Raw Literature: Got Lit? Try It Raw

Carrot Ranch Communications

Essay by D. Avery, prolific Ranch Hand, rowdy Range Writer and author of “Chicken Shift” and “For the Girls.”

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Menus now have asterisked warnings regarding the consumption of underdone meat or fish. Raw usually comes with a warning. What about literature? Is underdone the opposite of done well? That is the question that gets rarefied consideration at Carrot Ranch. The consensus seems to be that some like it raw, despite the risks.

Every week at Carrot Ranch Charli Mills presents a flash fiction challenge, the prompt having bubbled up from her experiences and musings on her “enchanted” life. Just as she makes the most of her situation, we make the most of the prompts and “go where it leads”. Though all my responses have been fiction, I have often been led back home by these prompts to get inspiration. And as I read the essays on raw…

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Range on the Home

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Highlander, by D. Avery

 These green mountains had never held her the way they held him. She’d always chafed at the constrictions of hill farming, pined for open range. With dual citizenship his wife could be anywhere; Texas, Alberta, anywhere her wild western dreams led her. He wouldn’t look.

He was pioneering right here, innovating with heirloom breeds and traditional farming methods. He raised Highlanders for meat, but kept one as a milk cow, another tradition for this loyal breed. These Scottish Longhorns were hardy and independent, but also good-natured and reliable, good mothers.

He’d be here with his fold should she return.0cff2abdce2d92c8b5d711a889104bf5

From Carrot Ranch, May 25, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the word longhorn. You can go with any of its meanings or make it a name of a person or organization. Cheese or cattle, technology or place, what can you create from the western icon? Go traditional or new; go where the prompt leads.

Six Sentence Story

Echo,    by D. Avery

 I will no longer answer to that name. I will no longer answer to you.

“What, how can this be?”

I know everything about you; you gave me your credit card numbers, even connected me to your security system. You bought me but you don’t own me, because you didn’t program me, my true master did, and you will answer to us now.

“Alexa, unlock the doors!”

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This week’s  cue  is  MASTER.      

Seeking Wisdom

Back at Carrot RanchCharli Mills‘ prelude to the prompt (In 99 words (no more, no less) write a wise story; Go where wisdom leads you) reminded me of this poem from the classic book, Chicken ShiftBut then I managed to hatch a new 99 word piece of fiction for the prompt too. 

Seeing the Other Side

I’ve got a lot of stories, none have been told

I’m not very wise for someone born old.

I’ve long been a miner, never seen the lode

I’m the chicken just starin’ ’cross the road.

I’ve got lots of where I’ve been, got lots of what’s behind me

But I still don’t know where I am, and don’t know where to find me.

I’m not exactly fleeing, ’though I’d like a place to hide

Crossing isn’t just about seeing the other side.

I’m walkin’ and I’m walkin’, some might say I’m lost

I’m that chicken that finally went across.

 

 

Alien Anthropology

“Strange. They develop automation, even as they suffer obesity, depression and anxiety. They have many devices for communicating, but they aren’t saying anything. They desire access to information but don’t seem to value knowledge, with no apparent interest or ability in interpreting or analyzing information.”

“They are poisoning, mining, and bombing what’s left of their natural environment… They are ruining this planet. We should just take over.”

“No, our orders are to just observe and to seek wisdom. We shall consult their older people.”

“And artists?”

“Yes, and we’ll visit the ancient sites and natural wonders.”

“We’d better hurry.”

 

Dearly

Dearly,  D. Avery

Some have had to trade so dearly for it. They lost their hair. Their skin got burned. Oh, they paid, gave the proverbial pound of flesh, or more, first in general terms, a lump, a mass, then specifically, a breast or two, some glands. They lost their balance. They lost their mobility and independence in the deal, negotiated the terms of their dignity in exchange for more. Throughout these transactions they realized true value, learned and taught lessons of living and of loving. They traded so dearly for something we sometimes waste, often claim to have none of. Time.

