Raw Literature: Jewels on the Page

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

February 8, 2017

jules-paigeEssay by Jules Paige, a member of the Congress of Rough Writers.

<< ? >>

“How complex in its simplicity or how simple in its complexity; is writing. Much to think about that is for certain,” and so she thought…

How do I describe how I write. I put a pen in hand or place fingers on a keyboard. Do I need prompts? When I started writing about fifty years ago; while sitting at a table at a Teen Arts Festival, I asked those who stopped by for a subject – I then wrote a poem. Simple as that.

While some years I wrote less, other years I wrote more than one piece a day. For the last several years, I write a small daily piece, maybe adding a longer verse and or a fiction piece as well. Prompts sites on the web reintroduced me into writing fiction and memoir. Some have a limited word count. But generally I try to limit myself to one ‘typed’ page. Though I also have done/do series. Some evolving into chapters which could possibly make it into booklet form.

I see prompts, quotes, images and the light bulb in my brain goes off. And to challenge myself further I combine prompts as few as two as many as five or six. I make associations to memory, news articles and anything else and everything else that crosses my path.

I write for amusement. Perhaps guided by a muse. Though some may argue that muses do not exist. Maybe my muse is my own intuition, which often unconsciously picks up even the most subtle of cues. I write for myself as well as everyone who believes they can see themselves in something I have written. I can not explain how my brain works. I just like to, I just have to, write. For me writing is like breathing. A necessity of my life.

I write as JulesPaige (or as evolution has occurred; just ‘Jules’) because words are like ‘jewels on a page’. Not all are gems. But a good lot of them strung together are fair enough.

Daughter, sister, friend, poet, wife, mother, and grandmother. More introvert than extrovert, inspired by nature and pretty much anything.

About (me, sort of):

I’m just an old leather boot

not army boots, though I once thought about joining

however early rises and following someone else’s rules –

you know that a rebellious artistic spirit just wouldn’t work there

trying to walk on a catwalk

or eggshells, being the ‘monkey in the middle’

Jane of all trades, master of none, little bits of knowledge

tucked between aging marbles and greying locks – still young at heart

and nobody cares because

Oh maybe there are a few, but I’m not in the spotlight

and frankly that’s OK too – If you are looking for frilly lace

and a made up face – you’ve come to the wrong place – I’m not a rock and…

I’m not a plastic mock animal high heel shoe.


I was a teacher for young students and worked in various retail positions full and part-time until I became voluntarily employed to watch my grandchildren for a few years before semi-retiring to travel with my husband (who does so for his job). I’ve also had an active volunteer life when my own children were younger. I also enjoyed singing in choirs, though I only sing now to my favorite oldies station (though I enjoy other music too), because I’m a misfit of the 1960’s.

Always young at heart, humor is a big part of my life. While I’ll celebrate turning sixty this year, I still like to tell the story of how while vacationing with family that not once but twice I was mistaken for my oldest son’s wife. But I can be very serious, and have had bouts with depression after the loss of my maternal mother at a young age, and having to move many times as a young child. Even in my very healthy marriage I’ve had several homes with my loving husband whom I often write about, like in this renga:

Love 1

On’t Truth

(a renga)

she found a book by

an author he liked, and placed

it by his pillow…

he found it and asked her where

she found it… ‘charity shop’

so that night they read

when politics aired instead

of a favored show


“We love being in love, that’s the truth on’t.”

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

English Novelist

The Book Of Hearts: Visions of Love in Word and Image

Running Press  * Philadelphia / London

© 1994

Through the internet I’ve learned many different short forms of poetry and experiments with combining them, even creating a new form called a Shadorma Summation. Where a haibun is prose that has haiku (within and or) ending the piece, a Shadorma Summation does the same with the six line syllable counted verse like this (first attempt in September of 2015):

Mooning Mayhem

(free verse/ shadorma haibun? Shadorma Summation)

Definitely and defiantly a horse of a different color.

She never did have one of those pink princess ponies.

Now she was getting on to be an old grey mare.

That reflection in the mirror could just have well been

in the smooth reflection in an aged fine wine.

Doppelgangers are not twins.

Are most of us really triplets; me, myself and I?

Grammar notwithstanding or sitting either, I suppose.

It all has to do with one’s id, ego and superego –

Are all horses of the same color, Thoroughbred?

The person I am becoming…ever evolving…

empathetic humane human, valuable, priceless?

