The Place

Is the Paragraph Ranch a real place?

The “home place” in the novel The Paragraph Ranch—the first in a series—is loosely based on the West Texas farm where coauthor Kay Ellington’s family lived until she was six years old. Here’s how Kay describes it:


THE HOME PLACE WAS A RAMSHACKLE PLACE my parents received as a part of their cotton farming lease. But for a kid it was pretty amazing. I’m the youngest of four children and each morning would watch the older three walk down the dirt road to the bottom of the hill, open the gate, and wait for the school bus.


If it was cold outside—and I mean it had to be arctic—my parents would pile all four of us into the single cab of the pickup truck and ride down to the gate to wait for the big kids' ride to school.


The half mile to the bottom of the hill wove through mesquite trees and cactus and split-wood fenceposts that were piled up in the shape of teepees. Fertile ground for a toddler's imagination.


Now, all that's left on that hill about ten miles south of Snyder is part of the windmill, surrounded by rolling, wooded terrain that’s been put into the CRP program (if you’re not from Texas, Google it).


But the white frame house, barn, peach orchard, dirt-floored storm cellar, and cow pen made from rusted box springs live again in the pages of The Paragraph Ranch.


On a more conceptual level, the Paragraph Ranch is the place in our minds that sparks our imaginations and fuels our writing. And it’s a place you can visit through our workshops and teaching materials—as an inspiration for your own writing and publishing.


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Spur, Texas • •




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