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June 24: Flash Fiction Challenge

June 24Some days I’m just a dirt farmer.

On my knees, churning soil like a human rototiller, I grab at weed roots and aerate the compacted earth around fledgling plants. Some plants have not fledged. I’m patient with dirt, and wait for it to reveal a hopeful germination. I know when to give up, thus I press more seed into the barren spots.

Writing is a lot like gardening. Words are dirt into which we plant stories, books and dreams.

Most days, I’m comforted by the dirt, believing it will yield, believing I have half a clue about what I’m doing. Other days, those barren spots worry me. Did I plant too deep? Too shallow? Was my seed too old? I begin to doubt my efforts matter.

Topics can be like barren doubt. I’ve mentally churned the idea of writing something in relation to what happened, again, on American soil — the meaningless massacre of a hate crime in Charleston, South Carolina. Do I have words that will grow something fruitful? Will I write too deep? Too shallow?

I don’t know what to write. I’m the dirt farmer devastated by hail, by grasshoppers, by drought. I don’t even look into my neighbor’s eye because I know he’s experienced the same thing. I glare at my other neighbor in the big house because she has no idea what it is to put hope into dirt. And this is dangerous ground. It touches upon shame and envy, it breeds a blight of hate.

The singer Jewel asks in a song, “And who will save your soul if you won’t save your own?”

Best to kneel back down in the dirt, take compassion on both neighbors — the one who struggles, and the one who doesn’t — and plant again. Hope again. Feel. Joys and sorrows. It doesn’t matter if your dirt patch is small or if others even notice what you are doing. Do it because it’s yours. Plant your stories.

Charleston? All I can do is to promise you that I will not sow hate. I can promise you that I will help each person I meet best that I can. I promise to do what is right, what is just even if sometimes I’m confused by the results or how to go about it. I will put my gaze on the good, the sprouts, the beauty that grows from tenaciously churning my dirt, pulling weeds and nourishing emerging plants. I will write words that may not matter to pop culture or mass media, but express beauty nonetheless. I’ll rise up toward the light like a plant newborn from the soil.

I’m too far away to touch you in Charleston. But I can give a stranger a ride to town. I can share potatoes with my neighbors, big and small. One interaction at a time, I can be an agent of love and compassion. May my world one day spread toward yours, and hers, and his, and may each single effort add up to a worthier place to live.

Dig in the dirt writers! Be gardeners of your own stories and tillers of your truth. Write deep. Write shallow. Know that you matter; your stories matter. Every life matters.

June 24, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about dirt. You can go with the idea of digging into the dirt as an analogy, or you can be realistic. Maybe a character has “the dirt” on someone or another has “dirty laundry” to hide. Dirt can be rich soil or barren. Get dirty, but not shockingly dirty!

And the photo? I dug in the garden today, weeding and mounding potato hills, thinning red onions, evidently for the benefit of my largest garden pest, Bobo, who slept soundly upon the warm dirt.

Respond by June 30, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


The Late Exchange by Charli Mills

Belle searched for signs of rising dirt that announced travelers across the barren basin. By now she could discern hand carts from wagons. She hoped to see indication of the overdue Pony Express rider. Sul would soon go searching, leaving Belle alone.

“I’ll give you the rifle. Point and pull the trigger.”

Belle nodded.

“Ah, Sweetheart, ain’t nobody getting’ in through these rock walls.”

Then, billowing dirt on the horizon.

When the rider arrived to exchange horses, he grinned. “Injuns!” He tossed Belle a calico sack full of pine nuts. “For you, Ma’am. Seems they like your chokecherry pie.”



  1. Susan Budig says:

    (I’m fudging a little as this is old work that I’ve tightened to fit the 99-word constraint.)

    Morning on the Third Day

    It’s morning on the Third Day
    There’s lots of work to be done
    Sky slips from black to gray
    Then glory-be, here comes the sun

    There’s lots of work to be done
    Soil opens its banks to receive
    Then glory-be, here comes the sun
    Hush-hush as seed and soil cleave

    Soil opens its banks to receive
    A puff from God’s own lips
    Hush-hush as seed and soil cleave
    Then up shoots vines in tidy strips

    A puff from God’s own lips
    Sky slips from black to gray
    Then up shoots vines in tidy strips
    Morning on the Third Day

    • jeanne229 says:

      Lovely to see a poem in this space. The repeating phrasing and hopeful message have lulled me into a bright space this morning.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you for sharing one of your measured (though altered for word count) poems! Which style is this? I recognize a pattern, but am woeful at naming it. Beautiful expression of the prompt!

      • Susan Budig says:

        Thank you, Charli. This is a pantoum. I needed to eliminate a stanza to fit the word count, which isn’t as easy as simply removing a stanza since the lines are woven together. I also eliminated one extra word in one of the lines so that I’d have 99. Tricky, huh?

      • Charli Mills says:

        Very tricky!

    • I can imagine how difficult it must have been to alter the poem which is fantastic and fits the prompt just perfectly. Me, I’ve never heard of a pantoum so I am going to have to do a little research.

      • Charli Mills says:

        In addition to being a freelancer, radio producer and a debut novel writer, Susan is a poet and teaches form. I’ve learned about so many styles from her. She used to host a poetry group on Gather and how she set that up was the foundation for setting up flash fiction at Carrot Ranch. She’s been a great role model for me! 🙂

      • Thank you to Susan because what you have set up is great Charli.

    • mj6969 says:

      Really wonderful and bright – full of promise and hope – captures the beauty and essence of gardening and planting – of nature really. 🙂

  2. Norah says:

    You plant good seed in the soil, Chali. I’ve only ever seen good harvested from your words. I think you have the secret. We can’t change the world but we can make the world around us better with each word and smile, and each step we take outward to each other. Charleston is tragic, and there is tragedy all over. If we all join hands and sing the songs of peace, love and joy together, maybe we can do a little to turn the tide. We can but hope, and act. I like the peace-giving pie in your flash. The way to one’s heart is through the stomach say some – well it’s a good place to start! 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      We keep planting, we keep singing. During the Dakota Conflict in Minnesota (1861), the Dakota soldiers destroyed the German settlement of New Prague, but left the brewery standing. Now some said it was because of the beer, but the story holds that the brew-master’s wife generously baked pies for the local tribe. Pies are powerful instruments of peace!

  3. Pete says:

    Blood Brothers

    Ralph rubbed Lamont’s arm. “It doesn’t wipe off? Mine wipes off.”

    Lamont shook his head, peering into Ralph’s pale blue eyes as Ralph brushed the dirt off his freckled arm and asked, “What color is your blood?”


    Ralph’s fire blond hair bounced with his nods . “Mine too. And your spit?”

    Lamont’s spit dropped into the dirt. Ralph let go with his own pool of saliva that touched Lamont’s and formed one big pool. The boys giggled. Their mother’s did not, calling after the boys at the same time.

    Lamont turned to Ralph. “Your Mom does that too?”

    • Charli Mills says:

      What’s the popular saying? No one is born a racist? This flash expresses the innocence of comparing differences but finding camaraderie in similarities. A lesson we all need to retain. Well-written!

    • Susan Budig says:

      I am a little confused by “Their mother’s did not…” Did the two boys have the same mother? Or they each have their own mother and the two mothers called them at the same time?

      I like Charli’s comment below. I hadn’t tied this into anything to do with race, but I see that it could be interpreted that way. You’ve managed quite a full story in such succinct words.

      • Pete says:

        The fun is in the interpetation, Susan! As for the typo, yes, there should be no apostrophe in “mothers”, who both call for the boys simultaneously.


      • Charli Mills says:

        Susan, is it to bold of me to say that because I was once your editor, I taught you well? 😀

    • mj6969 says:

      The wonder and joy and imagination of children – kids – exploring and understanding the world – at a certain age – of course, at the expense and challenge of parental disapproval – but sometimes, it is well worth it.

      Well written 🙂

    • Well written expressing how the world should be. Recognising differences yet seeing that underneath we are all the same. The beauty in children is that they can point out the differences (they don’t know about political correctness) whilst at the same time accept lovingly.

    • Norah says:

      I agree with all the other comments. It’s a powerful piece.
      I didn’t see the typo until Susan mentioned it! 🙂

    • Bloody brilliant. (Someone had to…) 😉 This is fantastic, Pete. Still had a previous prompt on your mind, eh?

  4. […] the Carrot Ranch June 24 Flash Fiction Challenge to write a 99-word story involving dirt, here’s my […]

  5. Hello, I’m participating again this week; here’s my entry:

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hi Sarah! Good to have you stop by! Fabulous flash from an ancient perspective.

