by Stephen Morris
Hopefully, that listening and sharing is reflected in my writing. I listen to the characters and help them to discover who they are and what journeys they are on. I share aspects of myself with each of them and they share themselves with me; if I am quiet and listen, I can share not only their joys and frustrations and despair myself but communicate their experience to my readers.
One aspect of Eastern Orthodoxy that is distinct from other styles of Christianity is the ongoing, living voice of Tradition. This is not simply a blind or rigid adherence to the past. As G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Democracy says everyone’s voice counts, even if they are stable hands or cowherds. Tradition says that everyone’s voice counts, even if they are dead. We shall not be governed by the oligarchy of those who simply happen to be alive. Some vote with stones, as in ancient Greece. Others vote with tombstones.” In order to do Orthodox theology in a modern context, we must be in dialogue with the great preachers and thinkers of the 4th-5th-6th centuries as much as we are in dialogue with modern thinkers; when wrestling with issues today, it is probably even more important to be in dialogue with the preachers and thinkers of the formative periods of Orthodox thought and practice than with those who simply happen to be our contemporaries.
My novels are shaped by the folklore, legends, and history of the places where they are set: the Baltic States (Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania), Poland, Bohemia, Ireland. My characters interact with those authentic pre-modern beliefs and practices, retelling and reshaping them for modern audiences. I introduce characters to each other that might not have met in their original settings but that have stories and experiences to share with each other. By sharing their experiences, they enrich each other and the readers who can eavesdrop on their conversations or thoughts.
Priesthood is primarily a way of being, of bridge-building. In writing, I try to be my truest self and attempt to build bridges between cultures and histories, practices and experiences, characters and readers.
“I first became interested in the occult and magic when I was very VERY young and saw The Wizard of Oz on television for the first and second times. The first time, my mom says I was terrified of the Wicked Witch’s appearance in Munchkin Land amidst smoke and flames and ran straight to bed! (I must have been 5 years old or so.) The next year I began watching the movie again and made myself stick with it past the appearance of the Witch and after that — I was hooked!
“The Wicked Witch of the West became my favorite character because not only is she the most interesting but she is the only one who wields any real power in the movie. She became my idol for years and years! (When a major storm recently struck Manhattan, I made a comment on FB about the wind picking up our house and depositing it atop someone wearing peppermint stripped stockings and glittering red shoes and my cousin responded: ‘You’ve been chasing those shoes for YEARS!’ LoL!)”
A former priest, he served as the Eastern Orthodox chaplain at Columbia University. His previous academic writing has dealt primarily with Late Antiquity and Byzantine church life. As a Project Leader with Inter-Disciplinary.net, he also organizes annual conferences on aspects of the supernatural, monsters, evil and wickedness, fairy tales and folk tales, and related subjects.
Stephen, a Seattle native, is now a long-time New York resident and currently lives in Manhattan with his partner, Elliot.
Connect with Stephen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads
Stephen's Newest Release: Storm Wolf
Heartbroken, Alexei flees his home in search of an enchanter to free him from this hideous curse. Wandering through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Bohemia, he encounters the Master of Wolves, who forces Alexei to terrorize and murder the local farmers, and the infamous Frau Bertha who traps all those who anger her by turning them into wolves. Will Alexei find a sorcerer who can free him?
Available Here: Amazon