Due to preparations for the AML conference and me getting sick (not COVID, which is great, but also now I really don't want to get it while my immune system is already on high alert), the Marden J. Clark Liberating Form deep dive is taking a break. It will resume in two weeks.
That doesn't mean you don't get a dose of Mormon literature goodness, though.
First, here are three items to read (or re-read) in advance of or along with the AML conference, which will have panels this evening, Friday evening, and throughout the day Saturday.
Second, here's the opening to a novella that I need to revise (which means the following is subject to change) but hope to publish in the next six months:
Rebecca wasn't getting any reading done while waiting for the flight to Salt Lake to take off, partly because of the anxiety of flying, exacerbated as it had been by the delay on the runway, partly because of the man sitting in the aisle seat who was staring at her, his gaze mostly kept politely at the level of the open window, but glancing at times down at the PDF version of the latest issue of Diacritics she wasn't reading. Rebecca suppressed a sigh and turned the Kindle off.
"Do you like romance novels?" the man asked, gesturing at the Kindle's e-ink screen, which now displayed the cover of Lonely Shores, the second novel in the Duchess's Desire series.
Apparently, he didn't know he was seeing an advertisement and not the contents of her Kindle, which, to be fair, did contain a collection of romance novels, although Lonely Shores was not to be found among their number.
"I do," she said, knowing it was a mistake, and, now noticing that he was a man in his fifties who had the slack look of someone who had been fit their whole life but had finally become too busy or lazy to work out. He was wearing a charcoal department store suit, a white shirt with an almost comically large button down collar, and one of those floral-patterned ties that was only saved from being florid because he (or, more likely, his wife) had chosen the lilac, navy, and pale green version rather than the fuchsia, orange, and purple one. Traveling alone and not quite put together sharply enough to be a general authority, he was probably a current or former president of one of those stakes that was a development and half or so in Sandy or Draper. Or an aspiring one.
"My wife likes to read them too," he said, his voice low, conspiratorial. "Some husbands don't like that, but I don't mind it so long as they don't get too spicy, you know?"
"Sometimes a little spice can be good," Rebecca said.
The man chuckled, glanced at her unadorned left hand, which was currently lay across her right arm, which was sitting on the arm rest. "I suppose," he said. His left arm was draped across his armrest, the left hand invading into the air space of the empty middle seat that divided them. He wore a thick gold band, one of those chunky affairs with a smattering of small diamonds smushed into rolling landscape. Other than the tie, it was his only decoration.
"Well, you know, to each their own," he said. "I don't mind them because they always have a happy ending. What is it my wife calls it?"
"Happily Ever After," Rebecca said, unable to help herself.
"That's it!" he said, thumping his hand against the arm rest. "HEA. I think that's really great. All stories should end that way."
Rebecca bit her lower lip. Don't engage further. She'd already done too much.
The man leaned towards her. "There's something even better than happily ever after," he said, with a wink. "I call it TFE."
He paused and winked at her, but didn't say anything else. He was really going to make her ask. She held firm and just smiled, hoping the confusion in her eyes invited a minimal response.
That's all for today. I hope to see you (virtually) at the AML conference!