      • Thank you! I hope to participate more consistently, but we’ll see…sometimes I sink into a certain kind of writer’s block in which I can’t bear to put my words where others might see them. That’s where I was the past few weeks, but this week my courage returned. Thanks for your encouragement!

      • Pat Cummings says:

        Sarah, the hardest thing is to let go of your words. I think the Flash Fiction Challenge is a good inoculant for the process. You can let go of 99 words easily, and it doesn’t take as long to polish them until they say exactly what you want…

        This one definitely captures the joy of finding home soil!

      • Charli Mills says:

        Keep writing, because I’ve found inspiration in your pieces. I hope you can feel comfortable enough here among literary friends to jam your way through a block! 🙂

    • A. E. Robson says:

      Wonderful story.

    • Susan Budig says:

      Ah, I love linguistics so found myself fascinated by your tiny bit of created ancient language. So much must have been conveyed by gesture and facial expression, too, which you included as well.

      • Thanks! I was careful to word it so that the language bits could be interpreted either as an actual language or as primitive, animal communication sounds, since we don’t yet know exactly when human language developed. I am interested in linguistics too, by the way. I’ll go check out your blog. Cheers!

    • Norah says:

      Well done, Sarah. I enjoyed your story. Don’t be shy about sharing your stories. I was very reluctant at first and wondered what people think. I still wonder, but don’t worry as much. I love the challenge and the diversion (a bit like the painting on the cave wall) it gives me. We are a very supportive group gathered around the storytelling fire at the Carrot Ranch. You are very welcome here. 🙂

      • Thank you! I appreciate your encouragement. For me, those periods of stuckness are partly about being self-conscious and afraid of what people think, but more about something deeper and vaguer (is that a word? “more vague” is what I mean)—a general reluctance to share my process and words with other people, and a need for temporary intellectual solitude. Maybe it’s that I can’t hear my own heart and keep up my courage well enough when I’m communicating a lot on blogs, social media, etc. In those times, to write, I have to disconnect!

      • Norah says:

        I think that’s true too. 🙂

      • Charli Mills says:

        Carrot Ranch is meant to be a place to build up literature at its most creative essence — stories, writers, confidence, craft! We all need space to let our creativity breathe and grow. We need places to practice with reproach. I hope you find that you can explore and discover among those who are in your writing boots, Sarrah!

  6. […] to Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction […]

    • Charli Mills says:

      Great to have you return! Beautiful imagery in your flash!

    • Susan Budig says:

      What a wealth of nature you’ve included in your flash-challenge. The last line was especially wonderful, “…as bees to flower.” I could completely envision the bees to flower and then had to imagine the birds to lavender as I’ve never seen that. Nor have I even heard of yellow-headed blackbirds. Great fun!

    • Norah says:

      Beautiful. A lovely, calming read. 🙂

  7. jeanne229 says:

    Just stopping in briefly here since I’m back working on my client’s book. So glad I stopped by. You nurture us all with your words Charli, and I love the prompt this week. Like so many, feeling devastated by yet another example of the hate that rages across our county, the wages of our national sin. But also thinking about group action. Observed an army of ants as the sun went down last night. Swarming over a damp pile of leaves we’d skimmed out of the pool. Forging unions of three or four to salvage the edible drowned flies and bees and careeningly cart them away. About twenty of them struggled with a small dragonfly. Took them forever, but they moved it. This morning it was gone. I like to think we can effect a similar success, if good hearts work together to move an impossible load. Here’s to dirt and what it may yield.

    • Charli Mills says:

      We find so much in the simple act of observation when we pause from business. I felt helpless, so I dug and the dirt taught me so much more than my whirling mind could have factored on its own. Thank you for sharing your ant story! Yes, by threes, fours and mores we can move an impossible load. Cheers to dirt!

    • Norah says:

      I like the thought/possibility/action of good hearts working together. 🙂

  8. You do more good than you know with your words Charli. Not just your fiction but your blogs and this challenge. You aim to do nothing other than help others and create a community, and you do a wonderful job at that.
    You are right in that everyone has purpose here; we will have an affect on others’ lives whether we want to or not, how we choose to affect them is our responsibility.
    The world needs more love, more compassion.
    I like the comparison of your neighbours, though I especially love your acceptance of both. The one who doesn’t suffer on hands and knees to bring life from the earth, suffers in other ways and deserves our love just as equally.
    You are an incredible person Charli, I look up to you in so many ways and I am forever learning new things from you. Thank you for pouring your heart out to the world to help others, it may be hard to see but it does help.

