Monday, April 13, 2015

On coming to understand one's self as a Mormon artist

I tread the fine line dividing the margin at the lip of the page where the outland of writing desk begins. I have tried so long not to be a "Mormon" anything other than congregant, a sinner parading as stigmatized saint. This is a funny dance. And I keep trying.

I sat in sacrament meeting yesterday and was pounded by powerful insights as a fellow sister gave the most moving talk on covenants I've ever heard. It wasn't necessarily what she said, but what I understood as she spoke that transported me so. I've been struggling for weeks, nearly months, to approach the defining scene in my final CNF essay. What I've realized is that the act of trying to write the episode as something outside of my understanding is disingenuous to the piece. And when I'm finally able to write the powerful revelations I confronted yesterday, the essay will only be a "Mormon" essay. I know Karin wants a universal work. Except, I'm not a universal agent. I mean to write to an audience to help them better understand the tightrope negotiation of being both in the world and not of it that we are required to balance in discipleship of Jesus Christ.

Today, I am comfortable finding myself nudged into the world of "Mormon" artist. It provides an element of both safety and risk that fuels my work, informs my choices, makes me work harder to produce clean craft and give careful attention to what I finally sign with my name. 

Karin once said that women my age come into their writing because they are finally free. I had no idea that I'd be free to cast off the demands of being an "other." 

I'm squarely decided. 

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