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Raw Lit: For the Love of Rocks

By Charli Mills

Anyone who hangs around Carrot Ranch long enough will know that I have a thing for rocks. No matter where I go, the crust of the earth beckons me for a closer look. I love rocks.

I also love stories, and words, and crafting fiction.

The beauty of art exists in what we can create and how we can couple dissimilar ideas into vibrant unions. #CarrotRanchRocks is one such creative pairing — it’s where literary art meets geology.

I’ve anchored the project on Facebook to take full advantage of the searchability of the hashtag because it will be the unifier between rock-hounds and readers. Rocks in the program will each have a unique serial number along with the hashtag.

These rocks will serve as prompts. Participating writers will craft a 99-word flash fiction, featuring the rock in the story. Here’s an example I wrote from one of my own rocks in my private collection:

Copper Country Stunner by Charli Mills (Keweenaw Peninsula)

When Mabel waltzed by with bare feet and capris rolled high, all heads turned. Conversations on beach blankets halted. Men with walking sticks and ice-cream buckets paused. Children kicking at waves stopped as she sauntered past and peered into the crystalline waters of Lake Superior on a calm August day. Even the dogs stopped yapping.

Mabel was a Copper Country stunner, a legend among locals at Calumet Water Works. No matter which way she swung her fifty-year-old hips, they all stared at the copper nugget swinging like bling from her necklace. They all wanted to find one like it.

###

CPC-L1-001
Found at McLain State Park
August 2017
Copper embedded in rhyolite and quartz with signs of copper corrosion. From the private collection of Charli Mills.

NOTE: The photo, serial number, where and when found, and details are ones I’ll supply.

Key points of communication include a byline with location. While the rocks (and Ranch lead buckaroo) hail from the Keweenaw, our writers are from around the world. That’s an important point of connection. Details also include the serial number for identification, where and when the rock was found, and it’s identifying details.

Something I love about rocks reminds me of what I love writing into a story for — discovery. I recognize an interesting rock and a good story. I want to know more. But when I find out what a rock contains, like a completed story, I want to share it. I can share through the #CarrotRanchRocks project.

Beyond passion, discovery and sharing, #CarrotRanchRocks also build the platform for our writing at Carrot Ranch. One component of platform building and marketing is to identify and reach a target audience. It’s short-sighted to think of readers as only readers. Like me, they have interests.

And it’s likely that those who love rocks will love this union of literary art and geology.

The rocks also act as an icebreaker. When I go to book events this summer, I’ll have rocks to pass out like unique calling cards. Rocks will give me an edge, an entry point by which I can talk about Carrot Ranch and our writing. It’s an example of what I call “maverick marketing” — to think of strategies that are unique to your own love interests.

You can read more about the program on the new page under Literary Outreach. You can like and follow the Facebook page @CarrotRanchRocks.

A big shout-out to JulesPaige who inspired me to think about rocks as art and calling cards; to C. Jai Ferry who took me hiking in the Baraboo Mountains last fall where I discovered #Baraboo Rocks; and to the first writers at Carrot Ranch to earn #CarrotRanchRocks badges for taking on a box of rocks as prompts — Colleen Chesebro and Michael Fishman.

UPDATE: I have a budget to send rocks to two writers a month, although I can issue photographs as prompts, too. If you are interested, use the contact form to connect with me. I will supply all the details (and rocks or photos of them); you write a flash fiction to go with each rock. Most of the rocks I want to hand out at book events, but the ones I send to writers, they can distribute as gifts or leave in a public space (like art rocks).

And, yes, it’s okay to say I have rocks for brains. I’ll take it as a compliment!

Times Past: Cooking with Mum

High in the Sierra Nevada mountains, winds a highway known as “4” or Ebbetts Pass. From the river valleys carved into the box-canyons of the eastern slopes, this highway connects the California Gold Country with that of the Silver Comstock. A right road of commerce, it now connects logging operations with mills and urban tourists with scenic destinations.

I never really cooked with my mom. More like she instructed me to prepare recipes like enchiladas and beans or sopas (a Portuguese roast served soup-style over crusty French bread, topped with fresh sprigs of mint that grew wild in the creek below our old mining-era house). She did most of the cooking, and I worked the cash register at night in her general store. But I learned enough.

