What I've Been Reading Instead of Cleaning My House

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Say Seagull, You Say Segullah...

A few of my blogging friends write for “Segullah” and one has been approaching me about submitting an essay to it. Recently we had this conversation:

FRIEND: “You should see the actual “Segullah” magazine. It’s so pretty.”

LOIS: “I don’t do pretty.”

FRIEND: “No, I meant the artwork was pretty.”

LOIS: “That's not helping your case. I hate pretty art. Art should be ugly and disturbing. In my opinion, it’s not real art unless there’s a strip of bacon stapled to it.”

For those who don’t know (which I figure is EVERYONE), “Segullah” is a literary magazine and also a blog.

First of all, that name bothers me. “Segullah”? For the longest time I misread it and thought it was “Seagull.” Now that makes sense. The seagull is the state bird of Utah and they saved the pioneers when their crops were being eaten by locusts. Besides, we all know that seagulls are pretty much flying rats and what’s more fun than winged vermin?

But no, “Segullah” is a Hebrew word meaning “peculiar treasure.” I get the “peculiar” part, but “treasure”?

What's with the whole wannabe-Jewish thing that most LDS people have? Why is everything in Hebrew? Why does BYU hold a Passover Sedar? Why do we refer to non-members as gentiles?

Oh, did I mention that this magazine/blog’s core audience is Latter-day Saint Women?

Few words make me cringe in fear like “Latter-day Saint Women.” If something is geared towards Mormon women, it usually involves either:

A) Mostly plastic big-blond-haired women who wear too much make-up and complain about how their new SUV doesn’t match their stucco-clad McMansion while sitting around scrapbooking for their equally blond children

or even worse…

B) Self-loathing pseudo-intellectual feminists who pray to Heavenly Mother and gripe all day about how they think God hates them because they were born with ovaries.

Either way, I'm not interested. It’s not that I don’t like them, but rather that I don’t want to BE like them.

What happened to the strong LDS women that I looked up to when I was a girl? The frumpy, no-nonsense, slightly overweight ladies who went to DUP meetings and looked like they could’ve carried a covered wagon on their backs, let alone crossed the plains. These women were lucky if they could remember the names of their eight or nine children, let alone find the time to make scrapbooks for them; and they raised these children all in a two-bedroom house and still had enough energy to make a mean plate of lime Jello with shredded carrots in it. Where have these great women gone?

Maybe you don’t see their essays in “Segullah” because they’re too busy finding new and creative ways to store their 10-year supply of hard red wheat.

Or better yet, growing corn on the roof of their house.


Gritty Pretty said...

Lois, you are too awesome. and your words got me thinking about those no nonsense heroines and how they are toast worthy. but i'll raise my glass full of jello tonight.
ching ching.

rabidrunner said...


pioneer stock said...

Standing 'O'.

Lois said...

GRITTY PRETTY -- yes, Jello-shots to the DUP ladies who crochet over hangers! Where have they all gone?

RABIDRUNNER & PIONEER STOCK -- I was a little scared to post this, so thanks for the support.

DISCLAIMER -- I must note that I do enjoy the essays that my friends who write for "Segullah" submit. They are insightful, heart-wrenching and even witty. It's the whole idea of magazines like that ("Salt Lake," "Utah Valley" and the rest) that bother me.

pioneer stock said...

I say it like gullah gullah island, segullah.
That's what it reminds me of. Remember Gullah Gullah?

Lois said...

PIONEER STOCK -- yeah, in fact, I've been to the real Gullah Gullah Island. Nigel's sister used to be a park ranger there. That's what I always think of, too!

Lois said...

NOTE -- I've also heard that it's supposed to be pronounced like it rhymes with "Shangri-lah." Does anyone know for sure?

Rynell said...

I just love it when strong women don't have to have a "group" for their cause. They're just strong because they're strong. Period.

With that said, I have published a poem in Seguallah. The artwork is great, by the way. Bacon or no bacon.

PS I enjoyed this rant though. Your witty posts are very fun to read! I am more of a slightly overweight woman who whips up non-jello confections, minus the SUV and McMansion.

Rynell said...

I misspelled Seguallah. Sure it was intentional...

Kricket said...

"Where have all the strong LDS women gone?" you ask? There are plenty of them here in Las Vegas---shocking, but true!

said friend said...

Rhymes with Shangri-La. Or so I've been told.

I still want them to link your hysterical blog to their Sampler. Of course I can't even get my own blog linked on their Sampler...but I could try harder with yours. (Ooooh, but please don't compare us to Utah Valley Magazine. Ouch-that smarts a little!)

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go till the compost on my roof. It's a little early for corn, but if I hurry I can harvest a few lettuces before it's time to plant...

Azúcar said...

Having actually guest posted at Segullah, I giggled my way through this post.

I'm with you on the art.

c jane said...


Lois, YOU are my hero.

Melody said...

You have taken my thoughts and crafted them into a masterpiece, perhaps even a pretty work of blog art . ..

I have NEVER, EVER read a more acurate and utterly pants-wetting description of the "Big Three" of Latter-day Saint women!!

Go ahead, write for Segullah. You're brilliant, they need you!

Putz said...

you are so funny in your description of our traditional female mormon stalwart saint.....this last talk by sister beck which of course is being talked about everywhere i go....we should listen, it is so clear

Lois said...

