Raw Literature: Cake & Cookies

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.

May 23, 2018

I said, “Colorful.” That’s the only reason I  ordered a white cake with white frosting. I was thinking magenta roses, blazing copper sunsets, and turquoise cowboy boots. Instead, I got a polite pile of pale pink rosettes and a sprinkling of confetti along the edges. What it lacked in vibrancy, my birthday cake made up for in taste. It was superb.

And the guests were the colorful ones!

First shift brought a small group of veterans and their wives. We hit the champagne. Then moved the huge picnic table so it could be in the full sunshine. May 20th and it was a sunny but cool Copper Country Day. With the sun on our backs or in our faces, we relaxed while the Hub grilled brats.

Next came the dancers. The night before I had watched the performance, mesmerized by the storytelling of dance. Like literary art, dance transforms into performing art with an audience. Our words and movements are meant to be shared. After the Sunday matinee, several dancers arrived for cake.

Last, the Rock Sisters arrived. Three women, including Cranky, lived a dream with me — to pick rocks on the shores of Lake Superior as the sun set with a cup of champagne. We went down to the beach, combed through rocks and watched the sun melt like molten copper into the lake, igniting the sky in violet hues.

But after cake came the cookies.

Anne Goodwin writes about the situation in her post, “GDPR chaos and confusion.” I’ve been trying to find a definitive answer to what is compliant on my various platforms. It’s clear as chocolate cake batter, and yet, I understand it involves cookies. I’m updating messages for my primary e-newsletter, and I’ve added the annoying “cookie jar” widget as a footer.

Somehow, I thought my platforms would have my six; that they would be advising me that they have provided the necessary functions to be GPDR compliant. However, Facebook warns me every time I hop on the site to “be compliant.” I kind of feel like those of us on Facebook should be issuing the social media giant with leaky data that message!

When I tried to research what it meant in practical terms to control my cookies, I did a Cookiebot scan and found cookies that needed nibbling, or deleting or some kind of “manual classification and a purpose description.” Wait a minute. I don’t bake cookies, how am I to explain them? Isn’t that Word Press and shouldn’t they be supporting their paid customers? (Cue crickets.)

Cookiebot also gave me a mind-boggling list of action to take:

  • Inform your visitors in plain language about the purpose of your cookies and trackers before setting other than strictly necessary cookies (ePR)
  • Provide options for the visitor to change or withdraw a consent (GDPR/ePR)
  • Have a mechanism in place to log and prove consents (GDPR)
    Map and document data streams performed by third parties (GDPR)
  • Configure your consent method to use explicit/active consent when processing sensitive personal data on your website (GDPR)Provide the identity and contact details of the data controller in your company (GDPR)
  • Disclose that the visitor is entitled to access, correct, delete and limit processing of personal data (GDPR)
  • Disclose that the visitor is entitled to receive personal data so that they can be used by another processor (GDPR)
  • Disclose that the visitor has the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority (GDPR)
    Inform about the occurrence of automatic decisions, including profiling (GDPR)

So, in clear and concise language, I’m using Raw Literature’s column to conform or confirm my cookies in 99 words, no more, no less:

So Ya Know by Charli Mills, Lead Buckaroo of Carrot Ranch

In the olden days, neighbors swapped cookies and stories. Carrot Ranch is safe space for writers to share stories, to create literary art, to read, learn, inspire, grow. Any cookies you swallow at the Ranch come from the Word Press Bakery. There’s cookies to test if your browser accepts cookies, cookies to change language preference, and I imagine (not being the baker), there’s cookies that act like a homing device after you nibble. Any data these cookies collect are not used at Carrot Ranch by Carrot Ranch because we make literary art accessible. We don’t sell or trade cookies.

It’s not the small businesses or interactive blogs that need to carry the burden of exposing cookies. It’s the tyrants who encoded them in the first place. Carrot Ranch has no desire to participate in data mining or other stupid capitalistic practices. Words for people, not for profit! Carrot Ranch collects stories and writers consent by submitting said stories. Emails are only collected for the purpose of communicating with the writers. All stories collected are published, and all copyrights stay with the original authors.

Clear? I hope so. I suspect this is not GDPR compliant, but I have done my best. Kind of like my white cake. I could be more colorful on the subject, but I want you to know that our substance here at the Ranch is superb. We aren’t doing anything nefarious with cookies.

That’s my Raw Lit take on the fine mess of cookies, and I’m going to go eat another piece of cake.


Raw Literature posts as 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.

Easy-Bake Cookies!

If you don’t sell anything, go have a piece of cake. If you have to deal with cookies, here are some useful links if you monetize your blog in any way (sell books, services or ads):

Privacy and GDPR Compliance by MJ Mallon

GDPR Chaos & Confusion by Anne Goodwin

Automattic and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

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    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for taking some cookies to your place!

  1. Ritu

    It’s a minefield.. at least you made it look tasty Charli!

    • Charli Mills

      The whole thing makes me want to eat cookies, Ritu!

      • Ritu

        I’ll join you!!!

      • Charli Mills

        I’m eating cake and crafting policy…!

  2. Annecdotist

    Sorry the cookies messed with your birthday cake, Charli. I think GDPR must be even more frustrating for those of you outside the EU. But can the EU hold you to account in the US? Who knows? But glad my post helped, if only by way of solidarity in frustration.

    • Charli Mills

      I might have to think about this, Anne…if the EU can hold me accountable, do I get to go to jail in Europe? If the US declines, perhaps its an option… According to articles, the US is not exempt from the EU’s rules. How they are enforced, is a good question, but they are telling us here as well as across the pond that massive fines are at stake. I feel like the wee fish in the pond are getting jostled as the big fish vie for more controls.

      • Annecdotist

        I’m currently reading a novel set in a women’s prison in California. You’d definitely be better off being incarcerated in the EU. Although maybe not Britain, which is happily following the lead of the US in its attitude to vulnerable people, but then we’ll probably have left the Union by the time your case comes to trial. In the unlikely event it comes to that, I promise to visit you!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I am going to tag along with Anne, should you end up behind bars. We’ll bring cake for you. Just be carefile, if you know what I mean.

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! I’ll make sure I don’t get arrested stateside! Good of you to visit me in GDPR prison.

  3. calmkate

    ah that explains why I got a ‘cookie’ warning on my second blog .. I also don’t agree with their use but WP must be tracking us all … not good!

    Glad you had such a lovely birthday!

    • Charli Mills

      Some cookies are chocolate chip — they are necessary to the function of platforms like Word Press, Twitter or websites. Others are like biting into an oatmeal cookie expecting the raisins to be chocolate. They take us by surprise and track our data. However, we all have the ability to clean cookie (crumbs) from our computers. It can be a pain, though — sweep away the cookies and your oft-visited websites won’t remember you. You can find a balance. I can’t say GDPR is beneficial because it doesn’t seem to impact those who are using cookies for unscrupulous reasons.

      Thanks! I had a great birthday, fully extended!

      • calmkate

        lol and that’s how it should be … off to wipe those crumbs away!

      • Charli Mills

        Leave a trail so we can find you! 😉

  4. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    I love this Charli! Give me the nibbly kind of cookies any day. Xxx

    • Charli Mills

      I know! I want good cookies! Do you mind if I link to your post? You have a grasp on what it means to those of us with blogs.

      • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

        No of course do Charli. No problem. 🙂

    • Norah

      It’s a great post. Thank you. 🙂

  5. TanGental

    Bloody lawyers making problems… I’ll stick to cake

    • Charli Mills

      A perfect storm — lawyers + coders + marketers! Give me cake over cookies!

  6. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    What about the rocks? Did you find any treasures? (Diversion tactic; do not wish to wrap my head around this cookie business)

    • Charli Mills

      Rocks!!! Lady Lake gifted me with an agate! So much better than legal cookies.

