The bags were packed; they stood in a neat row across the entire front wall of the living room; weighed, tagged, ready to march. She’d been up until two filling them. The house had been a bustle at first, with friends bringing food and scraping hard water off bathroom faucets and staring while she tore everything out of that last suitcase to find a new way to make everything fit.
couldn’t have been easy. Walking away from
tangible gods, elaborate bodies. No more
wooing the throne or imposing your thirst
on the Nile’s fertility. Just wind and wilderness
between desire and your next meal. Just
the breath of your mother’s God calling
from the reeds. Now from the shepherd’s well.
Now from the backside of Sinai’s emptiness. Continue reading “Leaving Egypt” by Tyler Chadwick
My first thought upon waking each morning has been the same: Trek did nothing to prepare me for this.
I groggily open my eyes to the clear morning sky, my sister stirring next to me and my little brother burrowing into his sleeping bag. The sounds of the awakening wagon train fill my ears. The familiar anxiety settles on me, an unwelcome guest.
My dad is already up, packing the handcart. “It’s going to be a scorcher today,” he says. “We’ve got to get a move on while it’s still fairly cool.”
We dress quickly and eat a few bites, and then start moving east with the rest of the wagon train. I hate the first hours of each day, before the solar power-assist wagon wheels charge enough to provide some of the handcart’s propulsion. It has been two weeks since we set out from Salt Lake City, marching past burnt-out towns and razed fields. No pioneer stories or parades could have prepared any of us for this.
But how could they? That was all long ago, before the wars broke out, before the pandemic swept across North America, before the earthquakes ricocheted across the Wasatch Front. Before the First Presidency letter circulated from house to house, with instructions on creating lightweight handcarts and heading as wards toward Missouri.
My sister starts singing, her braids bouncing on her shoulders. “Pioneer children sang as they walked…and walked…and walked…”
My brother joins in for the final repetition: “AND walked…”
I do not sing, but set my jaw as we struggle up an incline, rocks sliding under my feet. Abigail is thirteen, still a sweet and excited Beehive. Parley is only nine. How can they be so trusting? I think. How can we even know there will be anything there? My ankle twists painfully on a rock and I stifle an agitated sigh. My dad gives me a tired smile. He has looked tired for a very long time. Continue reading “Fresh Courage Take” by Bradeigh Godfrey
We have twelve stellar pieces this year–short stories, essays, and poems. Some will inspire you. Some will challenge you and your notions of Mormon literature. Some will give you insights even as they make you laugh.
In the comments to this post, we want to hear your thoughts and your reactions on the pieces. What struck you? What was interesting or original about a piece? What is the dialogue between the pieces? We invite everyone to chime in, including the authors.
The Fifth Annual Mormon Lit Blitz will run from May 23rd to June 4th. We posted the longlist last week, and now we’ve narrowed the entries to the final twelve pieces which we will publish.
The finalists, listed by publication date:
May 23rd: “Foolish and Wise” by Lisa Barker
May 24th: “Fresh Courage Take” by Bradeigh Godfrey
May 25th: “Leaving Egypt” by Tyler Chadwick
May 26th: “Ghost” by Merrijane Rice
May 27th: “Requiem for Those People Who Lived Briefly in Your Ward” by Rose Green
May 28th: “The Gift of Tongues“ by Annaliese Lemmon
May 30th: “Branch 9 ¾” by Kaki Olsen
May 31st: “Golden Contact” by Lee Allred
June 1st: “The Back Row” by Kelli Swofford Nielsen
June 2nd: “Rumors of Wars” by Zachary Lunn
June 3rd: “Last Tuesday” by William Morris
June 4th: “From the East” by Merrijane Rice
Thank you to all who submitted to this year’s contest. Please join us on this page to follow the finalists. Voting will open on June 6th and close on June 11th. The winner of the contest will be announced on June 13th.
We had an excellent batch of submissions this year, and the entire judging team read the entries over the past four days. Due to the quality of entries, we’re not quite down to the promised twelve finalists, but after much discussion, we have narrowed it down to a longlist of twenty. By Monday we will make our decision and announce the finalists. The twelve finalists will then be published on this blog from May 23rd to June 4th.
Meanwhile, we’d like to offer congratulations to the twenty pieces (and their authors) on the longlist:
“Barefoot” by Robbie Taggart
“Branch 9 ¾” by Kaki Olsen
“Foolish and Wise” by Lisa Barker
“Fresh Courage Take” by Bradeigh Godfrey
“From the East” by Merrijane Rice
“Geirfinnur Atlason” by Steven L. Peck
“Ghost” by Merrijane Rice
“Golden Contact” by Lee Allred
“Holey Chairs” by Jenny Rabe
“Last Defiance of a Reluctant Church Goer” by James D. Beers
“Last Tuesday” by William Morris
“Leaving Egypt” by Tyler Chadwick
“Pacific: Mateu Matem” by Tyler Chadwick
“Requiem for Those People Who Lived Briefly in Your Ward” by Rose Green
“Rumors of Wars” by Zachary Lunn
“The Back Row” by Kelli Swofford Nielsen
“The Bride and the Rice Stone Way” by Mark Penny
“The Gift of Tongues“ by Annaliese Lemmon
“The Hoofer” by Scott Hales
“The Progress of a Miracle” by Emily Harris Adams
We hope you’re still working on your entries for the 2016 Mormon Lit Blitz. For more inspiration, you may be interested in another story from the archives of Everyday Mormon Writer.
“The Hearts of the Fathers” by Jeanine Bee was a finalist in the 2012 Mormon Lit Blitz contest. It was originally published online at Everyday Mormon Writer.
My dad thinks he only taught me one thing growing up. Every chance he got he would remind us, “Kids, never fight a monkey.” I’m not sure what internet video or TV special he saw about fighting monkeys that prompted him to make this his motto, but it is something I’ll always remember. Once, our home teacher shared with us a moment he had when he reminded his daughter of one of those oft repeated Mormon adages. Something like “The spirit goes to bed at 10:00,” or “Modest is Hottest.” His daughter had heeded his sage advice and, of course, avoided something major, like an explosion at a nearby gas station or a freak tornado. After that story my dad said, “I wish I had taught my children something worthwhile like that.” My brother and I piped in, “Dad! You did teach us something important! Remember? ‘Never fight a monkey!'” My dad looked a little embarrassed at our praise.
The Mormon Lit Blitz is the world’s premier contest for Mormon Micro-Literature. Held annually, the contest has helped expose fickle online readers to engaging Mormon flash fiction, poetry, short essays, and so on for longer than most missions last. Submissions for The Fifth Annual Mormon Lit Blitz Writing Contest are due by 7 May 2016 to email@example.com. Submitted works may be in any genre so long as they are under 1,000 words and designed to resonate with an LDS audience in some way. Previously published material and simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Up to three submissions are allowed per entrant.
Finalists will be posted on the Mormon Artist magazine website (lit.mormonartist.net) starting in late May. At the conclusion of the Lit Blitz, readers will vote for their favorite pieces and a $100 prize will be given to the winner.
To facilitate the judging process, we prefer to receive submissions as .doc, .docx, or .pdf attachments with the author’s name and contact information in the body of the email but not included in the attached text. Please email submissions and any questions you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By submitting, authors give us the one-time rights to publish their work electronically. As stated above, previously published work is fine if you still have the rights to the piece and if it meets the above contest requirements.
Here are links that will get you to previous years’ finalists: