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