Thursday, June 26, 2014

"Sugar Free" Discussion

The Lit blitzes on...

Today's Piece: "Sugar Free" by Emily Debenham

One thing I've loved about the Mormon Lit Blitz is the way it's built relationships between Mormon writers. I've enjoyed the insights many of these people share outside their formal creative work.

A recent thought that struck me came from Sarah Dunster, winner of the 2013 Whitney Award for General Fiction. She said she's appreciated information she's learned through the popular genre of "10 things you should never say to [person in x situation]" posts, but wishes there were more posts that started with "10 things you SHOULD say" instead. As we learn about others' diverse burdens, after all, there's always a risk that we'll be too worried about the chance of helping wrong to help at all.

"Sugar Free" seems to do exactly the kind of positive modelling Sarah has asked for. But can reading a story like this really change behavior in the real world?

Have you ever used an insight gleaned from fiction to understand someone's needs in real life?

What should you never say to Hunter? What should you say to him?

What did you think of this story in general?


  1. Merrijane says,

    "I agree with Sarah. Positive modeling is sorely underused. I've learned from experience that people who are suffering are very emotionally sensitive. It's impossible to say the right thing all the time. But I like that in this story, Rachel not only models compassion in thought and action, but how to not get angry when the person you're trying to help initially reacts negatively. I'd love to see more of that."

  2. What I love about this story is the main character's careful observance & empathy, leading a meaningful action meant to help, and then her patience with his less than perfect responses at first. Helping often means intentionally avoiding taking offense. Hurting people can be pretty raw and
    confused at times. Great piece. Loved this.

  3. .

    I also loved how we re just there. No need to pester us with saying what when we could see what.

  4. This piece had it all: [implied] cursing, romantic tension, sugar free desserts, and singles' ward culture. I loved it.

  5. Observe, then serve. I agree with Lindsay that it is a realistic and positive portrayal of what can happen in a ward, even a singles' ward.

  6. Looks like she's looking for a man like her dad.

    There's a lot of value in stories that just show people dealing with each other.



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