Carol Scott-Conner’s short stories have appeared in literary journals ranging from North Dakota Quarterly to Wisconsin Review. A collection of her stories was recently published as A Few Small Moments. She is a professor of surgery at the Carver College of Medicine of the University of Iowa, where she also serves as Fiction Editor of the literary journal, The Examined Life. She was an engineering major in college and credits the Iowa Summer Writing Festival for her small but growing knowledge of the craft of writing. In addition to her short stories, she is the author or editor of nine surgical textbooks. She lives in Iowa City with her husband, and bicycles to and from work. Her website is

In answer to our question of why she writes, Carol responded:

"I think that I feel a compulsion to bear witness. My stories combine encounters with archetypical patients (usually composites, drawn from my own experience) with some insights into the actual experience of being a female surgeon. I often mix in some sort of element from the natural world, as in this particular tale. This story combines three themes: a real encounter with a snake, a fictional patient, and some observations from a trip to the Middle East to illustrate the ambiguity of chance encounters. The ‘lump-lump’ sensation of running over the snake led me naturally to the second element, the patient. The patient is completely fictional as is the surgeon, but the phenomenon of ‘lying-in-road’ death is quite real. Finally, in Jordon I saw first-hand poppies growing among ruins and a centuries-old town built from scavenged stones."







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