Dave Morris, a former Chester resident, Herald Tribune editor and prison guard, will present a program and do a book signing all on his newly released book, "The Average Man Speaks Out," at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9 at the Chester Public Library.
The average man is Morris himself, who lives an average life in an average town, smack-dab in the middle of the country. He grew up in Belleville but lived most of his life in Chester (1970-1996). He presently lives in Smithton, Illinois.
The average man believes that we are all stories and that people need stories to live.
"I think some of the most pleasant times are those when people get together and swap stories," Morris says. "Everyone's life is a collection of stories. Many of these stories are similar and yet all are different. And these stories should be shared."
Morris says storytelling, not bread, is the true staff of life.
"Remember as a child uttering those wonderful words, 'Tell me a story,'" he adds. "It was how we learned, how we found answers to the imponderableness of life, how we made sense of the world. And we never truly outgrow that basic need."
Through his collection of stories, Morris gives the average man's perspective on the world we live in, its people, history, politics, entertainment and miscellaneous topics.
Morris worked at Menard Correctional Center for a quarter of a century as a prison sociologist. He taught criminology for 17 years at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and at Southwestern Illinois College.
He co-authored, "Prison Guards: The Culture and Perspective of an Occupational Group," and was the Randolph County correspondent for the Southern Illinoisan for five years.
Morris was the editor of the Randolph County Herald Tribune from 1988-1992, and returned to the RCHT as a writer and columnist from 2006-2010. He was an editor and contributor to Newsmax magazine and NewsMax.com.
Currently, he is working on a book to answer the most-asked question of former prison employees: What's it really like in prison? His new book -- tentatively titled, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Prison" -- will contain a brief history of prisons in America, commentaries on the prison experience for employees and inmates, prison management, and more.
Lastly, it will include real prison stories that Morris experienced personally, as well as stories he has been told by fellow employees and inmates.
"This will be the most accurate and honest description of the American prison ever published," Morris said.
For more information about Morris's program, visit www.chesterpubliclibrary.com or call (618) 826-3711.