Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I've dabbled in the Sunstone symposium over the years, ordering tapes of sessions, attending the occasional session in person, and presenting on panels about literary magazines, missionary issues, and Joseph Smith. I haven't ever signed up for a full registration and spent multiple days at the symposium, but this year's program on Mormonism and Popular Culture looks unusually interesting and compelling, and I think I may attend more sessions than usual. I still need to go through and pick out exactly what I'd be interested in and see if the scheduling could work, but I'm really looking forward to it.
I find that Sunstone is important to my sanity as a Mormon. I'm grateful there's a place where people can just be themselves instead of trying so hard to fit the Mormon mold, so much of which is more cultural than doctrinal. Sunstone isn't ideal or perfect for me, and it certainly has some pitfalls and foibles, but overall I feel more connected and at home with the Sunstone crowd than I do my local Provo ward. I wish I could meet with the Sunstone group each week and the Provo ward once a year!
Anyway, you should download this year's program. Even if you can't attend, you can order recordings of sessions, which I've found quite worthwhile. I'm particularly looking forward to the session with Neil LaBute, Brian Evenson, and Richard Dutcher. Also, I'm on another panel this year:
Friday, August 11, 11:15-12:45
THE SUGAR BEET: 4 YEARS, 5 MONTHS, 7 DAYS,
AND 3.52 HOURS LATER
Everyone loves Mormonism's premier satirical newspaper, The Sugar Beet. And everyone is really excited that The Sugar Beet's first collection, The Mormon Tabernacle Enquirer, is scheduled to come out this fall just in time to keep us all awake during General Conference. Who are the people behind The Sugar Beet? Why did they start it in the first place? How has it affected their lives? Why do they still have their temple recommends? All of these questions and more will probably be ignored in favor of fart jokes.
STEPHEN CARTER, M.F.A., doctoral student, cross-cultural education, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; freelance writer; host of the SunstoneLit podcast
CHRISTOPHER BIGELOW, M.A., creative writing; co-author, Mormonism For Dummies who has four books coming out later this year; currently preparing to launch Zarahemla Books, a publisher and purveyor of Mormon fiction, memoir, humor, and culture.
TODD ROBERT PETERSEN, Ph.D., assistant professor, English, Southern Utah University; regular SUNSTONE columnist, "In the Belly of the Whale"
ERIC SAMUELSEN, Ph.D., head of playwriting and screenwriting, Brigham Young University; screenwriter (based on his original play), Peculiarities, premiering 12 Saturday at this symposium
Other panelists to be announced [our publisher has agreed to attend and say a few words about why she chose to publish our book]