The Burning Hearth August 2020

Welcome back to The Burning Hearth! I invite you to come and sit around the fire as autumn nears. Speaking of fire…one of my favorite things to do, once I was old enough, was to rake the leaves in the yard of my childhood home and burn them. (It was still legal in the early 80s to do so in my hometown.) Creating a dome of leaves, strategically lighting the pile, raking more leaves onto the pile’s sides as it diminished (which felt almost like caressing the flame), all of this was a fall ritual that I annually yearn for to this day. I loved watching the fire. And the smell! I would not wash my sweatshirt for a week just so I could enjoy the aroma long after the last leaf had curled in its edges before blackening and turning to ash.

Keeping in line with the blogs name, I have chosen a style of writing for the August/September pairing that attempts to burn away everything but the very essence of what the author is communicating. Micro and Flash writing are very short, tightly written pieces. For those of you who are unfamiliar with these styles of writing, micro is up to 400 words in length, and flash is between 400 and 1000 words in length.

I am relatively new to writing short pieces, my brain tends to think in long narrative form. But I enjoy the honing process super-short fiction demands. My friend, and fellow roundtable author, Christine Baerbock is a pro, and will be my featured author for September. A warning, Christine and I tend towards the dark in our pieces, but I hope you will find them to be thought provoking. I am a firm believer that we cannot truly know our light without becoming intimately familiar with our dark. And that relationship, for me, is full of absolute beauty. To quote one of my favorite authors:

"The person who denies his own profound relationship with evil denies his own reality." 
 U.K. Le Guin

Also, new to this month: I will be adding an audio reading of my work. There is nothing quite like hearing an author read their own work. I will never forget hearing Sherman Alexie read his poetry here in Milwaukee at the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop on Downer Avenue years ago. Since then, I can’t read anything he has written without hearing his voice in his words.

I have selected a micro fiction piece titled “Hunger” and creative non-fiction (also known as narrative non-fiction) flash piece titled “Learning Curve.” Anyone who has read my book Tornado Dreams will recognize my flash piece as an adaptation of one of the book’s opening scenes.

Due to the formatting of the stories, I have included them as a pdf. Just click on the audio or written form, and enjoy. (I hope you will select both.)

Audio for “Hunger”

Hunger

Audio for “Learning Curve”

Learning Curve

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s blog. Please be sure to stop by next month for Christine Baerbock’s writing. You won’t want to miss it!

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