It seems to me that all nine of us siblings were raised by a different mother. Pages' mom taught her simplicity and modesty. Lucy's mom took her shopping in New York City for Betsy Johnson prom dresses. Matt's mom goes fishing with him on Utah lake. Andrew's mom demanded that certain eery statues were taken down from a neighbor's lawn because they frightened him on his way to school. Meanwhile, Topher's mom made him examine every statue in Frogner Park. You see, to each his own mama.
My mom read me soft feminist poetry. She introduced me to Mormon literature with poetry by Carol Lynn Pearson and personal essays by Emma Lou Thayne. When I was a bit older, she told me about our neighbor, the late Helen Candland Stark who wrote both poetry and essay with a strong female voice. Her essay, "The Good Woman Syndrome Or, When Is Enough, Enough?" gets better as life progresses through me.
Last winter when I was feeling infertility, the Councilwoman stopped by with Sunstone's tribute issue to Sister Stark entitled "Reconciling the Opposites." (FEB. 1994) The gift came with the Councilwoman's warning, "You know we have to be careful about Sunstone." Once considered dangerous to Mormon "intellectuals," Sunstone publishes writers with intent to communicate honestly about their Mormon faith. It could be considered the theological Vanity Fair of Mormondom.
The Councilwoman always gave me liberal Mormon dialogue with the same council given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, "Do not partake, unless you want pain . . . and . . . ultimately. . . progress." And then, "Go forth and have lots of babies." (It must be said, the Councilwoman is known to enjoy a meaty issue Vanity Fair from time to time.) After her visit, I devoured the whole coverage of Helen Stark (a fellow sufferer of infertility) and decided that if I wasn't born to be a Mormon-themed writer, at least I could be a passionate patron.
Then, two days ago as I was sorting the mail, I noticed that a package had arrived. It was from Sunstone. Inside was the latest edition with a note thanking me for my contribution to the issue, Mormon Women's Voices 2007.
I had not submitted anything. I sat confused. Bewildered.
And yet there it was, in the Bloggernacle Voices section, an adaptation of my Blog Segullah post, "Modest about Modesty." I was shocked. I think it meant I had a Mormon women's voice--so said the title--"How Far Do They Dangle?" credited to Courtney K at Segullah.
Courtney K? C'est moi!
At that point there was only one thing to be done. I called the Councilwoman.
"Well you have arrived. " I told her.
"Have I?" She asked.
"Your daughter was published in Sunstone."
"Oh!" Exclaimed the Councilwoman, "I have arrived!"
Next stop? Vanity Fair.
*Should you have the Sunstone issue on your coffee table right now it must be said that the second essay credited to me, "Worshiping Together and Other Fantasies" is not actually mine. I am sorry to the true author, wherever she may be.