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May 6: Flash Fiction Challenge

May 6Some days, life’s challenges charge like a bull. When I think I have the shoulders to fight back, I realize it only leaves me feeling battered. I don’t win or accomplish anything.

This week has been a series of odd confrontations for me. I’m not one to go around looking for a bull fight but somehow I found myself in the arena. Even our literary compilation on racism brought censure.

Carrot Ranch is a safe and trusted place for writers to wrangle words, practice craft and display amazing feats of flash fiction. Sometime the lead buckaroo bites off a big cigar and issues a tough prompt. But I promise those who trust this corral that I won’t ever toss writers to the bulls.

In fact, I promised one Rough Writer that this next prompt would be peaches and cream.

So that’s the direction of what feels like a flat post for me this week. I also did not finish my next writer’s platform series post, and tomorrow I need to address my negligent house-keeping skills because my two daughters are coming over Friday to spend a weekend. Such a treat I can’t wait to savor!

But first, a curious note on creativity.

Normally stress and creativity do not mix well for me. Constraints work, but worries drain. Knowing this, I shut down my computer and went outside. I stood under the apple tree and realized I could hear life — bees buzzed. I looked up to see hundreds of mason bees among white blossoms and blue sky beyond. Looking up always feels hopeful.

When I came back inside I wrote as if I had hiccups. It just wasn’t flowing. My voice seemed stifled. Then I went searching my photo folders for a peaches and cream kind of photo for the challenge icon. Apple blossoms kept calling so I used a photo close up of one from New Drama on Elmira Pond and I gave it a peachy cast.

That’s when I had an  image of the twins. Lately, I’ve been having fun with a character with local Idaho flavor, Ramona. She’s an elderly widow of a vet and mother of twins, both stillborn. She’s showing signs of developing dementia and is alone on her now empty ranch. She imagines the twins.

But what came to me was this — what if the twins that don’t exist, imagine their mother in return. What would their existence be like? Would it be a useful literary tool to tell a story? How would it work?

This week, I’ve crafted two 99-word flash fictions — one from Ramona’s perspective and one from the twins. Tell me what you think? Crafty? Creative? Compelling? Crazy? Just don’t use the other “c” word — critical. I think my mind would snap.

And let me say something about criticism. Constructive criticism takes experience and even literary training. I don’t fear it, or avoid it, but it is something I seek from trusted writers or mentors. Some forums specialize in critique and you can seek that out if you want that. Others are open to anyone commenting based on opinions of good or bad, which doesn’t help a writer develop. Carrot Ranch is fostered on encouragement and will remain a safe environment for writers to practice, grow, have brilliant moments and flat ones.

This week is a peaches and cream kind of prompt.

May 6, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is a snapshot of spring. I realize that some Rough Writers are riding into autumn, and I hope this isn’t a disadvantage to focus on a season we are not collectively sharing. We could think of it as “spring eternal.” Warm, renewing, new life, hope.

Respond by May 12, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Warmth of Spring by Charli Mills

In bare feet and faded peaches and cream house-coat, Ramona basked under the apple tree. Dark aroma floated from her coffee mug, mingling with sweet apple blossoms. Morning sun warmed her cheeks the way Vic’s hand felt when he rested it on her thigh, snugged to him on the bench seat of their truck. They drove in her dreams last night, young and ready for spring calves. Ramona frowned. No cattle lulled in the pastures; just the truck with both doors open and parked aslant. She shook her head. She’d have to talk to the twins about joy-riding again.


In the Apple Tree by Charli Mills

The twins watched Mama from the tops of apple tree blossoms. A buzz of mason bees tickled their feet. They held each other unseen in a pose of entwined arms like partner yoga. One giggled to the other, thoughts passing no louder than the hum of pollination:

What do we know of yoga?
Remember when Mama signed up for a class in town?
Yeah, yeah! And she fell over mid downward dog?
That’s right!

A breeze reached down and caught Mama like a tendril of hair across her face. Feel our touch, they both thought. We love you, Mama.



