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.
I’m pleased to announce that after numerous drafts my short story “Moving On” finally found a home in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. The link to the table of contents of the fall 2014 issue is here (scroll down a little). My story is on page 107. Please read and let me know what you think.
In other news, I’m going to try to get back to blogging here soon. I still have two or three book reviews in the hopper I’m working on. I’m also working on another short story, my novel, and my wife’s memoir. Fun times.
Oh yeah, and NANOWRIMO is right around the corner … Shall I “fail again, fail better”?
This May, I submitted three entries of 1,000 words or less each to the Mormon Lit Blitz. I’ve already talked about each story I submitted in my blog post about the Lit Blitz at the end of May, so you may read about them there. By the first couple of weeks in June, the results were in. My “Riffs on Korihor’s Testimony” earned a spot among the 24 semi-finalists, but didn’t make it among the top twelve. However, there is talk that the editors may put together an e-book of all 24 semi-finalists. That would be great. There were many worthy writers among them.
But today is about “White Roses,” one of my entries that didn’t make the cut. The situation is one that’s difficult to handle in 1,000 words, so it may undergo some revision in the future. But I do think it has its strengths. Read it and let me know what you think?
Corry was waiting at the kitchen table when Lot entered from the garage. She’d had an hour to process what she’d just learned about him. She’d also had her mom come get the two children.
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My three Mormon Lit Blitz entries are in! (And now the post-partum depression and anxiety sets in. Chocolate, Dr. Pepper, and photos of kittens at play welcome!)
The shorts are titled “Riffs on Korihor’s Testimony,” “Singularity,” and “White Roses.”
My silence on my blog here has been largely due to my taking the time to work on getting these three pieces of a 1000 words each written. Believe it or not, it’s hard to write a story that “works” as a whole in that many words. It’s a good training exercise for sure.
I wrote “Riffs” and “White Roses” from scratch. I had written most of “Singularity” before now, but added to it for this contest. “Riffs” and “Singularity” are more “slice-of-life” pieces than coherent stories. “White Roses” was the most difficult to write because there was a lot to compact into 1,000 words.
“Riffs on Korihor’s Testimony” was inspired in part by Lorrie Moore’s “How to Talk to Your Mother” and in part by Boyd J. Petersen’s essay in Sunstone titled “Arriving Where I Started: Disassembling and Reassembling a Testimony.” I think it could stand to be expanded a little, but I worked in what I could for the contest. It’s intended to be a part of a larger work. It’s one of the blog posts written by my main character, Corey Hoar, who identifies himself as “Korihor” in the post. Corey Hoar is going through a “faith crisis” and works through his struggles on his blog.
“Singularity” is also a part of the same larger work. It’s a piece where Corey Hoar contemplates his own mortality. I added a bit at the beginning to contextualize his narrative.
You wouldn’t think so reading it now, since the story has gone way beyond the parable structure that motivated it, but “White Roses” was also inspired by Boyd J. Petersen’s essay mentioned above; in particular, the part about faith being more fidelity as in a marital relationship than it is a belief about a certain set of facts/non-facts. I went through a dozen drafts of this thing, so I hope it makes the finalists at least. I think it’s a strong, resonating short. Writing this story, one written in the realistic vein, and getting it “right,” made me appreciate realistic fiction again. (I’m constantly flirting with, seduced by postmodernist techniques.) There is a real craft in creating a realistic story that resonates with a reader. (Not that I’m saying I have it down pat. I’m only too keenly aware of my weaknesses.)