Trying consistently constantly to remember the worth of

my being – self awareness, self forgiveness,

self indulgent; enough to give myself some hugs

Looking up what the human body is worth

can be deceiving; dead or alive – pieces and parts –

from about $3.50 to about $9 million

which doesn’t take into account what one

person’s actual artistic or intellectual value might be.

Definitely and defiantly wake up each day

Rule it with passion, exploration, devotion – It’s all better

than being lead astray through some unknown dark alley

where you might not know which way is up,

especially if you forgot to pack your compass rose.

as she was

a fish in a bowl

out of her



it was all she could do to

step back, look and breathe


I would like to be a published author, but I know that poets are hard pressed to get agents. I’d have to hire a secretary, and I’m not terribly fond editors who seem to like to change the tone and value of even short pieces. Having also almost been taken by some vanity publishers, I’m wary of the whole process and don’t feel skilled enough self publish via the web. Though I have put together several booklets and have just given them away.


Jules Paige, a Rough Writer  for Carrot Ranch, writes every week for about a year and a half since she found the ranch through another blog friend. You might think so, but she is not a professional writer or at least hasn’t been paid any money…yet. She’s been published in school and college journals, congregational services, a narrowly themed chapbook and a local newspaper. She also entered and got an honorable mention in a haiku book contest. She has been ‘published’ on her friends blogs for haiku and Elfje and for prompts in flash fiction, non fiction and memoir. Jules also has a few pieces published in a book overseas that is raising money for charity. A self proclaimed opinionated rebel, born in the south, but northerner by life, Jules is thankful for all of the friends she has made throughout the world via the net. And is most grateful for the opportunity to write for Carrot Ranch and be one of the Buckaroos.

Jules attempts to stay organized by keeping her short verse here. Her longer verse here, and fiction or non, here.

<< ? >>

Raw Literature is an ongoing conversation about those first works we create as writers, as literary artists. Guest Authors share personal insights on their craft, its process, the experience of creating raw literature and what they do with it. Carrot Ranch is a dynamic literary community that creates raw literature weekly in the form of flash fiction (99 word stories). If you have an essay idea, pitch to Charli Mills, Lead Buckaroo, at wordsforpeople@gmail.com.

You May Also Like…

Quiet Spirits ~ Open the Gate

Quiet Spirits ~ Open the Gate

Write about what you know. My initial knee jerk, gut reaction, to that statement was, “No one would be interested in...


  1. Annecdotist

    Lovely to read about your raw approach, Jules, and you have certainly lived up to your name with those jewels on page. I’m ever so impressed at you asking for writing prompts as a child, as I felt somewhat ashamed by my writing addiction until my childhood was long behind. Long may it continue!

    • julespaige

      I didn’t think of them as ‘prompts’ at the time. I think sometimes children are braver and more courageous when they don’t know all the boundaries or rules. I just asked for ‘subjects’.

      I’m thinking it was more of a way to get some notice, as my family was always moving at the time and I didn’t have that many friends then… So I just wanted some attention. And then the writing part…didn’t stop.

      Thank you. I do enjoy writing and I hope that too comes through.

      • Charli Mills

        I’m glad that once you started writing, you didn’t stop, Jules!

      • Sherri

        Me too!

    • Charli Mills

      I liked that same confidence, of you asking for prompts to craft poetry in return. As you point out, Anne, I think many writers spend adulthood attempting to return to the boldness we had as children in matters of imagination and writing. I also like that Jules takes on multiple prompts in her “mash ups”! A fusion of jewels. 😉

  2. TanGental

    the poetry is mesmeric; the couplings are beautifully thoughtful and foolproof as proof of the fool within us all, the jester who takes life seriously until the laughter starts; the lover who eases love to a new page to fresh and refresh; the artist who knows her own limitless limits. You make the mind wander as you lead it; it’s like being a child and being led by the hand to a place you find you want to go to when you get there. Thank you.

    • Charli Mills

      Geoff, poetry is one area I often feel inadequate to respond to, and here you are poetically responding! You both have a skill I admire. <3

      • TanGental

        I think Jules has the real talent; mine is merely a mirage

      • Charli Mills

        Jules certainly has talent, but remember I’m in the desert right now and mirages are quite real. 🙂

    • julespaige

      I am really awed by your reply Geoff. I never thought of my writing as talent…, more of a hobby, a knack. since my family never really supported me. Especially the first 30 to 40 years. And still I need to be careful of what I share. At least with the Web & Net, I know I’m not hoeing the road alone anymore.

      One piece of advice I was given was “write what you know” – and I think in doing that, writing the ‘every person’ experience – more people can enjoy, commiserate, feel and hopefully enjoy the ‘raw’ experiences that I share.

