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January 12: Flash Fiction Challenge

january-12The mail arrived with two cases of Give a Crap. It’s environmentally-friendly recycled toilet paper from Australia (with a US division in California). The boxes boldly ask, “Who Gives a Crap” and considering global dissension, I’m proud to answer, “Me! I give a crap!” Trouble is, at the root of dissension, others don’t necessarily give a crap about what I do, and it’s questionable if I give a crap about their complaints in return. Often our concerns are what polarizes us.

Many of my Minnesota friends give a crap about the environment. My two daughters graduated from the School of Environmental Studies in Minnesota, and I served on the school’s foundation board for several years. Educating youth about the environment is important because it is their future. Will Steger, Minnesota native and arctic explorer, gave a crap about Global Warming long before we decided Climate Change was the appropriate phrase to use. He’s one of my living heroes for traversing Baffin Island in 2008 to bring awareness to the plight of the Inuit who live in places others rarely see. My eldest was a student on the expedition and you can see her at frame 2:20 (girl in the gray sweatshirt on the couch with Will Steger).

If you notice the photos and natural references in my writing, you know I give a crap about nature. But many others do not. Many of my Idaho friends give a crap about living in Idaho, and in order to live in such a beautiful and remote area often they have to work jobs at odds with environmental concerns. Many work in the Bakken Oil Fields; many more were laid off when oil prices dropped; and many voted for the only presidential candidate to speak of jobs in America. Often those who give a crap for the environment forget to give a crap about the hardworking Americans who dig ditches, tip trees and mine resources. Here’s where things get messier than toilet paper can handle.

For every concern, I can cite a counter concern. Environment versus labor. Solar energy versus existing infrastructures. Police brutality versus racial disparity in inner cities. Firearm rights versus gun control for safer communities. Food safety versus access to healthier food. Farm industry versus community food deserts. Privatized healthcare versus social medicine. It goes on and on, around and around the tables of coffee klatches and yoga classes. Who is right? Who is wrong? Fight, fight, fight.

Standing up in the toilet bowl of what dissension in the US has become, is the most underqualified, unprepared, unfit person for the position of US leadership. Now the fight is really on — his right to grab women’s genitalia versus a women’s right to not be grabbed; white privilege versus black lives matters; populism versus humanity. Add to this all the other swipes of wanting jobs, wanting healthcare that’s not socialism but affordable, wanting personal rights; and it’s no wonder I feel like I just want to flush it all away. I give a crap, but I have whiplash trying to contemplate all sides.

We are forgetting something important. Fighting is about winning; about sides. That means we want a loser. Not only do we want a loser, but we feel like we want someone to be punished. That’s the rage behind, “Jail Hillary!” Sometimes, I can see the person shouting this battle cry, see the contorted face, and I imagine the job loss this person might have endured, or the pile of unpaid medical bills on the kitchen counter. I care about another’s loss, but why the fight, why the sides? When did we start thinking that only our crap matters and stop giving a crap about others? In the fight, we forgot about middle ground, about the idea that conflict management is win-win.

Holy crap, folks, I’m just a writer living in an RV down by the river, and I don’t know how many weeks I can take like this one. It started with an emotional farewell to President Obama. I did not agree with all his policies and I was disappointed enough by his first term that I did not vote for his second. Yet, I have greatly admired his family dynamics, his poise as an orator, his many outreaches to bridge gaps in America to bring equality of rights to every citizen, his wife’s initiatives as First Lady (including outreach to homeless veterans), and his classiness as a principled man. It was hard to say goodbye, knowing his replacement couldn’t be more different.

This week the PEOTUS (president-elect of the US) held a “press conference” that gives many of us in the writing industry chills, calling out a CNN journalist as Fake News. Seriously? This from the very person who says the most outrageous lies. His attacks on the press and his continuing lies which confuse and conflict many threatens freedom of speech and destabilizes truth. His gaslighting triggers my PTSD and I’ve had to employ many coping skills. I’m unable to overlook the man’s behavior. His billionaire cabinet in the making gives me less confidence. His resistance to divest himself of his businesses, his continuing obsession with telling us “He won!” and his lack of concern for Russian interference unnerves me.