  7. Norah

    Oh lovely lady, I’m impressed. That you could get this GDPR debacle down in 99 words is just amazing. This is the most ridiculous waste of time ever. Whoever thought it up needs to have their head read and I’m not invoking my privacy policy in saying that. The stress it has caused to us little bloggers and writers, when we’ve already done what we need is deplorable. I’m just about to declare that I can’t take it any more. It’s not worth the hassle.
    Oops – almost forgot the cake. I like the thought of the cake you wanted. Sorry you didn’t get that one. The one you did get is pretty though. As long as it was sweet and tasty, that’s what counts.

    • Charli Mills

      Deplorable cookies! Yes, Norah, someone created a lot of hassle. I think it’s a smokescreen to placate all the people who feel fearful about data mining over the internet, but this GDPR is not going to hit the big offenders or stop the unscrupulous spammers. Nanjo must be laughing. The legalese is so thick it can choke the average person trying to read it. Thing is, none of us are collecting cookies — our platforms do and many are necessary to the function of a website. The ones that might be questionable or require “manual descriptions” require code and we don’t write the code for our sites. Arggg! Anyhow, my cake is the loveliest cake in the world. I thought it would be more colorful, but I have high color expectations! But it was so pretty and memorably tasteful!

      • Norah

        I’d rather talk cake than GDPR. I don’t think the GDPR holds any hint of sweetness. Your cake is beautiful! Like you!

  8. Shallow Reflections

    I love how you made something sweet from the stress of GDPR compliance, Charli. I threw up a privacy statement yesterday that I hope keeps me out of hot water. I wanted to make it funny but since I was almost literally throwing up while I read legal mumbo jumbo, it wasn’t the right timing for me. I am inspired by your creative take on it. I was almost ready to quit blogging altogether as my stomach churned but I’ll go on another day. One day at a time.

    • Charli Mills

      Hang in there, Molly! We aren’t the targets of this compliance and it’s not all bad. It’s just too thick on the legalese to fully comprehend. It’s intended to put controls on global business. If you want to sell to European countries, they want you to be transparent with how you use the data collected. Your terms of privacy and an email to subscribers fits the “evidence” of compliance. As for the cookies…I honestly have no idea how to code cookies on my site. I trust Word Press, Survey Monkey, Mail Chimp and PayPal to be compliant or communicate with me as a customer how I need to do more than simply be how I believe I already am — transparent. I hope the humor kicks in and you can tweak your Privacy!

      • Shallow Reflections

        I hope I will be able to see the humor in this soon, Charli. I am behind on sending out the email. But I’ll see if I can get something together that fits the bill and elicits a chuckle!

      • Charli Mills

        Eat cookies first, Molly. That’ll get you in the mood!

  9. robbiesinspiration

    A fun way of introducing this very legal post, Charli. I have sort the cookie story out [I hope] with a little help from a friend [Hugh Roberts] but the GDPR thing is still an enigma for me.

    • Charli Mills

      If I have to be cookie legal, I’ll do it eating cake! I know, Robbie, it’s much to sort out. I’m glad Hugh has been helpful! I think it will remain an enigma for a while. We are all transparent already — I mean, we blog about our writing and to an extent, our lives.

  10. Jules

    I used to be worried about those stupid cookies. My worry about not being able to visit my friends has just gone stale. I want clear language as to why WP needs cookies or cookie bots. To me it’s just so they can show me more advertising. I go to one website to make free donations every morning and the first thing that pops up on the top of the page is an add for what ever thing I was searching for the day before. No kidding. Vacuums, books, food items… You know I just ignore them all.

    I tried to look at the cookie removal thing… more language that is more mumbo Jumbo – all the ingredients in that packaged cookie mix to make it last on the shelf for years before you finally decide to use it. With the caveat that all the those preservatives are for my benefit. If I ate every cookie, or spent every dime I had on everything advertised I’d be too large to fit through any door and broke. So again, I just ignore them all… I just wanna see my friends.

    Thanks for trying to explain computer cookies. I’m just glad you had a great day and that Carrot Ranch remains a haven.

