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One Afternoon (Carrot Ranch)

January 6, 2020

It’s the first prompt of the new year over at Carrot Ranch. Give a click HERE and play along or just sit back and read some good pieces of flash fiction.

The prompt:

January 2, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something found in a hutch. It can be any kind of hutch — a box for critters or a chest for dishes. Go where the prompt leads!

The story:

One Afternoon

She laid two bony hands on the table, leaned forward, and with a moan of effort, stood up. She grabbed her cane and shuffled away.

“Where you going, grandma?” I said, hoping I hid the hope in my voice.

She didn’t answer, but she didn’t have to because when I saw her walk to the hutch I knew exactly where she was going. Third drawer, left side. That’s where she kept them.

“It’s been a while, love, so today we’re going to play a game.”

Third drawer, left side, that’s where my grandmother kept her deck of magic cards.


High School Aftermath (RDP)

December 27, 2019

From the Ragtag Daily Prompt, today’s word is “Aftermath

I don’t know why, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about school. Grade school, junior and senior high and if I’m going to be honest then I’d have to say that school was pretty much a pain in the buzzipsky for me until I made it to college.

I suppose I could talk about the time I tried to join the wrestling team in the 7th grade, but as a short fat 12-year-old in a sport broken down by weight and not by age, I had to wrestle a tall fit kid three years older than me and he pinned me in less than a minute. It was painful, both physically and mentally, so I did what any embarrassed fat kid might do: I never went back.

I could also talk about the time I tried to join the football team in the 10th grade, but as a not-so-very-much taller, but slightly less fat 15-year-old, I wasn’t in very high demand on the football field. I wasn’t sure how to join the football team so I just showed up in the locker room one day shortly after the practice season had started and after everyone left for the field I walked up to the team manager, who was easily identifiable as the only kid dressed just like the coach in a white polo shirt and shorts, and I told him I wanted to be on the team. He told me to wait in the locker room while he went to get a uniform and equipment for me and after waiting 30 minutes I figured out that he wasn’t coming back so I left. Like the tall fit kid I had to wrestle three years earlier, the football manager guy probably didn’t like me too much either.

I don’t suppose I can blame the wrestler guy or the manager guy because growing up in junior and senior I didn’t like myself all that much either.

But school wasn’t all bad. Band was good because I fit in because in band all you had to do was like music and play an instrument and I could do that. I could do that just as well as anyone who might be three years ahead of me and I could do it better than a wrestler guy or a manager guy. And English was also good. Reading and writing, what’s not to like? Band and English not only helped keep me sane throughout junior and senior high school, but they helped average out the C’s I got in pretty much everything else and the D’s I always got in gym and math.

Math. I’m not sure I ever got a grade above a D in math. Although I can credit my ability to balance my checkbook as an adult as my having learned something in math so it must have some value in my life. Math had something else going for it, too, because in high school, for whatever reason, I had math every year in the afternoon after lunch and every year after math I had band.

If I miss anything from school it’s band. The other kids, the different bands, being a part of something and especially walking home carrying my trumpet case in my left hand and feeling special.

Free write

December 9, 2019

I took a writing class once a long time ago and the teacher had us begin each class with a five minute free write. I didn’t like it or hate it, it was just OK.

Confession: sometimes I didn’t do the free write and I just sat there doodling for the five minutes while thinking about nothing in particular. My justification for that was that I figured I only had so much time to write before my hand would start to hurt (this was before the age of laptops) and I didn’t want to waste the time on a free write. I wanted to save it for the meat and potatoes of the class.

I think there might be some debate as to whether or not it’s “free write” or “freewrite” but don’t take my word for it.

I thought I’d take some time today to free write a little bit and see if that didn’t help unfreeze my brain. I’ll try a free write for five minutes and see what happens.

Here goes . . .

12-09-19 free write – It’s been snowing lightly all day and I pretty much hate it. People can’t drive when it snows. Winter sucks and it’s just started.

The end.

I didn’t quite make the five minutes.

Confession: I never really intended to free write for five minutes. Hopefully that doesn’t make me a liar.

I’m going to go watch some music videos. For what it’s worth, except for the acrobatic flips, when I was younger I could dance like the folks in this video.

Confession: I could never dance like the folks in that video.


December 2, 2019

This past Friday Charli Mills shared the results of the Carrot Ranch 2019 Flash Fiction Rodeo. Before I say anything else, if you like to write and if you like Flash Fiction and if you’re not kicking up some dust over at the Carrot Ranch, you might want to check it out. I’m always hesitant to tell people what they “should” do, but if you checked all those “if” boxes above, I think it’s a place you’ll enjoy. The Ranch is just one click away right here. It’s a very welcoming community with plenty of space around the campfire.

This week’s prompt follows the announcement of the 2019 Rodeo finalists and winners and asks us to write a story about winners –

In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about winners. Who are they, what’s the mood, and what did they win? Express emotion or subdue it. Go where the prompt leads!