Yet, I’m not wanting to fight my fellow citizens. I give a crap about conflict resolution.

Conflict resolution is finding a peaceful solution to a disagreement. It’s drawing back my hand from the urge to smack. It’s letting go of a need to punish. It’s hearing both sides of the concerns and working toward a way to save our environment and jobs. It means acknowledging the rights or privileges of all. It means agreeing to disagree with compassion for the other. It means uplifting the lowest in our midst instead of only seeking to better our own. It also means checking our words and behavior. It doesn’t mean giving a pass to the PEOTUS because of his office; rather it means we all hold him accountable to the respectability and credibility of his office.

As a literary artist I have a civic duty to explore the experiences of others, unlike me.

I honor the diversity at Carrot Ranch. That’s why it is a literary community and not a historical writers club, or a fiction writers group, or a writing outlet for Libertarians-Only, women-only, Gen-Xers-only, college degree holders only, published writers only or any other only of exclusivity. Look at how diverse the perspectives are each week in constrained responses to a single prompt! Raw Literature, as we are exploring in a new series at Carrot Ranch, is a truth-seeking exercise. The closer to a universal truth, the more fiction resonates with readers. I give a crap about literature and its role in society. You might think you are “just a writer” but you are a truth-seeker. Do not be afraid to seek your own truth. It’s a lifetime pursuit.

What do you give a crap about? Write about it, write into it, write about its enemies as friends, write about its friends as enemies. As a literary artist, how can you be a truth-seeker? How can you be an agitator for good? How can you be brave? How can you be part of conflict resolution?

January 12, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that expresses a strong concern, something to give a crap about. Something that brings out the feeling to stand up. How can you use it to show tension or reveal attitudes?

Respond by January 17, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published January 18). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


Serving All (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

“Officer Roubineaux, explain why you were in Naples that day,” said the judge.

“Yes. I made a promise to a friend who is serving in Iraq to look out for his wife.”

“Which branch of service,” the judge asked.

“He’s a contractor for private security,” answered Michael.

“That’s not service. That’s a cover for meaningless acts of mercenary.” The judge made the comment as casually as if stating a fish has scales.

Danni resisted the urge to throw her shoe at the judge. He had no idea how much Ike gave a crap about serving his country, even jerks.




  1. […] January 12: Flash Fiction Challenge January 12, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that expresses a strong concern, something to give a crap about. Something that brings out the feeling to stand up. How can you use it to show tension or reveal attitudes? […]

  2. julespaige says:

    Charli, it is a wonder that humans exits with as little compromising and respect that is given. Your piece highlights disrespect in high places of power.
    I am not a political person, I do what I can when it comes to recycling. I do give a crap about nature and the arts. What started out as a poetic observance has spilled over into my flash:

    (g/nf) Saving Grace

    Saving Grace
    (pi ku, tau ku, haiku, tau ku, pi ku & prose)

    spring-like warmth
    her out, then in

    lady-bug, a beetle
    round the lamp light seeking the sun

    gently brushed into
    a cup; returned to nature ~
    she see the full moon?

    after some more rain drops
    the clouds
    parted for the Wolf Moon and stars

    stretching there,
    bare branched shadows

    Some say humans are aggravating the normal
    evolution of climate change. In part that may be
    true. But there were thousands of years that the
    climate changed and there were no humans.

    Or enough human ingenuity to do anything more
    than survive. Now human intelligence must work


    • Charli Mills says:

      First, Jules, let me say I have much respect for someone who knows craft enough to be creative with its forms. I don’t even know all the poetry forms, yet you deftly knit then together and to great result. Also, you make a point about climate change my husband often makes. Meeting Will Steger, he convinced me less of science and more of observation regarding the oral history of the Inuit over 10k years. Regardless, your last line is the resolution.

