Inappropriate book club questions

William riffs on the concept of inappropriate book club questions with examples from the work of Josi Kilpack, Margaret Young and Coke Newell.

Jonathan Langford emailed me the link to recently. It reads: “If you were a cannibal and were eating the protagonist from your novel, which side dishes would be appropriate? Explain.”

He suggested that it might be fun to a Mormon literary version. Here are mine — feel free to add your own via the comment box:

“The parents of the protagonist in Margaret Young’s Salvador drive her in a white van with a big red stripe and navy blue hubcaps to El Salvador. The mother calls it the Yankee Doodle Dan Van. Is that an appropriate use of our nation’s flag?”

“Explain why even though Kit in Coke Newell’s On the Road to Heaven joins the Church and serves a mission, his past as a mountain hippy makes him unfit to marry your niece and/or granddaughter.”

“Why does Doug Thayer hate rich people?”

“Is Josi S. Kilpack’s culinary mystery series against the Word of Wisdom? Shouldn’t it be more like Carob Brownie or Banana?”

“What do you think the ‘B’ stands for in Linda Hoffman Kimball’s The Marketing of Sister B?”

Mormons and the story of the West

“The strange thing is that aside from these displays the rest of the museum could almost be an account of the settling of the American West.” — Edward Rothstein in the NY Times.

Why, yes. That is very, very strange.

(Although to be fair to Rothstein, his contextualization of the museum in relation to identity is fairly solid. And he use the term “hyphenated American”.)

WIZ’s 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff Competition and Celebration is underway

RodneyLoughWaterfalls

Wilderness Interface Zone’s 2012 Spring Poetry Runoff Competition and Celebration opened its post pages for spring-themed poetry on March 26.  Please come join the fun, either by submitting your best vernal verse in competition or non-competition categories or by reading and voting for your favorite poems.  Prizes will be awarded for the Most Popular Poem and for an Admin Award.  WIZ will also have other activities for fun and enjoyment, including its customary haiku chain and a WIZ Retro Review giveaway to interested participants of an old-timey movie, Come Next Spring–an intelligent flick about second chances.

If you’d like to add your poetry to the flow, please go here and read the rules.

It’s fun to see the Mormons at the zoo

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I realized the other day when I heard the last five minutes of Terry Gross‘s interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone about their musical The Book of Mormon that for all the times I’ve listened to Fresh Air, for all the interviews about Big Love and Angels in America and such, the closest she’s come to interviewing an actual Mormon is Warren Jeffs’s nephew or Dustin Lance Black. Now, I’m not saying a Mormon should be interviewed just by virtue of being Mormon or that anything is owed us, but when that point was raised to me I was able to generate a list of worthy names off the top of my head, but regardless of how worthy these folk are—are they Terry’s taste? I’m not sure they are.

But I got to thinking about it, and for all Ms Gross’s openmindedness on putting together shows about Mormons and evangelists and Muslims and big African cats, she does not do shows on those topics in which an actual Mormon or evangelist or Muslim or lion is interviewed.

I mention lions because, apparently, Mormons et al are about the same as lions. An interesting subject for art and journalism but ultimately too alien to speak with directly. And, you know, when a lion-penned novel hits the bestseller lists, we might interview a critic about the book’s success, but not the actual lion about his book.

I don’t know. Too cynical?

Gadianton Self-Help Titles, a mini Twitter meme

Yesterday I had this sudden urge to play on Twitter and so posted: “Who moved my treasure? #GadiantonSelfHelpTitles.” For those unfamiliar with Twitter adding the pound sign to a word or phrase designates it as a “hashtag”, which means other users can search for it and see all the posts that use that hashtag. It also acts as an unofficial invitation to others to post in theme with the hashtag. Now, I can’t claim that this idea is originally mine because I have a vague recollection of something similar to it coming across radar at some point in the past. But I was very pleased to see that this iteration of it took off. And it proved once again that Mormons on Twitter are hilarious. Although the ultimate proof is the juggernaut that was #mormonpioneertweets, which produced an amazing number of tweets, many of them completely hilarious and all of them, sadly, no longer available when I search for that hash tag. I guess we’ll have to wait  until we can pull them out of the National Archives. It will, no doubt, be the subject of a dissertation one of these days.

