Light of the New Day
In the Mormon imagination Wyoming is a place to get through, to get trapped by unseasonal snow in, to be rescued from, or to die. In Darin Cozzens’ Light of the New Day, fictional Balford, Wyoming is a place to be, to live, to return to. In “Reap in Mercy” and “Signs of the Times,” Lyndon Haws tells his father “lately I've felt a real desire to have my kids see what I came from.” “Does what you came from ever include any mention of the Church?” “No more than I can help.” But he can help, and there is more. Characters from one story reappear in others, reminding us that though a story has a beginning and end as a literary form, the story extends endlessly in both directions, as our lives do.
In “Elk on Chimborazo” 25-year-old Myron Haymore ponders his mission president's question, “you're starting this six years later than most and I'd really like to know why.” The answer is outside the president's experience, or telling his story to “a lawyer with cufflinks” is outside the elder’s. By the end of his mission Myron has opened his world up. This hunter who has “eaten deer liver raw” shows a city boy who will likely wear cufflinks and “can't see killing animals for any reason” what he has shown no one else. In return Elder Garth LaDell Virlinger gives Myron hope no one else has been able to. Where others give words of hope, he gives hope a name.
Endless stories with well-wrought openings and closings leaving us hope for more stories from Balford. For a geographically groundbreaking book full of hope, full of mercy, the Association for Mormon Letters is pleased to award an honorable mention in short fiction to Darrin Cozzen for Light of the New Day, and Other Stories.