Announcement: AML Blog Slots

Hi all! I’ve been asked by the AML board to take over coordination of the AML blog. I’m posting to ask for suggestion and throw out some ideas for how we — that’s us here at AML, but also hopefully includes some of you reading — can help improve the blog so it will better serve the community of Mormon letters.

I want to start by saying that we’re not looking to cut anyone who’s been contributing so far. All of my ideas have to do with adding to what we’re currently doing.

The main idea I want to explore in this post is areas of focus for the AML blog spots. Up to now, most of those slots have been associated with individual posters, such as Scott Parkin, Eric Samuelsen, and Margaret Young. I’d like to add more rotating blog spots: i.e., slots that are allocated to a particular area of focus, potentially featuring different guest posts under the supervision of a coordinator for that particular slot.

For example (throwing out an example at random), one slot might be allocated to Mormon YA literature. Each month, there could be a post on some topic of importance, new developments in that area, an interview with a Mormon YA author, etc. — all under the direction of a designated YA slot coordinator. Other potential areas of focus might relate to specific communities (e.g., independent Mormon book publishers) or topics (e.g., Mormon perspectives on literary criticism). The main thing any given slot would need would be (a) a clearly defined area of focus, and (b) someone willing to act as the coordinator for that slot.

Part of my overall vision is that in addition to acting as a forum for members of the AML community, the AML blog could also be a place where people can come to get a good overview of interesting things that are happening in Mormon letters. It’s my perception that the Mormon literary world (taken at its broadest) is quite fractured right now, with many different groups pursuing their own interests, often with little knowledge or involvement from other groups. I’d like to see the AML blog as a place where people who haven’t traditionally been part of AML can toot their horn and describe their projects. In short, I’d like to see this not so much as AML’s space, but as a common space — a bazaar, if you will — sponsored by AML, with different corners expressing the rich diversity of interests, communities, and enterprises that are involved in some way with Mormon literature.

There are lots of other ideas we’ve had as well. Right now, though, I’m going to shut up and ask those of you who are reading to share your thoughts. What do you think would make the AML blog a better, more vibrant, more interesting and appealing place to come? (For now, please focus on content issues; I’m not responsible for the technical side of things.) What do you think of my rotating slots idea? What slots would you recommend? Would you be willing to help with one, or can you suggest someone else? All well-intended suggestions welcome!

P.S. A final note: Sometimes, people looking at AML-sponsored resources and events conceive of some vast “they” out there — the Minions of AML — whose job it is to Make Things Happen. I’m here to tell you that alas, the group is quite small and already more-than-fully tasked. If the kind of bazaar I’ve proposed here is to happen, it can only be if each different group or community is willing to man its own booth.

About Jonathan Langford

Hi! I'm the coordinator for the AML blog, a critic and reviewer of Mormon literature and sf&f, and an aspiring creative writer with one published novel. To contact me about the AML blog, email jonathan AT langfordwriter DOT com.
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4 Responses to Announcement: AML Blog Slots

  1. Mark Brown says:

    What does it mean that absolutely nobody has anything to say about this post?

  2. Moriah Jovan says:

    It most likely means there’s probably a lot of brainstorming going on behind the scenes and this post was meant to include people who weren’t on that list but might have some good ideas.

  3. It’s true that there’s been some good brainstorming behind the scenes, and general enthusiasm for the idea. What’s been lacking so far, though — and what I was hoping to get some of in response to this post — was some more specifics, especially in terms of communities/topics that would make good areas of focus for these targeted slots. Who are the groups who are doing exciting things in Mormon letters that we should hear about here? Who should I be contacting to find out more? So far, that’s largely been lacking.

  4. David Hulet says:

    I can think of two groups off-hand who are Mormon-affiliated and may or may not be interested in helping man the booths. However, in their cases, they too are seemingly over-burdened and not able to keep up as it is. So this comment may just be another spark waiting to fizzle :/

    1. Mormon Artist Magazine – headed up by Ben Crowder (and I believe Katherine Morris). Both of them have been involved with AML extensively before (as have I).
    2. The Mormon Worker – "The primary objective of The Mormon Worker is to meaningfully connect core ideas of Mormon theology and practice with a host of political, economic, ecological, philosophical, and social topics.

    "Although most contributors of The Mormon Worker are members of the LDS church, some are not, and we accept submissions from people of varying secular and religious backgrounds."

    I believe the person in charge is Joshua Madson and William VanWaganen, though I’m not positive. I’m only peripherally involved with them. But I think if there were a team-up or exchange of some sort, it could generate really interesting discussion.

    3. A separate idea – I wonder if we could make AML more accessible to the general mormon populace. I don’t know that any of my mormon friends who operate in realms outside of literature even know this organization exists. There are plenty of mormons out there blogging, I know tons. It’s just a matter of taping into them and their energy to boost the discussion and participation to this blog.

    4. There’s also the other well established blogs – FMH, bycommonconsent, Dialogue, Segullah. How do we pull them in with us?

    I think you’re right Jonathan – there are plenty of sources, it’s just a matter of getting them to set up booths here. And continuing the analogy, if we get them to open shop… do we have enough customers and traffic to keep them operating in our realm? That’s a question I definitely can’t address.

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