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UT Interim Dean Stretches Nonfiction Boundaries

Published: March 18, 2009
Like any good writer, Don Morrill does not wait for moments of inspiration to start writing.

So when Morrill, interim dean of The University of Tampa’s College of Arts and Letters and professor of English, first began what would develop into his latest book, a clear theme was not immediately apparent.

“Writing is a way of being in the world for me,” Morrill says. “You’re more likely to be inspired if you seek inspiration, rather than waiting for it to find you.”

The recently released book, Impetuous Sleeper , is a collection of essays, journal entries, reportage and other forms, with the overriding theme of sleep and wakefulness. It is a book that Morrill says emphasizes the notion of storytelling and the need to live with a heightened attention to things.

“I consider the whole book a single work,” he says. “But it’s designed so that a reader can find satisfaction from just dipping in and reading individual pieces.”

Impetuous Sleeper covers a range of topics, from things as personal and specific as Morrill’s youth in Iowa and travels to China, Central America and elsewhere, to more universal ideas of love and family. The theme of being awake to the world is one Morrill says came about after years of writing.

“The book evolved a little like some poetry collections do,” Morrill says. “When you begin to put the individual pieces together you start to see that there are certain themes that emerge. I recognized that these are not just themes for me, but for everybody.”

While not a fiction writer, Morrill employs many of the same techniques of fiction, giving the book and its stories a sense of immediacy.

His previous books include two collections of poetry, At the Bottom of the Sky (1998) and With Your Back to Half the Day (2005), and three books of nonfiction: A Stranger’s Neighborhood (1997), Sounding for Cool (2002), and The Untouched Minutes (2004), which won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Award. Morrill says he already has another book of nonfiction in the works, as well as a collection of poems.

Morrill will present a joint reading and book signing with poet Ellen Doré Watson at 7 p.m. Friday, March 20, at Inkwood Books, located at 216 S. Armenia Ave. in Tampa.

He will also give a reading at 6:30 p.m. April 19 at Studio@620, located at 620 1 st Ave. South in St. Petersburg.

Impetuous Sleeper is available through retail and online booksellers. For more information on Impetuous Sleeper: