Teaching Dispensation: Darrell Spencer’s "Blood Work"

Next week I’ll be teaching Darrell Spencer’s “Blood Work” in my American Religious Landscapes class. Since I’m in Utah right now, I thought it would be fun to snap a few pictures of places and streets mentioned in the story and show them to my students. Here are the results:

“In 1847 Orson Pratt and Henry G. Sherwood, working from a point surveyors established as the Great Salt Lake Base and Meridian, beginning at the southwest corner of what could eventually be Temple Square, laid out Salt Lake City’s grid of streets.”
“J.J’s father’s house is east of Temple Square up in the Avenues on M Street.”
“The sidewalk squares are uprooted and neglected. They look jerry-built and seem confused about the basic function.”

 “Across Capitol Boulevard is the entrance to City Creek Canyon. Signs say DO NOT ENTER, WRONG WAY. They’re for cars, and the way they’re posted they seem angry.”

“Rather than a hunt-and-peck jog down the alphabet streets and across the Avenues so that he works his way like a crossword puzzle from C Street to M Street, from Eleventh Avenue to Sixth Avenue, J.J, stays with Eleventh until he comes to M, then he lopes down it.”

As I was driving down Eleventh Avenue, I saw this guy jogging just like the main character in the story. Finding this rather serendipitous, I pulled over to the side of the street–creeper-like–and snapped this photo. 

“J.J. slows between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue and is walking by the time he reaches the corner.”

Here are some more picture of the M Street block between 3rd and 4th Avenue:

 In this shot you can also see my fly rental car…which is actually a jeep.

Overall, I was amazed by how well and accurately Spencer captured the landscape of the Avenues. A few times I got out of my rental car and jogged around, just to get a better sense of the story. J.J., the main character, has his issues, but the dude has strong lungs. Jogging the Avenues is not for the easily winded. 

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