    I’ve been away for a few days myself… so it might take me a while to catch up on stuff. Cheers all, ~attempting to be always in the mix…in a good way

    • robbiesinspiration

      I haven’t got a firm grip on the cookie story either, Jules. I just know they are there and that I need to have a statement on my blog warning people about it.

      • Jules

        I knew that Europe had to do it… I didn’t know US had to – I don’t yet. Maybe just with paid WP sites? We’ll just see how long that lasts…

    • Charli Mills

      “Stupid cookie crumbs,” is something I’ve been muttering lately, Jules! You do not need to worry about it. You don’t sell anything on your site. I’m working on a Privacy Policy which is so full of legal BS my head spins. How 7 pages of legal BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, is supposed to promote transparency at Carrot Ranch, I don’t know. I seriously doubt the EU is going to target author platforms, bloggers or literary communities, but the sale of anything from books to sky-diving parachutes now has a “level” playing field. I don’t know how it’s level to make small businesses and artists have to provide the same legal documentation as Facebook and Google… But to your complaint, now you will get to read all about every website’s cookies and opt in or out of TOS and GDPR compliance each visit. What a PIA. Okay! I’m back to my Privacy documents if I don’t lose my ever-loving mind. Seriously, it’s like having to sign in and out of security to go visit neighbors.

      • Jules

        Kinda like passports… I guess. I know what PIA is, but TOS, and even GDPR are not on my radar.

        Level playing fields. Really? If legaleze is involved not a single thing is level. At least I don’t see or understand it. I haven’t figured out how to opt-out. I thought if I did that…opt out I wouldn’t be allowed on the site I was visiting… I am a dense piece of wood.

      • Charli Mills

        You said it true: “If legaleze is involved not a single thing is level.” Exactly! Not dense as wood, at all, Jules. This is head-breaking stuff. So, websites (including Carrot Ranch) will let you know that cookies are used. ALL websites use cookies. More sophisticated websites with third-party sellers (such as a WordPress blog that uses AdWords or a plugin like Google Analytics) will also have to let you know about those cookies. Then A Privacy Policy will have to legally spell out the use of cookies. Mine will have a simple version and then the full legal language which, I kid you not, is seven pages long. I’m about ready to throw cake, except its delicious and wouldn’t be useful. But I’m frustrated. I’ll be employing your suggestion. 😉

  11. susansleggs

    Glad your birthday celebration was enhanced by good cake and rocks. As for cookies, I’m clueless. I wish laws could be written in lay-terms with common sense instructions instead of legalese and fluff to cover the big boys butts.

    • Charli Mills

      What it takes to cover big boy butts smoothers the rest of us! But the EU thinks it levels the playing field. Not sure about that. I’m choking on legalese at the moment, Sue. Thank you for being a part of my celebration!

  12. Liz H

    GDPR = Gol’ Durned Policy Rednecks. Makes me wanna toss my cookies, too.
    Thanks for the reassuring 99 here, and Happy Cake Day to you!

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! Now we know Europe has rednecks, too! I hope it was reassuring, and as long as you don’t sell anything you are not included. But I sell subscriptions, books, and patronage so I need the full Gol’ Darned thing!

  13. rugby843

    Cookie exchanges before Christmas was big in the old days, no one I know does it anymore.

    • Charli Mills

      Those were the best cookie exchanges! I think I might start one!

      • rugby843


      • Kerry E.B. Black

        We do here, my sisters and a couple of ladies from church. Christmas cookies sound friendlier, though, than the computer kind and regulations. My little sis is getting married. And here the tradition is s cookie table at the wedding reception. I’ll make Linzer Hearts for my girl and her groom. It is a complicated recipe using ground walnuts. However, Baking sounds easier than figuring out the website kind. Hugs. Please let me know if I can be of any help.

      • Charli Mills

        That is a wonderful tradition, Kerry! And thank you for the offer to help. I’ll let you know when I figure out what to do! Thank you!