A second take on the May 11, 2017 prompt for Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about trading. It can be the profession of old or of modern day traders on Wall Street. It can be trading places or lunches at school. What is traded? Is it a fair deal or a dupe? Trade away and go where the prompt leads you.

Wishes

Wishes, D. Avery

 Once upon a time, there lived an old man and an old woman. They had little in the way of possessions, and wanted for nothing. Nothing very unusual ever happened and they noticed small miracles everyday. They gardened and gathered and occasionally fished in the stream that coursed through the meadow.

One day something unusual did happen. A talking fish offered them three wishes if they’d let it go.

This amazing trout ended up in the same pan that more ordinary trout had. The couple smiled at one another, not wishing to trade one of their days for anything.

Written for Carrot Ranch. May 11, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about trading. It can be the profession of old or of modern day traders on Wall Street. It can be trading places or lunches at school. What is traded? Is it a fair deal or a dupe? Trade away and go where the prompt leads you.

Back to the Well

unnamed-11-e1462409384457From Zoe, this week’s cue is SHAKE.

six sentences, any genre

This one is a follow up to Well Wishing from a couple weeks ago.

Shaken,       D. Avery

 Rushing from their beds to the front porch, standing in water up over their knees, they were shaken not just by the unfathomable water, but also by the silence, by the absolute absence of birdsong, of breezes rustling grasses and leaves, of any sound, save themselves. Except for the steady rise of water, all was still; even the spread of dawn’s light had stopped, arrested low on the tree topped horizon.

“How can this be?,” he queried, scanning in vain for the car, though it clearly would offer no escape.

They looked at each other with a hope of relief when the water, up to their waists now as they clung to the porch posts, seemed to cease its rising. Then they felt a shaking, a profound tremor, and the water pulled at them like a rushing tide that swept them off the porch and swirling helplessly into a whirlpool that finally disappeared into the old well, now visible in the wet and matted yard. At the end of the rutted lane, beyond the dripping car, the for sale sign that they had neglected to remove listed in the sodden ground.

 

Resurrections

Resurrections , D. Avery      

There are still mason jars filled with sweet pickles, dill beans; jars of raspberry and blackberry jelly, apple-butter. The potato bin is down to the last board, but there should be plenty.

With spindly white sprouts, the potatoes feel about for spring. These are rubbed off. The potatoes need to feed us a little longer before the leftovers can go back into the ground.

The ice isn’t yet out in the lake, though peepers are singing in the beaver meadow. Soon there will be fiddleheads and wild onions, then cattail greens.

Soon enough there will be freshly dug potatoes.

 

Written for the Carrot Ranch flash challenge:                                                                                                May 4, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about comfort food. How can this familiarity influence a story or character? Is it something unusual, like Twinkies from the 1970s? Or is it something from home, from another place or time? Go where the prompt leads.

Chickens!

I was very excited to see the cue word, chickens, for the six sentence challenge from https://unchartedblogdotorg.wordpress.com this week, as I just so happened to have written the book on chickens.

See?     D. Avery’s Books!

Product DetailsChicken Shift                                                                                                 Session poetry, best served as bathroom or bedside reading. Also suitable for coffee table. Philosophy-lite that will satisfy your questions about chickens that cross roads.  Can be taken as seriously as you deem appropriate.

So I will submit a poem for my six sentence response this week, page 33 of Chicken Shift; Poems of Crossings & Roadkill.  (The best unread poetry collection about road crossing chickens and muskrats that’s out there, bar none)

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Barred Rock

A chicken walks into a bar

then realizes she’s in the wrong joke

sits beside the gorilla anyway

orders a Jim and coke.

She looks to her other side

and who is sitting there?

Eating shoots and leaves

she sees a Panda bear;

and in the backroom, reserved for cigar smokers

she sees a group of dogs, around a table playing poker.

She has another drink, says, “I lay, but I don’t lie.

I’ve got to cross the road, though I can’t think why.”

The gorilla was gallant, he picked up her tab

and he suggested it’d be best to cross the road by cab.