James Goldberg

is creating a literature "of our own" for Latter-day Saints

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The Mighty Mite

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Keep up with James Goldberg's work with this pledge, which will give you news and some drafts.  

Hold the Coffee

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Support Mormon Literature for the cost of a cup of coffee per month. (It will make Heber J. Grant, who gave whole conference talks about the expense of breaking the Word of Wisdom, happy.)
Patrons at this tier get sneak peaks at new pieces each week, long before they're published.  

Sack Lunch

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Once a month, skip a lunch out and spend an hour with James Goldberg instead.
Patrons at this level get the weekly new pieces, plus a short monthly workshop with tips on writing and creativity, often focused on their intersection with religion and spirituality.

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About James Goldberg

Shakespeares of Our Own

In 1888, Orson F. Whitney spoke to Latter-day Saints about how we as a people could have "Shakespeares of our own." His quote has often been interpreted as meaning we'd have famous writers (and in many genres, we do) but what Whitney most wanted was a literature of our own. "Our literature must live and breathe for itself," he said. "We must build our own hive and honeycomb." 

Many writers have worked before and since on trying to capture the restored gospel in literary forms. They've also used fiction, poetry, and essay to explore what we might still call Mormonism: the mix of stories, speculation, culture, and customs that are woven into our history and lives. Since most of the writing comes from burning midnight oil or slipping a book into a larger national-audience career, not many writers have left us with more than a few works. And the limits of time and money often show, either in uneven craft that never reaches its peak or in national market depictions that distort Mormon life to meet voyeuristic outside expectations. 

We'd be better off as a culture funding a few writers of our own. It's not impossible: there are far more Latter-day Saints today, enjoying far more wealth, than the 200,000 people in Shakespeare's London. We have yet to organize well enough, though, to give literary writers the  time and resources to build up the literature of our own Orson Whitney longed for. 

My Work and My Worry 

For the past sixteen years, I've been writing about both what it means to be a Latter-day Saint religiously and what it means to be a Mormon culturally. I've done my best to stretch myself and improve my craft while writing unabashedly Mormon plays, poems, essays, short stories, novels, histories, documentaries, and literary translations. I've won Association for Mormon Letters' annual awards in Drama (for Prodigal Son) and Novel (for The Five Books of Jesus), plus a special award for the performance piece Thorns & Thistles, and have been a finalist for the awards in Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Literary Criticism. Just as importantly, I've learned craft while helping other writers, musicians, and visual artists to find the resolve and opportunities to create work about the restored gospel and Mormon cultural experience.

My work has mattered in real people's lives. I've heard from people who felt like my writing reawakened their religious imagination after they'd fallen into spiritual cruise control. I've heard from people who turned to my work as a lifeline through difficult times and pressures. No matter what crazy things I've had to deal with (like two rounds of cancer, family health scares and hard losses, and the steady grind of living in a society plagued with racism) I've kept writing Mormon literature because I know how deeply this kind of work matters for its audience. 

My worry is that passion alone won't be enough to create a strong literary legacy. Twentieth century funding models simply aren't enough to advance Mormon literature in the years ahead. Book royalties reward breadth more than depth: a book earns the same few dollars per copy whether it's a filler in a grocery store or a life-changing work of art. To reach my literary peak working, I'm looking to connect with patrons who love the kinds of work I'm passionate about creating. 

A Fork in the Road 

In March 2020, early in the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, I found myself between jobs. Thanks to early patrons, I was able to enjoy a period of full-time creative writing. That time and sense of community led to an extraordinarily productive period for me.  

Patreon is a platform where people can set up monthly pledges of support to independent artists. For the cost of a drink, meal, or outing per month, you can get advance and/or exclusive access to my writing, reflections, and gifts of thanks. You can also be part of something big: making possible a body of literature that can stand the test of time, that future generations can look back on and be proud of. 

There are so many books, poems, plays, and essays I'd still love to write. Whether my books have meant a lot to you or whether you're exploring my writing for the first time through the free pieces I've posted here, I hope you'll consider supporting my quest to build us a richer literature of our own. 

Thank you,

-James Goldberg

  

Goals
$1,162.76 of $3,000 per month
Full-time writing: I'm currently at the Church History Department, working on a contract that's renewable until summer 2022. With $3,000/month from Patreon supplementing our family's other income sources, I'd be able to focus almost all of my working time on literary writing once my contract ends.  
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By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 126 exclusive posts
1
Audio release
12
Images
6
Livestreams
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Poll
101
Writings
9
Videos
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 126 exclusive posts
1
Audio release
12
Images
6
Livestreams
1
Poll
101
Writings
9
Videos

Recent posts by James Goldberg

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