RYNELL -- I've read some of your poems and you are amazing. I'm just petty and jealous because I can't write poetry to save my life (and when exactly would you need poetry to save one's life?).

Oh, and I mispell everything.

KRICKET -- oh, that goes without saying! You have to be strong to live through those summers!

SAID FRIEND -- I must admit that I give you blank looks whenever you mention this not because I don't want to, but because I have no idea what "linked on their Sampler" means.

Sorry for the comparison to "Utah Valley Magazine," hopefully you don't have ads for plastic surgery on every page!

Now get to planting, but do avoid the cantaloupes (they keep rolling off, you know).

AZUCAR & C JANE & CW -- your posts are AWESOME!!! So you don't count. I only read it for you gals.

MELODY -- pretty work of blog art? Can I staple bacon to me?

PUTZ -- Sister Beck is awesome. I'd better go reread that talk again.

said friend said...

It's like a rolling blogroll. Or something. It links to fresh posts by certain bloggers--a sample of blogs by LDS women--whether or not they have bacon stapled to their sides.

And no, we pass on the plastic surgery ads. And the neon white Osmond teeth ads, too.

Reluctant Nomad said...

I like bacon.

Lois said...

SAID FRIEND -- thanks for the plug! I noticed that I'm now on the "Segullah Blog" under "Footnotes." They wanted everyone to see this? Maybe I should give them a second chance, anyone that can laugh at themselves like that can't be half bad!!!

RELUCTANT NOMAD -- I heard Bobby Flay once say that even vegetarians like bacon.

Justine said...

We totally love big hair over at Segullah. The bigger the better.

The McMillans said...

Oh my gosh! It's so true, now I am going to go make real use of myself and talents.

Geo said...

I am proud to know you.

Lois is the new black, people.

Tiffany said...

Segullah - we've had a good many conversations about that group/magazine/whatever you call it at our house. Tim's cousin writes for it. That's all I'll say.

Lois said...

JUSTINE -- I'm just jealous because I'm follicly challenged. I only have about one hair per square inch of my head, so I can never have big hair.

McMILLANS -- use those talents!

GEO -- I am the new black, baby!

TIFFANY -- I didn't know so many people knew Seguallah existed! Must be that CW/CJane influence.

Emily M. said...

Lois--this was funny! And of all the types of women, I have to say I am not big-haired, though I am blond, and I don't call myself a feminist either, and I'm a pretty frumpy, slightly overweight gal, who also looks up to the DUP ladies. I don't crochet, though.

Tiffany--Hey, this is Tim's cousin Emily M., totally curious about your reaction to Segullah and all these discussions y'all have had. I am very interested in the way women respond to Segullah. So let me know what you think--good or bad, it's all good, if you know what I mean. :-)

SC_mommie said...

I once shook Binyah Binyah Polliwog's hand, er whatever you'd call it... And, Ranger Mike was a good friend of mine...I sure miss that island... Lois, I love your blog!! I wanna be more like the LDS women of yester-year, too! You reckon' there's hope for me?

Lois said...

EMILY M -- I'm sure Segullah is great, I'm just scared to even check it out most of the time. I never know which direction it's going to go in!

SC MOMMIE -- you are Gullah Gullah Groovy! What do you mean? You ARE the awesome LDS woman! You go, girl.

Cassandra Barney said...

Well writen...that makes me want to do some illustrations of heroines... our culture style.

Lois said...

CASS -- I saw your cover on the Segullah blog site. Wonderful. Your artwork is always very bacon-worthy!

Zina said...

This is so funny. I'm a recent convert to Segullah (largely thanks to Darlene Young, who writes life-saving poetry,) and also because I was told it was intellectual & artistic & spiritual without being either syrupy/saccharine nor whiny/angsty -- and from what I've seen so far, I think it lives up that. But (though I never would have admitted this if you hadn't said it first) I don't like the name, either -- my thoughts have been that it is hard to say, and no one knows what it means until you tell them, and it sounds pretentious. Not that I can think of a better name. Maybe go with the seagull theme but embellish it a bit: Regurgitating Seagull?

I read a Utah Valley magazine cover to cover once -- I thought it was utterly fascinating. I think that's where I first read that Utah County women buy more shoes per capita than any other county in the U.S. Where are all these shoe-purchasing women? I've bought one new pair in the last 12 months and if I don't step up the pace, I'm going to cause Utah County to lose its standing.

I've never made green jello, but I recently perfected raspberry/cranberry jello with sour cream/cream cheese topping. And I think I come close to meeting the rest of your description, except I don't even know what the DUP is. (My mom had 9 kids but didn't make green jello nor crochet nor join the DUP.) But I can crochet.

P.S. I don't think I've met you, but I do know MaryAnn McF, so that's just one degree of separation. (Or is it two? I guess I'm not sure how the degrees are counted.)

Zina said...

I meant raspberry/pomegranate jello -- I have enough kids to have already lost quite a few brain cells.

Lois said...

ZINA -- I am intrigued by that jello.

DUP is Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Similar to Daughters of the Revolution, but with plastic grapes.

Isn't MA McF awesome? She's the best. You must be cool if you know her.

Kathryn Soper said...

I don't know how I missed this post way back when. Brilliant.

Lois, please email me. Pretty please.