#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

Mother had become an entity—
a Thing to Be.
Her properties were fine,
her features, refined,
but as much as I tried to pour myself
into her mold,
I would not come out quite right,
for she was made of the right stuff.

The Mennonite women had their kapps,
the Pentecostals, their long skirts,
but the Mormons had their garments—
the men & the women.
There was total fashion equality.

Catholicism was built on tradition—
an ageless woman bedecked with jewels,
her robe stained glass—
a fragile coat of many colors.

They fasted to strengthen their resistance to the flesh,
but ate to strengthen & nourish their bodies.
They got an education not just to be prosperous,
but to be more like the God who knew it all.

I had been taught scripture for educational purposes;
now I learned it for a spiritual purpose,
for knowledge was the glory that was God.

#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

Mormoni

Some had their purity rings,
others, their purity balls,
& the Mormons–
the recommends to their temples.

The faithful would become gods,
not angels.
They would have sex,
not be sexless.
They would have children,
not be childless.

I was Katryn Nolan—
who only knew who she wanted,
not who she wanted to be
or what she wanted to do
with herself,
for herself was all she knew.

The Church had not built a bridge,
but rather a wall
between my mother & me,
which would eventually be the wall
that burned the bridge.

Mother was the lady,
Caitlin, a girl,
but I—I was a virgin
on the verge.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #11. Theme: Description + Sample Query Letter

For this challenge, I decided to write a poem based on the protagonist in my book.  This story has, in part, been told through the lenses of poetry and short story.  Perhaps, one day, it may even be the inspiration for a song (as long as I get a royalty deal, a la “Mr. Wonderful”).  Since Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature, music lyrics are considered as such now (according to my English Composition II professor).  Though this poem is a stand-alone work, the query letter below it will add context.

Katryn

Her face and figure were such
that they blended into the backdrop
of the Deep South like white-lily camouflage,
but when she spoke her mind,
she found her way into the crawl space
of their hearts.
Like a thorn,
she would prick those hearts,
this Queen of the least of these,
placing them in a waking sleep—
unlike that of Princess Aurora’s—
her words echoing
in their chambers.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2016-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-11

~

My debut novel, “Because of Mindy Wiley”, begins at what Katryn Nolan refers to as the summer of her Mormon soldier. 

Katryn is a teen when she falls in love with a Mormon missionary, which leads to her joining the LDS Church—and enters an insular world of peculiar people.  It is within the Church that Katryn finally experiences belonging outside her close-knit family, and yet it will be her mother’s involvement in it that will lead to its destruction.

Born into a well-bred, artistic family, the Nolans (and the man David, with whom Katryn’s mother is attached) are considered outsiders in their small Southern town, where few move out, but fewer move in; where the heat and humidity is like another force of gravity, where the air is as thick as the azaleas that burst into bloom every spring, and where time seems to pass just a little bit slower.

Yet never does Katryn question why her mother and stepfather chose this enclave that is as foreign to them all as the Mormon Church.

Overloved by her stepfather, but underloved by her mother, Katryn never grasps why her mother won’t marry the man she has idolized ever since he came into their lives.

Neither does she question why her father was barred from being buried in the Catholic cemetery, though it seems no one in the town remembers him.  Who is the mysterious couple that Katryn and her stepfather see, that Katryn’s mother must never know of?  And why does her mother, who was a concert pianist, never touch it anymore? 

Never, does Katryn question anything, for life is idyllic in Green Haven, despite their outsider status.  It is only after her mother joins the Church that she begins to change, and long buried family secrets begin to come to light, ripping off the shimmering facade that was the Nolan family.  Blinded by years of fanciful storytelling, Katryn must sort through the mystery that surrounds her life, to know who she can trust…and who would do her harm.

My love for crafting stories on paper rather than with paper dolls began as soon as I learned to write.  Cutting up every paper in the house had served as my creative outlet before then.  I have lived in Pensacola, Florida, almost all my life, where churches outnumber bars, where the air is as thick as molasses in January, and where the summer weather is as volatile as the preachers of the Pentecostal meetinghouses–much like the town of Green Haven in my book.

Having grown up in a Southern town situated in the buckle of the Bible belt, and having been a practicing member of the Mormon Church for several years, has given me great insight, knowledge and experience of what it’s like being a convert to a religion in a region that is somewhat intolerant to that religion.  Having grown up Protestant, but with no inclination to go around declaring myself saved, one could say I was an outsider even on the inside looking out, much like Katryn Nolan.

The completed manuscript is available upon request.  Thank you for your generous time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Cordially,
Sarah Lea Richards

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #24. Theme: Moment

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Life’s Awkward Moments

That moment when you’re volunteering in the hospital pharmacy, hold up a suppository and ask, “How can anyone swallow these?”

That moment when you ask if panhandling is a regional thing.

That moment you ask if freeballing is a sport in the Olympic games.

That moment when you spill a giant glass of ice water in someone’s lap and laughing hysterically while apologizing profusely.

That moment when you’re in a Pentecostal church for the first time, and someone starts shaking, and you try to get the person next to you to call a doctor.

That moment when the interviewer (at a place called “Hogi Yogi”) tells you he wants people who are hungry, and you tell him, “Well, I did just have breakfast.”

That moment when you’re at the deli, and the clerk asks what kind of fried chicken you want.  You proceed to tell him all white meat, that you don’t like dark, and you suddenly realize there is a black person standing next to you.

That moment you walk around Target with someone for half an hour before you remember who they are.

That moment when you run into someone you unfriended on Facebook.

That moment when you run into someone who unfriended you on Facebook.

That moment when a guy asks if you have a Slim Jim (as he just locked his keys in his car) and you tell him you don’t think they taste very good (because you thought he needed a snack while he waited).

That moment when you share an article on “The Benefits of Bralessness” on Facebook, then realize that might be too revealing.

That moment when you call a “sir” a “ma’am”.

That moment when someone asks when you’re due (and you’re not expecting).

That moment when you’re at the ATM in the drive through at a bank and lock your keys in the car while it’s still running, as your arm wasn’t long enough to reach the portal.

That moment when your card doesn’t work at self-checkout and the voice says loud enough to scare the undead, “Card not accepted”.

That moment you learned that bunnies don’t lay eggs (but thought so because you had the Cadbury bunny stuck in your head).

Life is full of awkward moments.
It’s a great balancing act,
dancing all the while.
Sometimes it’s a ballet,
sometimes a waltz,
and sometimes,
it’s something totally unrecognizable.

But that’s the kind of life worth living.