Monday, June 16, 2014

20/20 Discussion

We just kicked off the third annual Mormon Lit Blitz and hope you'll hop aboard your curelom and join us for the journey through twelve short pieces of Mormon Lit ("short" meaning less than 1000 words, which is about three minutes of reading time). From June 30th - July 5th, you, dear readers, will have the chance to vote for your favorite pieces and choose a winner for the $100 Lit Blitz prize. In the meantime, we hope you'll join us for daily discussions of the finalists on this blog.  

On a literal level, this is a piece about a girl who gets glasses, grows up, and then occasionally takes those glasses off. 

But literature does not tend to be purely literal. Much of the power of literature, in fact, is in its ability to serve as open metaphor: to provide images that don't mean any one exact thing, but that we can apply to a wide range of different concerns or experiences. 

It's sort of amazing, actually, that a story about the biological problem with one girl's eyesight and the technological solution our society offers her can be turned so easily into a spiritual question for its readers. 

How often do you distinguish between the way the world is and the way you see it? 

What does it mean to become as little children? 

Is the very real, objectively extant God partly to be found in the blurred edges of our perceptions? 

What other sorts of things did this piece get you thinking about? 


  1. I was more taken with method than message,although I see your point--at least when I take off my glasses.

  2. On Facebook, Merrijane Rice says:

    I can't manage to make a post via phone, so here are my thoughts. She talks differently about black & white versus shades of gray than other authors. I thought it was interesting that she enjoys reverting to blurriness because it softens reality rather than making it clearer or more accurate. It's a respite, not an addition of nuance and complication.

  3. Yes, my experience with most children is that they do not judge. They don't see boundaries, borders, edges, race, religion, politics. They learn all that. Even though the narrator here "sees" as an adult, I think in many ways we adults are still blind until the day we can see things as He sees them, as they REALLY are.

  4. Her description of how Christmas lights look with her contacts out reminded me of the transition scenes in "Locke," a movie released this year (with Tom Hardy in it!) that takes place entirely inside a car as it is driven toward London. The cinematographer makes some amazing things happen with ill defined blooms of light moving across the screen. It really is beautiful to renounce utility and comprehension from time to time.

  5. On Facebook, Sara Richins says:

    As a glasses wearer myself, I find it relieving to take of my glasses at the end of the day. But without my glasses, I have to rely on faith, faith that I really did pick up all the toys so I wouldn't trip during the baby's middle of the night feed. Faith that nothing bad will happen if there is another spider in the bathroom. I act differently when my children talk to me without my glasses. I pull them up on my lap and look them closer in the eye, undistracted by my surroundings like a photo taken using a narrow depth of field.

    There are two seemingly opposites in the gospel: justice and mercy. Justice is exact and unyeilding. Mercy is soft and compliant. A lot of problems I see in the world, particularly with politics, occur when we refuse to either put on or take of our glasses. We need to do both. The Atonement is the process by which the two undergo emulsion, blended in perfect unity.

  6. In life and in art it's useful (and beautiful) to see things from various perspectives.

  7. This piece felt so relevant and sweet to me. I know Lindsay, and love her, so perhaps I'm a bit biased. That being said, her piece is the favorite for me for a few reasons. Writing about childhood isn't a simple thing to do well, but Lindsay nails it here. I appreciated her details and the dialogue perfect, so is the description of being near sided (a trait I share with the author). Like others have mentioned above the undercurrent to this piece is the bigger issue of embracing shades of gray as we continue on our life journey. Beautifully written!



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