I’ve had a long history with the Sunstone Symposium where I’ve spoken often on everything from theater and Mormonism to temple marriages; and from self-hating Mormons to a reading of my play “Hydrogen Bond” with TheatreWorks West. (You can hear podcasts of some of these appearances here.)
I’ve also had some essays published in the magazine, on topics ranging from the persistence of polygamy to a personal essay about returning to my missionary stomping grounds in New England as a “post-Mormon.”
This year’s event is at the Olpin Union Center on the University of Utah campus, and I’m pleased to report that I’ve been invited to do a book signing with authors JUDITH FREEMAN, author of “Red Water” and (most recently) the memoir of growing up in Ogden, UT, “The Latter Days”; and author DUANE JENNINGS, (“Stumbling Blocks and Stepping-Stones: Including Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Children of God in the LDS Plan of Salvation”)
“The restoration tradition is a large spectrum of complicated and diverse groups, theologies, cultures, and practices. We invite proposals exploring the different traditions within and around Mormonism, celebrating a rich history and a global church. What does Mormonism mean to you? How do you claim your Mormon roots?”
Join us outside the Symposium bookstore where Benchmark Books will be vending “Dream House on Golan Drive.” I would be happy to personalize your copy.
Weber State University (WSU) in Ogden, Utah will host me at reading / book signing April 19 at 6:00 pm at the university library (Hetzel-Hoellein Room)
Weber State is where the godfather of Mormon Lit Levi S. Petersen worked for many years as a professor of English. Dream House on Golan Drive is not unlike Petersen’s magnum opusThe Backslider, as one reviewer ofDream House, Eric Samuelsen, has noted: both are about two young Mormon men, one rural (in the case of Backslider) and one suburban/urban (in the case of Dream House). Both are pretty addled by the community and religion of their childhood, and both get a surprising visit by an otherworldly being at the end of both.
The only creative writing class I ever took was at WSU (then known as Weber State College) from Petersen. I had already graduated from college, but took the drive up three times a week (or was it two?) from Provo to Ogden. Later, as editor of Dialogue magazine, he first accepted then declined my first short story “American Trinity,” the genesis of the narrator in Dream House on Golan Drive. I won’t go into the little drama around that flip flop (perhaps another time), but eventually, when the new editor Kristine Haglund came on board, “Trinity” saw the light of day and eventually won two awards, including one from Dialogue as their best short story of 2011.
In the now-defunct journal Irreantum, where I was a sections editor for 5 years, my byline appeared over a review of Peterson’s excellent autobiography published by the University of Utah Press. You can read that here (scroll down to page 233).
I feel privileged to visit as a guest reader at the same institution where Peterson lived and worked before retiring to Oregon. I would like to think Peterson, who is elderly now, would be proud.
Zion National Park is one of the most stunning and one of the most visited National Parks in the American Southwest. Zarts has invited me to read from and sign copies of Dream House on Golan Drive on Monday, March 21, 2016. I hope you can join me as it’s not far from St. George, Kanab and other populated areas of the Mormon Corridor . . . even Las Vegas.
And even if you’re not Mormon, I hope you’ll come as Dream House is really about what someone from a tight-knit religious community does when he finally figures out he doesn’t fit in. Jewish, protestant, Catholic or Muslim . . . I really think you’ll be able to identify with the main character. And . . . (how’s the sales pitch thus far?), if you’ve grown up “gentile” (meaning “non-Mormon,” offensive as that word is) in Utah or the Mountain West, you’ll be able to “get” much of what the book is saying about the civilizing force that religion has played in this region.
I’m especially grateful to Zarts for promoting literature in the St. George / Zions Park area. Culturally, there’s a lot going on here, including Emmy Award Winning Red Rock Rondo‘s Zion Canyon Song Cycle, Hal Cannon (also of Red Rock Rondo) with his new desert music group 3HatTrio, which recently partnered with Repertory Dance Theatre where I work full-time in Salt Lake City on a new work. (Ever hear of western folk music tinged with reggae? That’s 3HatTrio).
It’s also home to Teresa Jordan (Hals’ significant other) whose most recent book A Year of Living Dangerously (Weekends Off), is a recent winner of the 2015 Utah Book Award. The collection of essays, many of which stem from her blog of the same title, is a wonderful meditation on virtue as it applies (or doesn’t) to contemporary life . . . a life worth examining.
