Peculiar Pages

BCC is pleased (sad?) to present the last guest submission from Theric.  All hail our wonderful guest!

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Although I remain convinced that my primary artistic goals in life should be to enter the larger public arena, you may have noticed that I also feel strongly about recognizing the vitality and worth of Mormon arts for Mormon consumption. (Although I’ll rush to add that none of the books I’m about to talk about need be limited to Mormon consumption. Don’t think that.)

It’s to that end that Peculiar Pages was born. Our first book, The Fob Bible, has no terribly overt Mormon background. If you skip the introduction, you won’t know it’s there at all. I would guess sales of the book are about evenly split between Mormon readers and not-Mormon readers, but who knows. I do know that it’s become one of (the many) books of which your savvy Mormon reader will say, “Oh yeah. Heard about that. Supposed to be really good. I should really get a copy . . . someday.”

Fire in the Pasture Cover ArtThe two books we’ll be releasing before the end of the year aim to be the sort of book people won’t buy “someday” but will buy, like, today.

(But you could still start by downloading The Fob Bible‘s plain and precious parts for free.)

Fire in the Pasture is, let’s face it, a major landmark boundary-disrupting game-defining historic unmissable mustread book. And that’s if I’m being modest. Tyler Chadwick has just edited the long overdue followup to the genre-defining Mormon-poetry collection Harvest (1989). I don’t know if you know this (if you don’t, let Tyler tell you), but Mormons are widespread and genuinely important in the modern American poetry scene. Fire in the Pasture collects work from over eighty of our best. And while Harvest, because of its relative antiquity, is a “someday” book, Fire in the Pasture is a now! today! book. Remember this. Because you can buy your copy now! today! and get it as soon as it drops. Then you can be the hip kid on your block up on the MoPo scene.

The other buyitnow book we’re about to release is Monsters & Mormons. Besides stories from Nebula-winner Eric James Stone and writer-of-the-moment Dan Wells and leading Lovecraftian Willum Pugmire, we have fiction from Bloggernacle favorite Steven Peck. You owe it to Brother Peck to buy this book.

In all seriousness though, what limits the Bloggernacle’s capacity to explore the edges or Mormonism?

Simple.

There’s no fiction in the Bloggernacle.

Monsters & Mormons is, on the one hand, a fun and innocent lark. But make no mistake: not everyone will interpret it so innocently. Some people will insist on reading the stories as Comments on Things. Did the authors intend that? Who cares? The first think I tell my lit students is to forget about the author; just focus on what the story is. And the first thing Monsters & Mormons “is” is a lotta fun. Shortshorts! Novellas! Poetry! Comics! Zombies!

This book has far more buzz than anything else I’ve ever worked on. I expect it to sell almost as well outside Mormondom as inside. So please: join the conversation.

Buy our books, then help us talk about them.

Because as much as I may claim Mormon Arts Matter, they don’t unless we discuss them. Theology is good. History is good. The Arts are also good.

Be loud.

= = = = = INTERMISSION = = = = = 

One more thing before my stint as a guestposter ends.

Another book we’ll be releasing sometime next year is not a new book at all. Earlier this year I wrote about how sad it is most Mormons are unaware of Nephi Anderson’s novel Dorian which is terrific and which I will defend against anyone. It’s a great novel. We should have been reading it constantly since it’s first release. And yet . . . we let it disappear.

The response to that post made me realize that we need to not only make that book available (EVERY book is available in 2011) but also to treat it with the same respect we treat the better books of Austen and Twain and James.

And so Peculiar Pages is — are you ready for this announcement? — releasing an edition of Dorian in 2012 that takes Dorian seriously. In addition to the novel’s text, we will have essays from a variety of scholars from a variety of fields. Among these essays are “A New Picture of Dorian Trent: Nephi Anderson, Dorian, and the Project of Twentieth-Century Mormonism” by Scott Hales, “Integrating the ‘Best Books': Interwar Intellectualism and Extratextuality in Nephi Anderson’s Dorian” by Mason Allred, “What is the ‘Mormon’ in Mormon Theology?” by Jacob Baker, “Dorian Who? Dorian Trent! Or How I Tend to Shoo My Prejudices Away!” by Ángel Chaparro Sainz, “The Natural Man and the Natural Woman in Anderson’s Dorian” by Arwen Taylor, and more! more! more!

It’s only by recognizing our excellence in the past that we can grow into our excellent present and thus create a more excellent future. We need to take pride in our artistic heritage, celebrate our artistic present, and press forward to a greater artistic future.

And now that you’re feeling jingoistic, go buy my books.

Comments

  1. I’m going to file this post away to remember the next time someone makes snarky or judgmental posts about consumerism in the Church, collectibles sold by Deseret Book, or other favorite targets of indignation.