    • Oh dear, writing at 4am means trouble…

      EDIT: We will have an effect* on others’ lives

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Rebecca. I find encouragement in them as sometimes I wonder if my dirt digging has a far enough reach. Yet were two or more are gathered, we can pass along what we share. Thank you for the gentle love and compassion you expression your words, too. I’ve noticed such a moving tenderness in your stories since the birth of your son and love that you can convey the beauty of motherhood in a universal way. From my heart to your, keep pouring the love!

  9. A. E. Robson says:

    Children playing in the dirt making roads to no where in particular. Adults playing in the dirt tending their gardens. Each, in their own way, find a relaxing solace feeling the soil in their hands.

    Pallet Garden
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    The hours spent planning and deciding her personal haven were now going to happen.

    It was hard living in town with only a balcony for a yard. She had decided to make the best of situation until she was finished the contract and could move to the country.

    Off to the greenhouse to gather up the rest of the herbs and flowers she wanted. The hardware store was next on her list for garden fabric and a used pallet.

    Tiny space be darned, she was going to have her garden. Today she would get to play in the dirt!

    • Susan Budig says:

      The benefits of gardening even in a balcony-sized plot could quite possibly cure the world of much of its ills. I like your first line, how you set us up to know where you’re going and then you go there!

    • mj6969 says:

      Wonderful sense of determination that creating a small slice of the naturally divine is possible – no matter the circumstances. 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      The character’s drive for dirt is a “true grit” story. 🙂 Your flash reflects how practical such projects can be. Some people long for the dirt and others find a way to bring it home.

  10. TanGental says:

    A while back the Textiliste and offered the Accountant (her brother) to do his garden after he bought his first house. It was a tip, inside and out – it had been a squat before – but we set to with a will. After a couple of hours digging up broken bricks and can all all sorts my sped hit another solid object. This was different. The shape of half a cow’s femur it was wrapped tight in bubble wrap. Cutting it apart revealed a well oiled and beautifully preserved saw off shotgun. The Accountant took it to his local police, the unfazable South London Met. Handing it over the sergeant nodded. ‘Thank you sir.’ No questions, no receipt, no ‘follow mes’.

    As I’m off blogging, here’s my effort from the Outer Hebrides. Sunny and cool. Add it to you bucket lists peeps, it’s delightful.

    Picture This

    ‘Are you Mary North?’
    ‘Sorry to disturb. We’ve bought 52 Rose Street. And, well, we found this.’
    The woman fumbled in her bag, smiling apologies. ‘We’re doing a few things. Modernising, you know. We’ve been clearing out the attic. Filthy of course.’
    Mary felt her embarrassment. She knew she was removing Mary’s parents from their home.
    ‘It’s a locket. There’s a catch…’
    Suddenly, the pewter pendant sprang open, revealing a sepia picture of two chubby babies.
    ‘Is one you?’
    Mary caressed the silky smooth surface and nodded. One of these girls was her twin.
    ‘Were you identical twins?’

    • Susan Budig says:

      Well, for goodness sake! After reading your comment, which I thought was your offering for the dirt-challenge, I wasn’t sure you would top it. But your flash-fiction was equally rewarding. A two-fer!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Gardening can reveal amazing things from the dirt, but a sawed-off shotgun in London has to have a story! Bubble wrap would help peg a date…I’d be pestering the unfazable South London Met!

      Ahhh…Sunny and cool, Outer Hebrides. That is what it should be here but Hell hath arrived! Tops on my bucket list at the moment is a bucket to pour cold water over me!

      Interesting twist in the twisting story of Mary and her twin. Neatly tied into the prompt. Enjoy your views and wandering!

    • Norah says:

      A sawn-off shotgun, now that a find. I wonder about its past.
      I wondered where you’d go with Mary’s story this time since we’d already dug up the back garden and found “dem bones”! Now it’s the dirt in the attic and more intrigue! 🙂

  11. TanGental says:

    Sorry about the typos!

  12. Pat Cummings says:

    My flash started out lighthearted, but a power outage and a nightmare intervened. The result is Clay ( )…

    • A. E. Robson says:

      You don’t have to be old to grasp at whatever gives you the memories. Well done.

