Me and Mormon Letters
In the space of just a few days I went from being a full-time student & paycheck-earner to a full-time Mom. It was not an easy transition. But what helped me most during this time of change was the AML-List: the online discussion group of the Association for Mormon Letters.
Ok, that sounds weird. But it’s true. The Internet was new back then. There was no “web” yet and I had to use an archaic program called PINE to manage my email. I did this all on a old PC with a monochrome screen. I had studied English Lit in school and loved to read. I wanted to talk about books with other Mormons. But I didn’t have any local friends with the time or motivation to read as voraciously as I did. So I joined the AML-List and found an instant community of a few hundred Saints who loved books. Bingo, I was hooked! Every night after my son went to sleep I sat at the desk in our small apartment and “talked” books. I read anything and everything that was recommended to me. Soon I was a regular columnist on the List and then started serving as the in-house Book Review Editor.
My connection with the AML helped me believe that when my “brain jello” years of being a SAHM were over, that I could go back to school and get the graduate degree that I coveted. In the meantime, I wrote book reviews and hobnobbed w/Mormon profs & writers. I had a very vibrant–although virtual–academic life. I learned so much!
Some days I wonder what would’ve happened had I never joined the AML. I suspect I wouldn’t be in the midst of my PhD right now. In the past ten years I’ve given conference papers on LDS topics, organized lectures on Mormon Studies, and have been published in numerous Church-related venues. I credit much of my success to my years with the AML-List. For my cyber-friends who talked books with me. For the List moderators who encouraged me. For the passion that I developed for Mormon literature.
I don’t suppose that many X2blog readers will care much about my relationship with the AML. In fact, I doubt that most readers have even made it this far in reading my post. However, for those of you who are still with me, I’d like for you to tell me about the organizations, people, and activities that played a catalytic role in your life. Perhaps it was an important teacher, or a great job, or a friendly neighbor that made all the difference. Whoever and whatever it was, please share!