  3. “Standing up in the toilet bowl of what dissension in the US has become, is the most underqualified, unprepared, unfit person for the position of US leadership.” Reaching for the flusher…

    But you’re right, if we flush, we win. And that means a whole bunch of others lose. We throw out the innocent and vulnerable babies with the toilet water.

    You’ve got this!

  4. denmaniacs4 says:

    I hope my little fable doesn’t diminish the power of your post, Charli. We writers work with what we have.

    Damn Duck!

    There it is again, that damn Muscovy duck, running wild on the rarely busy streets of our island.

    “Pull over and fetch it. Some goobah’s gonna cream it.” Shelley says this knowing my duck phobia. One trip to a farm when I was seven and I had to run into the most vicious fowl ever. I could still feel it’s bill scrunching my pudgy little palm.

    “Someone else will stop and save Donald,” I say as we speed by.

    My peripheral sees her head shaking.

    “Are you the man I married?” she fires away.

    I slam on the brakes.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Fabulous creation from what you had to work with, Bill! This is the compromise of relationships, yet the creativity of a writer given a duck!

  5. […] 12, 2017 99 word prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that expresses a strong concern, something to give a […]

  6. You tell them, Charli!

  7. […] Charli Mills’ writing prompt, a 99 word story about something you give a crap about. Vast subject. This is a true story, as are […]

  8. There’s so much to give a crap about—where do you start?

  9. It is my decadent but unparalleled longing for change that makes me give a crap. I do not know how to stop or curtail the violence in our world, so I distract myself with frivolous perversions. St. Augustine claims, “All great evil is a perversion of good.” If I can not negotiate peace within my own family how can I expect more from our warring nations? I am overwhelmed with despair for all the suffering in the world, so I insulate myself with the familiar, and play hide n’ seek with the truth. I turn off the news, take a sabbatical from social media, and sit quietly with this incessant longing.

    When I can no longer breathe, I kick my way to the surface, “I see skies of blue, and clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night, and I think to myself,” this could be a wonderful world. Recently I heard the echo of a baby’s cry from two thousand years ago, when the spirit of love entered our world, and a shinning star became our beacon of hope. Louis Armstrong sings, “I hear baby’s cry, I watch them grow, they’ll learn much more, then I’ll ever know,” and I realize I already have a decadent and unparalleled reason for envisioning tomorrow with glorious hope. She is my daughter’s daughter, her name is Audrey.

    Full article at Living in the Gap: Her Name is Audrey

    • Charli Mills says:

      I understand that longing, yet what St. Augustine observed long ago still holds truth. I hid for the four wonderful green pasture years I had on Elmira Pond. I had no television, I rarely listened to the radio. All my civic duties I once took seriously, I thought no longer mattered. Now I feel awake that I’m here and I have purpose beyond personal wants and needs. Losing what I needed, what I wanted brought a sharp contrast to my time of reclusive rest. Now, I feel empowered to make change or speak out, to stand up for what I give a crap about. I read good journalism daily, pay attention to what’s happening in greater media and remember to still find the blue in the sky. “A baby’s cry…” Such a humble beginning to remind us that every little act we do matters. I’m so happy for you to experience that echo in the cry of the next generation. What a powerful feeling. Thank you for sharing, Cheryl!

      • Charli you are magical. For the way you inspire others, how you form a sentence, the depth of your message, the clarity of thought, not to mention the houmorous crap! Haha, I’ve enjoyed reading the responses of others and the playful banter! Keep on rolling…🚽

      • Charli Mills says:

        I live for the humor, so thanks for noticing, lol! Roll on! 😀

  10. I absolutely love the idea of Who Gives a Crap? company. We almost got everyone toilet paper for xmas. That fell through butt (couldn’t help that) we’re getting some for us. Because we give a crap.

