Lds Eros: Dear Anonymous


A while back, I think the year or two after Lady Steed and I were married (read: c. 2001), I wrote a few paragraphs outlining my plans for a sex book for teenagers. I never got very far (for several reasons), but I suppose those efforts have informed the LDS Eros posts I wrote last year. I intended the book to be straight-talking, respectful, probably LDScentric, heavy on the modesty (without confusing modesty with refusing to be direct), and applicable to the lives of the target audience.

Here, I thought I'd done okay on all those goals, though my target audience had certainly changed. But then, on my most recent post, a heartfelt comment from someone whose demographic I was missing entirely. And I realized how much I've strayed from my original goal of applicability, usefulness, relevance, and into the sort of annoying philosophizing that is useless to people still in a survey course. In other words, I've been writing about sex from a silly gradschool perspective. That is, on many levels, utterly useless. And I apologize for anyone who, like my dear Anonymous, stopped by looking for good information and found nothing.

I recently read a post about the nation's perspective on Mormon sexuality (in brief, originally we were mad horndogs and now we are madly repressed). Like any simplification, this is too simple. Something we as humans are quick to forget is that groups are composed of disparate individuals. Groups are not homogeneous. And with something as intensely personal as sexuality, we should assume heterogeneity.

(On the other hand, there are many similarities between individuals and couples as well. Necessarily. There are only so many organs and so many possible positions. We all have the same minibrain in our spinal cord telling us what to do. But to reduce sexuality to animilistic physical responses misses the point, don't you agree?)

I think the best way for me to proceed here is to just hold a discussion with Anonymous. So let's frame things that way:

Anonymous: this may be bad place to be bearing my soul i dont know but i have read your blog since you started these erotic posts and this on is to me the most distressing because it makes me to afraid of what is ahead of me

Theric: I don't know if it needs to be said, but this distressed me to read. I never wanted to do harm. I hope that we can do some correction here, now.

An: i am your original good mormon boy who served a mission and came home and is going to byu and wanting to get married and not having iny luck that way but not giving up. the words to GOD SPEED THE RIGHT take a special meening to desperate byu singles haha

Th: :)

An: but seriously i am scared of the idea of sex. sometimes i am happy that i have never been in a serious relationship because i know they sometimes lead to marry and i just don't know that i'm up to it. i read posts like this and i think what good is sex if i'm the only one enjoying it.

Th: This may sound like an empty platitude, but if this alone were your concern, I would say stop worrying. J. Reuben Clark (molaq) quote? "Remember by If you fear, fear not. If you fear not, fear." The fact that you "think what good is sex if i'm the only one enjoying it" suggests you will be generous and selfless as a lover. Not to speed things up or put pressure on you, but if that sentiment is honest, I would say you';; be fine --- at least in the realm of marital giveandtake.

An: no one ever gave me the sex talk and i started masturbating before i even knew what sex was.

Th: At the risk of sounding too much like the article I already liked / disliked here, I suspect your experience here is common. The body has a will and it takes knowledge to cope properly, balancing the different needs. I would tend to argue you are blameless on this front.

An: i had no idea what my body was doing and i was scared to ask. i was addicted hardcore for very long time. still am sometimes. hard to shake it. but masterbation sucks because its just frustrating and leaves me feeling sick and lonely and dirty and sinful. i have confessed to four different bishops and my mission president and evey time i say i think i'm done it turns out i'm not. sexuality is to me a plague. i think of sex in marriage and if i can't pleasure my own woman i could just stay single and masturbate and feel like trash and go to hell.

i don't feel really that way but it seems like why not.

Th:: Interesting facts like how porn is in many ways a chemical addiction and all that suggests aren't helpful, huh? It doesn't change anything. You don't want excuses, you want solutions. And what do I have to offer? Not much, not much. In ten years your sex drive will diminish and habits will be easier to kick? Not helpful. God sees your desire to leave it all behind? Not helpful. Your ****in faith isn't ***in strong enough? The opposite of helpful.

