by Dawn Houghton

My mom claims Marilyn Monroe is the Mary Magdalene of her generation, misunderstood and angelic, so my mom goes about thinking of ways to save Marilyn’s soul.

Instead of a usual Monday “Family Night” where we talk about charity or honesty, we wait until the weekend and we watch Marilyn movies, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, Some Like it Hot, Bus Stop, and The Misfits at the Avalon theater on State Street using our first-of-the-month check each time. It is the 15-year anniversary of Marilyn’s death. My mom says Seven Year Itch doesn’t have good moral values because it’s about the temptation of affairs and because of the scene where Marilyn’s dress blows up in the air, plus it’s one Marilyn’s ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio, didn’t approve of, so we don’t watch that one. Continue reading “Pure”

Doomed Unrequited Love and a Very Special Hieroglyph

The next morning over breakfast we compared notes on the dance. This didn’t take too long since no one had really met any serious prospects. The ones that were closest to finding a romance were Amy with Greg and her sister Alexandra with this guy Matt who was from Ely. But neither one of these was particularly promising since Greg was a non-member and Matt lived way on the other side of creation where Alexandra could hardly hope to see much of him. Plus he seemed like a bit of a hayseed. So when they had finished their stories, I recounted to them the whole situation with Tom and how Lara was leading him on just to get him to join the church. Read the rest of the story »

Strong Like Water

stronglikewater2.jpgby Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner

The same week Karmine discovers her husband is having an affair with a man, she takes her mother to a doctor, who finds a tiny patch of cancer on the tip of the old woman’s nose. Abby, Karmine’s seventy-five-year-old mother, cannot be convinced she has not contracted the malignancy from her late neighbor, a young woman stricken with lymphoma, who regularly, at the conclusion of Abby’s visits, kissed the old woman on the nose. Abby’s little spot is a garden variety cancer, the result of too many years’ unprotected exposure to the sun, years and years of wear; its removal requires but a small operation and the maintenance of a periodic check-up. All the same, Abby is sure she’s caught lymphoma from kissing. She is convinced she will shortly die. “You’re not going to die,” Karmine says. “There’s nothing fatal about a tiny spot on the end of your nose.” It is snowing hard—icy flakes click softly against the windshield. It is the sound, Karmine imagines, of parakeet feet, unnumbered parakeet feet, walking on glass. She turns the wipers to the highest speed. The blades rush back and forth, and though Karmine doesn’t entirely realize what is happening, the vigorous back and forth, this motion of winding a watch, has begun to stiffen her neck. Continue reading “Strong Like Water”

Youth Conference

The very first thing I heard upon arriving at Youth Conference was a dirty joke.

Somewhere behind me in the long line of kids walking from the buses to the registration tables a boy’s voice said “Why did the condom fly across the room? — because it was pissed-off!” Not very funny, really, but it made me smile to myself. It seemed like a good omen for how the conference would go — hopefully not one hundred percent goodie-goodie. Read the rest of the story »

Love, Mormon Style

love_mormon_style.jpgby Bob Bringhurst

Harlan Poke liked MTV. When he wasn’t studying accounting, when he wasn’t avoiding his five roommates who shared his Raintree apartment, when he wasn’t hunting for a wife at BYU dances, he watched MTV. MTV shows beautiful women in taunting poses. These poses caused Harlan’s hormones to go berserk. In fact, they prompted him to want to have sex with women. He prayed that he would find a woman to call his wife so that he could have sex any time he wanted to–in the morning, in the afternoon, at night, in the middle of the night, in the car, on the table, anytime, anywhere. Continue reading “Love, Mormon Style”

Fiction at Main Street Plaza

Coming soon to a browser near you, Main Street Plaza will be publishing fiction! Our first published piece will be “Love, Mormon Style,” by Bob Bringhurst. “Love, Mormon Style” was originally published in a short fiction anthology called In Our Lovely Deseret: Mormon Fictions. This is a humorous yet poignant story about a BYU student trying (and mostly not succeeding) to remain chaste, which we’re confident is a subject near and dear to the heart of each and every one of you.

Every Thursday (starting April 5) we’ll publish a new story for your reading pleasure. Pretty much the only rule for fiction on Main Street Plaza is that it must contain at least some aspect of or reference to Mormon culture, though Mormonism need not be central. Eventually, we’d like to work up to having a short story writing contest, so all you authors out there, get those creative juices flowing. In the mean time, we hope you enjoy reading a few different possible answers to the question of what constitutes Mormon art.

Mormon Art

So what the heck is Mormon art, anyway? Putting aside the much larger question of what is art (but using the term broadly to cover all creative expression), we might instructively ask: What is a Mormon? Do we count only members of the mainstream organization, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Do we draw the line at active members only? What about people who are active members but non-believers? Because there are plenty of those. Feminists? Intellectuals? Democrats? If you decide to let the term Mormon refer to anyone who self-identifies as a Mormon, the circle becomes much, much wider. You get not only members of the mainstream organization, but you get members of the multitude of splinter organizations (there are probably far more than you think), and you must include the ever-growing ex/post-Mormon community, many of whom still self-identify as Mormons. Even when you consider art created by active, church-going, temple-recommend holding Mormons, you have to ask: does the art have to actually be about Mormons or Mormonism directly to be considered Mormon art? Can someone who has been steeped in Mormon culture ever produce anything other than Mormon art? Should art that’s about Mormons, even when created by non-Mormons, be considered Mormon art?

Continue reading “Mormon Art”