  14. The Haunted Wordsmith

    Personally I think the EU ruling is long over due and I hope the US follows suit. For the majority of websites it does not really change things, but it does provide more perfect information for website visitors. I worked for a nonprofit years ago as the website developer and the last day I worked for them, the Executive Director asked me to capture visitor emails without their knowledge so that the organization could solicit donations. Cookie abuse is rampant with phone games and other businesses that need tracking (hint FB and Cambridge Analytics). Anything that uses “targeted advertisements” is tracking you. Whether you agreed or not.

    Your post about the cake though made me hungry…good thing I have a white cake mix and mini chocolate chips in the kitchen. Guess I know what’s for desert now.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you for your insights and reminder that the EU ruling is meant to create more transparency. The US must comply if an individual, organization, or corporation conducts business in Europe. There are no caps or minimums, which to my understanding, is meant to “level the playing field.” It means Amazon has to be as transparent as a blogger in the US who sells books. However, Amazon has lawyers and massive tech departments to communicate and comply. Those of us selling books, subscriptions, or patronage on wee sites in comparison do not have lawyers and tech personnel to assure us we are legally transparent as we commit to being.

      You bring up a good point — just because your website captures individual identifiers of web traffic does not mean you have the right to use that data. What you were asked to do was highly unethical. And for that reason, I’m appreciative of the opportunity to explain to visitors and writers at Carrot Ranch what it is I do, how I collect “data” and make a statement regarding its use. I believe in transparency because it builds authentic relationships and solidifies trust.

      Yes, the US has the biggest infringers upon personal data. The EU ruling requires FB, Google, Amazon and other big corporations to be more transparent and give users the opportunity to opt in or out. But having to be compliant at the level Facebook has to be is really hard for sole proprietors and small businesses. It’s costing me a prompt post this week and the fees to pay a legal firm for seven ugly pages I have to post here.

      But I will eat cake and ride on! So glad you have the fixings!

  15. dgkaye

    Brilliant and entertaining spin on the GDPR, Charlie, LOL 🙂

  16. Colleen Chesebro

    This was perfect for all the GDPR stuff. Well done, Charli! <3

  17. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Kid there ain’t no cookies.”
    “But Shorty had her cake and ate it too, an’ now she’s on about cookies. I could sure hep her with cookies.”
    “No, ya cain’t, Kid, there ain’t no cookies. Shorty’s talkin’ GDPR.”
    “God damn pryin’ raccoons? Jist say it, Pal.”
    “No! Not raccoons.”
    “Oh. ‘Cause they kin be trouble.”
    “Shorty has ta tend ta General Data Protection Regulations.”
    “Oh. Huh? Protection? The ranch is safe as kin be. Fictional lives matter here.”
    “Good thing, ‘cause real life kin be pretty ridiculous.”
    “Yeah, cain’t make that shit up. It’s unbelievable.”
    “Yep. Good luck, Shorty.”

    • Norah

      Love the Kid’s take on GDPR. 🙂

  18. papershots

    Art and creativity can come out of anything. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Norah

      Especially when Charli’s about. 🙂

      • papershots


  19. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    It is done. You walked through yet another layer of hell. With style. The No Bull badge is wonderful, and frankly should be enough of a statement. But, as the blurb in the lower right hand corner says, the privacy policy exceeds 99 words. (What is the count?) It is most likely the best privacy policy ever written; the voice of the buckaroo comes through and the vibe of the Ranch is not dulled even through the obligatory legalese. Brilliantly translated and executed.
    Well done, Boss, and well, it’s done.
    Go have some cake.

  20. Sarah Brentyn

    Yeah…I’ve been seeing a lot of this GPDR stuff floating around. I like what you’ve done with it. 🙂 And in 99 words, no less. (Get it..no less. *sigh*) Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Belated but still. The sentiment is there.


  1. Privacy and GDPR Compliance | M J Mallon Author - […] A humorous take on GDPR via Charli Mills: https://carrotranch.com/2018/05/23/raw-literature-cake-cookies/ […]
  2. Extended Deadline « Carrot Ranch Literary Community - […] this is no art project. I’m working on my GDPR compliance, something I lamented in Cake and Cookies. As…

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