Highway 4 passed her store and wound all the way up over the 8,000-foot mountain pass to where my father had a logging camp in Pacific Valley. He worked this Forest Service project for three or four years. When I was 13, I announced I would go find my own job because I no longer wanted to work in the store where I had stocked shelves, bagged ice, stacked firewood and served shifts as a cashier since I was seven.

Note: I now understand why the county staff often asked if my parents followed the child labor laws. I think they had some sort of good-ol-boy immunity.

Anyhow, my father approved a transfer of my labor from the store to his logging camp. I was dismayed because I had a job offer to ride for the local ranch, pushing stock up the trails to keep the cattle in the summer pastures. We compromised — I’d rise at 3 am and ride in the logging truck up that windy pass to arrive at Pacific Valley by dawn and work until noon. After lunch I’d be allowed a two-hour break until we left with a load of logs at 2 pm, getting home in time to saddle my horse and ride up the Barney Riley to push any strays back up the hill.

That summer, over my two-hour break, I read all the Han Solo series, every comic book I could get my hands on, and the summer reading list of classics for eighth-grade. Every morning I cleaned. Yep, sure as shit, I scoured that valley.

Let me pause a moment and explain the phrase “sure as shit.” Evidently my great-grandmother Clara Irma Kincaid passed down that verbal arrangement. Some people descend from proper biddies, from classy ladies. I come from a woman who said sure as shit so often it’s ingrained in me. When my recently long-lost cousin used the phrase, I realized its reach.

I use it for emphasis and to add a tone of anger. Sure as shit the female goes to work in the logging camp and has to clean the valley. I didn’t get to do any of the exciting logging activities or learn to operate a chainsaw. Nope. I got to clean. Cleaning meant dragging brush and bending over repeatedly to pick up any broken fragments of limbs. I raked and piled slash that my father would later burn.

His job was to reclaim a mountain meadow that had become overgrown with trees after the strip-logging of the mining days. It’s gorgeous now, and I want it known, I cleaned that meadow in a summer when I was 13.

What do Pacific Valley and my parents’ occupations have to do with tea in China or cooking with mum?

On the surface, not much. But deep down, it’s the roots of my cooking influences. My mother, always busy with the store, taught me to cook from a distance to help ease her woman’s work (though laundry was something she never relinquished or explained to me). My father, on the other hand, was a man caught between time. He was born after the mountain men of western culture, and before it was cool for men to be foodies. So, I learned the basics from mom, and creativity over a logging campfire with dad.

And that explains why my children get excited about the phrase “cooking with mum.” To them, it recalls our camping experiences when I prepared menus like this:

BREAKFAST:

  • Sausage Soufflé
  • Strawberries & peaches
  • Cowboy Coffee

LUNCH:

  • Salami Rolls
  • Sliced Tomatoes & Pretzels
  • Rice Crispy Bars

DINNER:

  • Jamaican Jerk Burgers
  • Rum-Spiked Grilled Pineapple
  • Watercress & Cranberry Salad

Or the Thanksgivings in which we spend weeks preparing in advanced to stuff ourselves like the turkey on the table. Or the way I use Penzy Spices, answer recipe questions in texts or make healthy vegan food taste decadent.

Cooking with mum is the verbal phrase I passed down, if not the actual activity. Cooking with mum means visiting with me in the kitchen or at the table. It’s about sharing meals and presence.

And it’s a better phrase than the one I received. Sure as shit.

***

Join Irene Waters with her monthly Times Past memoir prompt that compares the experiences of generation and place.

Times Past: Cooking with Mum

By Irene Waters

My almost ninety-year-old mother rings me every night. A habit that began many years ago both to ensure that she had someone to talk to every day and from a safety perspective. Too often the elderly fall and are not discovered for days. Every day she tells me minute by minute how she has filled her day. She is autobiographically using time to chronologically map her day. When her day is complete, she asks me what I have done. I pick out bits that may be of interest to her, starting with that which I consider to pack the most punch. I may also join a few events making one, such as meeting Donna five times that day and getting some different bits of the story each time. It is easy just to conflate time (join them together) and tell it as one. I am giving her memoir and with my use of time making the narrative interesting and compelling.

Last month we looked at dialogue and high definition description as a fictive element allowed in memoir writing that is acceptable when it is in the style of what would have been said at the time. Time is another element that can be used creatively in memoir. However, there is much more to time than simply technical aspects which create a compelling narrative.

