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LTUE: Further Thoughts

February 12, 2012

Monsters and MOrmons coverI attended LTUE a little this weekend. It was a busy weekend–Matt had deadlines at work, and it was his grandpa’s 90th birthday, and my daughter had a spotlight at school, so of the many sessions available I was only able to make it to five. Next time I go I am hoping for a little more bang for my buck, but it was still fun. I hate asking for babysitting favors for things like this, because it feels selfish, but I made an exception so I could attend the Monsters and Mormons panel yesterday.

I have a story in Monsters and Mormons, “The Living Wife.” I attended the panel to hear some other contributors talk about their experiences with it, and at the end they asked non-panelist contributors to take a minute and talk about their stories. I was super awkward and didn’t really say what I wanted to, so the kind people on the panel compensated for that by saying that it really was a good story.

And I do feel very pleased with it, although it’s not all me. When I reread it I recognized again the genius editing that helped shape it. But I wish I’d introduced it better at the session. I am rarely at a loss for words, but it happened over and over the last couple of days. Ah well. Nerves.

The panelists spoke about the advantages of blending genres, and this is a pioneer domestic drama polygamy ghost love story. But I think the genre blending lends itself well to the issues I was thinking about when I wrote it. For me, polygamy is every bit as creepy as ghosts, and the reality of our doctrine is that we still practice polygamy, it’s just posthumous. A ghost story allows for that exploration. And the end of it (spoilers) has the living couple together and in love, but it also has her reconciled with the ghost wives, all of them together. It’s a polygamous reconciliation, and the story bills it as a happy ending, but the truth is that it kind of weirds me out. Is it really a love story when it ends that way? Is this the way Mormon eternal love stories are doomed to end, with all the wives making nice with each other?

I don’t know. It’s the way Zina’s story ended, but it’s not an entirely happy ending if you’re squiffy about polygamy. She sees it as happy, and in the context of her story it is, but it’s also unsettling in its way. There’s an ew factor, and also a fascination with polygamy. Two faces of the same experience, and I never really allude to the ew factor in the story, but it was there for me writing it, and I think it may be there when you read it too.

I was able to get a bunch of other contributor signatures on my hard copy–yay! And I also found Steve Morrison’s blog, and the pictures that illustrated my story. Overall, a great time.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. SpecKK permalink
    February 12, 2012 5:40 pm

    I keep hearing this “every eternal family will be polygamous” refrain, but who said it when? There’s a lot of speculative theology mixed in with first century doctrine that doesn’t mesh with facts of the mature modern church, or even the simple biological statistics that put female/ male reproduction around 50/50. Jacob’s explanation of polygamy taking place only when commanded applies to the living today and likely into our eternity.

  2. February 13, 2012 7:16 pm

    Just thought I’d let you know: I attended the panel discussion and thought so highly of ALL of the contributors (not just the ones on the panel) I went right downstairs and bought a copy of the book. So, (A) you presented it well enough for me to be intrigued and interested.

    Didn’t crack it open until yesterday (playing “hooky” from church with a sinus infection). I must tell you…. I THOROUGHLY enjoyed “Living Wife.” Absolutely fantastic…and this coming from someone who has a hard time enjoying short fiction.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  3. February 13, 2012 7:19 pm

    Here’s the thing, Emily, it’s a really great story (and thanks for the editing remark, but there’s no genius in the editing — the editor just brings up the issues, the author still has to resolve them in a satisfactory way.). It’s the one I tend to talk about when I talk about how M&M is operating on several different levels.Brian G. also read from it at the Sunstone West panel.

  4. Emily permalink*
    February 13, 2012 8:55 pm

    SpecKK, I was speculating above, but I don’t have any concrete who said it when. It’s something I’ve heard before, at various times, but I don’t have a specific quotation to back it up. I don’t really believe we are doomed to a polygamous eternity, but it’s a folk doctrine with enough air time that it was in the back of my head as I wrote.

    Iggy M, thanks–so glad you enjoyed the story. And that I didn’t sound like too much of a fool speaking. I am way more eloquent in my head than in person.

    William, all I can say is that rereading the story I was reminded many times of the things you had me fix. And grateful. And thanks for the kudos.

  5. April 26, 2012 3:12 am

    This is just a fan comment…My brother gave me the book for Christmas, and I really enjoyed your story. Way to go, and congratulations!

  6. Emily permalink*
    June 6, 2012 4:02 am

    Thanks, Christi! So glad you liked it.

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