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Raw Literature: Seasonal Summary #4

No matter where you are in the world, seasons hold a certain cadence. It might reflect work patterns or lifestyle; weather or crops; and even a season of writing. Whether or not you are at the beach with a good book, eating strawberries freshly plucked, or tapping the keys in a windowless nook, take time time to catch up on the Raw Literature guest essays at Carrot Ranch.

In this round up of essays, you will enjoy some visual creativity, discover newly published works, experience the weather and possibly develop a craving for cake and milk. Our essayists range from Poland to South Africa to England to Canada to the US. Raw literature knows no boundaries.

Raw from California Past: Charli Mills Imagines the Weather’s Impact. This is from my own pen, in response to the interesting memoir prompt hosted by Irene Waters in Times Past. Writing raw, I dug into memories of California weather to recreate the lives of historic figures in a trio of 99-word stories.

Raw from Poland: Art and Literature in the Raw by Urzula Humienik. While many writers visualize their characters, this novelist creates visual art as her characters. Urzula explains why she pursued a degree in art to expand her passion for literature. She writes, “There seems to be an interwoven connection in my mind between art and literature, and it’s possible I’m not the only one.” Her original artwork from current characters are included.

Raw from the East Coast: Sarah Brentyn is a Writer Unplugged. A master of brevity, Sarah writes from the raw center that marks her style. With a new book out, Hinting at Shadows, Sarah explores her process and awe for “raw.” She writes, “This tiny three-letter word is like a super hero. I’m a word nerd and I love that this petite power house can describe so many items, objects, and states.”

Raw from England: Anne Goodwin Goes Underneath. Crafting fiction from raw concept to publication ready is becoming second nature to Anne. In fact, she’s recently launched her second novel, Underneath, how one man decides to make use of his cellar. In her essay, Anne considers her obsession with stairs as a reoccurring theme in her writing. She writes, “In my novels, stairs symbolise the transition from one state to another, and possibly back again.”

Raw from Canada: Casia Shreyer Gives an Interview. With a new anthology published by Shreyer Ink Publishing, Casia answers questions about her creative process and working with other writers to develop collaborative works from raw literature. The theme is that of tolerance. “Everywhere we look people are grappling with the idea of tolerance and acceptance, weighing it against theology and tradition and their other personal values.”

Raw from Northeastern US: Lit Like Raw Milk by D. Avery. Long in the saddle and new on the scene at Carrot Ranch, D. Avery is making cream at the top of raw literature. The author of two books of poetry, Chicken Shift and For the Girls, D. reflects on memories of milk as a child. She writes about her recent experience writing with the literary community at the ranch, “The writing that is gathered there is rich and flavorful, like raw milk. It is filled with associations and connections, showing evidence of its origins and of its journeys.”

Raw from South Africa: Baking, Writing and Children by Robbie Cheadle. An interest in baking leads to one of writing and it’s a family journey with mother and son, Robbie and Michael. Both have expansive imaginations and now they are published. Robbie writes, “This original idea of Michael slowly developed into the Sir Chocolate series of books that exists today. We have written ten books, three of which are currently published.”

Cheers to whatever season may find you. May you live and write raw from the heart, from your deepest parts to your highest aspirations.


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


Raw Literature: Spring Review #2

One of my favorite analogies for writing and revising a book is to look at editing in three layers: bones, flesh and skin. At any layer, your writing can be raw — newly knit bones (structure); exposed flesh (details); and tender skin (polish). It depends upon a writer’s process, unique voice and set of strengths as to what one’s first efforts unfold to be. This is what we are talking about in essays by guest writers at Carrot Ranch. This is raw literature.

Today, I was reminded of the importance of structure at the beginning of a writing journey. I’m beginning a different journey, my first ever pulling my home/office on wheels. We had a dinky (and leaky) camp-trailer last summer that pulled behind our farm truck after our rental went on the market and we had no other rental available in our rural north Idaho community. We became among the shadow homeless, meeting other rural homeless in RV parks and veterans living out of their vehicles. This is different from what you see in urban centers where those experiencing homeless are on the streets.

It’s been a raw experience in the sense that it was unexpected and not intended.

But like raw literature, it holds surprises. We’ve learned that with the right RV, it can be enjoyable. I’ve even met a few other uprooted writers and we’ve become part of a sub-culture in America. However, with the right RV, we needed the right truck — a bigger truck. We landed on Mars and have been stranded in lot 70 for all of winter. With the return of tourists to Zion National Park, we knew our home needed to get moving. Through several moments of synchronicity, the Hub’s sister found us a truck. And appropriate to Carrot Ranch, it’s a ranch truck.

The Hub drove 2,400 miles to swap the farm truck for the ranch truck in Kansas. We had a tight schedule, having been given a date by the RV park that we needed to move out of lot 70. On the way back, the Hub encountered the Dodge Death Wobble on an 8,500 foot mountain pass in Colorado. It scared all three of us, the Hub, the Sis and me. He got back on the road after talking to us both, and the Sis and I stayed on the phone together, helping each other not to worry. The ranch truck did fine after that. The Hub met a group of cowboys at a cafe the next morning, and he asked them if they experienced such a vibration in their Dodges. They all laughed and welcomed him to Dodge ownership.

In a way, it’s like writing. We often encounter death wobbles in our first efforts — stale details, flat characters, cliche-pox. It scares us into thinking our writing isn’t sound. But it is all fixable. Like the cowboys told the Hub, slow down on the corners downhill. Dodge is a good truck; it has good bones. In your first efforts, focus on your story, the bones of what you want to do and slow down and pay attention to the details and leave the polish for last. Write strong bones.

In this review, we are looking back at three essayists who explore raw literature. The purpose of the reviews is to give writers and readers time to catch up and reflect on the previously posted essays in the Raw Literature series. This is meant to be an ongoing discussion. One essay may spark an idea for another.

  1. Anne Goodwin considers what it means to develop first works and take your work From Raw to Ready. She reflects on the industry standards that don’t come with a rule book: “Of course, you might be thinking, if you want people to read your stuff, it’s got to be right! I’m not disputing this at all. Publication implies a certain standard; what’s not clear is how to set about achieving it, or even what that standard might look like.” Anne compares raw writing to raw walking and the importance of acquiring skills or tools. She also applies a model that takes the writer from raw to ready and asks for your ideas, too.
  2. Jules Paige takes us directly to the page and explains her pen name in Jewels on the Page. She shares her first process as a child that has led to the writer and poet she is today. Jules says, “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.” She explores the process, the impact of prompts and interweaves her poetic verse.
  3. C. Jai Ferry takes us to an unsettling incident in a rural community to give us the experience of what it’s like to seek stories for Writing Grit. She talks about how her stories explore human nature between black and white norms. C. Jai says, “My stories will never be made into after-school specials. They are gritty and raw, tackling difficult issues that we all face at some point in our lives.” She explains how her goal is not to normalize these raw lives of her characters but to shed light on the evil lurking in our own communities.

As you can see from this set, the idea of raw literature is as varied as the writers who step up to create. Enjoy this week’s review!

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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