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the fiction By R. A. Christmas
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Our lives are often determined by a single, defining choice or experience. In Rick Robinson's case, it was his decision, as a teenager in the 1950's, to join the Mormon Church. Everything that... More > followed was the result-more or less-of how well and how poorly he kept that commitment. Seven stories comprise the bulk of this book-snapshots of Rick from youth to late middle-age, from different perspectives and points of view. The effect is discontinuous, and sometimes disturbing. What's the worth of a Mormon life that's mostly a "running away"? What's the value of art that merely describes it? "the fiction" provides no answers to these questions. It simply embodies them. The final story is somebody's imagining of an alternative Mormon history.< Less
A Long Spoon By R. A. Christmas
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An old proverb says, “If you’re going to dine with the devil, make sure you have a long spoon.” The poems in A Long Spoon are about surviving our lunches with Lucifer, in spite of... More > indigestion, high prices, and—occasionally—food poisoning. Each poem in A Long Spoon is a statement about this process. Our hero—so to speak—is a white middle-class male, growing up and older in Western America. We see him first as a Boy Scout; he passes through the 60’s as a college professor; he has children—and divorces; he ends up a married Mormon missionary grandfather. The poems are about his experiences, as he stumbles along, spoon in hand. The order is roughly chronological. A Long Spoon is a comedy of perseverance, in spite of sin, death, and stupid mistakes. Hopefully, these poems will console and enlighten readers whose lives are subject to the same realities.< Less
Hungry Sunday By R. A. Christmas
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A conversion to the Mormon Church can be traumatic—especially if one is young, unstable, and in love. Falling out of love after conversion can lead to a falling away from faith. Converts,... More > it’s often said, make the best members; but actually, less than 50% of Mormon converts make a successful transition from “civilian” life. They hunger for the truth, but the Church also “hungers”—for them. In the process, many are ground up—or spit themselves out. It’s nobody’s fault—but everyone’s burden. All Latter-day Saints are judged mainly by how well they perform as family members. For the divorced, the single, the mismatched—or the mixed-up—the Mormon road can be rough. These poems are about one convert’s struggle to remain faithful throughout his life—what the Church calls “enduring to the end.”< Less
When it Snowed in Pasadena By R. A. Christmas
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Pasadena, California—great weather, old money. Every January 1st, city of the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl football game. An obnoxious, ambitious blue-collar from Boston arrives in... More > Pasadena in the 1920’s with his young family and starts a trucking business; but by the 70’s it’s mostly gone. The point-of-view in these poems is that of his grandson, reflecting on his hometown, his tragicomic family, and his mixed-up life. The usual happens--the death of a pet, Boy Scouting, first car, first love, eccentric relatives, high-school victories and defeats. Pasadena endures, with its remarkable climate, punctuated by earthquakes, Santa Ana winds, smog, and, on wonderfully rare occasions, snow. Maybe we don’t have a choice as to who we’re born to, or where we grow up. But maybe we do.< Less
The Kingdom of God—or Nothing! By R. A. Christmas
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That we are free to choose our actions—but not their consequences—holds true for institutions as well as individuals. The decision in 1890 by the Mormon Church to discontinue polygamy... More > has resulted in a membership of thirteen million, financial clout, and social acceptance. But it has come with costs as well as benefits. The Church’s “restoration of all things” has become the practice of some things. This isn’t anyone’s fault; it’s the result of overwhelming political and cultural opposition. In the past—in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois—Mormons simply “pulled up stakes” and abandoned all, in order to fully practice their faith. In Brigham Young and John Taylor’s words, it was “the kingdom of God or nothing.” These poems are about what being a modern Mormon has cost one person. Hopefully, they may help readers to imagine—(if only for a moment)--how things might otherwise have turned out.< Less
Driving on the Lake Bed By R. A. Christmas
eBook (PDF): $5.00
Wherever we live, there’s usually signs that the land was once under water. In Utah, the shoreline of a vast, ancient lake stretches for miles across the face of the Wasatch Mountains. We... More > live out our lives on these lake or ocean beds—in between deluges, of water or otherwise. Our geologic settings are reminders of how temporary and hazardous life can be. We navigate (so to speak) this formerly wet ground in autos and on highways. Driving has become symbolic of modern life. Even out of our cars we “breakdown” and “run out of gas.” These poems are statements of one man’s experience driving on Utah’s lakebed. He survives his wild youth and two divorces. Married a third (and hopefully last) time, he comes to terms with his Mormon faith and culture, and contemplates an awesome landscape. After many miles he learns a great lesson—not to stop, no matter what—to persevere, to keep “driving”—to the end.< Less
One Foot in the Grave By R. A. Christmas
eBook (PDF): $4.00
We all die—but we all die differently. It's not death's certainty, but it's unpredictability, that troubles us—the when, where, and how of death, rather than the fact. Whether our... More > deaths come by accident, illness, old-age, or other people, it's always too late to turn back—hopefully not writhing in agony or blubbering like cowards. “Death,” according to poet Wallace Stevens, “is the mother of beauty”--and these poems, beautiful and not. Most are meditations on what (or who) kills us--and what makes that killing somehow endurable—faith, a sense of humor, honesty, and courage. This poet is an often married Mormon man, growing older (but perhaps not up). He writes about the things and people in his life, as artfully as he's able. But he doesn't know a danged thing more about his death than you do about yours.< Less
Housebroken By R. A. Christmas
eBook (PDF): $5.00
Mortality is messy—there ought to be a better way to get through life. Because imperfection abounds, in ourselves and in nature, some have concluded that the Creation itself was a colossal... More > mistake. Accounting for evil and imperfection has been the task of philosophers and prophets. Finding faith to keep going is the challenge for all of us. Whether we blame ourselves, God, the devil, or Nature for our shortcomings, the outcome’s the same. We suffer, we die. That some might prefer the perfection of Nothing to the imperfection of Something should cause no surprise—nihilism attracts the mind, resentful in its physical fetters. A Satanic paean to Nothingness winds through these messy mortal poems, like the coils of a snake. The result is a contrast between what often occurs in life, and what Satan wishes had never happened. The Serpent doesn’t have the last word here, or the first; but in between he has some great lines, and causes no end of trouble.< Less
Saviors on Mt. Disneyland By R. A. Christmas
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Our Heavenly Father admonishes us to spend our lives becoming Saviors on Mt.Zion, in other words His Saints, in Christ-like service to others. But mortality is fraught with temptation and... More > distraction, and all too often we trade the challenging climb up the Lord's Matterhorn for a brief and shallow ride on a fake Matterhorn, like the one at Disneyland. We forget that we are here to struggle with sin and foolishness, and, with God's help, to rise above ourselves and begin again, and again, to climb the real Mt. Zion.< Less

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