As a writer, I like to think of myself first and foremost as a literary critic and shameless promoter of Mormon literature. But occasionally I do write short stories and poems. Most of the time, these creative works either aren’t very good or go unfinished, and I rarely take the time to fix them up or finish them.
Today, though, and I guess for as long as Everyday Mormon Writer keeps it up and archived, you can read my short short story “Album,” a piece I wrote up a week or so after the Mormon Lit Blitz ended. It’s about a returned missionary in Brazil who still struggles to make a place for himself four years after his mission. The story touches on and tries to work out a lot of issues I’ve been thinking about lately–not just about the differences between American Mormon and transnational Mormon experiences, but also about transnational Mormon literature and the ethics of American Mormon writers ventriloquizing non-American Mormon characters. That is: in our efforts to tell and promote the telling of non-American Mormon stories, do we unwittingly play the colonizer in our representations of their experiences, feelings, frustrations, etc. Can the American Mormon presume to understand and speak for the Brazilian, the Ghanaian, of the Russian Mormon? I’d like to think that the failures and lack of communication going on between Gilson, my main character, and the American missionary say something to these questions.
I’d also like to hear what other readers get out of my story–even if it has nothing to do with what I tried to do in the story.
Feel free to comment on the story here.