Friday, June 20, 2014

"Slippery" Discussion

The Mormon Lit Blitz presses on, though with somewhat more trepidation than yesterday...

Today's Piece: "Slippery" by Stephen Carter

What did you think of this piece? 

On one level, I'm interested in the warning it seems to contain for us. On another, I'm just haunted by the closing images and the overall feeling of a weirdness that seems just barely beyond the realm of everyday experience. 

I'm also fascinated by the use of Helaman 13: 30-31 in this piece. The passage is never directly mentioned, but it shapes the plot and explains the main character's pivotal realization and decision. Is the not-telling part of what gives the piece its eerie, haunting feeling? Or does it work just as well for readers who don't know that scripture, making the allusion more of a wink at those in the audience who know it? 

What were your reactions?


  1. That guy is totally going to lose his hand. Duct tape is a bond too strong to break. Personally I think unfamiliarity with Helaman would make this piece just like any other Twilight Zone episode--eerie for the sake of eerie. Which is fun, but not as fun as getting the inside "joke." For another reference to slippery treasures, see Mormon 1:18 where the people hide them "in the earth" but can't retain them again.

  2. I loved it: the creepiness, the rhythm, the logic, the spareness. Well done, Stephen.

  3. .

    This was terrific. And a direction I would love to see more stories go. I don't think we address the materialism endemic in American Mormon culture enough. No one has been more clearly warned than us. No one, therefore, is more guilty of loving our things too much.

  4. I think this may be my favorite Mormon Lit Blitz piece so far. The reactions seem so real, so visceral. And I think it's easy to assume that others will be punished for their pride, their materialism, their wickedness, but to think we're better than that.

    I love the haunting quality of it. The scriptural undertones add a spiritual meaning, extra significance to it. But I think our over-focus on our things would still come out if you're just reading it as a horror story, devoid of the allusions it makes.

  5. You see, you've got to superglue stuff to objects too wide to pull through the floor. Oh, wait. The RVs.

  6. So what if you, like, swallowed something you didn't want to lose?

  7. There's an element of solving a mystery to the piece (horror also, of course). At first you just think there are thieves targeting the neighborhood (which actually happened in my youth--while everyone was at Sacrament Meeting people were getting robbed--the Elders Quorum did take turns patrolling). Gradually you start to realize this is more to it--and you remember the title . . . Emily Dickinson said something about recognizing poetry if it makes the hairs on your neck stand up--this is definitely a story.



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