Have You Found Your Mormon Shorts?

The Mormon Shorts I’m talking about are found in Scott Hales’s book of comics and micro-fiction of the same name. (Yes, the Scott Hales of The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl fame.) This collection brings together 50 comics from the first year of Scott’s new webcomic, Mormon Shorts, and 150 micro-stories from the @mormonshorts Twitter account. It is 100 pages of humorous cultural commentary on Mormon life, past and present.

Mormon Shorts

I bought both the print book and the ebook. The structure of the print book is nice because on one page you have one or more micro-stories and on the other you have a comic. It was a nice balance. For obvious reasons, the ebook cannot reproduce this structure. In the ebook, the comics come first and the micro-fiction last. Either way, it’s a great and quick read.

Mormon Shorts is funny. To get the humor, it helps to be familiar with Mormon cultural references, but I suspect that even those not of the Mormon faith may be humored not only by some of the comics, but also by some of the things Mormons worry about. The very first comic, for example, presents a young return-missionary who takes 740 days (that’s another two years beyond his mission period of two years) to give up his white shirt and clean-shaven look.

In Mormon Shorts, key figures in Mormon history (Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others) make guest appearances. One of my favorite series of comics, the Father’s Lounge is the venue for Sunday philosophizing by fathers holding infants. It often features two men trying to outdo each other while discussing the topic at hand. In another comic, the Abrahamic mummy appears wearing sunglasses and discussing faith crises. The micro-fiction has nice juxtaposition between what is the norm in Mormon culture and a different, funny punch line that often you don’t see coming. Most of the comics or micro-stories are funny, but some are serious and contemplative. Scott Hales even appears in his comics as himself sometimes.

Here are a few of my favorite shorts:

His life was an endless cycle of meetings and two-minute devotionals.

Janice broke her fast halfway through bearing her testimony to the congregation.

He greeted every member of the ward with a handshake and a smile—except Brother Giles, who had denounced him as a communist back in ’52.

In the end they decided they loved each other, but not eternally.

He wanted to feel the freedom of swearing like J. Golden Kimball.

Nathan had not realized that he lived in an R-rated world until he accidentally saw an R-rated movie.

The new baby looked uncannily like the more flattering pictures of Eliza R. Snow.

There are many more just as funny. I recommend this book of comics for its humor and wit. If you want to see more of Scott Hales’s work, check out The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl also.

Now, go get your shorts on at Amazon.

If you’ve read Mormon Shorts, share what you think about it in the comments below.

Secure

Sunset

Utah is a fine place to grow old together, she said. It’s secure. In the darkness, they were rounding the Point of the Mountain when the lights of the valley floor rolled into view, and she said that. They had just come from attending a session at the Draper temple, because the one nearest them was closed for cleaning. Gripping the wheel, he felt his wanderlust well up. Visions of traveling the world, expatriating to further his career, serving a mission in a foreign land faded in and out just beyond the focus of his headlights. Nothing is so settled in life, he thought, as God’s unsettling a contented life. So much can happen in so few years. Disease, disaster, death. They descended into the valley homeward. He couldn’t decide whether the dark mountains on all sides kept the World out or walled them in Zion, but he reached for her hand, squeezed it, and said, Yes, it’s secure.

What Happened at the 2015 AML Conference?

Last Saturday, the Association for Mormon Letters (AML) held their annual conference at Utah Valley University. Unlike previous years, it was a one-day affair, instead of two, but despite its reduction in scale, it was a lot of fun and well worth the four hours. I’m sure that many will join with me in extending a heartfelt thanks to James and Nicole Goldberg for their efforts to organize the conference and bring it off so smoothly. Continue reading “What Happened at the 2015 AML Conference?”

Review: Dorian

Dorian
Dorian by Nephi Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been reading a lot of Mormon Literature lately. Just in the past few months I have finished Doug Thayer’s The Tree House, Todd Robert Petersen’s Rift, Nephi Anderson’s Added Upon, and now, his Dorian. I plan to make my way through the curriculum for a 15-week course on the Mormon novel, as suggested by Scott Hales at A Motley Vision. (I’ve expanded it to 17 weeks to capture a couple more recent works, but let’s be honest here, I’m not completing the required reading in a matter of weeks. Too slow.) Continue reading “Review: Dorian”

Looking Backward and Forward

Here I am at the end of another year. I have been in this position many times, looking back over the past twelve months, wondering where the time went and whether I had accomplished anything as a writer, only to find the fruits of my labors in scrap piles and aborted notebooks instead of before the world. But this year something happened. I started a blog, participated in the Mormon Lit Blitz and placed among the semi-finalists, published my Hmong-themed short story “Cocked” as an ebook, saw my short story “Moving On” published by Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, and finished a very rough draft of my wife’s memoir that I’m helping her write for my National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) entry. I look forward to the new year. I hope to continue pursuing my goals as a writer of fiction that explores the human condition. Continue reading “Looking Backward and Forward”