  1. Marigold says:

    The return of Ramona! I love the evocative language you use, you depicted spring perfectly. I will post my entry soon!

  2. […] In response to Charli’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Spring Eternal […]

  3. Marigold says:

    Got it up 🙂
    The low sun transformed the trees into long black shadows cutting across the orange-stained landscape. If she squinted, she could make out the pale apple blossoms threatening to loose themselves in the breeze, though the fragrance was too subtle for her nose to single out. Standing there with her camera around her neck, she took a moment to soak up the beauty of the late spring. Sometimes, the drive to capture the moment caused her to miss the experience altogether, but she promised herself that wouldn’t happen this season. She closed her eyes and breathed the softly warming air…

    • Charli Mills says:

      Sometimes I think we are better photographers, artists, writers, poets, when we actually sit and experience the scene we want to capture. This snapshot puts me in the picture with the photographer.

  4. […] response to Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge: “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is a snapshot of […]

  5. Good morning everyone! Here are my symbols of Spring:

    • Charli Mills says:

      Good morning and welcome to Carrot Ranch! After living in Minnesota, I know what kind of spring you write of. Well done!

  6. Norah says:

    I’ve got to say that your twins piece touched my heart. It is so beautiful, so joyous, so full of hope. An expression of love that goes beyond the confines of life and death.
    As I was reading your post and feeling the flatness you were expressing, (I have been feeling that myself this week, in part though not in total due to my thoughts about the previous prompt. That I was unable to respond was no reflection on the importance or value of the prompt, just my inadequacy.) I was wondering how you could possibly pull off what you were intending to do, both for Ramona and for her stillborn twins. However you did a magnificent job. Ramona and her wishes for her children; and they are there sitting in the tree watching her and sending her love. They have obviously been with her on other occasions, as in her yoga lessons, and maybe always. What a comforting thought that must be. Maybe they have been getting up to the antics that Ramona is thinking about. Her dreams are their reality.
    I really like where you are taking this; and I like the safe haven you have created for us at the Carrot Ranch and the journey you are taking us on. I may be able to find something a little sweeter and lighter to put in a response this week.
    I hope your flatness soon passes.
    Your daughters are home for the weekend! Enjoy! 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      Norah, you gave me the best idea! I think this would be interesting: Her dreams are their reality. I kept looking at it from the other way trying to figure out how to validate their existence. Maybe she has always had private daydreams of “if my twins were this age…” but now that she is developing dementia, she can’t separate those daydreams from her memories and they seem real to her. Yet it frustrates her that they stay away or won’t visit because expects to actually see them. I’ll let this percolate for now. Feeling less flat today, but smelling of vinegar! My windows sparkle (vinegar and newspaper). Carpets next. I’m ready for the Girls! I hope this prompt feels lighter.

      • Norah says:

        I’m pleased you think I gave you the idea! I thought I was only seeing what your idea was! Nice to be a part of the thought generation anyway (that’s a bit what they are, is it not: the ‘thought generation’. Hmm. I like that, if I do say so myself!)
        I’m pleased you are feeling a little less flat. I think I am too. Ready to be upbeat again. Would you believe I am thinking of boiled cabbage in relation to your prompt?!
        Have a wonderful time with the girls. What a nice feeling to see clearly through those windows again and walk on clean floors. As much as I loathe doing it, the results of housework are always pleasing. Your daughters would have taken it as it was anyway. It is Mothers’ Day here on Sunday so appropriate for your visit. Is it over there? Have a wonderful time together. 🙂

      • Pat Cummings says:

        I’m smelling of vinegar too – only in my case, it is from making refrigerator pickles from the last crop of fava beans out of our farm plot… Common theme of spring?

