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Biographies Real and Imagined

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Carrot Ranch Flash FictionApril 16, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a biography for a character, alter-ego or you.

Christmas Present by Paula Moyer

Few births have been celebrated as much as my father’s. You won’t understand anything about him if you just know that he was the second of three boys, born on Christmas Day.

He was the second, all right – but 10 years passed between his brother’s birth and his own. Ten years of pregnancy losses and at least one stillbirth, until, at long last, my paternal grandmother carried this fat baby boy to term.

He was the first baby born in Oklahoma City after midnight on Christmas Day, 1922 – the newspaper’s official Christmas Baby. Born alive, longed for, and loved.

###

Flash Fiction by Caroline L.

He is made of Thursdays and women.

He is born on a Thursday night, unnoticed by any but the woman who pushes him from her womb to less-welcoming flannel sheets.

He is married on a Thursday afternoon, unnoticed by any but the woman who stands by his side in a second-hand dress as the judge mispronounces her name.

He is killed on a Thursday morning, unnoticed by any but the woman who hits the brakes too early and too hard for such a slick street.

Those women — ah, those women! — they are the stories. He is but their Thursdays.

###

Flash Fiction by Susan Budig

Becky Erdmann could count the number of times she’d been kissed on one hand with fingers and thumb balled into a fist. Aunt Tressie’s fishy smooches didn’t count. Uncle Odie’s unrequited attempts only added to her pining. Why couldn’t Sören chase her like that? But Becky, number four of seven with another pending, couldn’t fault her sweet Swede. After all, he did ask her to the church picnic. And he did spend recess with her reading Whitman even when Norb and Harold teased him about being a sissy. Now, if she could just convince him to hold her hand…

###

Falling Up by Sarah Brentyn

Josephine hates her name. She loves her twin sister, scotch, and Janis Joplin. Her favorite thing to do is squeeze the fun out of each day and drink it down like lemonade. Also, daydream about pushing her abusive mother into a pit of stampeding elephants. She is courageous to the point of stupidity, finds the positive in every situation, and has a talent for guessing which color bruises will turn. Josephine has never been married, has no children and likes it that way. She skips between jobs. Dances between boyfriends. Laughs too much. Stumbles sometimes but always falls up.

Character Biography

###

Flash Fiction Character Bio by Anne Goodwin

Winning the TV quiz show, Family Challenge, assured me a rosy future. My encyclopaedic knowledge would fuel my teaching career. I hadn’t bargained for a pregnancy midway through the training. When I surrendered my baby for adoption, I lost my sense of purpose too.

Can’t complain, though. I work in a school, albeit in admin. I’m extremely popular on quiz nights down the pub. But, if people ask if I have children, I don’t know what to say.

Everything’s changing again, as Jason has made contact. Given he’s about to become a father, can I call myself Grandma now?

###

SETH by Lisa Reiter

Stooped and bowed, by both time and hard living, his florid, round
face and rude countenance throw up barriers he wishes were not there
but like a caged animal, knows little else.

Once a traveller, now he only journeys between pub and house – no
longer much of a home since Helen left, except for the loyal, mangy
Skip who barks at every passerby – claiming Seth as his pack.

But he loves that dog and ruffles his coat roughly in greeting. Might
be the only time you’ll see him smile but you’ll get a glimpse of a
once warm man.

###

Query by Pete

Frankie Criswell isn’t a star basketball player. He’s a writer, a humanitarian, a big brother, reporter, and even a star-gazing romantic. But entering the seventh grade, all of this is news to him.

After getting cut from the basketball team, he’s approached by Maggie Chalmers, the quick-witted school newspaper journalist who convinces him to take a job as a sports writer. Intrigued by her quirky humour, Frankie writes an essay that gains nationwide recognition. One he has to read, out loud, which means stepping out of his the safety of his shell and facing all of his biggest fears.

###

My Dad by Ruchira Khanna

He served as a chaperon for his parents when the country was facing a partition. His six feet frame with broad shoulders was strong to carry the load of his six siblings and help them settle with their choice of career while financing their marriages. Then finally, he thought of himself.

He kept juggling between his responsibilities and his priorities while keeping his opportunities on the sidetrack so that he could be a good son, brother, husband and a father.

That was my dad, as he wore many characteristic hats in his lifetime, and I am proud of him.

###

Character Bios by Georgia Bell

Mara was born in squalor. Traded for 50 bucks and a case of whiskey, she spent her childhood being used in ways best forgotten. A girl of shadows and whispers, no one knew of the strange things that happened on nights with a full moon. Rescued and recovered, Mara holds hope and fear with the same disdain. She loves fiercely, is loyal to a fault, and when no one is looking, smiles at babies and sunsets. She is wise woman, crone, rebel, romantic. She can flay with a look and strike like serpent. She will not suffer fools gladly.

*******
Stuart is all elbows and knees. Equal parts rogue and romantic, he has a way of making people comfortable with his discomfort. His laugh is hard to resist and it’s easy to forget the sadness he’s seen. Few knew of the men who died in his arms as he’d tried to carry them from the battlefield. Fewer still knew that he’d signed up for the war as penance for living a life that would never end. He loves beer and a good joke and in the end, wants nothing more than to be a decent man, worthy of love.