You cannot divorce memoir from time as memoir deals with the duality of time – where the narrator looks back in time to understand the past from his present position. There are three different purposes for writing memoirs. Firstly, there are the “lyrical seeking” narratives, where the memoirist is trying to come to terms with lost experience. Secondly, the bildungsroman (coming of age) that often relate torrid circumstances. Thirdly, there are those narratives where the author has an overwhelming need to write what is purely a good story. Each of these types deals with time differently. The lyrical seekers combine ‘then’ and ‘now’ whilst in the bildungsroman the past and present are separated, often using flashback strategies.

Unlike time in auto/biography, time in a memoir can be manipulated. It does not have to follow a chronological order starting at birth and finishing at the end (biographical works) but focuses on a particular theme which can take place over a long or short period of time. The narrative can be started at the beginning, the middle, or the end – jumping backwards and forwards in time or, alternatively, the past and present can be written together. Birketts, who wrote The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again believes this use of time is the difference between a good and bad memoir.

By conflating time, that is writing several events as one, allows the author to have a smooth flow in the narrative and for the reader removes any boredom caused by repetition of repeated events. Additionally, vivid memories don’t follow a chronological time frame and may be presented as recalled by the writer with movement between past, present, and future. Mary Karr demonstrates this as she struggles to allow the past to surface. She jumps back and forward in time creating a tension and compelling the reader to continue reading to find the answers that Karr, herself, seeks from memories which are deeply hidden.

For the memoirist, time has some other important functions. As a memoir contains both memories and reflection, the passage of time before the memoir can be written is essential, as this distance allows the events affect upon the author to become known. Additionally, it can be a difficult reliving experiences that caused the narrator such pain in the past. Distance may be needed to safely revisit the situation. Memoir can be used as an agent of healing, but I believe that these valuable cathartic memoirs are written for personal consumption only and not for publication.

Time is also an important factor when writing a memoir about other people. Memoir should never be written close to an event when we are still wielding an axe we wish to grind, wanting to pay back someone who wronged us. Enough time must elapse so that we can deal with these difficult relationships objectively and ethically. When writing people who have adversely affected our lives it is better to objectively write, showing the reader rather than telling them, allowing them to determine a person’s character through their action rather than being told what the character is.

Time can also change what we write. The culture that we live in may have changed their views on what is acceptable allowing a different version of the narrative to be told (this happened particularly with slave narratives). Time may also change our perception of ourselves. We might not like the ‘I’ of the past. Virginia Woolf wrote in her memoir Sketch of the Past “…it would be interesting to make the two people, I now, I then, come out in contrast. And further, this past is much affected by the present moment. What I write today I should not write in a year’s time.”

Having said earlier that time must pass before writing a memoir letting too much time elapse may be detrimental also. It is a generally held belief that memoir is more prone to becoming irrelevant to a readership than does fiction. As readers often read memoir to see how another has dealt with a particular situation, perhaps following the path taken by the memoirist over time or for the inarticulate using these narratives to express how they feel, as time elapses at least some of these situations may have ceased to exist because of, eg, medical advances, political change, etc., thus making the memoir outdated. Memoir, I believe, will always give a social commentary of interest to social historians and other researchers.

Time is important in memoir, and a subject I touched on slightly in this post – dealing with others is also a crucial consideration when writing memoir and that will be the topic of next months post.

Please feel free to join in Times Past.  This month we are going to look at cooking with Mum reflecting on whether our childhood experience affected our cooking as an adult. Write a post of your own and link up to my Times Past Page, leave a comment in my comment section or in the comment section when Charli posts her memories of learning to write. Don’t forget to put where you lived at the time of the memoir, your generation and whether it was a rural or city area.

Open Call for Guest Writers

The well has gone dry, writers! We’ve had a terrific run of guest writers who have explored and shared their creative projects and processes through the Raw Literature series at Carrot Ranch. I’m not convinced we’ve run out of creativity to share because the well is deep and we just need to go further.

If you want to catch up on our 2018 series, be sure to bookmark these terrific Raw Literature Guest Essays:

Carrot Ranch offers several options for Guest Posts. They publish on Tuesdays and will run until September. That’s when we start preparing for the Flash Fiction Rodeo. You might want to write a guest post for several reasons:

  1. To build your writing portfolio.
  2. To expand your writing platform.
  3. To bring visibility to a book you or another community writer has published.
  4. To try your hand at an advanced creative writing prompt.
  5. To get better acquainted with the community at Carrot Ranch.

