Thursday, August 27, 2009

So, Uh, Nevermind: An Alternative

Yesterday I hastily put Reading Until Dawn on the backburner, stating (in not so many words) that the project's not worthy of prioritizing in my increasingly full intellectual life. But I realized something this morning on my run---two somethings actually (one's just come to me as I write this):

1) I need to narrow the project's focus. In "Saturday's Werewolf," Theric comments,
Reflecting on the phenomenal success of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books, Caitlin Flanagan observed in The Atlantic that “the author [being] a practicing Mormon is a fact every reviewer has mentioned, although none knows what to do with it, and certainly none can relate it to the novel.” Some dismissively call her “a young Mormon girl who had to sublimate like mad with thoughts of vampires” while others imagine her Mormon identity must somehow now be lost, saying “she was a 29-year-old Mormon housewife;” and while most agree that “her beliefs are key to understanding her singular talent,” few outside blogdom have tried to connect her faith to her work in a meaningful way.
Then he says this before jumping into the bulk of his insightful discussion on Twilight's connection to what he calls "the premortal romance": "The parsing of Twilight’s Mormonness has just begun." This encapsulates where I've wanted to position RUD from the beginning: as a space in which to critically engage how Meyer's work reflects her Mormonism. So I'm going to narrow RUD's editorial focus.

2) I've just realized that putting the project on the backburner is just another way of dismissing Meyer's work as something unworthy of a real intellectual engagement, something that really frustrates me when I see others do it. And I don't want to be that guy, especially when I've taken the time (with William's help) to put this together. So I'm rethinking ways I can continue my engagement with Meyer's work. I've got a few in mind, but one is that I'm going to start viewing it more as part of my engagement with the field of Mormon letters. This should be obvious, but I've separated the two for some reason up to this point. Maybe I've viewed the project, however unconsciously, as something of a gimmick. Whatever the case, I've committed myself to taking it more seriously in hopes that my efforts will help RUD succeed.

But that's enough for now. School's calling and I've got a long day of classes ahead.