Short Story Friday: Separate Prayers by Ann Edwards-Cannon

I wanted to bring you Joshua Foster’s “The Newlyweds” today, which Th. suggested more than a year ago, but Dialogue’s recent website revamping has put the story back in the paid archive (which it should) so for our purposes, that story is going to have to wait. There are a couple of more items in the spreadsheet, but I don’t want to deal with them just yet (for a variety of reasons), so since I’m off from work today, I decided to randomly poke around the 1980s Sunstone mags (since last time I did this, I had poked around in Dialogue’s archives).  I only got two editions in when I found this story by Ann Edwards-Cannon, which received honorable mention in the 1981 Sunstone Fiction Contest. I think it’s worth featuring. Also: we need more submissions so if you have time and interest, click on the links on the bottom of this post and help me find some more stories.

Title: Separate Prayers (PDF file, the story is on page 33 of the file)

Author: Ann Edwards-Cannon

Publication Info: Sunstone 30 (November-December 1981)

Submitted by: Wm Morris

Why?: Wm says: “I’ll be honest here: I was looking for a story that seemed like it fit in to this time period in both American and Mormon literature because we haven’t really featured it much so far. I think “Separate Prayers” very much is of its time (which I don’t see as a bad thing). It’s feminist, but in a downbeat way. It’s a time when fathers — even when they are history professors — can retire as cranky farmers (and resist developers). It’s a time when husbands cook and do the dishes and that fact means something, but doesn’t have quite the weight that it might have had 15 years previous. It’s a time when therapy still could possibly mean Freud. It comes across to me (and I could be totally wrong here) like a post-Doug Thayer, trailing end of second-wave feminism, Sunstone crowd short story. It’s also well-written with several spot on details.”

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3 thoughts on “Short Story Friday: Separate Prayers by Ann Edwards-Cannon”

  1. It’s well-written. For most of the story, I found myself thinking that Michael (the husband) seemed awfully irrelevant in her life. At the end, though, it occurred to me that in getting help for her, he’d done what he could. She seemed to find it enough.

    Do we ever get a clear idea of what prompted this? It sounds like classic clinical depression, which could just come out of nowhere I suppose, but if it was purely chemical wouldn’t one expect that it would have been there for a long time to some extent? The arrangement of the story suggests that the depression has something to do with her mother’s death and her sense of separation from her dad, but what would have prompted it to flare up at this particular time? If that’s in the story, I’m not a good enough reader to get it.

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