Newsflash — every human being who wears trousers has, at some time, soiled them. But despite the widely accepted cultural conviction that bodily function management is a core component of the social contract, not everyone finds the composure to take a moral lesson away from such foul experience. That is, at least, not the sort of hard, life lesson that creative writing major Clint Edwards learned as an adolescent.
Edwards, whose near constant stream of wisecracks strike their intended mark — himself — with an assassin’s precision, will be the featured reader at the English and Literature Club’s Open Mic Night on Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the honors commons (LC 204) at 7 p.m.
Edwards was one of the 65 students who represented UVU at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research at Salisbury University in Maryland in April of 2008. At the conference, Edwards presented a short story titled “Gym Shorts,” which recounts his experience of “developing two disorders” during a period of “family turmoil.” According to the “Gym Shorts” listing on the NCUR website, one disorder was physical, the other ethical: irritable bowel syndrome and “the sport of lying.” But as the listing for Edwards’ piece states, “During one humorous and heart breaking event the physical cured me of the ethical.”
Known for writing in a voice that combines the sappy reminiscence of the narrator from “A Christmas Story” with the self-deprecating style of David Sedaris and the legendary angst of former Black Flag front man Henry Rollins, Edwards said that he has chosen a pair of short stories for Wednesday’s reading.
One titled “Dropped in Transit,” which Edwards says pays reference to a blunder committed by the stork that delivered him to his family, relates his anxieties of feeling genetically fated to lead the life of an alcoholic, like his father.
“Haven’t you ever looked at one of your parents, like your dad, and thought, ‘One day I’m going to be that guy’?” Edwards said. “And then one day you look in the mirror and you are that guy.”
Edwards said that the other short story he will be reading is titled “Broad Standards.”
“It’s a story about how I was unattractive in high school and had to lower my standards,” he said.
The last Open Mic Night had a low turnout, but Holly Guile, president of the English and Literature Club, says she is hopeful that better publicity, such as a newly created Facebook page, will generate an increase in attendance. At the time of this interview Guile said that Facebook RSVPs had jumped from 30 to around 50 in a two-day period.