Glenn Morison, former chaplain at the Winnipeg Remand Centre, has written a delightful book titled Quitting, a novel that takes the idea of voluntary simplicity to its absurd ends. “It is/was in me, and now it’s out” said Morison explaining, “I have worked with marginalized people all my adult life and I have always had an odd, even misplaced, jealousy of the freedom that comes with being on the edge. This was a therapeutic effort and I both hope and believe others can benefit from following along the journey.”
It only took 11 rejection letters for Morison to decide to self-publish. He explains, “When I read things like the fact that Robert Pirsig had contacted 120 publishers before finally getting someone to publish Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I could see pretty quickly that was not a road I was willing to take. But, I didn't want to see my work sit on my shelf and for its future to be decided by people I have never met.” When Morison began to explore the idea of self-publishing his mind wandered. “My understanding of tithing is to give away 10% of your earnings in good faith and I have a good income so that frees up quite a bit of money to be creative with. I could easily afford to print 200 books so rather than try to recover those costs by selling them I realized I could do something else. I have chosen to give them away and have written a preface that asks people to make a donation to the John Howard Society and then pass the book along. I am hoping those who read my book and value my time and effort will want to contribute to an organization whose work --“the prevention of crime through social development” which includes, but is not limited to, literacy is really important. You could think of it as a “write-a-thon” and I am looking for sponsors after the fact. A pledge of a quarter an hour would be well over $100.00”
Shauna Fay, Literacy Coordinator for the John Howard Society immediately thought it was a fantastic idea, “He’s perfectly illustrating that the art of writing is not elitist and reserved for a few, and neither is the pleasure of reading his work!” I am also encouraged to see such creativity in his distribution strategy and his partnership with The John Howard Society of Manitoba. This is a great way to celebrate our 50th anniversary as an organization and inspire another 50 years full of such collaborative partnerships.” Morison says he has no idea of how much money his initiative will net but he's hopeful his book will be read by generous people.
The novel's structure is a little unorthodox. The story comes in the form of a scientist's notes with additions by his best friend and his wife- so it is written with three voices. Morison explains that his main character, “Robert Seaton, who does all the quitting, ends up in a tragically dark, yet comical place. The things we have, the habits we keep, all these things provide us with stability. Perceiving stability as a luxury re-frames your entire life. That is one of main purposes of my book- to give you that vicarious experience.”
Morison's Quitting is already stirring a response. Internationally acclaimed author Miriam Toews spoke of the book saying, “I loved it. You read it and you laugh and say 'this is goofy' but a half hour later you feel like something is wrong and you can't get the poor guy out of your head.” So whether you just like the idea of two hundred “chain books” being released into the world book stream, or you think a novel based on the concept of quitting might help you sort through your priorities, Glenn Morison's, Quitting, is for you.