###

Innocence Shattered by Norah Colvin

She hurled it with such force that had it been his head, as she had wished it was, it too would have smashed into smithereens, just as the figurine had.

“You ab-so-lute monster!” she screamed.

She fell to the floor, sobbing uncontrollably.

All her life she had thought it was her; something wrong with her; she that was wanting.

But it wasn’t her. It was him. His wanting. His vile taking.

The repulsive visions made her want to turn inside out and eradicate any trace of connection.

Her ignorance had offered no protection; and now no solace.

###

Dr. Danni Gordon by Charli Mills

Nevada ranches, home sweet childhood home, no more. Bayfield resident with view of sailboats, Madeline Island, tourists and town along Lake Superior. Northern Wisconsin. Archeologist of records and dirt. Into historic bottles—purple and brown glass—evidence of old fisheries. Also likes bottles of Oregon Pinot Noir. Dog-owner, reluctantly. Dog-defender, by chance. Wife of Iraqi contract soldier. Friend, reluctantly, to the one who calls her Bone Digger. Battling knavish vets and annoying stoic deputies. Stuck to bird cage. Stuck on Ike. Stuck with dogs. Stuck teaching kids. Learns of love through hounds. And her forever pup. Miracle of Ducks.

###

New challenge posted every Wednesday on Carrot Ranch Communications!  All writers welcome!


17 Comments

  1. Norah says:

    Hi Charli, you have certainly rounded them up and brought them in this time! Twelve pieces, all quite different and each with its own flavour. I do like it when the pieces link back to an individual’s blog but understand that not all contributors have a blog, and some may feel that their flash piece doesn’t fit their ‘brand’. I will leave a comment on each piece here, as well as on the blogs that have been linked. Let me know if you think this is too much, and I will resist the urge in future.
    I love Paula’s story. It’s a nice one to lead with. After all the heartache, what a wonderful Christmas gift; a gift that goes on giving.
    Caroline’s story of Thursdays and women is intriguing and so sad. i wonder why his was death was not noticed by anyone other than the woman who hit the brakes. Was no one left to mourn his passing?
    And poor Becky in Susan’s story – her turn will come.
    Sarah’s ‘Falling up’ is such a positive, heart-warming portrayal. I love the humour that dances through the words.
    Anne’s sad story conveys the sense of loss and insecurity that has never eased.
    Seth, by Lisa, reminds me of so many I know whose world has retreated as much by their own doing as by circumstances beyond their control.
    Through Frankie Criswell, Pete shows how a seemingly insignificant event can have an enormous impact on one’s life.
    I’m sure Ruchira’s dad would be proud of her too. Such was the lot of many of that generation – to shoulder imposed family obligations – they did it selflessly and without complaint; though not necessarily without regrets or other yearnings.
    The character bios by Georgia paint vivid images of those who have suffered, but also provides a glimmer of hope for their salvation.
    And then there’s yours, upon which I think I have already commented.
    A great muster I think!

    Like

    • Charli Mills says:

      Norah, it’s wonderful that you are so willing to be engaged with the commenting, as well! I think it helps us all to give and receive feedback. Literature is something both written and read. Not everyone is a blogger, and as you pointed out, not all bloggers feel that flash fits their brand. I know that my own site here at Carrot Ranch feels messy to me because originally it was to house my business writing, but now I’m building my fiction platform. But it’s in the midst of a mess that I often gain insight! Thank you so much for taking time to comment! I hope this continues to build with a sense of community for writers and readers.

      Like

    • Charli Mills says:

      I also post each individual response on my Carrot Ranch Facebook page. While it is not a well-known page, yet, I do make individual comments to each writer’s post. My goal is to find more readers for that page. You are all free to follow and comment there, too: https://www.facebook.com/CarrotRanchCommunications.

      Like

  2. sylvestermouse says:

    I always enjoy reading the snippets, rather short glimpses into the minds of the writers who post submissions. There is always at least one that haunts me throughout my day.

    Like

  3. Annecdotist says:

    Thanks, Charli, for the prompt and bringing these altogether here, and Norah for the excellent mini reviews. Sylvestermouse, will you take the plunge in join in next time? A few of us here were first timers but I imagine it getting quite addictive

    Like

  4. […] is that? One of our flash fiction writer’s from last week’s compilation, Biographies Real and Imagined, reflected on the 99-word constraint of Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction. Anne Goodwin wrote that […]

    Like

  5. Annecdotist says:

    Just seen this, a bit different but some overlap: women writers on their life changing moment in forty words http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2014/04/19/women-writers-day-life-changed/FiX5uyABsXJaaIaAfPgMSK/story.html

    Like

    • Charli Mills says:

      Fabulous read, Anne! How moving, life-altering, uplifting and shattering 40 words can be. When I got to Ann Hood’s I cried because I’ve heard her speak live about how and why she got into knitting. She’s a marvelous storyteller, brave and beautiful knitting words and yarn into her truth.

      Like

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