Any situation where you're left feeling helpless and stripped of agency is going to be depressing and engender hopelessness and fear and selfloathing. The opportunities to hate oneself are legion. The odds of breaking through to that greener grass seem slim. And if misery if my lot, why not do it alone? Why bring my miserable state unto another, spreading it through years which, for her, could have been happy.

(Incidentally, have you ever read Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground? I recommend it.)

But you know what, Anonymous? You're wrong. No matter how much this beam is obstructing your sight, you are still a worthy human being, a child of God, an heir of salvation, a god in embryo. You may be on rough terrain, but if you stick to the path, you will still arrive, loved and beloved, saved and exalted. Never tell yourself it's too late. That's a load of crap and you need to know that.

The way he stares at the camera can be unnerving, but no one believes more fully or teaches better that you, Anonymous, that you are still welcomed in the arms of Christ than Richard G Scott. Go read what he has to say.

I don't feel obliged to tell you that a series of prayers will make all your problems disappear forever. You know as well as anyone how grossly that oversimplifies things. The Primary-taught formulas that we still read every month in the Friend of prayer-comma-miracle-exclamation-point are charming but not always reflective of true spiritual progression. Mortality is a time of hardship, purposefully so. If we never suffered, we would never know joy (cfd Redoubt).

Wallowing, however, doesn't do much good. Me telling you to think positive does less. So I can't force you, but please believe me that there is always hope, there is always forgiveness, there is always progression. Don't get stuck in the down, but look over the coming decades and believe that in your longterm, things improve.

And you'd better believe it. Hope had better underlie any momentary darkness.

And it does. That's the nature of being human and a descendant of deity.

An: give me your thoughts. speak to us singles. what is it we ought to know. i took a marriage prep class and was told that if i read books about sex before i was engaged it was the same as looking at pornography. well i know all about porn and don't want any of that.

Th: Eh, yes and no. There are lots of obvious responses to this kind of overstatement, but really what it comes down to is how an individual work affects the individual reader. Honesty is the key here.

Honesty doesn't mean self-accusation, it means moderation. Admitting faults and weaknesses but not condemning thyself to hell for said faults and weaknesses.

I'm not talking about lvove-the-sinner-hate-the-sin either. The problem with that plan is that sins are, at present, part of us. We can't hate our sins without starting to hate ourselves. I'm not suggesting we embrace our sins, but if we spend all our time hating we get stuck in the quagmire and there's nothing to do but sink deeper.

Because at least the hate is real. At least when I hate myself, I feel.

Not healthy.

Remember you are good and worthy of love. Let the problems fit into the framework of love. Then we can progress. Then we can progress. Then we will progress.

An: i bet this post makes you uncomfortable to read. i bet you'd like to just ignore it. but you can't. you can't any of you who subscribe to the comments on this blog. you all talk but you never say anything for me. just each other. just say yeah i wish we had known.

Th: This is the accusation that hurts the most. But I want to assure you first that no, it did not make me uncomfortable---not in the way I think you mean. And I never had a desire to ignore it: just fear that when I addressed it I wouldn't say anything worthwhile; maybe I haven't.

So what was distressing was that we all talk but only for each other. Which was exactly 100%ly true. I had completely forgotten my original, long-ago plan of writing a book for those who are still awaiting the application. Ie, the unmarried. Instead I was writing to people more or less in my same station of life. And while not bad, probably not the greatest good. I stand here justly upbraided and I assure you I will try, in any future posts, not to forget again.

An: i dont ask my family cuz they all think i'm dirty anway. i ask you because you dont know me and i don't know who you are so we're all just anonymous friends here.


Th: I can't speak about your family, but I would encourage you to secondguess yourself about them. Please: never assume that in your dark moments that anyone else feels the same. There may be a few, it's that kind of world, but generally this is not true.

I don't know how well I've addressed your concerns, but I will say a few things I know without even knowing you:

1. You are not irretrievably lost. Just forget about that. Email me if you ever feel that way (my address is up and to your left if you're on my blog) and I will correct you.

2. For all your uncertainty, your subtext reveals that you are a good human being and have the potential of loving and serving a spouse. You wouldn't have the concerns and worries and stresses you have if your core wasn't striving to succeed and to make the world more beautiful.