Charli always tells us to go where the prompt leads and this week that prompt is leading me in a direction away from a story and more toward, I don’t know… a part of me, I guess. Winning is difficult. We live in a society that places an enormous value on winning and if you’re a person who lives with even a teardrop of shame in your head, thoughts of winning, or having to win in order to be good, or to be accepted, not to mention its opposite, can be difficult thoughts, if not impossible, to explain to oneself.

Thoughts of ‘winning’ can be overwhelming and disruptive because what does it mean (what does it say about you) if you don’t “win”? I’m not good enough? They’re better? I should have tried harder? And what is winning? Being the best? What defines the “best”? Being perfect? What is perfect? Being better than others? What others and why do we want to be ‘better’ than them? For a lot of folks it takes tremendous strength in life to tie their shoes and walk out the front door, so my thinking is that just trying is where the real success – where winning – lies.

As I steamroll way past 99 words what it all boils down to for me is courage. Just trying takes courage and you don’t win or lose when you try. Putting on your shoes: courage. Taking a step outside: courage. Taking a deep breath and saying “hello” to someone: courage. Trying to do something that makes your head spin with uncomfortable thoughts: courage. Trying something difficult even though it hurts inside: courage.

Courage = winning.

Books form a large part of my value system and I’m reminded of a passage in To Kill a Mockingbird where Atticus Finch is explaining Mrs. Dubose to Jem and he tells Jem, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” – Harper Lee

Sometimes you do, but it doesn’t matter because you tried. That’s it.

And to any of the finalists or winners of the Carrot Ranch 2019 Flash Fiction Rodeo who happen to find their way over here – congratulations!

Ooh, Baby (Terrible Poetry: the 1 year anniversary edition! )

November 20, 2019

This week marks the first anniversary of Chelsea’s Terrible Poetry Contest. If that’s not reason enough to make you want to jump in and write some terrible poetry of your own then I don’t know what is. The theme for this week is “Birth” and to make the challenge more challenging we were asked to write terrible limericks. So if you want to play, play, of if you just want to read, go HERE. If you want to eat pizza, enjoy.

Happy Terrible Poetry Anniversary, Chelsea!

Because sometimes my off button gets stuck I did a few extras. I did that because, like I said, sometimes my off button gets stuck and I also wanted to fill up this virtual sheet of paper. Paper being, you know, the traditional first anniversary gift.

Their bodies they did so adorn
and maybe they watched them some porn
the months they rolled by
nine of them to quantify
and then a little baby was born.

I knew this gal from Fort Worth
she ate pancakes drowned in Mrs. Butterworth
She made me an offer
her body she did proffer
with an end result of her giving birth

The man and the woman were naked
the man said, “If I’m not mistaken,
I find you attractive
so how’s about we get active
and make ourselves one beautiful kid?”

“Wanna roll?” she said, and I said “Maybe”.
“Is it safe,” I said, “You won’t give me rabies?”
She said, “It’s OK, we can skip the foreplay
I’m just looking to have me a baby.”

He’s generally a really nice gent
She’s honest and won’t misrepresent.
One fine day they wed
then rushed home and into bed
now they’re counting the days ‘till their blessed event.

The Lonely Elf (Terrible Poetry)

November 15, 2019

I snoozed and I losed. Such is the fate of snoozers. The deadline for this week’s Terrible Poetry Contest over where Chelsea hangs out was a couple of hours ago but I’ll leave mine here because while one might be too late to enter the contest, it is never too late to share terrible poetry.

The Lonely Elf

There was an elf
who lived by himself
he whittled wood toys that he set on a shelf.

One night he thought:
“These toys can’t be bought
so I’ll give them to those who have naught.”

So one cloudy day
he gave them away
went back home and read E. Hemingway

While still all alone
his gloom it had flown
so he moved out to Sierra Leone.

There he lived on an isthmus
and he waited for Christmas
so he could help Santa with the gift-giving business.


Tomorrow is November

October 31, 2019

November begins tomorrow and I’m curious to know if I have any WordPress friends who are going to take part in NaNoWriMo and write a book. Raise your hand if you are. I’ve never done that challenge because I’ve always been skeptical of writing a book in 30 days but that might just be a defense mechanism I use to justify a belief that I can’t write a book in any amount of time.

WordPress doesn’t make it easy to look back at old posts but a long time ago (2011?) I took part in NaBloPoMo where the goal was to write a blog post every day for a month. That was fun but that challenge hasn’t been around for a long time.

A couple of years ago I joined in on FlashNano. FlashNano is a month-long challenge hosted by Nancy Stohlman who is a writer and a teacher and a singer and a really great prompt writer. It’s really pretty simple: Nancy gives a prompt a day and you do the rest and then 30 days later you sit back and revel in your supreme success and eat pizza and chocolate chip cookies.

That challenge was a lot of fun and I actually wound up not posting most of what I wrote because I liked it too much and wanted to save it to work on later with the goal of trying to maybe get something published. I was moderately successful on the first part and not so very much on the second part which was OK because the pizza and chocolate chip cookies were good.

If you want to try FlashNano this year click here to sign up to receive the prompts.

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