The Romance of the Rails

Old railroad train, steaming

(Photo by Otto C. Perry, courtesy of Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Dept.)

In TUFF Love, Carrot Ranch’s Charli Mills asked participants to revise an original western romance through a 99-59-9-99 word process with each step requiring a different craft twist. This event is an exercise of inspiration through to editing. I didn’t enter this one because it turned out to be more about discovering heart’s desire of Self, than traditional Romance. But I still like it, so I share with you all.

Original 99-word Draft: Molly Rides the Rails

Molly rode the rails these days. Cities had sprung up, like oozing boils, over the open prairie she loved. With the spread of progress came the spread of stifling rules.

Forced by her father to shed her buckskin, don heavy skirts with tight collars, binding her hair from the wind’s caressing fingers, she appeared the perfect little miss. Continue reading

RIP Twin Cities

cracked heart picture in pavementThis gentle giant
Ended by corrupt police
Remember George Floyd.

Hope strained, smoke-stained streets
Shattered hearts, Minnesota
Patience, as we heal.

(This, on top of COVID. And those who gather together–prayers broken by opportunistic anarchists–risk a steeper next wave in the coming weeks.)

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2020)

Necessary Sacrifice

The spellbook was specific: one hundred candles to draw and light the circle, less one for each sorceress. Fewer, and the plague would continue. Once fully lit, the circle could not be crossed. Back to back, the three worked quickly, coaxing flame from dry wick. The twins moved clockwise, junior apprentice Bella counterclockwise. Continue reading