Archive for June, 2011

No Going Back as a Novel of Ideas

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Over the past year, one of the most interesting places for thinking and reading about Mormon literature has been The Low-Tech World — a blog by Scott Hales, a graduate student in English and comparative literature at the University of Cincinnati. In a series of witty and insightful reviews, Hales has tackled topics ranging from Doug Thayer’s The Tree House to the works of Nephi Anderson. This past week, it was No Going Back’s turn in the barrel. I think it came out pretty well.

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Prevention, Health Care Costs, and Health Insurance

Friday, June 24th, 2011

And now for something completely different.

There are two fundamental problems with health care in the United States: cost and equity. Most proposals for reforming the system address (at most) one of these. Given the vast influence that my online presence gives me (cough, cough), I’d like to propose something that might actually manage to address both — or at least address one without doing much in the way of net damage to the other.

I should start by emphasizing that I have absolutely no expert knowledge in the field of health care, thus making it almost certain that there’s a good reason why I haven’t heard these proposals talked about anywhere. But if so, I’d like to hear them.

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Random Writing

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

I spent about an hour yesterday (which turned out to be another long work day) writing on a story starter from a few months ago that I happened to open but had not really planned to do anything with. It was oddly satisfying. Oddly, I say, because it didn’t amount constitute progress on the story I’m “officially” working on, or any other project that I care much about for its own sake (though obviously since putting in that hour yesterday I’m now wondering if I can do something with it after all).

The main thing I take away from the experience, though, is a reminder that it’s the writing itself I find satisfying: putting words in mouths, virtual flesh on virtual bones, swirling an order of fictional events and chronologies out of primordial chaos. It’s not the pleasure of playing God, but rather the joy of creation: a rather more worthwhile thing, I can’t help but hope, even if the stuff of it is (as Shakespeare’s Puck put it) no more yielding but a dream. That, and a realization that story starters can indeed be useful when I want to do some writing but am feeling stuck.

P.S. I think I’ve already emailed everyone who follows this blog, but here’s a link to my son on his mission, singing a song of his own composition about Mormon doctrine. Fun stuff.