All finalists for the Mormon Lit Blitz have been posted and voting begins today. Remember that you need to vote for your FOUR favorite finalists. Incomplete votes will not count. Voting instructions can be found on the Mormon Artist blog.
Admitting bias, I think this year’s finalists have been the strongest we’ve seen of the three Lit Blitzes. The abundance of fiction may be what tipped the scale for me, as last year’s competition seemed too poetry-heavy for my tastes. This year we have three fine poems and one prose poem, Marianne Hales Harding’s “Platinum Tears,” all of which serve as strong representatives for the world of Mormon poetry. (We’re yet to see how many more poems made it as semi-finalists.) Of the short stories, I feel all of them are strong pieces that convey an evident, timely optimism about the Church and its people. This even includes Stephen Carter’s brilliant and terrifying “Slippery,” my favorite finalist, which uses magical realism to satirize the materialism of a small Utah community (and the American church as a whole). By paralleling modern Mormons with greedy Book of Mormon Nephites in a way that is alarmingly accurate, Carter’s story reminds us that Samuel the Lamanite’s admonitions against avarice remain relevant and applicable even to those who profess the True Gospel of Christ (see Helaman 13:31). Like the Nephites, “Slippery” suggests, we can fall prey to our unrighteous desires if we persist in holding tightly to them. Hope comes in knowing that we are not yet as slippery-fisted as the foolish characters in the story—and still have time to change our ways.