Monday night in Claremont, California, we kicked off the Our Voices, Our Visions Mormon Women’s Literary Tour in the company of an audience of 30 Mormon women ranging from 12 to 80 years old. “This is an historic event,” said event host Claudia Bushman.
Yesterday, Susan Scott, Lisa Van Orman Hadley and I crossed the desert from San Diego to Tempe, talking and laughing all the way about things Community of Christ members and LDS folks have in common like ancestral visions and deep connections to Mormon places. As well as the things we don’t, like frog-eye salad and the commitment pattern.
In Tempe, we met with essayist Holly Welker and poet Danielle Dubrasky at the home of Judy Curtis, an LDS woman who started writing poetry in her 50s. Judy is a master gardener, and after this wet winter, her yard is alive with Indian paintbrush and holly hock and fragrant citrus trees and century plants.
We met forty more Mormon women last night at our Tempe reading, including a strong contingent from the Exponent. Together, we laughed about girls who do cartwheels in Primary and stories about polygamy traded around the fire at Girls Camp.
Today, we’re hitting the road for southern Utah, passing through the twin towns of Colorado City and Hilldale on our way. On the dashboard, we have a pink pioneer bonnet and a rock we call our peepstone. If we get lost, we say, we’ll put the peepstone in the bonnet and try to figure out the right road.
All of us writers on the tour are unconventional Mormon women–with lives as complicated as women’s lives can be. But we are moving through the desert, through the Book of Mormon belt, from home to home of Mormon women who take us in like kin.
When and where in Mormonism do you feel like you most belong?
For more info on the next stops of the Our Voices, Our Visions tour in Cedar City (Thursday), Provo (Friday) and SLC (Saturday), visit mormonwomenwriters.blogspot.com.