      Another thing I have learned is that there are some very kind people that also share the love of writing, and reading. For that I am thankful – One more thing I’ve figured out…payment isn’t always monetary – The (smiles and) words like yours – they are priceless.

      • TanGental

        I think one of the best things about writing is finding someone inspired to write by someone we’ve written. I think that’s why Charli buzzes so much with her Congress. It’s he prompt that sends us spiralling away into our own galaxies. And it’s what you post did with me. My dad would have loved your post Jules. He too was a poet who fought to believe in his talent. Everyone else saw it.

  3. Sherri

    I will be back as soon as to read and comment!

  4. Sherri

    Jules, your essay inspires me more than you know! I enjoyed our little chat about poetry and memoir before, and now that I’m getting to know more about you, I can see we have a fair bit in common. I also recognise that light bulb moment when inspiration flows. Where our path diverges, however, you write poetry much more frequently than I, which is something I aspire to, one day… Your delightful jewel of a post is rich in life experience and beautiful poetry. Not only are you young at heart, you are young! I was very encouraged by a debut memoir author being shortlisted for a prize here in the UK at 59. There is hope for us latebloomers! I have been thinking of writing short poems to go with my photographs on my blog, something I used to do a couple of years ago, but I sort of got lost with all that. And now I’m struggling to keep posting while I work on my memoir revisions. But…you’ve encouraged me with a spark of new ideas…many thanks Jules! 🙂

    • julespaige


      A few years back I started simple daily observances…And everyday since then…(the ‘prompt’ was only supposed to be for a month – going on for a few years now…) I have written something. Short verse forms are good for this…traditional or non haiku or Elfje – even just a line or two. They make you condense your idea. Some months I work with an inspirational book… like this month “The Book of Hearts” – I read the quote and just write. I wrote this for my hubby with today’s quote:
      Well it is Valentines day…

      I also have some friends, like Charli at the Ranch who post weekly prompts. Another gal sometimes pops in with a prompt a day for a month. And another site has different prompts for every day of the week. I used to think I had to do every prompt I saw… but know I have relaxed a bit and write for the prompts I like. I have enjoyed being introduced to flash fiction, which isn’t that much of a stretch from a longer story verse, at least for me. And using a Word or Wordle list is also a fun challenge.

      Like meditation should be (something I think I’d like to do more of) taking just five or ten minutes for something daily – even if you don’t post it, may be helpful for anyone who enjoys writing. I’ve tried the journal route, which doesn’t quite work for me; dream, reality or gratitude wise. I think because my daily verses fill all those categories to some degree (including memoir – since I can look at a piece and know the background of it).

      I am happy that I can spark some ideas for you. I think we are all creative in different ways – my hubby doesn’t write per se, but he can fix a broken pipe, and I think there is some creativity attached to every skill 😉

      Continued success on your memoir. Was that you short listed for prize?

      • Sherri

        Breathless is lovely. It’s a lovely thing to find prompts throughout the every day, even if just jotting down a few words here or there. Getting out of the house certainly helps, or looking out of my kitchen window and finding my robin at the feeder 🙂 And as you say, creativity comes in many forms – fixing a broken pipe is high up in up in my book! Oh Jules, thank you…but if only, I wish I had been short listed for a prize, but alas, ’tis not I 😉

      • julespaige

        We are all prizes to each other at the Ranch… new friends and all 😉

      • Sherri

        Abolutely 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        You are all indeed prizes at Carrot Ranch and I feel like a big winner! 😀 It delights me to see community grow through introductions and connections between writers. <3 Thank you Jules and Sherri!

  5. julespaige

    This is a test. I am having issues with replying to Sherri…

    • Sherri

      Got your reply, thanks Jules…

  6. Sarah Brentyn

    Muses are real. Whatever form they take. And I’m glad you’re guided by yours. 🙂 Also glad to see humor is a big part of your life. Sometimes, it’s all we have to keep us from falling…

    Lovely poetry.

    • Charli Mills

      Do we call humorous muses amusing? 😀


  1. February 9: Flash Fiction Challenge « Carrot Ranch Communications - […] Jewels on the Page by Jules Paige […]
  2. Raw Literature: Possibilities « Carrot Ranch Communications - […] that is Natural or Explicit, as well as recognizing when Raw is Ready. We’ve considered Jewels on the Page,…
  3. Raw Literature: Spring Review #2 « Carrot Ranch Communications - […] Paige takes us directly to the page and explains her pen name in Jewels on the Page. She shares…

Discover more from Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading