behind the scenes with Cherish: part 4

Part 3: Waiting

book launch event at a home in Holladay, Utah, Thursday, May 4, 2023.

Chapter 4: Utah

Tuesday, May 2, 2023: Adam and I left our kids with his sister Naomi and flew to Salt Lake. It took the entire afternoon and evening, with a layover in Denver – when we landed in Salt Lake and his best friend Walter picked us up at the airport, it was 10 pm. Dinner at Five Guys anyway.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023: I had breakfast with Cynthia Winward and Susan Hinckley, hosts of the At Last She Said It podcast. I worked with them when they wrote one of the chapters for Richard Ostler’s second Listen, Learn & Love book. They are LDS feminists who are active members but are basically fed up with patronizing patriarchy in the Church, so they’re saying the things.

In the afternoon, Adam and I went to the Light of the World Garden at Thanksgiving Point, which was amazing. It’s a collection of larger-than-life statues of Christ depicting scenes from the New Testament stories and absolutely beautiful. Most are of Christ’s interactions with women. It was a good place to sit and get centered for the Heavenly Mother events.

The woman touching Christ’s hem to be healed, Light of the World Garden, Thanksgiving Point, Utah

Thursday May 4, 2023: Ashli and I FINALLY met in person for the first time. We decided to go out to lunch together before our first event – the Jordan River Temple grounds were an easy and central location for Adam to drop me off, Ashli drove me around for the day while he hung out with Walt, and Adam met us at the last event.

As soon as Adam and I got in the car to drive to the temple grounds, a text came in from McArthur – WE HAD A LIVE LINK TO THE BOOK. I knew Ashli wasn’t going to get the text right away because she was driving, so I spent the 20 minute ride posting as fast as I could on Instagram and texting people. I walked in circles around the temple fountain waiting for Ashli and the first thing I said to her in person when she was still 50 feet away was, “Did you get McArthur’s text? We’re LIVE.”

Ashli and me meeting in person for the first time, after working together for a year and a half.

We had three events that afternoon/evening, all in people’s homes. We met McArthur at the first address and at each one, we spoke in front of the group – McArthur did most of the talking with Ashli and I filling in our bits and pieces of the story, and then a lot of one-to-one conversations with the guests.

Most people were lovely and kind but a few looked at me like I’d crawled out from under a rock, so that didn’t help my overall feeling of imposter syndrome. I asked Adam to join us for the last party, expecting it would be a mixed group of men and women but nope. It was a huge women’s meeting and I felt awful for him because he was so out of place and just stood off to the side the whole time. I wasn’t much better – all of my conversations were awkward and superficial, and ended very quickly. Hmm. Hope the rest of the trip goes better.

Friday May 5, 2023: Adam and I spent the morning and early afternoon visiting friends and attending the Provo City Center Temple. The one Friday event was speaking at the Writ & Vision bookshop and art gallery in Provo – friends and family were there so it wasn’t a sea of strangers, so I was more relaxed. Hooray! My parents were in town and came to the panel, my sister who I hadn’t seen for a long time came, and friends from different phases of my life were there. So good to see them and have their support! And it was a much nicer event for Adam to attend, because it was a good mix of men and women – not a girls night that he accidentally crashed.

The most important part of that event was WE GOT THE BOOKS! Once the sale link was live, BCC rush-shipped three copies of the book to Utah. Ashli picked them up in Salt Lake and brought them to Provo, and we opened the box together. So when doing our panel, we had the books actually in our hands. It’s so little and sturdy and full of beautiful things. Love it all. I thought McArthur was kind of nuts for wanting a 4×6 inch book but it was the right call.


Saturday May 6, 2023: We started with what became my favorite thing of the trip – a brunch for the contributors of the book. I asked everyone who came to sign my book and it made my copy that much more meaningful. I’m going to keep carrying this around on other trips to Utah because if I meet more contributors, I will ask them to sign it also. Anyway, we literally sat for hours talking, and then went outside to take a bunch of pictures individually and as a group.

So many awesome writers and artists and scholars – best part of the trip!

The most memorable greeting was when I met Alyssa Wilkinson – she said her name and my reply was total reaction, no thought. I practically yelled in her face, “OH! YOU!” … an instant of terror for her … “You wrote my favorite poem! I want to print and frame it on my wall!” And then we talked and it was great.

Two more speaking events that afternoon and evening, which went much the same as the others but with more and more people. At that point, everything was starting to blur together a bit because in less than 72 hours, we’d had seven different events. The imposter syndrome went in waves – sometimes it was there, sometimes it wasn’t. It went away when personal friends were in view so I was grateful for them!

At the last one of the evening, some friends came and stayed for only about 15 minutes, and that’s how I learned Wife is really into the doctrine of Heavenly Mother and wanted to be there, but Husband was with her and he really does NOT like Wife’s interest in Heavenly Mother because don’t we know that this is apostate … so they left. Big, big sigh of disappointment because come on, Husband, I know you and I know you can do better than this.

Sunday May 7, 2023: Ashli flew home to South Carolina on Sunday morning, and McArthur and I spoke at two more events Sunday afternoon and evening. At the last one, I talked with a woman who had a story to share of connecting with Heavenly Mother … which became the first submission for a SECOND collection of Cherish poetry, art, and reflections.

Post trip: BCC Press told us that we set their record for the highest number of book sales in the first ten days. We gave away our author copies to the contributors through a drawing, and immediately jumped into prepping book 2, which is a whole other story for another day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *