Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters — you have 15 days. Submissons for Monsters & Mormons are due no later than midnight (PDT) Friday, Oct. 1, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to go over the submissions guidelines one more time to make sure everything is in place before you submit.
If you have already submitted: awesome. Thanks so much.
If you are in process: best of luck finishing things up, and we very much look forward to reading whatever it is you’ve come up with.
If you haven’t even started yet: you know, it’s actually not too late. It’s entirely possible to write a short story in one evening. Now a better method would be to draft it this weekend, get a quick turnaround on some reader comments and revise it a couple of times the following weekend. But whatever path you take, decide to make the journey now. And get started. You just may surprise yourself (and, hopefully, us as well). But even if your story is terrible, well, what a marvelous learning experience for you!
UPDATE: Call for Submissions
As Terryl Givens documents in The Viper on the Hearth (Amazon), from Zane Grey to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mormons served as stock villains in the early days of genre fiction (both pre-pulp and pulp heyday). We propose to recast, reclaim and simply mess with that tradition by making Mormon characters, settings and ideas the protagonists of genre-oriented stories to appear in an anthology simply titled Monsters & Mormons.
A formal call for submissions will be posted in early April, but we wanted to pre-announce the project now in order to get the creative juices flowing and test if this is of any interest at all to AMV’s readers (and anyone else who gets wind of it).
Three things that I will note now:
- Theric Jepson and I will serve as co-principals on the project. It will be published by Peculiar Pages. We don’t have all the details hammered out, but we’re fairly far along, and I’m confident you will own a copy of this book by the end of next year.
- We will provide more specific direction in the call to submissions, but we intend for the concept (Monsters & Mormons) to be interpreted across a wide range of genres and art forms and high/low/middle-browness-es.
- However, we also envision the project as very much coming out of the key pulp authors and riffing on, building upon, paying homage to and perhaps even satirizing their work. Which doesn’t mean that we are abandoning the literary, either. We hope to build a hybridized anthology with a pulpy core.
Any thoughts? I don’t know that Theric and I will be able to answer all of your questions (assuming ya’ll even have any), but if you have strong desires, radical middle ideas, or simply yeas or nays, cheers or hisses, make them known.
Finally: Yes, this is a project of cultural re-appropriation. I could go on at length about all the reasons I dig the conceptual underpinnings of this concept. But I won’t (and I’ll try to keep things brief in the call for submissions). Because it really doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that we all have fun, and that’s the primary reason I decided to take this project on — it’s time for us to cut loose in the world of Mormon letters.
I was pleased to receive a copy of Best of Mormonism 2009 (edited by Stephen Carter) by virtue of my Irreantum subscription. That was a nice bonus. I mostly endorse Theric’s review and recommendations. But to be brief and positive:
My Favorite Work: Neil Aitken’s poem “Traveling through the Prairies, I think of My Father’s Voice”
The One I’ve Been Thinking About: Lisa Torcasso Downing’s short story “Clothing Esther”
Prose I Most Admire: there’s some very good writers here, but the one that really got me in the flow of the language is Joshua Foster’s essay “God Damned the Land But Lifted the People; Or, A Redemption in Three Levitations”
Best Use Of Humor: To be honest a bit disappointing overall, but this sentence from Lynda Mackey Wilson’s essay “We Who Owe Everything to a Name” cracked me up — (talking about a book about she received from her agnostic parents called The Origins of Life) “There were dramatic pictures of lightning flashing over moody ammonia seas.” (152)
Favorite Sentences/Lines: I’m going to pick two. From Aitken’s poem — “…Here, the wind sounds the same/ blown from any direction, full of dust, pollen, the deep toll of church bells/ rung for mass, weddings, deaths. …” (1)
And from Lance Larsen’s essay “A Feeling in Your Head” (which is about him as a young boy with an uncle fighting in Vietnam and the fragile hope for his return) — “On winter Sundays, we entered the church for sacrament and sermons in afternoon light, then exited in darkness, as if our praying brought on the gloom, our singing caused it to lick at the chapel windows, our amens led it to press down on the station wagon my father maneuvered through the streets like an elegant hearse.” (115)
When I first heard of this anthology, I did not know it was intended to be a yearly series. So when I noticed the 2009 on the cover I was thrilled.
The anthology includes work from Irreantum to The Iowa Review and points inbetween. A goodly percentage of it is from LDSy publications, but not at all all — just over 50% (I redid my math after the interview, but I’ve put the full contents and their original sources up at The Mormon Arts Wiki if you want to know more.)
The anthology is solid. Not entirely representative of my own taste, but why should it be? I interviewed the book’s editor (Stephen Carter, also the head editor of Sunstone) about this exciting new addition to Mormon letters — one I hope lasts a long, long time.
Someday I hope to have a full shelf of these babies in all different colors. Continue reading “The Best of Mormonism 2009: An interview with its editor”