A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Faces of SAL: Eric Morel

Gratitude: it’s what we all want to have more of in our lives. Cultivating a habit of thankfulness changes our brain and makes us happier. Our latest volunteer feature shines a light on Eric Morel–or should we say, Dr. Eric Morel.* You may have seen Eric ushering at Benaroya Hall or smiling and answering one of your questions in the lobby. He has volunteered for SAL for almost a decade—read on to learn his technique for recalling favorite SAL event moments!

Can you guess which SAL event was his favorite? Hint: it involved meditation at Seattle Town Hall.

*Breaking news: Eric has been working on his Ph.D. since 2012 and as of last week, he is now officially Dr. Eric Morel! Congratulations!!!

What’s been your favorite SAL event?

I have seen so many over the years that have been at turns funny and profound. And so many events from the Poetry Series have left me feeling inspired and really quite floored by their language. But I think my favorite event may have been the evening with Ruth Ozeki in 2014 (editor’s note: listen to it here on our podcast!). It introduced me to her really wonderful A Tale for the Time Being, which I then went on to teach in a class. I also thought it was special how she led the whole audience in Town Hall in a meditation. I didn’t always, but now I like to try and tweet about some of my favorite moments because it helps me come back to specific words.

Why did you decide to volunteer for SAL?

When I graduated from college in 2009, I happened to learn that Gary Snyder, whose Practice of the Wild I had read in one of my last classes, was coming to town. All the readings I’d been to in college were pretty small, so I was unprepared for seeing Benaroya Hall so full for a poet. I remember him talking about wood and stone and time.

I ended up volunteering for SAL afterward because I learned that this was an organization dedicated to sharing ideas and bringing some of the most influential writers and thinkers to the Seattle public, which runs right through the heart of my desire to see more robust civic life through public access and engagement with intellectual ideas. My own perspective on living in this country and in this world have been so enriched by reading and thinking that I want the same for others, and SAL struck me from the beginning as a force working to affect that kind of future.

What are you reading right now?

I’m working on Henry James’s The Italian Hours, which is just delightful. I’ve picked up a copy of Shelton Johnson’s Gloryland, which I’m excited to get to, but I also still have Lisa Randall’s Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs at my bedside.

What’s your hidden talent?

I’m a bass/baritone, and I love to sing; I guess it’s been hidden since college, since I’m no longer in a choir or anything. But two musician friends and I have talked about maybe doing some busking for fun one day, so I may bring it back into the open at some point.


Posted in SAL Volunteers