and see screwed up this situation is?

Wintermester ends today. Spring semester begins Monday. Much work to do. So why not blog?

Friday, January 03, 2003

Again, I have had to wait awhile to post anything here. Computer at home is very down and I couldn't access the net with the laptop I checked out of the library. Oh well.

Have done some writing. Posted today a new story, "The Last Bottle," and two new poems: "Approaching The Hawk" and "The Artist Still." Also started an archive. Pretty soon I will have to take some works off the main pages.

Started a personal essay about Christmas. Maybe I can finish it this weekend. It reads a bit like prose poem. Don't know if I could get it published. Guess it could show up in a book somewhere. Don't know. Got a feeling some people I know will be upset about it anyway. But then again, lots of people that would be don't read what I write. So what am I worried about?

Been pretty busy with Wintermester. Like my class. Didn't give myself enough of a break during the holiday though.

Been reading, of course. Finished Poodle Springs, by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker. I think I read another Parker book (and early one) before that. Have been plowing my way though Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. Good, but since I'm taking notes, it is taking me a bit longer. Also started my first P.D. James novel, Devices and Desires (or the other way around). Other stuff too has been read since my last posting, but I'm out of time to write about it for now.