    • Susan Budig says:

      Reading the itinerary preceding the creation of your flash-fiction adds to the excitement. The last line of your challenge-offering is especially poignant.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Sounds like a walk in the woods — casual until the sun sets and the big bad wolf shows up! I like that we can sculpt our writing as needed. That’s not always possible with other tasks, but writing allows for differing situations and moods.

  13. DMaddenMMA says:

    A Book Review From the Teacher’s Perspective

    Each year, I await our unit of study that coincides with the perfect read-aloud for 4th and 5th graders: Marshfield Dreams by Ralph Fletcher.

    I anticipate skipping the chapter titled “Michele” because explaining why Michele won’t go to hell after she finds herself six feet under is wise.

    Without question, there is no bypassing “Tommy”. Tommy decides to “eat the world”: ABC gum, cigarette butts, grass, and dirt.


    I was ready for that.

    Then, a lone cub amongst the pack,

    “God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.”


  14. Bill says:

    Here is my attempt… This is great practice!

  15. Sacha Black says:

    Your quote from jewel reminds of the phrase – if you can’t love yourself how do you expect others to love you? Same kind of ethos I guess. I love the thought of digging my hands into real tangible words, mushing them in my hands and plying them into a story like playdoh. That would make me very happy!

    Compassion and solidarity for your neighbours and victims in SC. xx

    Here’s mine this week:


    It was the kind of dirt that no amount of bleach or cleaning could ever remove. My soul was dirty. Guilty.

    I stared down at his greyed mottled flesh and bile rose in my throat.

    “Babe. We gotta go.”

    I blinked a few times, my tears falling into patches of his blood. Red ran down his cheeks, it made him look like he was crying. A shiver crawled down my back each step a spiked reminder of what I had done.


    “I’m coming.”

    I bent down to his lifeless body and whispered, “I’m sorry.”

    We had to run.

    • mj6969 says:

      Dark but well written – capturing the sense of urgency and conscience.

    • Norah says:

      Very dark. But well told. I’d like the “dirt” on what he did to “you” to deserve his fate. Something tells me that he was being paid back for dirty deeds. I’m not sure that this is the best form of payment though. Great story opening. The rest is bound to be interesting with flashbacks and intrigue.

      • Sacha Black says:

        Thanks Norah, I do so appreciate the feedback 🙂 I seem to be producing a lot of potential stories from all the prompts at the moment. Obviously all down to the quality of Charli’s amazing prompts 😀

      • Norah says:

        The prompts are good; but so are your responses. Now to just get those stories from potential to actual! 🙂

      • Charli Mills says:

        Ah, it’s what you writers do with the prompts! I just give you a horse; you ride!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Words do feel like that! I had a friend (a non-writer) try to convince me to do all kinds of different arts or crafts projects. I kept telling her — I write! It is my art!

      That’s some dark playdough this week! 🙂 Great tension with the pull of emotions and leaving the scene. “My soul was dirty.” Great line!

      • Sacha Black says:

        For some reason my reply didn’t come through. I had to uninstall and reinstall my app. I fear lots of my responses may have done this recently 🙁

        thanks for the lovely feedback I do so appreciate it, and you give it in such a lovely way. 🙂

  16. Charli you look after everyone you come across. I can tell from what you write and from the experiences that we have had with your tender nurturing here on the ranch. You can’t control the world which is going crazy with fanatical hatred. I hope that the Charlestown massacre will make a lot of people sit up and stand up against racism. Hopefully those people will not have perished for nothing.
    I love your flash with its unexpected twist. Chokeberry (is there such a thing) is not what I was expecting the Indians to be after.
    Mine this week

    • Susan Budig says:

      So much to enjoy in your flash-challenge: bluegrass music, reading, outdoors. I laughed about the baby’s distress over grass. I once took care of my neighbor’s baby along with my own same-aged daughter. The neighbor’s baby also hated grass and on one occasion, I used that to my advantage when I needed to put her down and stay put while I nabbed the other one. Quickly, I plopped her in the grass. She didn’t move.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Reflecting upon the lives lost in Charleston, they have much to teach us of dignity. So many toss their own out the door in pursuit of being better, being right, being intolerant of anything other than what is familiar or preferred. How is it that we lost sight of liberty and justice for all? I know it’s an imperfect ideal, but somehow we lost sight of “for all.”