      • Charli Mills says:

        We, of the “though generation”! 🙂 Oh, the housework was worth the pain. As long as I don’t have to smell the boiled cabbage…

      • Charli Mills says:

        Oh, Pat! I love bean pickles, but I’ve not had fava pickles! Fava beans were a staple as a kid. Vinegar is spring-like…

  7. Annecdotist says:

    Not a flat post at all, Charli. I’m like you, I can’t write when I’m stressed or anxious and there are times when we just need to take a break. I hope you enjoy yours with your daughters.
    I’m sorry there was a backlash to your racism prompt post – I seem to have missed/carefully avoided that bit of the blogosphere. Always nasty to have people setting out to lock horns.
    I do like your dual flash. Fab that Ramona’s fantasised twins fantasise about her. It works! Do you know the English novelist Kate Atkinson? Her previous novel, which I haven’t read but have read about, Life after Life, envisages several different lives for the main character in a way that I think might fit with what you doing here with Ramona. I’ve just reviewed her latest novel
    described as a companion piece to that one, where she does consider multiple fictions but in a much less direct way.
    Lovely to be thinking of spring (and experiencing it in this part of the world, although the recent weather has taken us back to winter, albeit a mild one, and the magnificent flowering cherry I can see from my desk is already a bit battered by the wind and rain) at the Carrot Ranch (even if autumn for some), although I tend to find the darker prompts easier than the joyful ones. Hoping the weather will be better on Sunday when I’m out on the moors looking for inspiration!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Nothing like shutting down the electronics and stepping outside for a charge! I had to go back to the apple tree today to listen to those bees. I’m hoping I get to share the experience with my daughters. Thank you for pointing me toward your review of Kate Atkinson. One thing I enjoy about the flash fiction is the chance to explore creative ideas without making a full out commitment to it. My cherry tree is not doing so well. I need to figure out why, the poor darling. I’m an accidental orchardist at best. Better in the garden with smaller plants! Bring back some brooding inspiration from the moors!

      • Annecdotist says:

        Alas, I’m currently feeling very depressed (I could try blaming you and Norah for infecting me but it’s actually our dreadful election result) so doubt I’m going to be able to produce a suitable flash this week Here’s the link to the review I’d planned to pair it with
        along with a little explanation and the link to a short story that does fit the bill apart from being a good 1000 words over the required word count!
        Who knows, there’s still tomorrow and Monday to inspire me to brighter thoughts, but I’m not inclined to push them.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Anne, even I dread the results of your election! Better to But I enjoyed your review of this interesting new book and reading your short story. I think some good bird-watching or wildflower viewing is in order.

    • jeanne229 says:

      Alas I have always found my muse too eager to commiserate with me, and take to dark topics, though afterwards I second guess myself to death, wondering if what I have written is too lugubrious or indulgent! So writing about spring came as a bit of a challenge..but oh how fun. Anne, your review of Anne Atkinson’s new book was so timely! Just saw reviews of it in the NY Times and NY Review of Books. And yes, what Charli is doing here with Ramona and the twins is so intriguing! I love that they LIVE in her imagination, memories. Excited to see where you take them. I also thought of Jenny Offill’s experimental novel, Dept. of Speculation. Check it out to see how beautifully she builds chapters made up of seemingly random thoughts interspersed with the main narrative. Seems that kind of structure could carry your story Charli….As for flowering cherry trees, I am forever afflicted with a deep nostalgia for this season in Japan….blossom viewing taken to a high art.

  8. I was heading from here to the compilation so I don’t know the angst that occurred with last weeks prompt and I am sorry that you obviously suffered the fallout from that. Carrot Ranch should be a safe haven not only for the rough writers and others who visit but also for the head wrangler. After all it is your ranch and you deserve the safety also of the haven you have created. Hope springs eternal that all nastiness will be put aside. Gosh I don’t think any of us want to get out our six shooters (If I remember my Annie Oakley lingo).
    I really like the idea of stories from different perspectives. Your Ramona and twins flash is a lovely example. I had a triptych published last year where I did a similar thing of three different characters perspectives of a scene. I love the twins last paragraph ” A breeze reached down and caught Mama like a tendril of hair across her face. Feel our touch, they both thought. We love you, Mama.”
    I hope you find your creativity returns quickly and that you enjoy the time with your daughters. Sending you big hugs from across the hemispheres and hopefully when you get them you’ll feel spring has sprung. <3

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks, Irene! I did not post the comments as I felt no one else needed to take the brunt of someone looking to pick a fight. Then again, if surround by Rough Writers with six-shooter (fountain pens) the commenter might have fled. I did offer to post the comments if the tone was addressed but it was ignored. Moving on! The other confrontations were equally unexpected and rose from my client work. One day, I’m going to have to fictionalize one of the encounters for it was unreal. Someone claiming to be a professional and what that person said was anything but! I’m dusting off, and moving on. Thanks for the big hugs from across the hemisphere.

