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He Is Ours
You were an island of stretched-out skin
A shock of flesh bath water could not cover
I was thinking about earthquakes and volcanoes
The plate tectonics of your sharp heels
Kicking tremors in the dome of her womb
And the lava is blood
A red river
It hisses and bites at the sea
Who is it?
He is ours—
This continent’s new piece of earth.
I start by acknowledging a point of agreement. (I’m sure Jerry Johnston is a nice guy. I want to be charitable here.) I agree, as Johnston puts it, that “an authentic [Mormon] literary masterpiece” would make some Mormons feel “uncomfortable, exposed and betrayed.” Fair enough. As for the rest of the article … Dude! Come on!
The column presents this argument:
(1) Only a partial Mormon outsider can achieve the perspective necessary to write “great” Mormon lit.
(2) Only a Mormon insider could write lit that qualifies as “truly Mormon.”
Great Mormon lit is impossible. Continue reading “Abandon All Hope: Mormon Lit Can’t Be ‘Great’”
Makes the anti-Mormon propaganda go down. Also: putting the sleuth of Baker Street in his place on completely neutral terms unrelated to century-old tribal grudges. Continue reading “A Spoonful of Detective Fiction”
I like the building where I attend sacrament meeting. The chapel is amphitheater-like because all of the side benches face the pulpit at an angle. Another thing I like about it: the library has been around long enough to be stocked with some pretty good stuff. Continue reading “A Trip to the Library”
This is me losing a game of chicken for the second time in a row. Continue reading “Apropos of Something”
Christmas eve. My dad’s hairy flailing right arm can reach most of the seats in the station wagon. That’s why I sit directly behind him. I stare at his hairy neck and realize that he has transformed himself into a werewolf Continue reading “A Child’s Christmas”
If you are reading this post, I am overcome by temptation–the temptation to add a few words to a conversation that has dominated Mormon discourse lately. Continue reading “These Culture Wars”
Note. The following is an excerpt from a collection of missionary-memoir short stories by S.P. Bailey called All the Great Lights. You can read the complete collection at S.P. Bailey’s website. And please comment here! Reaction to the story would be great. But it might also be interesting to engage in a conversation about self-publishing in this manner. Is it extremely shameful? Or just sort of pathetic? Does publication by some small Mormon press–or even Deseret Book–really ensure quality or add meaningful prestige? Another topic worth discussing might be the missionary-memoir genre and its place in Mormon letters. Other topics would be fun too. Please comment!
11. The Sickness
Elder Hargrave’s homesickness was palpable every day he spent in the MTC. There was something precious about him writing letters home or carefully opening his family’s many packages to him. Hargrave taped a tiny portrait of his girlfriend inside the front cover of his “white bible,” the book of mission rules most elders carry in the left breast pockets of their white dress shirts. He looked at that picture so often that some missionaries must have thought he was contemplating key rules like “[y]ou and your companion are to sleep in the same bedroom, but not in the same bed.” Continue reading “All the Great Lights”