If you are interested, I’m signing up guest writers for the following:

Raw Literature explores the creative process and early creations in writing. The series is an ongoing conversation about those first works we create as writers, as literary artists. Guest Authors share personal insights on their craft, process, the experience of creating raw literature and what they do with it.

Platform shares successful marketing tactics for authors or bloggers. Carrot Ranch upholds that every writer’s platform is different according to how it’s built from the basic bricks that include branding, credibility, community, and target audience. This series examines how to use a platform for marketing books or developed content.

New! Peer Book Review is intended to grant space to regular writers and readers of Carrot Ranch to share the books of others in the community. Many of the Rough Writers & Friends are authors, and you can find a variety of good reads on the Books page. Reviews are the best way to support authors, and this series seeks to encourage peers to offer thoughtful book reviews.

In addition to guest essays, Carrot Ranch challenges literary writers to push their craft with Advanced Flash Fiction. If you are interested, you can take these advanced challenges at any time. Post on your blog and link back to Carrot Ranch or submit as a potential guest post.

6th Sense Challenge reminds writers to explore the world with more than the eyes. Writers create visual images for readers through all five senses of sight, sound, scent, touch, and taste. This challenge is to write the same 99-word story five times using one of the five senses. In the final sixth story of 99 words, create a sixth overall sense that combines the best of the sensory elements.

History Challenge encourages writers to dig into the past to find forgotten stories. Possible places to look include one’s own family tree, vital records, scrapbooks, school yearbooks, archived newspapers, town histories, local cemeteries and old house records. The idea is to start with a name and date of a person’s lifespan. Using local libraries, museum reading rooms, state archives or online sources, piece together vital facts and imagine a story. It can be told in one, three or five flash fictions of 99 words each.

Ultimate Flash Fiction Challenge imitates the five steps of writing a book. It’s a progressive, five flash writing activity. Your own results will surprise you and improve your approach to book writing. This advanced challenge welcomes all writers, especially those who write books or want to better understand how.

It’s a five-step process:

  1. Free write for five minutes;
  2. Write a 99-word flash fiction;
  3. Reduce it to a 59-word flash fiction;
  4. Reduce it to 9-words;
  5. Build it back up to 599 words in three-acts.

You can submit a post, essay or story to wordsforpeople@gmail.com.

Raw Literature: Exploring a New Structure

By Faith Colburn

I’m trying something unusual structurally right now, and the jury is out. I hope to send my novel to beta readers sometime later this month, but I’m still tweaking.

Here’s the nutshell: I have a male character, Connor, whose sister, Nora, is in the American Embassy in Paris as the Luftwaffe is about to start bombing. Connor’s trying to figure out a way to get his sister out of there at the same time he’s trying to decide whether to join the Army.

Connor and Nora never see each other after the first act, so they keep in touch by censored letter. Here’s a sample:

Dear Sis,

Everything has changed. It’s like the entire isthmus vibrates with boots—U.S. troops getting ready for whatever’s about to happen. Pearl Harbor seems to be sinking into the soil here, sprouting warriors like sown dragon’s teeth. We’re not preparing for war anymore. We’re at war.

I can’t wait to get into combat, Sis, so I can kick some Jap ass. I heard there were a lot of guys on the ships at Pearl Harbor who just burned up or drowned—maybe thousands. I wonder if anyone’s heard from Jack O’Neill.

Anyway, I want to give the Japs a taste of their own medicine. It’s hard to sleep wondering where we’ll end up and what kind of new country I’ll see. I think of all the thousands of miles of ocean out there. It’s just empty water, waiting to swallow us. It’s kind of intimidating, looking out at the Pacific and knowing how far away everything is. And then I think about Uncle Harry and wonder how I’ll take it. I don’t want to turn into a living wreck.

Meanwhile, if I’m not standing in the rain with a rifle, I have a choice. I can drink all by myself or I can sit around camp and play cards or shoot craps and drink and smoke cigarettes (I don’t do that yet, although I might as well, since there’s enough smoke around those games to kill a man.) or I can go to the Kuna workers and maybe get some hemp to smoke. That stuff’ll knock your socks off. I got the idea I was Jesus one night and tried to walk across the canal (on the water) to prove it. Darn near drowned myself.