3. Don't let today's errors dictate tomorrow's trajectory. Hitting bird poop --- or even a cat --- or even a road sign --- doesn't mean your car is going to crash. You'll still make it to Mt Rushmore, no worries.

4. The themes of this life are hope, love and salvation. Sometimes the cacophony seems to overwhelm them, but when the storm passes, these themes remain. Pure, soft, quite, eternal. And if sex is an instrument, it can play these themes or it can play in discord. Ultimately that is our choice. But it's a choice we get to make and remake until we finally get it right.


The literary-snob meme


There are a couple versions of this going around. I think they're the same, just in a different order. I've been meaning to do it too. (I made up my own marks, though.)

    01) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
    02) Put an 'o' next to the ones you've read in part
    03) Put a 'q' next to it if you've read a gazillion books by that author, just not that one
    04) Put an 'f' next to it if you've never even heard of it before
    05) Put an 'n' if you can't imagine reading that stupid thing
    06) Put a 'g' next to the ones you feel guilty for missing
    06) Put a 'g' next to the ones you feel guilty for missing
    07) Put an 's' next to the ones you're shocked to realize you've never read.
    08) Put a 'y' next to the ones you imagine you'll read relatively soon
    09) Put an 'm' if you're really unsure whether you've read it or not
    10) Put an 'r' next to the ones you're reading now

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien x
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen x
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman o
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams x
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling x
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee x
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne x
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell x
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis x
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë x
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller x
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë x
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks f
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier x
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger x
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens o
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott y
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres n
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy y
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell n
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling x
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling x
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling x
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien x
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy g
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving f
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck g
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll x
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson f
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez g
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens o
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl x
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson o
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen x
39. Dune, Frank Herbert x
40. Emma, Jane Austen y
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery g
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams x
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald x
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas o
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh n
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell x
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens x
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian f
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher f
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett m
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck x
53. The Stand, Stephen King g
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy g
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth f
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl q
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome f
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell on
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer n
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky og
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman f
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden sn
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens og
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett sq
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton f
67. The Magus, John Fowles f
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman x
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett sq
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding x
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind y
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell f
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett x
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl sq
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding on
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt y
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins s
78. Ulysses, James Joyce n
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson f
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl sgq
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith m
83. Holes, Louis Sachar x
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake f
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy g
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson f
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley x
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons s
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist f
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac n
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo r
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel n
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett x
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho n
95. Katherine, Anya Seton f
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer f
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez g
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson f
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot on
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie f

My Total Xs: 32

But I'm not that impressed by the list. So I plead not guilty due to better taste. (And even the good taste---why so many Pratchett and Rowling books?) I emean, The Princess Diaries? I hated the first fifty pages of that book! It's one of the few books I could not finish and that is a rare event indeed for me. (Interstingly, the other I can think of are also whiney diaries --- Bridget Jones and Full-Frontal Snogging.)

We need to teach more geography




Saturday's Werewolf (mark your calendars now)


I will be reading my paper "Saturday's Werewolf: Vestiges of Premortal Romance in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Novels" in Cupertino at the 2009 Sunstone West symposium on either the 27 or 28 of March --- although almost certainly the 28.

Everything 28 will be at the Hilton Garden Inn:

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You are all, of course, welcomed to come and listen to me read. I will strive to be less than deadly boring.

Important notice: I have three big thankyous here. 1) To Tyler for getting me on this project, to Ben for coining the phrase "Saturday's Werewolf" and to Lady Steed for letting me have the hours and hours and hours it took last week to write this thing. Slightly smaller thankyous to all those of you who have read it for me, viz. Mel, eg, TB, Schmett, RC, Laura.

