Back in July, after counting the final votes in the down-to-the-wire race that closed out the Third Annual Mormon Lit Blitz, Nicole and I got talking about what we should do next. With the Four Centuries of Mormon Stories Contest, we’d brought historical, contemporary realistic, and speculative fiction into conversation with each other. What else could we do to give readers a taste of what Mormon fiction can offer?
There are a lot of things Mormon literature can do, of course, but one that seems particularly important to us is its potential to speak to the multicultural experience all modern Mormons have. Every one of us is part of a strong shared spiritual culture, but also part of a pop culture, a national culture, an educational and professional culture, and so on. We see ourselves in light of our superheroes as well as of our scriptures, are inspired by revolutions as well as by revelations, and learn from professors as well as from prophets. If we define “myths” as the stories we use to make meaning of our lives and of the world around us, today’s Mormons have a vast selection to draw from. On any given Sunday, there’s probably a primary kid somewhere comparing Satan to Bowser at the same time that a Sunday school teacher is talking about miracles during the 1989 coup attempt in the Philippines. For the most part, we seem happy to look for God in all our stories.
And writers can help us. They can open up our imaginations ever wider, and in doing so can help us weigh or bring together the diverse insights we get from our many cultures. I love the way Eric Samuelsen weaves together the war in heaven with the early stages of evolution in the first scene of his great play The Plan. I find myself strangely moved by the way Steven Peck brings out our pioneer legacy with the help of a zombie apocalypse in his short story “The Runners.” I was moved by the way Heather Marx brought together Sikh and Mormon heritage in her short story “Brother Singh” and enjoyed playing with Indian poetry and Mormon aspirations in my own short fiction “Singer and Saint: An Interview with Jeevan Sidhu.”
Our challenge for writers this fall is to draw on their many cultures’ myths to make a Mormon story.
Word Count: Up to 2,000 words
Deadline: 31 October 2014
Send up to three entries to email@example.com, preferably attached as Word documents or pdfs. Please include author’s contact information in the body of the email, but not in the attachment with the story.
Fine Print: By submitting your work, you grant us non-exclusive rights to publish your story on the web and/or in an eBook anthology. In the case of an eBook anthology, proceeds go to support Mormon literature (including future contests). Previously published stories are acceptable so long as the author retains publication rights. Collaborations are acceptable and count toward all collaborating authors’ three permitted submissions.