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Hi I'm Phyllis

Mother of four sons, I'm a writer who writes about the West and the religion that has influenced who I've become. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

In my adult life, I was first the mother of four sons, then a professional pianist and a community volunteer before I returned to the university and developed my career as a writer. I've published in a wide variety of literary journals, magazines, and anthologies. I've also published a number of books, many of them pertaining to the West and related to the Mormon culture, and I've taught creative writing for twenty years in an MFA in Writing program. I love to ride my bicycle and hope to keep riding it until age 95 at least. Related to pioneer families who crossed the Great Plains in wagons and handcarts, I'm proud of this heritage. One great-great-grandfather helped settle the Moapa Valley area in 1865 near the present day Lake Mead in southern Nevada where I grew up. I love that he was there before I was, delivering the U.S. mail between St. Thomas (now beneath the waters of Lake Mead) and Panaca, and doing his part to create heaven here on this challenging earth.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born into Mormonism and taken to church as a brand-new baby. My father was the bishop of our ward while mother was the Primary president. Our lives were influenced greatly by our religion, and I have great love for my parents who were so dedicated to this cause. I have chosen a winding path through my life, taking a twenty-year hiatus from the religion to explore other options, but in the end I discovered that the community Mormonism creates for its members is one of the finest I've ever experienced. The commitment to service and to helping others is the thing I most admire about Mormonism. Through this I have learned to love people with whom I would not ordinarily come into contact, and I have learned a simple humility in honoring all who are my brothers and sisters. I am dedicated to learning how to be a more compassionate and loving person and feel that Mormonism can help me in this endeavor.

How I live my faith

I live my faith by helping others who are in need, by trying to be tuned into those people who might need a friend, by providing musical accompaniment for individual performers, and by playing the most exquisite music I can play when asked to perform for a church service, a funeral, a holiday occasion, etc. God gave me this talent, so I try to share it and my writing skills however I can. I have organized many events for the church during my life, including weddings, funerals, musical performances, theatrical performances, and even a book written to acknowledge Mormon and neighborhood women over the age of 65 whose lives were important to those who followed. I have been married twice, and I try to be available to my current non-member husband as much as possible---honoring who he is and what he believes as we make our life together.