      Is there a link to your triptych? I’d love to read it! I’m glad you think the dual perspectives work. It’s fun to explore for now. I’ll be filling the creative well this weekend!

      • Emotive topics will inevitably create some disagreement as we don’t all think the same however there is a difference between a conversation or debate and just bad manners and rudeness. I’m glad you are moving on because people as you describe just aren’t worth spoiling your day for.
        I’ll email you the piece but I think I can’t publish it elsewhere, at least while the magazine is current.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Yes, and it was definitely poor manners. But four of them! In one week. Maybe something is in the water…but moved on! And, yes — please email your triptych!

      • jeanne229 says:

        I think it is actually a positive thing that you elicited strong responses! Perhaps in the future you will turn them out into this corral here and let us have a go at them. I admit I was nervous about my co-workers seeing my race post, wondering if I had been offensive in the modeling of my Janisha character on someone I used to supervise. But then I admonished myself for being such a coward! This is a valuable space here Charli, and the community you are building is a fine testament to the goodness of your intentions!

      • Charli Mills says:

        I definitely want this to be space to brave new ideas, techniques and even tough topics.

  9. susanzutautas says:

    I love how you intertwined both of your flashes.
    Here is mine for this week, and I may do another before the week ends.

  10. Pete says:

    Wow, I loved both flashes, but especially liked the one about the twins. The hum of pollination. Great stuff, Charli!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks, Pete! The bees are back at it today. I liked placing the twins in a place where people wouldn’t gather, and it made the tree come to life differently for me.

  11. Pete says:

    Mother’s Day

    Ben and the girls trooped up the path, tracking through a recent dusting of cherry blossoms. The iris stalks swayed along in the breeze, clutching the beauty in their spears.

    They hiked past the wildflowers–glowing yellow and pink on the hill. For Ben, the pain dulled over time, just as the shine of her eyes blurred and the warmth of her voice faded. Then each spring it bloomed again, as the girls lay their flowers against her stone. To them she was only a face in a frame, but to him she was everything.

    “Happy Mother’s Day, Ana.”

    • A. E. Robson says:

      You poignant words have touched a spot deep within the hearts of many.

    • Charli Mills says:

      That tugs at my heart. Such a pastoral setting for confronting renewed pain. This line describes grief from loss — “the pain dulled over time, just as the shine of her eyes blurred and the warmth of her voice faded. Then each spring it bloomed again…” Great writing!

    • What the heck, Pete! We need another “rainbows & unicorns” prompt–though I thought that’s what this week was supposed to be. Great flash. Again. Love this.

    • Great flash Pete. So moving and sad. The line “to them she was only a face in a frame, but to him she was everything.” really made my heart miss a beat. So much spring but……..

    • Ula says:

      I love this Pete. Not everything has to be light and easy. Life rarely is. A “rainbows & unicorns” prompt (literally) as Sarah suggests sounds fun.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Ha, ha…Ula, that’s when I discovered the dark side of this corral of writers…a simple “unicorns and rainbows” prompt brought out death and mayhem! 🙂

      • Oh NO! There was a “rainbows and unicorns” prompt in response to a certain person who was writing dark stuff *ahem* and it did bring out the darkness in quite a few Rough Writers. It was delightfully ironic. 😉

    • Beautiful!!

    • jeanne229 says:

      Well done Pete. Beautiful and touching. Such a deep back story in the details. Lovely evocation of the pain that never goes away…

  12. […] response to Charli’s 99 word flash fiction where this week she […]

  13. Spring is my favorite time of the year — except for the allergies! Here is my contribution to this week’s challenge:

  14. A. E. Robson says:

    There is nothing like new life and the sun on your back to put a smile on your face.

