The Populist’s Soapbox

This is my first post for the AML, and as I was considering what I might write, a glorious revelation came to me. I can write about ANYTHING I want. I write for two other blogs, my own personal blog, and the Writing on the Wall blog. On those two separate spaces, I’m not exactly free to write whatever I want. For Writing on the Wall, it’s strictly about writing. It’s about grammar, the question of to-outline, or not-to-outline. It’s about queries, edits, and research.

You would imagine I should be free to write what I want on my personal blog—after all, it’s mine, but it isn’t exactly a free-to-be-me zone. I have national publishing aspirations and work to keep the posts targeted to a national audience. It is my public personality. I delve into personal stuff sometimes, but it’s kept light, and it’s very seldom about religion. Religious posts happen on occasion, but it isn’t the focus.

Religion and writing.

Those are two very important halves of my life. I feel fortunate to write in the LDS market where I can allow those halves to spill over onto each other. But when I began the hunt for a national agent to represent my national works, I decided it would be best if my blog didn’t share that spill-over. And now here I am — liberated. I can speak of writing and religion together — all in one place.

A brief introduction to me: I have always loved writing and always wanted to grow up to be something that had something to do with writing. But that didn’t necessarily mean that I always wanted to be an author specifically. I wanted to be an advertising agent, a lyricist, a poet, a screenwriter, a teacher, an editor, and yes — author was on the list too, but that was a pretty long list, and author was just one of a million opportunites. As long as I was writing something, I didn’t much care what I did. And then tenth grade and Mr. Cowden happened. He told me I’d never be an author. I hate it when people tell me what to do. So that decided the matter. I would be an author — if for no other reason than to irritate that man.

We all have varying levels of writing. We all have different interests in literature and our own ideas of what constitutes real literature. Some of you are poets, some of you are scholars, some of you write commercial fiction, some write histories—personal and otherwise. But we all share something incredibly important.


It’s all about the words. No matter where any of us are in our writing, we all share the love of words. And regardless of what goals we have for our writing—all the words matter. We all love words and fill the niches we feel most comfortable in. The romance writer isn’t greater than the mystery writer. The fantasy writer isn’t greater than the non-fiction writer. The lyricist is not greater than the poet. The guy creating amazing ad copy is just as important as the guy keeping a personal journal. It’s about the words, and fulfilling that divine spark to desire creating something from nothing. I consider that a hereditary gene passed down from our Father in Heaven. And I’m glad to be here in a place where I can give Heavely Father credit without censure. I look forward to getting to know you all better.

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4 Responses to The Populist’s Soapbox

  1. Jonathan Langford says:

    Welcome! I understand what you mean about being able to address both aspects at once here. That was a big part of what drew me into AML many years ago (while working on a never-finished grad degree in literature, and long before I had any thoughts of writing anything for the Mormon market): that is, the chance to talk the intersection between the ideas I was encountering in classes on literary criticism and the ideas and values of my LDS faith. It’s an area fraught with potential conflicts — but also with the potential for a fruitful cross-fertilization.

  2. Lisa Torcasso Downing says:

    Welcome Julie. _My Not So Fairy Tale Life_ was one of my LDS romance challenge books this year. I never read popular LDS fiction or romance, so I decided to pick up a couple titles and see what was happening in the market. Yours was recommended and I enjoyed it.

    But you know, I actually hate words. Hate them. Now, I like them all collected together in a fine narrative, and especially like the feeling that I’ve collected several thousand together in one of those narratives, but as individual items? I hate words. I find them stubborn, elusive, difficult and rarely willing to get in line the way I want them, or out of line when I don’t want them. What’s more, I get a perverse pleasure from chopping them, as anyone I’ve edited will attest. Am I the only one who hates words?

    Today I finished chopping over 11,ooo self-obsessed words from a manuscript of my own. They died screaming. I’m going to bed smiling. I hate words.

  3. Great post, Julie. The power and variety of what we can do with words is truly awesome.

    Lisa, I loved your line about the words that “died screaming.” Great imagery for anyone who’s ever been frustrated when editing!

  4. Julie Wright says:

    The going to bed smiling after “died screaming” made me laugh–a lot! Thanks for the welcome.

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