      And yes, chokecherries are for real!It’s native to the US and in the Nevada high mountain deserts, it’s found along the canyon creeks. Very bitter, yet tasty, it’s hard to set up in pies or jams but some master pioneer kitchen cooks became famous for their chokecherry pies.

      Great flash with all sorts of connections to dirt. Your character, the Dirt Baby, would have felt right at home at the Nevada Territory Pony Express station! I doubt they had grass!

  17. […] Carrot Ranch Communications: June 24, 2015 Flash Fiction: […]

  18. mj6969 says:

    Charli – as usual – your thoughts and words, which inspired this week’s prompt – offer more than just the average “here are some ideas – now write.”

    You offer so much of yourself and your generous and giving self – you are sympathetic and so aware of not only your surroundings, but also of the madness that stalks the world.

    It is frustrating – tiresome – depressing – and yet – where there is the tiniest spark of an ember – a blue flame – there is hope – and that is what will unite and strength the resolve of people – to stand together – however it may unfold – through acts of generosity, compassion – nurturing of spirit – giving back – working the soil – creating and sharing stories.

    In strength we find the means necessary to process – to think – to feel – and to make choices – for change.

    Charli – you effect change. You are such a beautiful soul – and so – be gentle with yourself – for as much as the pain affects – we can only bear so much – and then, we need to look to healing – and gardening, creating – anything life affirming – is what is needed.

    Be well – happy gardening – and yes, another intriguing and inspired Flash response!

    • Charli Mills says:

      After reading your post, I began humming, “Let your little light shine, shine, shine.” That’s what I find fulfilling here at the soil of Carrot Ranch — so many fascinating, clever, and independent thinkers among writers who are also compassionate and emotionally aware and intelligent. Maybe that’s a by-product of writing, but I think we have special writers here. I certainly find inspiration each week and I’m glad I can return the favor. 🙂 Thank you. We’ll keep on following a life-affirming path, one story at a time.

      • mj6969 says:

        There is nothing more that I could possibly add to your wonderful comment – except — “yes!” 😀

  19. mj6969 says:

    Here is my response to the prompt:

    Scrunched up baby face – disgust grass prickly on tender hands; laughter surrounds – as I fussed.

    Twenty three years later, I stand before you, dirty. A fine layer of black – compost – covers my jeans, my tee-shirt, smudged with sweat and swipes of dirty hands. Fingers, though glove covered, show dirt under trimmed nails.

    “Well, you are the expert” …. as I offer pointers, as asked. Disapproval drips like your mini-water garden feature.

    Fifteen years later, I wait – broken from work – for the moment when sod will cover you. Will I dance barefoot? Or simply walk away – if I bother at all.

  20. rogershipp says:

    Nowhere’s, Ma

    “Where have you been, Kyle?”

    “Nowhere, Ma.”

    “Tell be the truth. You know I don’t abide no stories.”

    “Ma, I weren’t doing nothing wrong.”

    “Didn’t say it was wrong. Askt where?”

    “Nowhere, really, Ma.”

    “Nowhere’s gotta lotta dirt. Look at your shoes… my floors… and the knees to your Sunday pants. Go out back and get cleaned fore you come back in. “

    “Don’t you come nosing around here for love, Aggy-Belle. Tarnation. Get on withca. If you wouldn’ta hid those blasted kittens under the shed, you and I would both be eating Granny’s blueberry muffins with cream right now.”

  21. […] This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills is talking about dirt and has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about dirt. […]

  22. Norah says:

    Here’s mine, Charli:
    I had to do a bit of digging this time, but I got there in the end.
    Thanks for the challenge. 🙂

    • Susan Budig says:

      Very visual piece, Norah. An economy of words that you managed to make look like a full-out story.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Excellent digging, Norah! You jumped right in and got the dirty on what is yet to be found in the earth’s soil. Love the apple perspective of the earth’s composition! Did you take a bite out of the earth after you arranged the photo?

  23. Norah says:

    A Fool’s Gold by Ruth Irwin

    “You’re a fool! How could you be so stupid?” She continuosly repeated the words, shouting them at times. There was no-one to hear her.

    She had longed for a simple, less complicated life. It had seemed like a good idea at the time; swapping city life for a quiet life of subsistence farming. What could possibly go wrong with her plan?

    Barren soil. Her dream of nirvana was a dust bowl nightmare that sapped her savings, her energy and her spirit. She kicked at stones that peppered her piece of dirt. Something unusual caught her eye. “A nugget? Eureka!”

