We’re going self-serving for today’s Short Story Friday.
Author: William Morris
Publication Info: Popcorn Popping, December 2007
Submitted by: S.P. Bailey
Why?: “1. Missionary and post-mission fiction is fraught with possibility. Wm. captures a lot of good stuff here: disorientation, anticipation of an uncertain future, and the powerful way that a place can imprint itself on a missionary’s mind.
“2. This story was posted in the last days of popcorn popping. I didn’t feel like it got the audience it deserved. Hopefully it gets some love here.”
A few comments on the story by the author (me):
1. It’s not autobiographical or even semi-autobiographical even though it reads as it probably would be. Okay, that’s not entirely true. The image of the bus is from my mission to Romania, but it’s made much more than it really was. It was more of an aesthetic experience for me personally — and I was already writing it as I was experiencing it. All that stuff about time is stuff I added when writing the story.
2. I’m not convinced by the ending. I rewrote it several times. I think it still needs work.
3. What is important about this story is that it marks the first time that I try to explore through fiction some uniquely Mormon psycho-emotional-spiritual moments — or at least such moments expressed mainly through the language and worldview of Mormonism. It’s become a bit of an obsession, really. Most of my Mormon-themed fiction since then has tried to do the same thing. Which means it all shares the same weaknesses as this story — a bit thin on plot, edges in to sentimentalism, and focuses too much on interiority.
Not to bias your reading or anything.