Connor

To complicate matters, I’m telling about the six years Connor spent wandering around the West as a hobo in flashbacks throughout the decision-making, training, combat, and beginning recovery on a hospital ship. I love beta readers. They’ve helped me get where I need to go when I get off track. I’m hoping they can help me decide if I’ve got too many interruptions in my story.

Times Past: Back in Time with Trees

By Charli Mills,

A Gen-Xer

2017, Virgin, Utah (Rural)

Monkeys once flew over stunted juniper trees. I squint into the rosette of a setting sun and etch to memory the squared-lines of a mesa that had served as an Air Force Base in southern Utah. I never saw the monkeys who tested ejection seats after WWII, but I saw the gnarled desert trees.

Trees-rings mark my memories.

2016, Coeur D’Alene National Forest, Idaho (Wilderness)

Beyond tall pines squats a vault toilet. I have none of my own but a pressing need to use it. Between me and the trees, an angry bull moose swings his antlers. If I crap my pants before he stomps me to death will they think I was scared? Being homeless terrifies me more than a blustering forest moose. “Haw!” I shout, and he runs off to the river willows. I make it to the vault in time.

On other days, I squat behind the trees.

2012, Elmira Pond, Idaho (Rural)

Tamarack pines tower over 120 feet tall. Throughout their life-cycle, they reach for heaven but plunge into spring-fed pools instead. Eventually, their wood breaks down, and they form peat in the boggy ground. Thousands of years go into this cycle. On the edge of the tamaracks, the peat bog flashes like a signal-mirror to passing migrant waterfowl. I have moved to this paradise after 14 years in the suburbs. I’m out west again. Freedom!

Like the tamarack, I don’t see the fall coming.

2006, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Suburbs)

It’s ridiculous that I’m paying $70 for a balsamic fir Christmas tree. I long to poach a tree at night from the forest like we did in Montana.

I don’t have much to say about trees in the suburbs.

1996, Elk Horn, Montana (Abandoned Mining Town)

Kate maneuvers her van over potholes and exposed boulders as we wind our way up to 6,600 feet in elevation. It’s not as high up as where I lived from age seven to eighteen. But the view over the tops of the forest trees to the Boulder Valley below is magnificent. I’m researching a story I’ll never finish. As Kate and I trace our finger across weathered granite gravestones, we fail to consider our own mortality.

We think there will always be trees and time to write.

1986, Wolf Creek, California (Wilderness Area)

My dad is taking me and my fiancé fishing up Wolf Creek. Buckaroos-turned-lumberjacks like to tell stories. He tells my fiancé how we were driving up this rugged two-track five years earlier talking about the growing mountain lion population. My dad recounted how he responded that lynx were in these Jeffry Pines, but we’d never see them. He then laughed and finished up the story about how a lynx ran right across the two-track. “It happened right here,” he said as we turned the corner.

And a lynx ran out of the trees. Again.

1976, Hope Valley, California (Wilderness Area)

Twenty miles into the wilderness past the resort my great-aunt and her husband Milt ran, my Dad logged. He grew up on ranches across Nevada and California, a rambling buckaroo existence. He hung up his spurs and took on a chainsaw. We lived in logging camps in the summer, but my Mom ran a store in the small mountain town below so every morning we’d leave the forest. This morning my Dad stayed in the camp trailer bed with a herniated disc and a bandaged head from a widow-maker – the dead top of a tall white pine that snaps when a tree is felled, often killing the sawyer below. Dad lived but herniated his back. Now Mom leans in to kiss him goodbye. Crunch…she steps on his only pair of glasses.

They say bad tidings come in threes.

Like the Pinta, the Nina and the Santa Maria. My Dad once showed me a tree he felled, and we counted the rings back to when Christopher Columbus invaded America. Trees keep the record. And I’m certain they have better memories than I do. But I keep the heart of the stories alive. Me and trees, we have had many high times and healing together.

***

Linking up with Irene Waters for Times Past: Trees. Be sure to catch her monthly series at Carrot Ranch. She discusses dialog in memoir this month.