    • Charli Mills says:

      Digging in the dirt is often the simpler life, but somehow I think none of us escape life’s woeful or magnificent complexities. I’m going to search my garden dirt extra hard now!

  24. Don’t think I’ll make this one but looking forward to reading others’ flash. Hope all is well with you.

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

  26. […] contribution to this week’s weekly challenge over at the Carrot […]

  27. Made it just in the nick of time! Wen’t a bit dark with this piece! 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      The nick of time at Carrot Ranch is like a looong, sloooow twilight. Today I had to escape the heat and work on a client project in town where I could find air conditioning. Then I had to come home and water, and water, and water! I’m still watering, but at least it’s cooled off enough to hop on the computer! Funny how a simple prompt like dirt can lead to the dark side. 🙂

  28. […] Fiction Challenge for 6/24 over at Carrot Ranch. The prompt was […]

  29. Here you go Charli. Went in a less literal direction. Hopefully it works…

    • Charli Mills says:

      Like flash lightning that rolls across the ranch! 🙂 I’m usually the latest buckaroo around here and I add in anything late if I happen to be an early bird! Love the Italian color of your dirt flash!

      • julespaige says:

        My heritage is Italian. And while I only ever did call him ‘Grampa’ – He had a garage roof garden in the city and I’m not sure what he had in the country… as we only visited that home a few times. And I wasn’t paying attention those days. 😉
        I also heard that the one grampa I never met grew roses.

        Oh, I just got home from about two weeks away and my container garden gifted me with a red tomato and a green pepper. I’ll also use some of the kale and herbs.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Where I grew up as a kid, I remember this news commentator, Joe Cartione the Italian Grocer. He talked about fruits and vegetables like they were his familia! You have the heritage for growing such gifts and good that you have his tenacity, too, to grow anywhere. 🙂

  30. ruchira says:

    Happy to come back in the dirt 😉

    • Charli Mills says:

      Welcome back to the ranch dirt, Ruchira! Hope you had a wonderful visit and a pleasant journey! Good to see you back! 😀

  31. Hi Charli,
    Sorry for the extended absence, still unwell and incapable of focusing properly, but I’m an archaeologist so how could I miss the prompt that offers me DIRT to play with?! Just hope I’m not too late! I’m sending you the flash so hot off the press that I haven’t managed to surround it with a suitable bog post yet, nor indeed any bog post at all, so late am I in offering it up. Sooooooo, without further ado, here’s the flash:

    Santorini Dirt
    Mid-September, 2013, on Santorini. Red had led them here, to the ruins of the Temple of Apollo in very ancient and dead Thera, in her byzantine jewellery, features all fuzzy in that dream-people way. Vanda had seen her somewhere before.
    She scratched absently at the dirt with her toe. Something glinted. Vanda used her fingers instead. Someone shouted, distantly. She brushed some more. And there she was, Red in gold – Empress Theodora – right in the middle of a small mosaic dish. The shouting got louder. Time to run … So this is what an antiquities thief feels like!

    … and the post will follow, hopefully not too far behind 🙂

    Love and Brightest Blessings to ALL,
    Tally 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      You are never too late, Tally! I’m sending you healing and happy thoughts from my bog to yours! Of course, how could an archaeologist resist dirt? 🙂 How exciting to reveal golden and ancient mysteries. Thanks for sharing what antiquities feel like. Many blessings!

  32. paulamoyer says:

    Sorry to be late with this, Charli. Torn between the dirt of cleaning, which this week was just too gross to write about, and colors of dirt by region. Color won.

    Red Dirt of Home

    By Paula Moyer

    None of Jean’s Minnesota friends understood the free association: when she heard the word “dirt,” the next word in her mind was “ruby.” Up in the North Country, dirt was black. She had run her fingers through it while pulling weeds. Rich, onyx soil. But it wasn’t native to her.

    As the plane circled over Oklahoma City, she glanced out the window. Deep ruby between rows of wheat. She was home. Wet, it was clumpy clay; when dry, fine and sandy, suspended in the air.

    “Welcome to Will Rogers International Airport.”

    Ruby clay. World’s best tomatoes. World’s best sunsets.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, I know that dirt of cleaning and it’s just going to linger! Especially with the garden dirt I keep tracking inside. I love your choice for dirt. Such a beautiful image rooted in tangible details. It’s in the compilation!

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