My source material


3rd 5 Books of 72●41


Batman by Morrison 015) Batman: The Black Glove by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel and J.H. Williams III, finished February 23
    I didn't really care for the first book in this series so I've been letting this one sit on my nightstand for months. A shame, really, because this one I liked quite a bit. Interestingly, one storyline reflects stories from this 1989 volume of "the greatest" Batman stories that the Big O and I are now reading together. So having read the decades-old antecedents heightened my enjoyment of this book. And the storyline under discussion also redeemed, in some measure, Batman and Son. The first storyline was disappointing however. It started off great, throwing Batman in to an Agatha Christie superhero novel. A bunch of heroes trapped on an island, getting murdered one by one. Great setup. Lots of potential. Set up brilliantly. Resolved before any real suspense or intrigue could get going. A waste of a great idea. All that said, I hope Mr Fob buys the third volume in Grant's Batman run soon so I can borrow and read it as well. I've been drawn back in. three daysish

014) The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story by Richard Preston, finished February 22
    All the hype is true! Or would have been had I read this fresh, fifteen years ago! But Marburg and Ebola are still really scary! Boo! ebola Seriously though, good book. It's been my stays-in-the-car book since we bought the 5 and the Big O would ask me to read The Scary Book to him at times we were waiting for Mommy. I don't think he followed the story too well, but when his mother came back I would sum up the horrors for her and no doubt that made for great spectator conversation. Horrible, horrible, true, horrible stuff. six months

013) Lex Luthor: Man of Steel by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, finished February 19
    As an archetype, Superman may provide more insight into the modern psyche than any other invention of the past century. As a modern, as an American in 2009, I appreciate Superman's power in this regard. But I'm not that interested in reading about Superman or watching Superman --- I still haven't seen the recent movie for instance. And peripheral characters like Lex Luthor interest me even less. All I really know about him is Gene Hackman and that he became president. "Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story." ---John Barth This book gives us Luthor's perspective. And at first, his perspective is compelling. He is anxious to protect humanity from an alien power who could, at any moment, on a whim, kill us all. And Luthor does seem to be a hero. The first to die under his instructions are nothing more than Chechen terrorists. They're badguys, right? But then his what-used-to-be-called monomania becomes more and more apparent and his thinking more and more obviously warped. This is the same writer-artist team that gave me The Joker a few days ago, but both are working at a higher level here. Let's talk art. It's less experimental yet more successful than Joker's art. Most notably is the fearsome representation of Superman. His alienness is gross and plain, his glowing red eyes and unnatural movement disturbing. And, in the end, we are left without pat answers. No one seems to be a true hero in this Metropolis. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Lex Luthor - Man of Steel, art by Lee Bermejo a day or two

012) Blue Beetle: Shellshocked by Keith Giffen and Cully Hammer, finished February 18
    What's not to like? Chipper youth. New setting (El Paso). Fun supporting cast. He's the new Spider-Man! Blue Beetle twelve hoursish

Lee Bermejo's Joker's Mouth 011) The Joker by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, finished February 17
    Not as fanTAStic as the MSM buzz had led me to believe. Really, the most interesting thing about this book was the art from Bermejo --- the fractured lines followed by paintings followed by computerized blurs topped with primary-color blood. Very ugly, but ugly to a purpose and really quite excellent. I'm looking forward to seeing more from him. As I will as I've already borrowed another from this team from Ben. We'll see what I think, shall we? hour or so

010) Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, finished February 18
009) Superman: Red Son by MJR&M, finished February 11
008) The Best American Comics 2008 edited by Lynda Barry, finished February 9
007) The Blot by Tom Neely, finished February 6
006) JSA: Darkness Falls by Goyer, Johns, et al, finished January 28
005) The Road by Cormac McCarthy, finished January 24
004) Poor Sailor by Sammy Harkham, finished January 19
003) The Waitress was New by Dominique Fabre and translated by Jordan Stump, finished January 19
002) Stagger Lee by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix, finished January 12?
001) The Arrival by Shaun Tan, finished January 8


Priestcraft in Svithery


Stake conference this week and we heard from the Sunday School general president.

He reminded teachers (and aren't we all teachers?) that we should be focused on learning, not teaching. In other words, it's not about how cleverly we teach, but about hos well learning occurs.