    Her Season
    By: Ann Edall-Robson

    Spring. Mother Nature dictates the terms for the when and where. There is no telling her to conform to the thought that April showers should bring May flowers. She does what she wants.

    A change of heart is evident with the lengthening of the days. Warming the raw earth and nurturing her babies to life. Some will not survive her teaching methods. Others will flourish like an epidemic.

    Buds on trees. Calves and fawns peek out from behind their Mothers. Goslings scoot across the water to the low chortle from their long necked parents.

    Her season of new life.

    • Charli Mills says:

      This is true, new life and sunshine can bring that happiness. What really speaks to me is the personification of mother nature in the light of climate change. These two lines: “Some will not survive her teaching methods. Others will flourish like an epidemic.” Her power lies in survival, and despite warming, changing trends, that survival is about life. Thought-provoking flash.

  15. […] wanting to participate in the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenges, so here I go for my first try. This week’s challenge is to “in 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is a snapshot of […]

  16. Hello, this is my first entry here! I hope you like it.

    The Downside of Spring

  17. Pat Cummings says:

    Ah, Spring! Oh, Spring! My contribution this week is Green and Blue Survival:

    • Charli Mills says:

      Your comment sounds like an ode already! 🙂 The leopard frogs have quieted and next, I’m waiting to hear the sonorous bullfrogs start up like bad tuba players. I didn’t realize how much earlier that process begins in California. I like your system of collecting rain water. Good timing for this flash!

  18. I am so sorry you had to deal with crap this past week. We are all here to bring Peaches & Cream lightheartedness to your world. We love you. 🙂 Nice prompt, great flash (love both of them), and I’ll be back with a springy flash.

    • Charli Mills says:

      That’s what i get for saying I’m a “bouncer”! But it is dealt with and the other crap will be whatever it’s going to be. I’m loving the peaches and cream that is flowing! Thank you!

  19. […] Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch […]

  20. Okay. Here it is. I always try to start out nice for you… 😉

  21. Loving the pieces already submitted! Being an Aussie, it’s autumn at the moment, but it is a wonderful feeling to reminisce about times past and look forward to seasons to come. Great choice! I do not feel disadvantaged at all by this prompt choice 🙂 just excited to get back into a weekly routine! I hope everyone has been doing well

    • Charli Mills says:

      I suppose the topic of spring eternal is fresh in your life at the moment. I hope you and the family are all doing splendidly! Happy to see you at the Ranch! 🙂

  22. kalpana solsi says:

    the intertwined post brought out the beauty of your writing.

    her my tribute to the spring…………………..

  23. […] is the latest prompt  from Charli Mills. The list – warm, renewing, new life…. and then hope. Not certainty. Just hope. A time […]

  24. […] week’s Carrot Ranch Prompt was about peaches and cream. Carli’s […]

  25. Sarah says:

    I both love and hate that you give us a week to do this Charli! I love that I have time to think and put processing time in, but sometimes (like last week) the deadline just slips past quietly while I have every intention of participating. The processing time also lets my mind re-focus your prompt, so I write about something related to your piece rather than your prompt itself. Today I picked up on the “peaches and cream” theme, so my piece is more about summer than spring.

    I love that the twins got to watch Ramona! I like the story from their perspective.

    • ruchira says:

      That distinguished smell is special 🙂
      Loved it!

    • Charli Mills says:

      For me, I’m grateful to have a weekly process that keeps me grounded and to share a love and practice of craft with such varied and talented writers. It doesn’t have to be weekly for each writer, but I’ll commit to being here weekly for all writers. 🙂 I also like that you let your mind process the prompt on your own terms. I’m glad the twins perspective worked! Thanks!

      • Sarah says:

        The twins perspective definitely worked. Especially knowing about Ramona’s mental state, they can serve either as an explanation of her dementia or as a symptom of it.

        Thank you so much for your weekly prompts! They certainly play into my writing routine, and this is a wonderful community for practice and learning.

