It is with a heavy heart that I write this week’s blog post, not only to inform, but also to remember. I didn’t think I would find myself doing this less than a year after A Moment’s Worth came out, and yet I must deal with the reality of this.
Cheryl Morris, who served as the editor for both A Moment’s Worth and “The Shadows,” passed away last Friday. Despite the health issues she had been dealing with since January, her death has been incredibly unexpected for everyone who had known her and loved her.
Cheryl Morris was an incredibly intelligent, well-educated person. She was well versed in many cultures, which is definitely something you can’t say about every person you meet. She would keep up with what was popular and what not; if not for the sake of enjoyment, then just to know about it. What I mean by that is that she would be the only person I know of of her generation who would watch competition shows like “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars” and have a formal critique about either of them if asked. If you talked to her about TV shows like “Glee” or mention celebrities like Lorde, you wouldn’t have to explain either of them to her. She would already know who or what they are.
She was also a no-nonsense kind of person. Honestly, Cheryl Morris would not tolerate anyone’s crap. She would call them out on it and tell them to either change their behavior, or to remove themselves from the environment. She was a natural leader and no one would put it against her that she was the one in charge. If she told you to jump, you wouldn’t dare argue with her. If anything, the next thing you should say is, “How high?”
She was also a very creative person. I know Cheryl Morris through the fact that she previously served as the librarian and drama director at the elementary school I went to. She showed an equal passion for both subjects- literature and theatre arts. When it came to weekly class trips to the library, not only would we read aloud from books- both fiction and non-fiction- she would also add an element of drama by having us do reenactments. She would also direct school plays at least twice a year; the plays varying from hit musicals like “The Sound of Music” and “Hello Dolly,” to taking already scripted plays and either putting a twist of them in a unique way or making them into mini plays under a central theme. For instance, she once did several mini plays of Disney films for a production called “Disney Dreams.” On top of all that, she would also host book fairs twice a year and also a Young Authors contest once a year.
Cheryl Morris was also very honest- though not brutally honest- and insightful, which was why I asked her to serve as the editor for my debut works. Having known her since I was five, I knew without a doubt that she would be an incredible editor when I arrived at that stage of working on A Moment’s Worth. And I was absolutely right. She helped make it better. She gave a lot of excellent feedback on what could be improved upon, what could be added, and such. In fact, it’s because of her that the book has a glossary in the back, and it’s because of her that there will be a glossary for my second novel as well.
Above all else, Cheryl Morris was a wonderful friend, especially to my family. She has served as a mentor to my brothers and I, and she would serve as a confidant to my parents. She was an amazing person who would put others before herself, and the lessons and insight that she has passed on to me over the years will remain with me for life.
Godspeed Mrs. Morris, godspeed. You will always be the best editor a writer could ever ask for.
Please check out this incredible feature that was done about her a few years ago when she retired from her job at my elementary school.