  2. I dub thee Theric the Promoter, Seller of Books. I might actually buy some of these now.

    “There’s no fiction in the Bloggernacle.” I’m not so sure about that.

  3. Theric for Perma!

  4. Consumerism is a good thing when it brings about something like “Fire in the Pasture,” which, judging by its list of contributors, ought to be worth every penny. And buying theses books will only encourages independent publishers like Peculiar Pages to release more Mormon Lit titles, like maybe a new book of critical essays on Mormon literature to replace the woefully inadequate “Tending the Garden.”

  5. Re: Consumerism

    I’m all for it!

  6. Now that is something worth thinking very hard about, Scott. I agree on the inadequacies of Tending the Garden (although it’s still an important collection for its time).

    An update of Arts and Inspiration may also be an order.

    Also: no poaching BCC! What are you people, T&S?

  7. Wm., you know we love AMV forever. And there has been, IIRC, fiction in the Bloggernacle, though it didn’t last long enough. Popcorn Popping may return someday!

  8. .

    All is not well in Zion. Part of the spiritual record that must be kept is the poetry of the people. In a sense, a people who do not have a body of significant and enduring poetry do not, in fact, exist.

  9. “Some people will insist on reading the stories as Comments on Things. Did the authors intend that? Who cares? The first think I tell my lit students is to forget about the author; just focus on what the story is.”

    Maybe you should have lunch with Norbert and talk about Hamlet and Orson Scott Card.

  10. et tu KLC?

  11. Steve, maybe he could bring a copy of the Fob Bible and invite bhodges to talk about why “…no one, no one can touch the classics.” And how it is “like Good Charlotte covering a Beatles album or something…”

  12. .

    I should have mentioned that the art for Fire in the Pasture is by terrific Mormon artist Casey Jex Smith. Check him out.

  13. .

    Also, now that it’s out of moderation, may I direct your attention of to the comment from 1969 Clinton Larson (#8)?

  14. KLC ftw.

  15. There’s no fiction in the Bloggernacle.

    That this statement remains uncorrected after 14 comments means that obviously nobody at BCC has ever taken a look at Keepa in the afternoon. *sniff*

    Carry on.

  16. Ardis, I refuse to acknowledge Keepa — by so doing, I hope to corner you into joining BCC. It’s all part of a master plot.

  17. It is Bloggernacle imperialism.

  18. Manifest Bloggernacle Destiny.

  19. observer fka eric s says:

    Th, ‘your primary artistic goals’ linked post is great, are the ideas behind exandingmormart here. To what Ballard said in that Ensign article years ago (which I also read at the time and it struck me too) regarding enjoying art, I feel LDS perceptions may be limited by our doctrines and intermingled doctrinal myths. LDS learn that fantasy can be idle and even thought (which I suppose, it can be sometimes). We learn that things created by the hands of men are “idols.” We learn that challenge, personal inner conflict and reconciliation are the spirit of contention and pain. So we avoid and stear away. And on and on. So our culture has surrounded itself by the $h1T that is Thomas Kincade. We live in a didactic Norman Rockwell world instead of Edward Hopper’s (http://www.weareprivate.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/hopper.hotel-room.jpg) where we visit a more familiar human condition.

  20. I didn’t learn any of that, observer fka eric s. Probably because my family consistently read the Book of Mormon while I was growing up.

    Also: for all you Bloggernacle neophytes — Popcorn Popping

  21. Actually, I remember in Primary when we used to color pictures and then take turns ripping them apart as part of our anti-idolatry indoctrination. Then, as a youth, I remember firebombing other stake centers when they had the audacity to put on roadshows. And don’t get me started on what we did to those kids we caught reading fantasy novels when they should have been working on merit badges.

    Those were good times.

  22. “Manifest Bloggernacle Destiny.”

    Steve, there is a reason you are one of my heroes.

  23. .
    Clearly I overstated the no-fiction-on-the-bloggernacle point, though I must say I thought the exceptions taken would take a different direction than they have.

    Scott H (21) — I really love the Primary idea. I’m exceedingly tempted to try that sometime.

  24. Steve, you must acknowledge Keepa’s independence to prevent people from discovering your Borg-inspired assimilation plans.

    And just so you know, there have been recent discussions at Keepa that included zombies and cattle rustling. So Monsters & Mormons is not a big stretch for the Keepaninnies.

  25. Is FOB “Friends of Ben”? I know two contributors to that very well. Leave a comment and I’ll email you if I’m right.

  26. .

    You’re right.

  27. .

    You are right. Do you know how to email me? I mean — it’s not hard, but I feel like I should ask.

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