  26. […] I wrote this 99-word flash fiction in response to the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

  27. Ula says:

    Charli, I’ll help surround you with six-shooter (fountain pens). Sorry you had to deal with crappy comments and work stuff. Hopefully time with your daughters got you recharged.

    I’m still amazed how you’re able to come up with your prompts with these beautiful intros and get all our writing wrangled together.

    Although I’m feeling and experiencing spring in my personal life, I’m not feeling it in my writing recently. It seems to want to go darker places. Here’s my take on this week’s prompt:

    • ruchira says:

      What emotions you could pour out, Ula! Awesome!

    • Dark is easier to write I think than joy. It has more emotion bound to it. I think your Spring flash is great.

    • Charli Mills says:

      The Rough Writers and their six-shooter fountain pens! I love that. I was completely recharged by my daughters’ visit and I’m over being overly sensitive to my first troll encounter here (glad I have the option to approve first comments). Might even salvage the project I thought I lost. There is always hope.

      The rhythm of this challenge keeps me grounded. I can go too deep into research or writing or get distracted by birds and rocks. Carrot Ranch and the Rough Writers give me a purpose while I navigate the deep and the distracting.

      Sometimes we need those dark places in order to fully experience the light. I think it’s part of the process. And, you are in good company here when cheery things lead to the dark side in writing.

  28. ruchira says:

    Wow! Loved your take on Ramona and the spring blossoming around her. It had the flavor of her pain, loss, and yet another life blooming around her. I will post my take in a couple of minutes 🙂

  29. Oh Charli, In the Apple Tree is beautiful – those little angels watching over their mother; I have tears running down my face.

  30. Not as well written as I’d hoped but I’m struggling for time to edit it further at the moment and I’d like to get something submitted after the two week break.

    I love your pieces, the multiple perspectives give the characters so much more depth. Beautiful writing Charli, I hope you’re feeling better!

  31. Norah says:

    From Ruth Irwin:

    Spring is here!

    Her face was lit with sparkling eyes and a beaming smile. She walked lightly with a spring in her step, almost skipping. It was good to be outdoors again with the warmth of the sun and the scent of the sweet jasmine blossoms enveloping her being.

    Gone was the heaviness and darkness of winter. The wretched cold that chilled to the bone despite layers and layers of clothing and blankets. The short daylight hours that seemed to crush her soul.

    Birds chirping provided the uplifting music that carried her along to a season of renewal, growth and new beginnings.

  32. Charli Mills says:

    Fabulous stories, Everyone! I’m getting caught up after a beautiful weekend with my Daughters & their Significant Others. Those two lovely men cooked me the best breakfast I have ever had! I’ll keep trotting here and wrangle in all your great stories. I hope in some fashion you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend.

    • paulamoyer says:

      One of which “SO” or “SIL” (son-in-law) is one-half of the reason Charli and I are sister-moms! Drew has always been handy in the kitchen, and with Josh’s occupation, what a great combo!

      • Charli Mills says:

        Paula, your son did you proud! You taught him well in the kitchen and he’s most polite when ruthlessly beating us all at Catan. 🙂 He’ll have to fix you his GF mock quiche over the holidays!

  33. […] This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is a snapshot of spring. […]

  34. Norah says:

    Hi Charli, This was a struggle, a bit like pulling teeth, but I got there in the end. I guess I just wasn’t ready to wake up. I think it works though. Maybe. Thanks for another challenge. 🙂

  35. paulamoyer says:

    Oh, Charli — the twins talking to Ramona! Priceless.

    Here’s my flash:

    New Things Growing

    By Paula Moyer

    Jean planted the bulbs in late October, just days before she and Bill closed on the house. The tenant, not happy at all about vacating, still agreed to let her plant.

    Jean stuck the hyacinths, crocuses, and iris tubers in the ground as directed: each hole dug, bone meal spooned in, each bulb or tuber inserted and covered. Flower beds watered. Whole thing then covered with hay that made her sneeze.

    Months later, Jean pulled off the hay, saw the first brave crocuses pushing up purple heads.

