Author Archives: Scott Parkin

The Sacred and the Profane

As Mormons we are a missionary people. We are specifically enjoined to share both intellectual knowledge and more intimate understandings of spiritual things. So how do we share the thoughts of our heads and the understandings of our hearts without trampling the sacred? How do we come to understand those things unless we consider them with sometimes brutal intensity? Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, General | 4 Comments

Mormon Enough? I’m Relieved to Discover…

I believe the tendency to reduce and exclude, to narrow definitions to simple, direct memes has its uses. In criticizing literature by Mormons or for Mormon audiences, Mormon critics must necessarily categorize and differentiate which shelves should carry which stories. Readers deserve to know.

But I think we do ourselves a disservice if we dismiss as irrelevant those works by self-described Mormon authors that are not told in culturally Mormon forms and terms. Because it is precisely these subconsciously Mormon tales that can reveal deep Mormonism to those audiences most capable of understanding those themes. Not better than more overt tales, but just as deserving of our thoughtful criticism. It would be a shame to institutionally dismiss what could be some of our most deeply Mormon works because that Mormonness was not obvious enough. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, General, Mormon LitCrit, SF&F corner, The Populist's Soapbox | 4 Comments

But Is It Mormon Enough?

Any time you form a group and attempt to facilitate discussions of interest to that group, one of the first questions is where to draw the lines to distinguish what we are/do from what other people are/do. What’s our communal identity? How do we differentiate? Beyond what we choose to embrace, what do we choose not to discuss?

Part I of an extended meander triggered by a misreading, supported by a misremembering, and reflecting an outsider’s view on a fundamental question of Mormon criticism that took the long way around to dovetail with the more traditional academic view. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Mormon LitCrit, Storytelling and Community | 5 Comments

Hope, Horror, and Context

Zombie lore is founded on the idea of thoughtless, mindless pseudo-people seeking to steal precious life—to no apparently constructive purpose. The twin terror of insatiable hunger and relentless pursuit by a foe that cannot be reasoned with speaks to an ultimate horror of battle that must be waged, but can never be won. If the battle of ideas can never be won, then I’m perfectly justified in characterizing the opposition as mindless, vapid, or unthinking, and casually dismissing them en masse.

The metaphor isn’t even remotely subtle. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Horror Shelf, Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

Mine Eyes Have Seen…Differently

While spending the day with friends in Salt Lake City recently, I had the chance to visit a small park on the northeast side of the city at the base of university hill, just diagonal from Trolley Square. It’s called … Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Personal Narratives, Storytelling and Community | 6 Comments

When Good Report Fails

I’ve always been a big fan of the last line of the thirteenth Article of Faith — “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” So lists, reviews, and recommendations are … Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, On-screen, The Populist's Soapbox | 4 Comments

Realishness and Realizing Realism

I write across a fair number of genres. Each form prides itself on telling True Stories that move beyond mere accuracy to expose underlying Reality. Even writers of “realistic” fiction carefully sift the many real and accurate possible details to find the one they perceive as most (contextually) powerful or interesting—leaving an awful lot of realism unrealized in any story.

This is not a rant against the definition of “real” or “true;” rather it’s a personal exploration of the usefulness of varied viewpoints in collision with the conventions of genre and the marketplace. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Personal Narratives, Storytelling and Community, The Writer's Desk, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

It’s All Us

Every author has to work out the details of their own career with fear and trembling, but as we seek our avenues for expression it seems useful to remember the reader. If Indie publishers are taking market share, it’s because readers are seeking satisfying stories outside the traditional (and sometimes limited or hidebound) avenues. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices | 8 Comments

The Cranky Curmudgeon: I Got Nothin’

Problem is that there really is a lot of meh out there. Not good, not bad, just…meh. Entropy seems to be working. I don’t believe in negative reviews, so I won’t mention any names (to protect the guilty), but in the end a lot of my recent reading has filled me with a colossal sense of “so what?” Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Storytelling and Community | 4 Comments

I Can’t Do That…

It becomes very easy to see your own gaps of talent, to identify the admirable in others and despair at its relative lack in your own work. We seek to be Miltons and Shakespeares, and in so doing sometimes fail to recognize how successfully we cover much of the same ground by somewhat different means. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Personal Narratives, Storytelling and Community, The Writer's Desk | 3 Comments