I’m thrilled to be invited by Southern Utah University (SUU) to read from and sign copies of Dream House on Golan Drive in Cedar City. The event takes place at 5:00 pm at Artisans Gallery on Center St. (You’ll still be able to make it to your caucus meetings by 6!)
Cedar City is “Festival City,” the home not only of SUU but of the Tony-Award Winning and world-renowned Utah Shakespeare Festival.
As a former theater critic, I have many, many fond memories of the Festival and Cedar City, in fact they both appear as a setting in Dream House, including when Riley borrows his friend’s Edsel, an antique car with a tortured history, and takes his soon-to-be-wife Dina to an outdoor production of Twelfth Night. They get engaged almost immediately afterward. Cedar is also the site of where Lucy, the important friend and mentor to Riley, is visited by “Zed,” the narrator of Dream House and one of the ancients from Book of Mormon lore.
Another memory is being invited as a high school student to the first annual High School Shakespeare competition back in the 70s. I played Oberon, King of the Faeries from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a scene with Martha Nibley (now Martha Beck) who would later write a devastating memoir of her experience growing up in Provo titled Leaving the Saints. (I reviewed her book, much to the consternation of some, in the now defunct Irreantum [scroll to pg. 82]) where I was a sections editor for 5 years. Beck is now a columnist for O Magazine.
I’m fortunate to have friends in Cedar and SUU, including Darrell Spencer, the brilliant short story writer and professor who blurbed Dream House, and Danielle Beazer Dubrasky, a friend from my BYU days, now an SUU professor herself and a fabulous poet whose most recent chapbook is titled Ruin and Light. You can read a review by fellow Utah poet Jennifer Tonge of Dani’s collection here.
I’d love to have you join us in Cedar City on March 22!
Our guest for the hour today is Utah author David G. Pace whose debut novel Dream House on Golan Drive is published by Signature Books. It is the year 1972, and Riley Hartley finds that he, his family, community, and his faith are entirely indistinguishable from each other. He is eleven. A young woman named Lucy claims God has revealed to her that she is to live with Riley’s family.
Her quirks are strangely disarming, her relentless questioning of their lives incendiary and sometimes comical. Her way of taking religious practice to its logical conclusion leaves a strong impact on her hosts and propels Riley outside his observable universe and toward a trajectory of self discovery.
Set in Provo and New York City during the seventies and eighties, the story encapsulates the normal expectations of a Mormon experience and turns them on their head.
December 14, 2015–CANCELLED (due to weather)
Rescheduled for Dec. 28, 2015 5:30 PM Park City Roasters 1680 W Ute Blvd (Kimball Junction) Park City, UT
Sorry for the inconvenience. The original date for this reading was cancelled due to the snowstorm along the Wasatch Front and Back. Join us Dec. 28 (Monday), just after Christmas, for the re-scheduled reading and signing at Park City Roasters
Christmas in Park City, one of my favorite places in Utah. Just 30 minutes up the mountain from Salt Lake City, this ski and movie town, and home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, is a great American mining-town-turned-tourist-destination. I have fond memories as a theater critic reviewing shows at The Egyptian on Main St.
Join us for this reading and book signing event at Park City Coffee Roaster in the Park City Public Library. Books sold by:
He’s also very Catholic in the best, most Irish sense of that word. At any rate, later, I was thrilled to have him blurb my book, which he graciously did. Afterwards, he told my editor that I now owed him a beer.
Dream House on Golan Drive is set in Utah County, so I’m excited to be reading on its home turf.
Stop in to see a real, antique Edsel, inspiration for one of the book’s chapters. Weather permitting.
In this lengthy review Les Roka references “American Trinity,” Pace’s first published short story and narrative precursor to Dream House on Golan Drive.
“The sense of this unique, strange place of Utah and Mormonism is elucidated with conviction and accuracy….Dream House on Golan Drive is an important novel that deserves the serious attention of any reader, regardless of connection to Mormonism or to any other faith. It is recommended especially for those who are trying to reconcile their spiritual conscience with a church whose decisions and public actions not only have triggered deep reservations about their community but also who see their own experience of family love and life as quintessentially superior in their spiritual and faith identity as a Mormon.” Read the entire review.
Follow up in Utah Review’s 2015 year-end survey of notable works emblematic of The Utah Enlightenment. Read citation.