Raw Literature: Support System

By Susan Sleggs

I have read and heard in classes a writer should be able to condense a raw piece of literature down to one word or subject. That’s easy to do when I write flash fiction from a prompt by Charli Mills because she gives us the one word as a starting point. I find it challenging and fun. I love reading all the different takes on that one word. We certainly think and write with a different slant. When applying my craft in other venues such as poetry, memoir or other fiction that one word isn’t so easy to decipher. What is easy is to give credit to my support system for any writing I may accomplish. They encourage me with praise, and sometimes a nudge.

I first met my now husband in 2001. I told him I had a novel running around in my head but didn’t know how to go about writing it. He listened patiently for almost ten years then one evening while we were out listening to a Frank Sinatra impersonator, he noticed tears running down my face. He asked why. I told him I had just figured out how I could tie my story together. On the way home, he firmly said, “Now you have the missing piece, sit down and write it or quit talking about it.” I knew he was serious and I wasn’t about to quit talking about it. Halfway through the two-and-a-half-year writing process that started in 2013, he wished at times to never hear me mention it again. It became my total focus. Another nudge happened when I became frightened about the fact all my characters are a part of myself. I wasn’t sure I wanted my readers to know me so well. He assured me only a few people would be able to recognize that, so I went back to writing.

The first couple of weeks of actual writing I realized how much research I had to do. I wanted to find an Air Force pilot to model a character after. I called the local Veteran’s Outreach Center, and they directed me to the Rochester Veteran’s Writing Group whose doors are open to all vets, family members, and friends. As an ex-Air Force wife, I walked fearlessly into that first meeting on May 2, 2015, and not only found my pilot, but one that flew the exact airplane I wanted information about. The group has twelve regular members; two from WWII, three Viet Nam and the rest from Iraq and Afghanistan. We write from prompts every month and share our memories in a safe, non-judgmental situation, just like at Carrot Ranch. We have become special friends who understand PTSD, sacrifice, brotherhood and share the love of writing. That ex-pilot and I have read, critiqued and edited each other’s manuscripts. He is one of my best cheerleaders.

During the same time, I started taking classes at Writer’s, and Books, a Rochester, NY, based non-profit that promotes writing and reading. I learned about story arc, not using the word was because it tells instead of showing action and that the publishing industry doesn’t like exclamation points. I also joined another local writing group, the Lilac City Rochester Writers which is made up mostly of published authors who are willing to help other writers. I have learned much from their programs. It’s amazing when you put a group of people together who have the same passion how quickly they all become mentors to each other.

People have told me it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a college education, but I disagree. There are so many things I have had to learn the slow hard way that had I more education I would have learned in writing classes like the first draft is not the completed project. Writing is never done; there is always one, or many more adjustments that can be made. At times I find that disheartening and I retreat to my sewing room where I finish a quilt and give it away relishing the fact “done is done.”

In my quest for writing knowledge, the fact you must keep writing to improve became apparent, so I started a blog in July of 2016 (susansleggs.com). I share memories and information based on the National Day of Calendar. That’s where Robbie Cheadle found me and became my first international blogging friend. The Tanka Tuesday poetry challenges she entered grabbed my attention. I didn’t use the prompts for poetry but for the keywords in my first efforts at flash. She also introduced me to the Carrot Ranch. I took a flash fiction class in September 2017, and to my delight learned I could write short fiction. I submitted my first 99-word flash at Carrot Ranch last November and look forward to a new challenge each week. The content of my blog has changed, and my group of national and international friends keeps growing.

When Charli Mills asked if I wanted to share my writing process I was elated and humbled as my journey is far from over. My novel, even at the end of its eighth draft needs more work. I have let it languish for the last year, and since I have learned to write more concisely, I’m thinking rewrites to tighten the scenes might even be fun now. I need to get to it. The problem remains, my story is a soap-opera type family saga, and they are not the in thing right now.

As to my process, there is something I can’t explain. Insights come on a regular basis when I am listening to live music whether it is a crooner, jazz or country. And the irony of the whole situation is I am known for always having an opinion and lots to say, so being recognized for doing something short and concise makes me laugh and want to forge ahead.

Thank you to my support system, especially the folks at Carrot Ranch who keep giving me challenges, are positive, and I’m getting to know better as each week passes.

***

Susan Sleggs is a retiree who blogs from her home in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. She spends as many hours quilting in her sewing studio as she does writing in front of the computer. Memoir, fiction, and free-form poetry are common writing genres, but flash is her current passion.

<<♦>>

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.