Today marks one week since the start of the Mormon Lit Blitz. Already we’ve featured great works by Marilyn Nielson, Wm Morris, Jeanna Mason Stay, Emily Harris Adams, Sandra Tayler, Merrijane Rice, and Kathyrn Lynard Soper. Over the next week we will be featuring the six remaining finalists, beginning tomorrow with Emily Debenham’s short story, “The Shoe App.” If you are a fan of Mormon literature, and haven’t already jumped on the Mormon Lit Blitz bandwagon, please jump now. We have plenty of seats available, and no one is going to judge you for following the crowd.
The purpose of my post today is to reflect a little on this past week and get a discussion going about some of the contest’s more interesting developments. Before I do so, however, I want to thank all of those who have helped promote the contest through social media and word of mouth. This contest—and the daily discussions it has been generating—could not have happened without you. Keep up the good work!
Admittedly, when James and I started brainstorming this project in early November, I had no idea how it would turn out. Part of me—the part that tends to worry about house fires and pandemics—worried that we wouldn’t receive any quality submissions and that the contest would be a bust. Another part of me—the part that coddles delusions of grandeur—hoped that it would be a viral sensation, something that would finally bring Balance to the Force and lasting credibility to Mormon arts and culture.
As it turned out I had nothing to worry about. No house burned down. We received plenty of quality submissions.
And while the Mormon Lit Blitz has not gone viral–not yet, at least–its first week has exceeded my most realistic expectations. On our Facebook page, and even on some of the personal blogs of our authors, readers have responded enthusiastically to the finalists’ work in lively discussions that have raised a number of important questions about Mormon literature and storytelling.
So far, one of my favorite discussions has been over the appropriateness of Marilyn Nielson’s “In Bulk,” a poem that dares to suggest that rural family culture (read: Mormon culture?) can be just as rich and meaningful as urban culture. I’ve also been interested in the varied responses to Jeanna Mason Stay’s “No Substitute for Chocolate,” which seems to have divided readers over whether or not the women in the story reacted fairly to their husbands’ (arguably?) thoughtless Mother’s Day gifts. Much has already been said about the story, but I think the discussion is far from over. In fact, I’m interested in reading more of what people think about the ways gender and power play out in the story.
For today’s discussion on Dawning of a Brighter Day, however, I’m mostly interested in learning your thoughts on the first seven pieces featured in Mormon Lit Blitz, individually or collectively. I’m also curious to know your thoughts on the following questions:
1. What is the Mormon Lit Blitz telling us about social media’s potential as a vehicle for Mormon literature?
2. Is the Mormon Lit Blitz, which features the work of eleven women and two men, revealing anything new about the ways gender plays a role not only in Mormonism, but also in the creation of Mormon literature?
3. Does the Mormon Lit Blitz’s focus on attracting a committed Latter-day Saint audience seem to play out noticeably in the works featured in the contest? Do the works seem to be holding anything back, or pulling punches, for the sake of their audience?
What do you think?
(NOTE: Feel free to talk about other matters Blitz-related. Treat the above questions as suggestions merely.)