I was happy when Wm approached me become a blogger on A Motley Vision. I have lurked on the blog for several years and, for the last few, actually commented. My poetry has been featured on Wilderness Interface Zone and in several of the LDS periodicals. My first novel, Lightning Tree, was published last April (2011) by Cedar Fort. I just signed a contract with them for a second novel, which will likely be released before the end of this year.
This is my life:
(btw—one missing from that picture).
We are a sort of unorthodox Mormon family if you’re talking about demographics and practices. I home school my children until they are eight. We’re not Republican or Democrat. My husband’s a vegetarian (you’d be surprised how disturbing this is to some of our LDS friends—more disturbing than our lack of party affiliation, in fact). We have blended our family twice; when I married Jeff and brought my first daughter into the marriage and when we adopted from Ethiopia three years ago. Also, I’m a poet and novelist. Some find that to be the most unusual thing about our family. I get a lot of questions about how I manage my time. Let’s just say, I manage it because I have to. When I say I love my family but writing is what keeps me sane, I am not really joking.
When I began writing, I did not see myself as an “LDS Author.” Like many LDS authors, I figured at first that I was writing for a more general audience. But as I wrote, I found that I veered toward the gospel and the Mormon experience. I am passionate about LDS fiction. I think we have a unique perspective that ought to be put out there to the world in general. There are plenty of people—Chaim Potok, for instance—who have written groundbreaking stuff from the perspective of certain cultural or religious groups that have touched and interested general audiences. We ought to be able to produce at least a handful of writers like that. I believe we have some already. I also think that we need to continue to work hard to attain greater excellence writing to purely LDS audiences, and help a greater number of LDS people access that sort of quality writing. One of the reasons why I love AMV is that the people who collect here—Patricia Karaminses, James Goldberg, Eric Jepson, Tyler Chadwick, William Morris, Mark Penny and others—are working hard and finding creative ways to do just that: bring quality LDS writing to more LDS people, and to help it reach outside the LDS community to more general audiences.
I have been thinking (as my writing has taken off a little lately and, consequently, begun to take up more and more of my time) about why I write. The only thing that has stuck in my mind is the word “dissonance.” I write to resolve dissonances within my own understanding and in the understanding I think I perceive in those around me. I have had some strange and difficult things happen to me. I’m just putting that out there because it’s true, and it’s changed my perspective on LDS culture and the church significantly. It’s a very real piece of why I write, I think. I write to resolve and heal pieces of my own testimony that seem to be coming up roughly against past or present life experience. I write so that I have something to do with the angst that I feel about some aspects of LDS culture and also to express the deep fondness I feel for it—the rich and complex heritage we share. I write, sometimes, to explore and heal, with the hope that others will also find common ground and some healing. Whether I’m a good or bad writer (and I know I have a long way to go, perfecting my craft,) for me writing seems to stem from a desire to help people see things from a perspective that they might not have considered. That sounds grandiose, but I can’t really apologize for it. It is why I am driven to write and to become a better writer, and that is why I am glad to be given this opportunity as well.