Morgan Stone Grether 8 March 2008
Web developer, teacher, songwriter, family man
Morgan Stone Grether has lived in such fine places as Kansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Florida, France, and Spain, but he is quite happy to have moved to Oregon in 2006. He often is heard saying, “The animal – that’s me – has been released into his natural habitat!” The mountains, rivers, waterfalls, plains, beaches, deserts, forests, farms, towns, and cities all appeal to him mightily, and he is dedicated to preserving their beauty.
When not walking down a sidewalk or up a waterfall, he is the Web developer for both the Lewis & Clark Law School and the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling. He does freelance websites via MorganGrether.com and contract website work via NetRaising.com.
He loves music. His life changed in ninth grade after hearing the Velvet Underground’s song, “Sunday Morning.” He grabbed the nearest guitar and has been in bands or playing solo ever since. He made a studio in his kitchen called “Who Ate the Song?” and records an album there every four to twelve months. Go right now!
He holds a Ph.D. in English and has taught at various colleges and universities across the country. Most recently he taught at Portland Community College. He hopes his students fall in as deep of love with writing and reading as he has. He thinks heaven is either a library or a bookstore depending on his mood.
He took care of William Burroughs’s dying cat, and James Ellroy has used his toilet.
He has very happily been with his wife since 1990. They have a daughter and another on the way.
What are you up to?
As always, I have a hundred plates spinning in the air. That’s my style as a lifelong learner and a lifelong maniac. The biggest excitement is preparing for the new baby; she arrives any day now. That’s a whole new epic series of adventures about to begin, and I cannot wait.
Other things include writing… a play about a disgraced preacher, a play about a stand-up comics who cannot stop despite their souls being driven into the ground, a country album, a rock album, lots of poems, and translating the Koran into English.
What are you into?
I am into learning new things, talking to new people and gaining new perspectives from them. Hiking is a very cool way to gain new perspectives too, in a literal way, so I love it.
Also, movies, book, and music, music, music, I am a devourer of music, particularly “indie rock,” and this is the right town for that, right? Lately Robyn Hitchcock and Rhett Miller seem to be on the heaviest rotation of anyone, but music is always playing in my house, all day, all night.
What do you like most about Portland?
Portland is a sophisticated city, which is great, with lots of great restaurants, bookstores, coffeehouses. I could use a little more sophistication in the hinterlands, but that intellectual diversity helps makes things interesting in an otherwise not-too-diverse area.
But really the physical beauty is what I love most here. Not just the mountains, but the city itself, with the trees, the ferns, the endless mists, I love it. Where I work at the law school, it is insanely gorgeous. If I were not a stoic Kansan at heart, I would consider weeping in awe.
What attracts you to Web development?
I love website work because it satisfies the two sides of my brain at once. On one hand it can be straightforward, with a clear right-wrong binary: does the code work or does it not? (And fixing some broken code provides an immediate sense of accomplishment.) On the other hand, it can be an unscientific, subjective art: does this website send the right message, does this look pretty? That interplay, that dichotomy keeps it from ever being boring to me.
What are your favorite books?
I am almost as voracious consumer of books as I am of music, and I favor writers who deny that the world makes much sense, because dang if I can ever find any logic or order in it myself. James Ellroy’s My Dark Places is the best nonfiction I’ve ever come across. Any mystery fan should read that… and then try to sleep at night. The darkness is nearly omnipotent, but at least we readers have the power to close the book, Ellroy gets to live it. Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury is wonderful as well, with its different perspectives, different tones, all focused on the quagmire of Southern nostalgia. That’s probably my favorite novel, but ask me tomorrow and I’ll tell you something different (Catch-22 or Going After Cacciato or Slaughterhouse Five or…). Oh, don’t get me started on Dostoevsky… or Philip K. Dick… or JG Ballard… or…