Writer’s Digest November Poem-a-Day 2017 Challenge #23. Theme: Preface

Today being Thanksgiving (or Turkey Day, if you hate the history behind the holiday), I say, I am grateful for everything I have, while realizing that it’s okay to want more, because if none of us ever wanted more than what we have, we would stop trying, perhaps even losing what we already have in the process.

This is where my “thought of the day” ends and my prompt begins.

*Btw, a preface is a preliminary statement in a book by the book’s author or editor, setting forth its purpose and scope, expressing acknowledgment of assistance from others, etc.  (Source:  dictionary.com)


Preface to Because of Mindy Wiley

I came up with the idea of writing a book for former Mormons (not ex-Mormons, as the term ex- has a negative connotation) when I left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Let me “preface this preface” by saying that I do not hate my ex—I simply realized we could not peacefully cohabitate, but rather, coexist. (I’m just glad no children were born of our union, as that would’ve complicated things.)

My motivation in writing this book was to show (never tell) that one could divorce a Church–even all churches–and remain married to God. I decided to reveal that truth through the eyes of Katryn Nolan, who “comes of age” after she does something she’d sworn she’d never do after being fed false information (i.e. “fake news”) fed to her by the “worthy.”

Because of Mindy Wiley (https://sarahleastories.com/because-of-mindy-wiley/) neither promotes nor endorses Mormonism—it is simply one person’s experience in it, told through the eyes of a young girl.

The purpose of this project was to show the world that we must have faith in the message, not in the messengers, which are subject to change, sin, and disappoint. It is to show the world that grace is amazing indeed, for it is limitless in its ability to blot out any sin (save for “denying the Holy Ghost”—the meaning of which is explored in this novel).

Throughout the writing process, I learned more about what I believed (and what I did not). I never questioned God, but I questioned what God was. For me, He is a mysterious and unfathomable entity–a God who cannot be contained in a body of flesh and bones (as the LDS believe). He is an omnipresent being, who manifests Himself in a myriad of ways–just as He sent His son to the world in a way that we could understand.

I wrote this novel over a decade ago. It has endured numerous revisions.  Some of the hardness has softened over time, as well as some of the more sensual aspects. It has been the inspiration for numerous other works (personally, I think it would make a great series for HBO, like “Big Love”). From my early twenties to my mid-thirties, it has been like a friend I visit every now and again.

When it’s finally published, it will be reflective of who I am at that time. It’s an ambitious project (at over two-hundred-thousand words), but one day, I will be able to pay an editor to help me usher in its final incarnation.

I thank all the people, both living and dead, who contributed to this project in ways they may never know. I thank all of those who have read it as a reader (rather than an editor) when this book was still in its second trimester. But mostly, I thank my Creator for this gift I have—this gift I open every day.

The birth of Because of Mindy Wiley may come five years from now, or ten years from now–who knows? Though it is set just before The New Millennium, it is timeless in its portrayal of the degradation of a non-traditional American family in the Deep South. It is the culmination of everything I have ever believed–of true life experiences and those conceived in the fertile garden of my wild imagination.

It is but a glimpse into the soul of its originator.

I pray, whether you like it or hate it, that some part of it will always stay with you.

Sarah Richards


Poem-a-Day 2016 Writer’s Digest Challenge #2. Theme: What He Said and/or What She Said



He says red,
she says maroon.

He says, “I want sex”,
she says, “Let’s make love”.

She says, “I’m not in the mood”,
he says, “It won’t take long”.

He says, “I want fun stuff”,
she says, “I want nice things”.

He says he’s having a bad day,
she says she’s depressed.

She says, “He’s so sensitive”,
he says, “That guy is fem”.

He says, “He’s okay-looking, I guess”,
she says, “She is gorgeous”.

He says, “That’s a skirt!”,
she says, “It’s a kilt”.

She says, “It’s not good enough”,
he says, “It’s fine.”

He says, “I’ll do it later”,
she says, “When?”

He’s “Impractical Jokers”,
she’s “Big Love”.

He’s the hardware store,
she’s the craft store.

He’s sports and cars,
she’s politics and poetry,
and yet,
they still have fun together;
it’s like finding that
perfect spot on the beach…
You never want to leave it.


Personalizing the Home

The older I’ve gotten, the more I appreciate handmade items (however, I still love a great sale at Kohl’s or Target).


When I was in my twenties, whatever caught my eye (as far as wall filler) was all that mattered.  Now, in my early thirties, I want art on my wall that means something.

Barbie cards were my thing when I was a kid; in my early twenties, it was candles, and now I’m all about personal photographs (or artsy pictures I’ve taken), and art I’ve created (not necessarily drawn or painted) myself.  If I could only thread a needle, nothing could stop me.

My current project (besides filling all the picture frames I’ve collected over the years) is a wall mosaic of all the seashells I collected on trips to the beach with my husband.  I’m also working on “seashelling” some switchplates, as I couldn’t find anything at Lowe’s or Home Depot I liked.

When I saw a big fork and spoon in Target, it reminded me of an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” (the only sitcom I’ve liked filmed in this millennium), in which Marie Barone tells the story of her big fork and spoon (except hers are wooden), and Debra refers to as “Robert’s baby utensils”.

BIG fork and spoon

I’ll admit, onscreen popular culture has had an influence on my decorating tastes.  I want at least one brick (or faux brick) wall in our living room someday, because I loved that feature in Lucy Ricardo’s first apartment.  We also have an outdoor dining table that is similar to the one on “Big Love”.

All the rooms in our house have a theme, as I couldn’t choose just one:  our kitchen is retro, our living room is a juxtaposition of vintage and art deco, my daughter’s nursery and our master bedroom is shabby chic, and our bathroom is beachy.  However, every one of them reflects me, in all my many forms.