    When she stood up, something in her abdomen fluttered.

    The first kick.

  36. Sherri says:

    Ahh Charli, I got back very late last night (1am) due to ferry delays (long story) but wanted to get over here asap to catch up with you quickly as I really don’t know how much I’m going to get done today blogging wise.
    So much here, I am so sorry for the battering you had last week. I know when I feel like that I can’t write either… but you looked up and you did write and how; not a flat post to be had. One that is honest and heartfelt and your stories…well, they are are beautifully and hauntingly written, both have me wanting to read so much more about Ramona and The Twins.
    And I looked up with you… In Jersey these past 5 days with my mum, I learnt so much about what the islanders went through during 5 years of occupation under the Nazis in WWII and then, there we were, on Liberation Day, May 9th, celebrating the 70th anniversary of VE Day. It is an experience I’ll never forget.
    And the next day, looking around the most beautiful church overlooking one of the many gorgeous bays, I bent down to take a photo of a headstone and heard a vibration, not understanding what it was. I looked up then and saw not one, but two sets of swarming mason bees nesting up in the church building.
    I have so much going through my mind since my visit that I am finding it hard to know what to write and am almost paralysed with it. I hope to come back today with a flash for this perfectly-timed post which speaks to me of renewal and starting afresh, as you experienced with your lovely family home for the weekend (I hadn’t realised it was Mother’s Day over there this weekend) and so very glad to read this!
    I truly hope this week has started fresh and beautiful for you, filled with the joys of spring and family and your community here 🙂 Big hugs <3

    • paulamoyer says:

      So glad you had this time (and the timing!), Sherri. The story of the Channel Islands’ occupation is really something (without having anything more brilliant to say).

    • jeanne229 says:

      Sherri your comments are almost like flashes themselves. You have such lovely phrasings and sharp, small gems of insight. The WWII anniversary sounds so moving (my dad passed through England in 1942 on his way to Italy and North Africa; have always been fascinated by the war) and your description also brought to mind the British writer Connie Willis. She wrote two delightful books (Blackout and All Clear) about traveling back in time to the war years, full of authentic detail and dialogue and the most amazing cast of British types! I am not familiar with what happened on Jersey during those years, no idea they had been occupied! Fascinating.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Like Jeanne, I didn’t know about the Jersey Island occupation. What a marvelous experience. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble processing it all in your writing. Your comment is beautiful and heartfelt with the story of you in the church and mason bees buzzing aloft. Wow. Thank you for stopping by, but rest up and let these things percolate. Sometimes I like to just sit and stare at the pond and the jumble of ideas in my head fall into place. Big hugs back! <3

      • Sherri says:

        Ahh Jeanne, you are so kind – especially as I often think my comments are way too long!! I am bursting to write about Liberation Day but events of the week since I returned home from Jersey conspire against me…such is the way of things. Hopefully by tomorrow…ha!
        I wonder if your dad ever met my husband’s dad: he took the same journey, in his case starting from England to Italy and fought as a Tank Sergeant at El Alamein in North Africa. I wrote a little more about him in my Rememberance Day post last November:
        Thank you for letting me know about Connie Willis and her books, they sound wonderful. I will mention them to my mother who may have read them. She remembers well having to go to the air raid shelter at the end of her garden as a young girl during bombing raids and the time when my granddad was chased down the road by a doodlebug, a sort of ‘flying’ bomb that ended up exploding at the end of the next street. But going to Jersey and learning so much about the occupation and the struggles of the islanders for 5 long years brought home to me just how close we in England came to occupation ourselves. And I feel changed because of it.

      • Sherri says:

        Ahh Charli, I want to sit by your pond and let all these thoughts fall into place 🙂 It doesn’t matter where we are in the world does it, mason bees are mason bees and they affect us just the same. And now we smile 🙂

  37. […] Carrot Ranch Communications: Flash Fiction Challenge: May 6, 2015. […]

  38. mj6969 says:

    Hi! I’m new here – have been reading along for a few weeks now, and decided to take up this challenge.

