Every now and then I have literary thoughts, which I feel I should credit myself for here even if they’re published elsewhere. So yesterday I posted an essay titled “The Appeal of Science Fiction for (Some) Mormons” over at A Motley Vision blog. If the topic interests you, I invite you to read and respond either there or here.
Posts Tagged ‘A Motley Vision’
I’m a Mormon. And I like fiction, and literature in general. And I like talking with people who share my interests. It should hardly be surprising, then, that I like talking about Mormon literature — and Mormon perspectives on literature — with people who share my interests.
Back about 15 years ago, if my memory serves me, I got involved with the AML-List, an email discussion group sponsored by the Association for Mormon Letters. It’s probably not a coincidence that this was about the time I gave up on my PhD program in English: I’d seen the writing on the wall with respect to my becoming a literature professor, but still felt the need to engage in talking about storytelling from perspectives that felt important to me. Not to mention the fact that it was a darn good conversation back then, featuring a lot of bright and interesting people.
Since then, I’ve been involved in Mormon lit in a variety of ways. I put in a couple years’ stint as the moderator for AML-List. I’ve published some reviews. I’ve even written a Mormon-themed novel, based on an idea that was sparked by my involvement with AML-List. And now I’m at it again, volunteering to act as coordinator of the AML blog (which has now largely taken the place of AML-List). For this post, I want to talk about things I’ve read recently that help illustrate why it is that I think Mormon lit is such an interesting sandbox to play in.
Back by popular demand*, I now continue my blog series chronicling my adventures into the realm of creative writing. Previous posts recounted experiencies related to the writing of my first (now published) novel, No Going Back. This new “season” focuses on questions such as: What next? Is there life after publication? What’s different about attempting to write a second novel? And (for those of you who remember a certain PBS program of my youth): What about Naomi?
* For some particularly dubious values of “popular demand.”
For the complete list of columns in this series, click here.
They say that when you wipe out on a bicycle, the thing to do is get right back on and start riding again. At least, I think that’s what they say. Personally, it makes more sense to me to put on some bandages and let the scrapes heal first.
The other day, I was listening to an interview on National Public Radio with Emma Donoghue, the author of Room. It’s a novel about a five-year-old whose entire life has been spent with his mother in a small room where his mother —a victim of kidnapping — has been kept since before he was conceived. The book sounds horrifying, fascinating, and tremendously well done.
I don’t know how the story ends. The interviewer was very careful not to give away anything about that. The reviews I looked up online after getting home were equally circumspect.
This is all quite admirable for those of you who think a book shouldn’t be ruined by knowing the ending beforehand. But I’m here to tell you that unless and until I know how that book ends, I won’t buy it. And I won’t start reading it.
Here’s a somewhat belated addition to my series based on insights from writing my first novel, No Going Back. For the complete list of columns in this series, click here.
Cross-posted from A Motley Vision website.
If art is, in part at least, the imitation of reality, it’s an imitation that’s largely bounded by and grounded in artistic convention. That’s something I’ve long been aware of from a literary/critical perspective, but writing a novel myself — and then seeing the reaction of different readers to the specific choices I made about where and how to be “realistic” — has borne that truth in on me in a particularly vivid fashion.
Earlier today, a positive review of No Going Back was posted at A Motley Vision: Mormon Arts and Culture blog. That’s one of the blogs where I hang out, so the positive response is particularly gratifying.
Fear is, I’ve come to realize, one of my great personal enemies as a creative writer (along with laziness). Part of this is probably just because of the kind of person I am. I suspect, though, that part of it may be endemic to the writing process.