Conversations and Invitations: My 2013 Vision for the AML Blog

I’ve always liked a good conversation with smart and insightful people. It almost doesn’t matter what the topic is. All the better, though, when we share interests and concerns that are near and dear to my heart — such as Mormon letters. (For a great example of what that can mean, see the vigorous discussion launched by Scott Hales’s post earlier this week.)

We’ve had a good run here at Dawning of a Brighter Day. With any luck, that will continue. Thinking ahead to 2013, I’d like to share some of my thoughts about how that will go — and the role that you (yes, and I do mean you) can play in making that happen.

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First, I’d like to say that I value the tone of the conversation here: intelligent, informed, mutually respectful. Sometimes (very occasionally) I feel the need to jump in as moderator to maintain that respectful tone. Sometimes I do it badly, and I apologize for that. Going forward, I’ll try to be more up-front and transparent about my interventions.

We have a group of insightful regular contributors. That will continue in 2013, though due to the natural processes of attrition we will, alas! lose some regular voices that have been part of the discussion in the past. I hope that even though they (you) may not be able to contribute regular blog posts, they’ll (you’ll) still join us here as part of the conversation.

I’d like to see more guest posts. Part of my vision for AML as an organization and for the AML blog in particular is that it can be a place where people from many different parts of the world of Mormon letters get together to see what’s happening in other parts of the vineyard/garden/bazaar/whatever metaphor you want to use. Whatever your project in Mormon letters, we’d love to hear about it! Please email me at jonathan AT langfordwriter DOT com to find out more.

I’d love to get an online AML book club started, focused around this blog — one that would tackle a variety of different kinds of titles: old, new, realist, genre, famous, neglected. So far, the best idea for this seems to be one book every other month, with someone volunteering to lead the discussion and posts spread out over the 2-month period. Details to be developed. The main thing I need in order to launch this is volunteers to lead a discussion about a particular book. Contact me with your proposal at the same email address I gave in the last paragraph. (Are you starting to see a trend?)

I’d love to find a way to increase our active readership. Maybe it’s unrealistic, but I’d love for this to be a place where people hang out, whatever the nature of their interests in Mormon letters, simply because they find out such interesting things here (and meet such interesting people). Please feel free to make suggestions by — wait for it — posting your ideas in a response to this blog. (Hah! Got you that time.) Or emailing me. Whatever.

I’m open to other ideas and directions as well, especially if they’re accompanied by an offer to help with any work involved. Inherent in the idea of a conversation is that it has to belong to everyone. A conversation with just one person… isn’t.

Finally, thanks to all of you who do read, who contribute, and who make evident your interest in Mormon letters in a variety of ways. That’s what AML, and its blog, are all about.

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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9 Responses to Conversations and Invitations: My 2013 Vision for the AML Blog

  1. Th. says:

    .

    I’d like to see more guest posts. Part of my vision for AML as an organization and for the AML blog in particular is that it can be a place where people from many different parts of the world of Mormon letters get together to see what’s happening in other parts of the vineyard/garden/bazaar/whatever metaphor you want to use. Whatever your project in Mormon letters, we’d love to hear about it

    I’d love to find a way to increase our active readership. Maybe it’s unrealistic, but I’d love for this to be a place where people hang out, whatever the nature of their interests in Mormon letters, simply because they find out such interesting things here (and meet such interesting people).

    I think both these ideas are excellent, but I also think they’re a bit contradictory. The first recommendation I would make is actually seeking out Mormon artists out there in different circles and get them in. Maybe just ask to reprint what they posted elsewhere. Because those people who aren’t here are going to miss this post (and maybe this entire blog) unless some active recruiting happens.

    (ps: thanks for taking off INK! this was so much easier to write!)

    • Jonathan Langford says:

      I’m not sure how the two contradict, but I agree that actively seeking out Mormons artists in different circles is a good idea. And I’ve tried to do that. Unfortunately, my own knowledge/readership in the various Mormon arts arenas, blogs, etc., is fairly limited. Which I guess is part of my plea: anyone who knows about something of that sort, please send a referral my way — or talk to the person/group involved and have them approach me.

      As far as INK goes: I wasn’t aware of doing anything. Maybe someone else did? Or maybe it’s a setting I accidentally changed for my own posts a while ago…

      • Andrew H. says:

        Well, Ink still works for me, and I hate it. Can we get rid of it? Whenever I try to cut and paste something from the blog (which is helpful in doing the year in review), it makes it so the links to not work.

  2. I love the book club idea.

    • Jonathan Langford says:

      Would you be willing to lead a discussion on some specific book/title? It could be a play, as long as it’s something people could get hold of with sufficient notice. Send me a proposal!

    • Scott Parkin says:

      I really want to participate in such discussions, but wouldn’t have the slightest clue how to lead one. As one with very limited resources, newer titles would be harder for me engage.

      • Scott Hales says:

        Most libraries in Utah county carry Mormon novels, right? I know Provo did back when I lived there.

      • Scott Parkin says:

        Have fortunate access to BYU library so getting the title is not a problem. I just hate to do an analytic reading using someone else’s copy that I have to give back. Makes it hard to carry on an extended discussion that might use references.

  3. C. M. Malm says:

    What kind of book club are we talking about? Books with Mormon characters written by Mormon authors? Or books written by Mormon authors, without (necessarily) Mormon characters? Or just books generally, discussed from a Mormon perspective?

    I love the idea of discussing books with other Mormons. But as I’ve said before (I think), it takes significantly more than a book being *about* Mormon characters to interest me, much for the same reason that I don’t read “mainstream fiction”: I don’t want to read about people who are living (roughly) the same life I lead; I want a story to take me to new places, new cultures, new perspectives. That’s been my prevailing taste in literature since childhood.

    So while I’d be willing (even happy) to lead book discussions, if the books in question in this proposed book club are “mainstream” Mormon lit, chances are I would not want to read them, let alone discuss them. I certainly wouldn’t want to purchase them with my limited funds, which would probably be my primary option out here in Nauvoo-land.

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