    Here’s my entry:

    And I have to add – I’ve been reading the comments – and links for posts, of course, and there are some really fine and interesting stories here. 🙂

  39. georgiabellbooks says:

    Thanks for the prompt, Charli!

    The sidewalk was cool, cold even, but I sat down anyway, hoping he wouldn’t be too long. The air was damp and I could smell what was growing, even if I couldn’t see it yet. Reaching for a dandelion, I counted each tiny petal as I ripped it from the comfort and cluster of the stem. I told myself that he’d be here by the time I’d reached 50. Then 75.
    An hour later a stack of wilted stems were heaped beside me as I heard my mother’s voice.
    “He said he’s sorry, sweetheart. He’ll see you next week.”

    • jeanne229 says:

      Wow Georgia, that was a kick in the gut. You really conveyed the disappointment powerfully….the stack of beheaded daisies and the blythe, matter-of-fact comment that ignores the pain of a promise broken…

    • Charli Mills says:

      This line really shows the character’s angst: “as I ripped it from the comfort and cluster of the stem.” Her hope is the futile kind, waiting on someone unreliable. Lots of emotion packed into this flash.

  40. Hi Charli,

    Sorry, still not well, but this week I’ve made myself focus! Don’t know whether the lens was looking in the right direction but that was Merlin’s call not mine, so maybe I should let him take over with his description of home springs and eternal risings …

    The Misted Hills, by Merlin Ambrosius

    The Misted Hills … sounds so mysterious, doesn’t it? What would you expect out of an environment named thus? Since I took to travelling, I now realise that I could almost exclusively be describing somewhere in coastal Wales. With its vertebral mountains and hidden coves, nowhere is ever far from the high, damp places. Yet, in the late spring, my home is so spectacularly beautiful: apple and cherry blossom, pink and fragrant, falls in flurries as new air breezes in, creating petal-strewn pathways to mountains from which one can perfectly view the setting of the newly arisen sun-god.

    I’ll get him to write a post later, if I can assume such influence 🙂

    Brightest Blessing to ALL,
    Tally 🙂

    PS: Your post was fabulous, Charli, much enjoyed living it 🙂

  41. jeanne229 says:

    I was feeling a little flat myself this week Charli, drained by dipping into too much depressing news over the last weeks, faced with frustrating obstinacy in the domestic arena, and…confronting the overwhelming blank slate of my new blog! Thanks for the “nudge” as (I think) Sarah tweeted. And thanks for forcing what can only be an optimistic prompt…spring! Oh, and beautiful post! I am getting to be very fond of Ramona and long to know the twins better.
    Here we go. Read the background to this flash on my website

    Currency Exchange

    He sat in the chair, vigilant, funereal.

    “The taxi’s below,” she said. “I’ll call when I get there tomorrow.”

    He didn’t rise. She gathered the last bags and closed the door behind her.

    Freedom revved in her chest, maintained its thrum through traffic and customs. On the plane she exhaled into a blissful inaccessibility. Not even his voice could intrude now. Already he seemed far away.

    She deplaned at Narita, boarded the island hopper to Kyushu. On the descent, she peered out the window. April sunlight glinting on the Inland Sea was a newly minted coin, just for her spending.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Your comment about “frustrating obstinacy in the domestic arena” makes me think of the bull pen. It occurs to me that May is the season of Taurus so perhaps life is feeling flat and bullish. But with spring all around, it’s easy to slip away and renew with wildflowers and domestic ones. The clean slate of a new blog can be daunting. Ula is doing a prompt on Wednesday, and several Rough Writers participate in others. It’s a fun way to explore and not commit to a concrete path right away. Or, if you are more of a planner, you can develop a schedule and brainstorm a list of topics! And nothing wrong with letting the page be and grow.

      Love that last line! With each sentence I could feel the character returning to life, having left behind an imprisoning tension. What a great word to use in flash — funereal.

      • I love that last line too, makes me think of ancient mints and votive offerings, and long forgotten hoards of coin and precious metals … April sunlight glinting on a sacrificial lake, Neuchâtel perhaps 🙂

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