And so because Twitter is terrible  at archiving, I grabbed screenshots of all the additional #GadiantonSelfHelpTitles posts that happened in the two hours after I started it. To view them, visit the motleyvision flickr set. I’ve posted the first screenshot below — there are ten screenshots in total and more than 40 punchlines contribute by more than 10 Twitter users. Many thanks to all those who participated — you all amused me greatly. If I missed one or you have one to add, give us a shout in the comments below.

Screen shot 2010-10-25 at 11.46.37 AM

Two more contests, Dialogue, and more

Kent posted last week about the Marilyn Brown Unpublished Novel contest. It’s a good contest, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to hit the deadline unless you already have a novel in the drawer. So here’s two more contests to consider entering (after you finish your Monsters & Mormons submission, of course) plus some other things worth checking out…

Sunstone writing contests

The deadline is Oct. 31*. Winners will be announced no later than Feb. 28, 2011. Full details on Sunstone’s Facebook page. One of the great things about this contest is that it includes a prize for short-short story (less than 1,500 words) in addition to short story (fewer than 6,000 words). I heartily applaud Sunstone’s commitment to the short-short form.

LDS Film Script Contest

The LDS Film Festival has also announced its contests, and this year there will be a Feature Script Contest.  R. Don Oscarson has also put up $600 in prize money (three scripts will win $200 each). Scripts are due Nov. 15.

AMVers in Dialogue

Dialogue has been very good to AMV-associated folks the past few years (and I guess you could say vice versa). I’m pleased to report that S.P. Bailey has two poems in the Fall 2010 issue, which also features reviews of Jonathan Langford’s novel No Going Back ( Amazon ) and Theric Jepson and co’s collection The Fob Bible ( Amazon ).

Narratives of Family exhibit

Art History student Emily Larsen and BYU faculty member James R. Swensen have curated the exhibit “Nature and Nurture: Narratives of Family” for the B.F. Larson Gallery at the Harris Fine Arts Center. Here’s what Emily says about the exhibit:  “The exhibition … explores the complexity of familial relationships through the art of ten artists with connections to BYU or Utah (8 of the 10 are BYU alumni). The exhibition features the art of well known LDS artists such as Brian Kershisnik and Lee Udall Bennion as well as lesser known LDS artists.” It runs Oct. 5-28 so if you are in the area, do check it out.

Poetry in song from Mormon Artist Group

Song/Cycles is the latest project from the NYC-based Mormon Artists Group. Featuring the work of 6 LDS poets (including Lance Larsen) set to music by LDS composers, the project comes in both a limited edition and a trade paperback. The limited edition version includes audio recordings of performances of the song cycles.

*This post originally had the deadline as Oct. 15 for the Sunstone contests; it’s actually Oct. 31.

Mormon Artist Magazine interview–three cut Qs & As

Mormon Artist Magazine interviewed me for their latest issue (Issue 10).  You can find my interview here.

Mormon Artist Magazine Literature editor and fellow AMVer Katherine Morris suggested I post here at AMV questions and answers cut from the interview.   So, for your reading pleasure:

There also seems to be an underlying theme of agency in your writing: “[I]t enables those who read or hear it to create choices for themselves”. How does the concept of agency inform your writing?

The “It” here refers to “sustainable language.”  Sustainable language is creative, proactive, productive language that effectively sparks others to create their own risk-choice spectrums and generate possibilities for themselves.  It’s the language of life. Sustainable language goes out on its faith in others’ creativity, creative drive being a far more commonplace phenomenon in all levels of society than is popularly supposed. Good language–sustainable language–allows for that creativity and invigorates human agency. Continue reading “Mormon Artist Magazine interview–three cut Qs & As”