Often we believe artistic expression flourishes in paint and piano keys. If we broaden the idea to include words as art we think of poetry. If we consider literature, the greats come to mind: Chaucer, Hemingway, Cather. And right now, you might be debating my opinion on “the greats.”
What is literature, and can we ever define who is in and who is out? Basically, literature is written works recognized as having important or permanent value. A writer who crafts with words and attempts repeatedly to achieve that designation of value is a literary artist. Therefore literary art is the pursuit of studying and writing literature. Raw literature results from the drafts and processes of this pursuit.
Literary artists need safe space to play with words, craft story ideas, explore characters, describe settings, investigate research, and discover what the art has to reveal. Art only reveals itself in doing and interacting. These 99-word nuggets of creative expression open doors that remain closed to literary artists in isolation. Interaction allows the literary-curious to dabble in the art for fun, or gives seasoned authors a break from intense long-term literary projects.
What does literary art look like at Carrot Ranch? It’s short-form micro-fiction, for certain. It’s playful. It’s encouraging and provocative dialog about the art created or its process of creation. The literature at Carrot Ranch includes weekly collections of flash fiction thoughtfully arranged to express and explore a topic. It also includes the works of individuals: novels of multiple genres, short stories, essays, poetry, articles, book reviews, substantial blog posts, and creative works for educators.
The greatest value in literary art is that it opens minds to unfamiliar experiences. In a divisive world full of information, it’s the word-crafters who remind us of the humanity in it all. Literary artists inspire, agitate, reveal, imagine and reflect the good and bad within us. Literary artists give meaning to life. Consider the words John Lennon wrote:
“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
You might say literary art is the pursuit of happiness.
Literature at Carrot Ranch (99-word Version)
Words seep from behind paint and piano keys to declare art of their own. Hemingway achieved mastery in six words. We take stabs at the canvas 99 thrusts at a time. We (literary artists in chorus) defeat isolation in a sandbox, jamming like John Lennon’s friends, pursuing happiness.
Carrot Ranch, a collaboration of word wrangling to craft, explore, reveal. Safe space to write without dinosaurs deconstructing early efforts or long-hidden chapters. A place where words wriggle free to crawl among brain folds, loosening shadows to dawn’s first light. Where teachers learn from 5-year-olds what universal truth could be.