By Cindy R. Williams
Anna Laurene Lilenquist Arnett will mark two important milestones this year. She celebrates the release of her second book, Just a Woman, a collection of poems and comments; and, later this year, she will turn 90.
I looked forward to and still enjoy being an octogenarian, but who wants to be a nonagenarian? Or a non-anything?”
Known by many for her long years of service both inside and outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and her quick wit and sense of humor, Anna is a member of the Gilbert Stapley Stake, where she serves as a ward Sacrament Meeting chorister.
She and her husband, Charles—who she says “graduated from mortality six years ago”—have 7 children, 28 grandchildren and 53 great-grandchildren.
A former English teacher, Anna says, “Within the soul of every English teacher lurks a desire to write, so I tried several genres. About a year ago, I found a pamphlet of poems written by an aunt. I wished to publish it, and those of a niece and other friends as well as my own.”
Anna assembled her collection of poems, then added comments. She says, “I hoped, with comments about each poem, to convince a few people who think they dislike poetry that it’s a wonderful way to express and remember thoughts.”
An avid fan herself, Anna says, “I’ve memorized poems since my nursery-rhyme days, and can still recite on demand.”
The title poem of her new book, “Just A Woman,” is possibly one of her best and conveys the wonder of women. “What greater goal could one strive for than to be among those who inspire refinement, influence children, and promote growth, peace, righteousness?” says Sister Arnett
Another of her personal favorites, she says, “I’ve yet to read to someone who didn’t laugh at the end of the last line.”
There is Only One You
You are unique, and I am too,
None else can think quite like we do.
We each have a talent that grows as we use it.
But if talent lies latent, the whole world will lose it.
Since no one else in this great human race
Can duplicate you, or take your place,
If your talent uplifts, slip it into vocation.
If grumbling’s your gift; please, take a vacation.
© Anna L. Arnett
About the writing process, Anna says, “Rough drafts are relatively easy to do, but polishing can be difficult, or at least tedious.”
She is currently working on another poetry volume and is reworking her deceased brother’s play to make it into an historical novel called Sealed with a Kiss. She also is writing shorter books to augment her first book, Lolly’s Yarn, a humor-filled memoir.
Anna also has plans to publish a craft book, called Knit to Fit, and a music book to accompany some of her poems.
“At the present rate, it will take another decade,” Anna says.
Still, Sister Arnett believes her writing has a purpose.
“I feel that my writing is a missionary tool, to illuminate life as an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All of my contributors are LDS women. One is currently a missionary in the Arizona Tempe Mission. Each poem is, in my opinion, wholesome, uplifting, entertaining, and instructive.”
Just a Woman, published by Punkin Roller Publishing, can be purchased through the publisher, at Latter-day Cottage, or online at Amazon.com. Or, Sister Arnett says, “The best bargain is through me. Contact me on FaceBook, using my full name, for a discount coupon number.”