Angela Hallstrom and the Art of Short-Story Arrangement

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This is the third and final entry in this series. The first part of our interview was about Ms Hallstom’s novel-in-stories Bound on Earth. The second was about her editorship of the literary journal Irreantum. This third portion is about the short-story collection, Dispensation: Latter-day Fiction, that she edited for Zarahemla Books (review).

Dispensation:Latter-day Fiction

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Let’s start with what criteria a story had to meet to even be considered for inclusion. What were the ground rules going in to this anthology? Continue reading “Angela Hallstrom and the Art of Short-Story Arrangement”

The Best of Mormonism 2009: An interview with its editor

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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”

Short Story Friday: interlude — what’s cooking?

Because it’s summer, and we are all feeling a little lazy and languid. And because there’s already been a bunch of talk about short stories this week (apologies to non-Irreantum subscribers who don’t get to get in on the action — of course, there is a remedy for that). And because there’s simply a lot still to talk about with the posts that have been posted so far this week. And because I’m curious. This is what Short Story Friday is this week:

What’s going on?

Anybody enter the Irreantum fiction contest? Sources* tell me that the stories were heavy on the speculative fiction and sex. I’m not quite sure how to take that. How about the Sunstone contests? Anybody else have anything cooking that they can talk about right now**? Anybody have something to say about The Mormon Short Story? Continue reading “Short Story Friday: interlude — what’s cooking?”

“Our Refined Heavenly Home”

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Elder Douglas L. Callister of the Seventy wrote a delightful article in this month’s Ensign, “Our Refined Heavenly Home.” I’m ashamed to admit that I might never have read it had not my dear wife told me I should. (I keep saying I’ll stick the Ensign in the bathroom where it will actually get read, but it seems weird to have all those pictures of Jesus on my toilet, Backslider or no Backslider.) The article is adapted from a BYU devotional Elder Callister gave in 2006 which is about 1800 words longer and has even more dandy quotations. (Frankly, it’s tempting to just lift all his quotations and anecdotes and place them here for discussion, but I can’t quite feel good about that.)

The article has three main thrusts, language, literature and music, with an everything-else category to finish things off.

For brevity’s sake, I will take a short excerpt from each section to comment on, but in your comments, feel free to reference any part of his talk. Continue reading ““Our Refined Heavenly Home””

Short Story Friday: “Jim of Provo” by Tim Slover

Now that all that poetry nonsense is over* we can get back to the good stuff: short stories. And with the return of Short Story Friday, I hope some of you out there will dig back into some of the archives and come up with some good finds. For example, the following story is the only Sunstone story submitted so far.

Title: Jim of Provo (links to search results with PDF download of the story)

Author: Tim Slover

Publication Info: Sunstone, June 1998

Submitted by: Andrew H.

Why?: “Modern-day Job. Interesting switches of tone from the somewhat silly scenes in heaven, to the serious scenes of a suicidal Jim. The biggest problem is that the formatting is off, it was in my original copy of the magazine, and I see it still is off in the PDF. There are a few lines of the story lost.”

Wm adds a teaser line for you: “God’s coyness about free will and determinism gets my goat.”

Content warning: As Andrew mentions, this story alternates the events leading up to and the act of suicide (slight spoiler, but the act isn’t really the point of the story) with humor. I think that it’ll work for most readers, but if you have particular sensitivities to the subject, you might want to pass this one up.

Participate:

Submit to Short Story Friday

Possible online sources of stories and link to spreadsheet with current submissions

All Short Story Friday posts so far

* I play the curmudgeon, but seriously: many thanks to all the AMV bloggers and commenters who participated and the other Mormon lit bloggers who embraced the spirit of the month. And a big thank you to Laura Craner for sparking the whole thing. Yes, I know that poetry shouldn’t need a month, but the reality is that I, at least, often avoid it and so this was a good reminder of what’s to like about the form.

The essential Mormon short story collections

Laura’s excellent post on Benediction got me thinking about Mormon-themed short story collections. Specifically, the relative paucity thereof, but also the fact that even with the few that have been published there are several that I consider the essential starting points (rather than novels) for anyone seeking to understand (or produce work in) the field of Mormon literature.

By essential I don’t mean the most literary or the most Mormon or the most well-known or even the most influential. Rather I mean that if they were to disappear, they would leave the most gaping holes in the field.

Here, then, are my nominations for the essential Mormon-themed short story collections*. Continue reading “The essential Mormon short story collections”