The Legend of the 4 Directions Beans



This story always makes me cry.  It was such a great time.  Circa 1980’s mostly.  See memoir listings.  I have a lot of great powwow photos but will have to dig them out.

This is one of my oldest collections.  This particular story has been published a couple of times and presented at conferences.

Of course to make it a book, I have to finish the rest of the stories and add recipes and pictures.   That’s a project.

6 thoughts on “The Legend of the 4 Directions Beans”

  1. From a friend, Margrete Grey Wolf:
    I pulled up the story. The story itself is interesting, but Jeanne, I have to honest in my critique. I am a professional writer of many years, and I have a degree in Journalism, so I feel that I am qualified to critique a piece of writing. Your piece is not well written. As I said, the story is interesting, but the execution isn’t what I would expect of someone with your level of education in writing. You can certainly tell a story, but that isn’t enough if you plan to submit it for publication. You could get away with putting the story in a blog, but a professional editor (and I have been one) would tear it up. I’m sorry to be so critical, but I am being very honest with you. I was going to simply ignore this email and not reply, but I thought you should hear the truth from a pro.

    What do you think?

    1. I posted this because it opens a very interesting question. Of all my writings, this is the one that has had the most exposure. It has been evaluated for a grade, been published in a Native American literature journal, been accepted at at least three conferences that I can remember and seemed to receive good feedback.

      The question then is who do we write for? The critics and agents or readers and how do we reach readers without critics and agents?

      Do readers want good literature or do they want to be entertained or both? Do most readers even perceive the difference between popular novels and the elements that make literature literature? Does it matter?

      I read almost as much as I write and I love mysteries and historical fiction. I am a critical reader but if the story is good and I like the characters I can put up with some bad writing. Even excellent writing without a story that I can engage is useless to me as a reader.

      If agents and critics had all the answers we would only have one kind of story. Everyone does not like everything. One cannot please all of the people all of the time. Hemingway, Welty, Faulkner, all of them, even Mark Twain wrote some pretty crappy stuff, but we don’t remember them for that, we remember them for the good stories, and hopefully the good stories well written.

      I’m just interested in what makes you read what you read?


      1. Well, Jeanne, you’ve hit on something that I’ve been thinking about…

        By any objective measure, the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy is absolutely shit writing that offers zero credible psychological insight into the male psyche or, indeed, into the psyche of anyone in this kind of relationship. Her characters are cardboard, and her plotting is primitive. Yet “50 Shades” has made its author a millionaire many times over. Why is that?

        In my opinion, it’s because James spent a lot of time writing fanfic, built a community, and learned all of the triggers that the fangirls want in their stories. She didn’t learn much about constructing a solid piece of writing, but she learned how to build a fandom.

        If I get back into writing fiction, I feel like I have something to learn from that.

        It is pointless to write for critics and agents, since the world of traditional publishing is essentially now closed to unknown writers. One must connect directly with readers. At least that’s my takeaway.

  2. I think it has potential to be a Kindle short especially if you do dig out recipes, photos, etc. As far as editing, since the cost of professional editing very frequently exceeds the earnings of a Kindle short, then it may be good to form a circle of people who can look at each other’s work. The alternative method, which I have been using, is to sleep on a piece for some time — better if it’s at least a week but always at least overnight — and then the little typos will more readily jump out at you.

    Roger used a technique that is popular on many fanfic sites. He put a first version out to fans willing to be beta-testers and, in this way, he had many fresh eyes that found the typos. But you have to have fans to begin with to make this work, so it’s a bit chicken and egg.

    Very important for Kindle/digital works: Do not use footnotes. They look terrible on the Kindle. Instead have the credits at the end linking to any sources you want to cite. Also, if any book you quote is available from Amazon, you can have your Amazon Affiliate link to where they’re selling it. In theory, a person could go to Amazon from their Kindle and buy the book you mentioned. Or any other book for that matter. As long as they go through your affiliate link, you’ll get a few pennies on the dollar.

    1. Thanks for the feedback and the advice. I am really into writing the Lilacs novel and just posted this because I ran across it on a jump drive and because I love the story. No intention at this point of pursuing publication for it any further.

      I have pitched Taya and submitted a couple of short stories, but the Cookbook needs a lot of work. I know that.

      Thanks again.

  3. As a reader – and a writer of sorts – I have had some poetry published – and at least one guest editorial – I thoroughly enjoyed the story, Jeanne. It was simple, home-spun, and unpretentious. I could taste the beans and smell the smoke. Yummm.

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