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Raw Literature: Spring Review #1

January 4, 2017 we kicked off the new year at Carrot Ranch with an ongoing conversation about those first works we create as writers. What marks us as literary artists is not poetry or prose, it’s not genre or length of writing. What marks us as literary artists is creativity with the written word. After three years of writing with diverse writers from around the globe and across genres, I was curious about how we create in our chose medium.

It’s interesting to explore the whirring behind such inventive minds, and understand that the term raw literature applies broadly to what we do as much as what we first write. So far, we’ve had ten writers talk about what raw literature means, why writing is a creative process and how literature impacts other areas of life. It’s a dialog that could continue indefinitely and the conversation grows as we ponder what another has said.

That is why I’ll periodically pause for reviews of previous essays in the series. There’s good pondering and inspiration you don’t want to miss. This week we’ll catch up with the first three essays from guest writers.

  1. Sherri Matthews introduced the guest series with Memoir and What Lies Beneath, and reflects on her initial idea for a memoir. It’s a deep and introspective path to recreate life moments with words on a page. She writes, “But I am not writing a memoir for personal catharsis, nor to air the family’s dirty laundry, wreak revenge or set the record straight.  It’s an itch I can’t scratch, the baring of my soul in a gut-ripping, blood-letting, snot-flinging exercise in pursuit of the real story.”
  2. Sarah Unsicker has temporarily hung up her writing hat to serve constituents as State Representative of Missouri’s 91st District. What an historic time for a woman to be elected to office in the US. While she might not be writing creatively in her new role, it’s influence remains. She tells us in an interview for Rough Writer for Congress, “Literature helps people consider different situations in life with more empathy and understanding.”
  3. Geoff Le Pard jumped into the conversation with a lawyer’s regard for definitions. In Natural or Explicit, he explores the meaning of raw and goes beyond definitions to what it means to feel exposed, writing, “For any work, if we truly want to get that rawness, newness, freshness, we should be prepared for some hurt and not be scared to expose our vulnerabilities.”

Be sure to join catch up with us some more the next two Tuesdays. Join the conversation or consider adding to the continuing dialog. What does raw literature mean to you? How do you view yourself as a literary artist and what do you do with your first efforts? If you are launching a new book, consider writing an essay in this series as part of any blog tours you might be doing. You can share how your published work began as a literary artist’s first raw attempt.

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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


  1. Annecdotist says:

    So much rich information to ponder in this series, Charli, it’s a good a idea to take a moment to reflect on the work you’ve sparked. And beautifully assembled too.

    • Charli Mills says:

      That’s what I was thinking, Anne! I thought I’d slow it down momentarily to better digest the rich brew its become. I didn’t want those first essays about first efforts to get lost as this grows. This just might be the way of, once a quarter. Thank you for your contribution and I look forward to being a part of your Blog Tour for Underneath.

  2. Lovely post, I am looking forward to reading more about this.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you, Robbie! And if you ever want to expand the discussion you can submit an essay to Carrot Ranch. I think the answer to what is raw literature is as different as each writer.

  3. Norah says:

    This a great idea, Charli. It is helpful to have time to reflect on each post in relation to others, draw the threads together, and make sense of it all from a personal writing perspective. Also, it is easy to miss a post as it comes through and it is great to have a reminder. Each of the writers deserves a wider audience, and the audience can learn so much from each writer’s story.

  4. I always enjoy this blogspot and am grateful for the review of what we have so far. For me , I love hearing peoples’ stories and having accomplished folks reflect on their take on raw literature is a rich learning experience and inspiration. Thanks to you and all your contributors–keep ’em going., please!

    • Charli Mills says:

      After working on our first anthology, I developed a library program from all the ways I see writers use flash fiction as a tool. Then I had a delay in the anthology with wandering and settling on Mars, and when I got back to our anthology material I had even more realizations. It’s exciting to me because as writers we can define, learn and teach craft, but creativity is so nebulous. This conversation of essays allows us to gain clarity and those a-ha moments. I’m glad you like the series and would welcome an essay from you, too!

  5. Thank you again for your wonderful Raw Lit series. Honoured to take part…love reading every writer’s different approach….

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ah, well it’s you, the writers, who make this engaging! Thank you for your essay. I have a greater appreciation for the process of a memoirist and your approach. Happy writing this week! Hope you don’t get a black eye. 🙂

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