Teaching in a way that glorifies the teacher rather than serves the learner is a form of priestcraft.

I'm taking this as personal instruction, for church, for here, for m'job, for life.

last week's svithe


2009's 6-10


010) Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, finished February 18
    The great classic, right?

    I liked it more this time around. I was more able to understand why people talk up Gibbons's art. It has less to do with the look (which is typical of the time period), but the composition and choice of detail is what's impressive here.

    As literature, it has the sort of density and complexity that gets it on, say, Time's Top 100 list.

    It's a good book and I like and appreciate it. And I fail to see how any movie can do it justice.

    week or so

009) Superman: Red Son by MJR&M, finished February 11
    An Elsewords I've long been interested in. Superman lands in Ukraine rather than Kansas and is raised communist. Pretty well done. I liked it. Worth a read.


008) The Best American Comics 2008 edited by Lynda Barry, finished February 9

007) The Blot by Tom Neely, finished February 6

006) JSA: Darkness Falls by Goyer, Johns, et al, finished January 28
    There. I finished it. And I have to say having the entirety of space and time in constant peril is rather tiring.




Not an original bone in his head


Master Fob said: Why do we need any method other than the mechanized wheelchair?

    To mash potatoes, you mean? Mostly because it voids the warranty. Sorry the answer has to be so pedestrian.

    So to speak.

Lindsay said: Isn't it "Me and the major don't see eye to eye on it"?

    I know this one! Belle and Sebastian!

Silly Marie: You're really that much older than us?

    And getting older every day.

JB: Are you and Lady Steed close enough to meet up for ice cream some time?

    We meet up for other reasons as well. Nudge nudge.

Silly Marie: Are you eating enough?

    Ice cream, or in general. (No to both, probably.)

daltongirl: Btw, Coast Guard Day doesn't even show up on my calendar. What's up with that?

    Antitheric propaganda swept. the nation. It was in the news.

Thirdmango: I'm not sure where in Cali you live, but if you live anywhere near Monrovia or Arcadia, do you wanna go to lunch?

    I have no idea where either of those are. Or are those restaurants?

noelle feather: Albany, as in Oregon?

    New York? California? Scotland?

Samantha Stevens said: I just have to question one of your gift choices: "The Library of America," featuring...CHOPIN???? A Polish composer who lived in France????

    Wrong Chopin, sweetheart.

Thirdmango said: You do own the actual series of Cowboy Bebop don't you?

    Yes. Yes I do.

MasterFob: Do I get bonus points if I guess which songs came from me?

    Like that's even possible, Master Fob. Who do you think you are, anyway: Barry Manilow?

Stupidramblings said: Haberdahserheaven? that might be your best new word. EVER.

    Thank you. But I'm not sure it's really a question.

Stupidramblings said: Um, what does the Buddha have to do with moving? Is he carrying your boxes?

    No, no, no. He's the yin to my yang. Totally stationary, etc.

noelle feather said: El Cerrito is quite the distance from Tehachapi, no?

    Quite, yes.

CHARLAX: Ask me Why? You ask why? The answer is because.

    Hey, buddy. *I* give the answers around here.

Tyler: Porn stars? At an Idaho university? Are they taking applications?

Melyngoch: Kom igen. The printing of the first English book didn't even make the list?

    That's not the first English book, silly. Kim igen, indeed.

Schmetterling: That is pretty much spectacular, I must say. How do you find this stuff?

    People mostly just leave them in the comments of my posts.

Celia: Why a rooster, by the way?

    Because they tend to type comments while standing in the rain.

alishka babushka: So maybe that had an affect on his conducting?


Schmetterling: 'Course, immortal butterflies are probably pretty hard to eat, no?

    For electrocuted roosters? Yes.

Mr. Fob: Did you know they're releasing Toy Story in 3D in 2009, in preparation for Toy Story 3 in 2010?

    You don't say. I only wish they would release 12 Angry Men in 3D. That would be the best ever.

Schmetterling: Woah! WOAH! Hold on there, Th! You can't go changing the universe on me NOW! I thought Vertigo was the indisputably best ever; what's with this 12 Angry Men stuff?

    Vertigo? In 3D? Surely you jest.

Schmetterling: Will there be werewolves in heaven, then?

    Funny you should ask. I hope to have my paper on that topic finished up some time this week.

8/14/06 4:03 PM


Svithe #145: In defense of misery, and in which remember that men may not always have joy


Happy birthday, Lincoln. Although would you have been happy? Our greatest president was also one of our gloomiest as we may notice when we read some of his verse. The point I want to make regards the worth of depressed people.

Redoubt's excellent post, her svithe manifesto on depression, deserves your attention. I want to steal from her a bit today and talk about the verses she quotes.

"Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." 2 Nephi 2:25

We Mormons love this verse. We quote it all the time. But we often overapply it. As Redoubt points out, this verse precedes it:

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." 2 Nephi 2:11

Redoubt: "You can't just say that we're here to have joy. That's only half the equation. I hate when people refuse to acknowledge the other half. Unhappiness is real, it breathes in our cities, it permeates our lives, and ignoring it doesn't make it go away, you can't pretend it's not there just because you don't want it."

She's right. men are not that they might always have joy --- in fact, such a thing is impossible. Without the misery, we could not recognize the joy. This is sound Mormon doctrine.

Redoubt: "Having joy may perhaps be the end goal of it all, but that's not going to happen, it's simply not going to, in this life."

"Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe." Moses 6:48

Welcome to mortality, folks. And keep praying. And stay away from the knives.

You are loved.

last week's svithe


Amor tussisque non celantur. ~Ovid


Love, and a cough, are not concealed.

And---ahem!---I love me my Lady Steed.


Of all the times to clean house.....



Setting up the RRRs to play through the end of the week meant no Abe's-200th post, no freaky-deaky Friday-the-13th post, no Val's-Day post. What bad planning. What a lousy set of days to ignore......

Fortunately, Lincoln gets some facetime Sunday, Friday has its own movie coming out today, and 'vd' also stands for 'venereal disease' so maybe we're just better off letting that one slide anyway.

RRR: Excuses, Excuses


I haven't played the game yet because...:

11/15/06 9:07 PM


RRR: Democracy's only fun if you're on the winning side and I never am!


11/6/06 3:01 PM

RRR: What


2/27/07 4:25 PM

RRR: When Thursday was Tieday


In high school, when we were seniors, my friend Myke and I instituted Tie Day every Thursday. The idea was to get everyone on campus to wear a tie every Thursday.

We had more success than you might imagine.

The first week was a little sparse, but when people realized we were serious, numbers went up. The next Thursday was very well observed. The one after that even more so. The next week it began to taper down. By the end of the year, I alone was tie-wearing.

3/22/07 9:20 AM


RRR: Two blasts


Last Wednesday I went in to interview for an academic program I'm planning to start this summer and it went well enough, I think. But the bloggable part is the program's coordinator, whom I've met once before and who struck me then, as she did now, as being the sixty-year-old version of Sarah Jane, the girl I wanted to marry in 1998.

I didn't, of course, and Lady Steed is undoubtedly a better match for me, but Sarah Jane appeared at a point in my life in such a way that I don't think I will ever forget her. Or, for that matter, her birthday or anniversary, more's the pity.

Not including this earily similar coordinator, I've only seen Sarah Jane twice since getting married--once at Mt. Timp on my birthday when I saw her wedding party (weird) and once at the library.

She's one of those very short girls who married someone very very tall.


Caren cassill (sp?)

Either working for a university in Idaho (reasonably possible)) or a porn star (extremely unlikely)

4/5/07 8:09 AM

RRR: Blink!


mea culpa, yua dumbo

5/26/07 11:32 PM

RRR: Self-analysis: Couples Crush


Occasionally I get crushes on couples we know. I call it a crush because it feels a lot like the crushes I would get on girls back in the single days.

girls like girls I would have been attracted to back in the day and probably still am if I'm honest with myself

boys like the boys I would have liked hanging out with

1/18/09 1:31 PM

RRR: Plagiarized


I try to stay well within the bounds of fairuse, but this spam needed to be quoted in its entirety/fullness. And I'm sorry, but I did not bother to ask permission.

    Your penis looks like a sausage from a kid▓s menu. Try Penis Enlarge Patch and it will move to biggiesize menu.

7/1/07 4:30 PM

RRR: What we like about women is how they are like men
What we like about men is how they are like women


I have heard this said; allegedly it is true of both physical attraction and below-the-skin characteristics. Presumably it is only true of heterosexuals, though I'm making a leap here--perhaps that assumption is faulty all over the place.

10/29/07 10:58 PM

RRR: November 18: Jonestown


On the bright side, on November 18, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County was first published, the five North American time zones were created, Steamboat Willie was released, and Calvin and Hobbes first appeared in newspapers.

On the not so bright side, this is the date in 1978 that local character Jim Jones and his friends offed themselves with poison punch. And just like that, a group of weirdos best known for helping out the poor completed their transition to a bunch of weirdos best known for synchronized dying.

Now, murdering a congressman and dying en masse has always been (and will probably always be) a pretty surefire path to notoriety, and doing it all in one day was a nice touch.

11/18/07 6:10 PM

RRR: Poverty (no vow required)


I revel in being poor. There are some disadvantages, sure: I'll never have a top-of-the-line pool table as long as I remain poor, but that pales compared to the great advantages of decrepitude.

12/5/07 9:13 PM

RRR: Calling All Ghosts: 81 North


I was just listening to one of my on-computer music mixes as I hung wet dress shirts on hangers and a song by 81 North came on and I thought of Nick and Shellie.

Let me note immediately that I just spelled Shelle's name wrong. In fact, I cannot remember how to spell it--only that the spelling is atypical. And so I will try a different spelling every time it comes up.

Anyway: Nick and Shylly. 81 North.

Nick and Shelli were our good friends in Provo. When it came time for us to move away to sunny California (not that Provo in August is any slouch), I swapped Nick a copy of my novel (look for it Summer '08!) for a copy of their in-progress album as 81 North. Which is awful nice stuff. The would put it on to sing their son Colson to sleep.

12/15/07 9:53 PM

RRR: Say what you mean, mean what you say


In case you haven't heard, this whole writing-for-money thing hasn't exactly turned a profit for me yet. But I've been involved in the process long enough now to get a sense of what sort of people are worth working with and what sort aren't.

Most of my efforts in resume-building have been spent with smaller magazines. And although I do get many personalized rejections, I don't have anything against form letters. Sending a form letter is not indicative of whether or not you're worth working with.

The main thing that fledgling writers should know is whether or not a magazine or book publisher respects your time.

The obvious assumption is that a quick turnaround on your manuscript is the best indication that they respect your time and to a point that is true. But the real issue is whether they take as long as they say they'll take. If they say expect a reply in six days, did it take six days or less? If they say it'll take nine months, it had better not take 11.

Sources like Duotrope help determine this so you don't have to find out who sucks the hard way.

Given the supply of manuscripts available, it's not terribly surprising that editors and publishers often treat writers like chattel. There are even plenty of good manuscripts--at least going to the more reputable places. So treating writers decent is only necessary to satisfy the demands of humanity--not capitalism. Ergo, being a publisher is a lot like having a king--not only do the people suffer, but it destroys the soul of the king as well.

Getting back to my own experience, let me just say that the first step to being a professional is developing a thick skin. The first form letter, so impersonal, feels like cruelly wielded weapon. But this too shall pass.

What has not ceased to be upsetting is what I view as a lack of professionalism--

--not returning submissions in the timeframe promised.

--not returning submissions at all.

--accepting work and holding it for over a year before finally reading it and rejecting it and then add accusations of im

I don't see how I can write this nicely yet. Anyway. Down with Zarahemla! All you Mormon writers stay away! Unless you are Bigelow's friend or already wellknown in the Mormon arts community, you will be either ignored or screwed. Just so you know.

And the publisher a writer! Disgusting.

2/13/08 11:17 AM

RRR: Putting grades in, then I'm going home


1/18/08 4:25 PM


RRR: Me want food, or, I will probably die someday (probably)


Why am I hungry? Because I ate a small breakfast and packed no lunch. In other words, it's my own fault. This is common this is regular this is fitting

5/15/08 12:02 PM



So we are now to get our usage down 20% or our daily usage down to 100 gallons or something. I'm not entirely clear on what we're supposed to be doing. And I'm not entirely clear how either such measure will help the <>peak water crisis outside of the shortterm.

Now, I am pro water conservation


5/15/08 12:10 PM



special thanks to william steig for the title idea

7/21/08 7:36 PM

RRR: I O-2 P


7/21/08 7:53 PM

RRR: So how was my guessing re: the Whitneys?


Not bad, so far. Angela's book nabbed the most noms and although Abinidi

2/9/09 8:47 AM

Doubling up on the RRRs


So I'm getting closer and closer to a thousand posts and I still haven't cleared out my old drafts. What this means is I'm ramping up my RRRing --- say about one new post every two hours through the rest of the week. I apologize to the feeds this will screw up, but I got to get this done and over with. I also regret that my sidebar comments feed is so slow as that may limit conversation. But so it goes And here they come.....


That letter song, &c.


Oh! Who knew that the Grammys were last night? I was thinking much more about the Whitneys, and those were only nominations.

Anyway, I'm glad Alison and Robert did so well. It's a great album. Click below to buy you're own freaking copy.

Fourteen two to ten


Eleven six nine nineteen forty-two eleven four nine nine four nine nine four.

And there's more where that came from.


Winston Churchill and the Book of Mormon (a svithe)


(by way of our sunday school teacher)

WC: " . . . democracy is the worst form of government except all [the others]."

SV: " . . . the explanation we have been given for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is the worst possible explanation. Except for all the others."

It's kind of true, isn't it?

last week's svithe


Just now


Th: Hurry!

O: I was hugging and kissing mommy.

Th: That's my job.

O: No, it's a turtle.

I don't have stats for 2006, but I win in 2007 and 2008


Last month, Karl Rove revealed that he and Bush spent the past three years in a furious competition to see who could read the most books. It started, fittingly, with Team of Rivals. In 2006, the year Republicans lost the Congress, Rove out-read Bush 110-95. Rove went on to win the next two years, 76-51 and 64-40. That's an astonishing 436 books, which means Gingrich owes Bush $372 and Rove $500.

my 2007
my 2008


RRR: Penile terminolody extracted from my spam:


So I was scanning my spam before deleting it the other day and realized that, say what you will about them, they're a creative bunch of penis namers.

Myself, I've never understood the phallic fascination, but all the same, now that I've thought about it, I suppose there is something of artistry in naming the ugliest part of the external human something endearing. So I'm making a list from spam starting now.

love wand

Become the unicorn of your neighborhood

Girls will call you Largissimo.

huge cannon
love tool

5/13/08 2:42 PM


RRR: (the rrr svithes)


Many's the time I start a svithe and do not finish it. Reasons for not finishing are legion. Among them: forgetting what I was going to say, having the passion dissipate before I sit down, being desperate for an idea and abandoning a weak first attempt, (and so on and so on).

So here's a collection of the unfinished. On the off chance that there is still something of worth to be found. And to clean out my ehouse.


Svithe: No more gore


    11/16/08 3:43 PM

Svithe: Renewal of Faith


    quote HBL: re:moonbeam

    religious faith and romantic love

    decide to REMAIN in love every day, not decide to refall in love everyday

    9/27/08 7:48 PM

A brief j/s svithe

    Joseph Smith Nutcracker, Dictionary.

    Dictionaries are full of good information, right Joseph Smith Nutcracker?

    8/14/08 6:50 AM

christmas svithe? draft

    Money Christ.

    12/16/07 6:57 PM

Svithe me this, Batman


    9/23/07 10:14 PM

If this was all dissatisfying, I am sorry. Not all svithey creativity is excellent, what can I say. But still we try, still we try.

revisit last week's svithe (typo inclusive)