Over the summer and fall of 2021, fourteen interns with The Teaching Press had the opportunity to participate in book design, copyediting, developmental editing, client engagement, project management, printing, market research, and several other aspects of the production process for The Teaching Press’s newest book, Call Me Morgue, written by debut author Morgan Moran and illustrated by former press intern, Ali Juul.
As a part of the production process, The Teaching Press’s summer Marketing Lead intern, Rose Siegfried had the chance to talk to Call Me Morgue’s author, Morgan Moran about her writing process, her experiences in funeral work, and her hopes for all the readers of Call Me Morgue.
Rose: Call Me Morgue was initially a series of blog posts, how has its transition into book form impacted the essays? How will readers be more impacted by a print form versus seeing it online?
Morgan: I hope the messages hit deeper as a book. When I read something on a screen, I am constantly distracted by text messages, emails, the desire to google childhood stars (WHERE IS JONATHON TAYLOR THOMAS NOW?!)…when I hold a book in my hands, it’s just me and the book. My mind is in a much more wanting and receptive space.
Rose: Do you remember a specific moment in funeral work that urged you to write Call Me Morgue more than others?
Morgan: Only about 50 every day. My favorite lightning-in-a-bottle moments are the things people wouldn’t expect. Like how much I laugh with my co-workers. How fucking endearing it is watching my boss YouTube “how to do a cat eye” so he can give a dead woman a kickass wing. Or how touching it is when family members are involved in caring for their dead loved ones. People assume funeral work is sad and depressing, but there are so many wonderful moments.
Rose: How would you say the process of writing Call Me Morgue has changed you?
Morgan: Call Me Morgue is like having a giant PAY ATTENTION marquee blinking in my brain. The process has made me intensely observational. I work hard to make sense of my feelings (Why is this skeleton making me smile? Why am I crying over this dead lady’s foot?) then unpack everything later on to try to arrive at a teachable moment. (Aka death snack!) Without this outlet, my takeaways would never be anything but mind goo. It’s nice to be *forced to* articulate something meaningful.
Rose: What is the biggest takeaway you want readers to have from this book?
1. Normalize death, dying, and loss.
2. Make people less afraid to live their lives. My hope is that people will devote energy to life-giving things instead of life-draining things.
Rose: If you had to sum up Call Me Morgue or even just your experience as a funeral worker in a single word, what would it be and why?
Morgan: Transcendent. It has been such a gift to be able to leave my own reality so completely.
For more information including pre-order updates and the launch party RSVP link, check out the Call Me Morgue page here!