    Our holiday list was funny, though…
    Parents: Who Gives a Crap
    Auntie: Who Gives a Crap
    Uncle: Who Gives a Crap

    It’s interesting. I don’t know when it happened but it did. Your point about only caring about your own issues. Other people are struggling, too, (or not), and people hold on so tightly to their own problems that they’ve become blind/deaf to other people’s problems. Maybe they wouldn’t care if they did know but it seems more and more that they don’t even notice. As far as fighting for a cause (which I believe is a good thing) I must agree that, when we fight, we expect/want a loser. I don’t know what’s become of conflict resolution and fear the middle ground is now quicksand.

    Take care of yourself.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ah, here you give a crap, butt (hee, hee) it’s not always appreciated, like good 2-ply. I love how your Christmas list reads, such satisfaction! Yeah, I can’t point to the turning point. It’s like some bad hybrid of self-awareness and recognition of minority voices that got perverted into thinking our selfishness was included. Then this blindness/deafness went up like a computer firewall that also keeps out tools you do need to operate. Middle ground is like quicksand, but I think we need to build it back up on higher ground. You take care, too!

      • The list gave us quite a few laughs. 😀
        I can’t, either. I’m not sure there is one precise point. It feels like it just…happened. Slowly. Over time. That firewall is definitely keeping things out as well as in. It’s never good. Walls. Bloody hell.

  11. […] missing two flash fiction challenges over at Carrot Ranch, I decided now was a good time to jump back in. And I picked a good week to do it, as it has to do […]

  12. Norah says:

    There’s fire in them there words, Charli; strong words, and necessarily so. Good on you for speaking up when you see injustices and wrongs being done. We need people to give a crap. We need everyone to give a crap, and to do something about it; but not fight. Listen to understand, feel to empathize, and talk to negotiate, to reach agreement that holds good for all. Scary days are ahead for the US, and the world. I had thought we were nearing a positive tipping point, now the balance seems to be tipping too far the other way.
    Thanks for sharing the video of Steger’s explorations of Baffin Island. I very much enjoyed seeing your daughter in the video and hearing of her participation. Unfortunately the RV by the river is not available for me to view here. You already know what I give a crap about – education. And other things too. And you are right that toilet paper alone can’t wipe all the crap away, but it’s a start, especially if it gets them thinking of others.
    Roubineaux – now there’s an interesting name. I don’t believe I’ve heard Ike’s name before. Danni didn’t throw the shoe. It wouldn’t have been a good idea, but your telling us she had the urge let us know about Ike’s character. I wonder how they get the judge to see. Another interesting development.

    • Norah says:

      I’m back! Giving a crap about education, as promised, and no doubt expected. 🙂 Pulling together

      • Charli Mills says:

        Fire in them words, hopefully not in them rolls of paper! 😀 In art appreciation class, I remember studying the swinging pendulum from one philosophy of life to another. The professor reasoned that humans, in search for balance, often pushed the pendulum back and forth. Perhaps we progressed as far as we could in positivism and now it swings back to the negative side. Either way, we have to give a crap about others. Today, being Martin Luther King Day in the US, I read once again his Letter from a Burlingham Jail. Wow. And that was a raw piece of literature! He wrote it, pen and paper, while incarcerated for opposing segregation laws. What a mind and heart that man had. And a legacy for all who read his words. Yes, lots of interesting developments in Miracle of Ducks, least of all trying to figure out how to implement some new developments I want to give Danni. Time to switch back to Rock Creek because I’m frustrated with the unraveling and re-weaving. Thank you for giving a crap about education! That’s become a battlefield in the US with the new administration on the horizon.

      • Norah says:

        That pendulum! Why must it swing so? Why can’t it just settle in a happy medium? I guess that would be the status quo, and we don’t want that either. I read elsewhere about it being Martin Luther King Day, and have just had a peek at his letter. I haven’t read it all yet – just the opening and conclusion. His conclusion is quite powerful on its own.
        I hope you find the threads required for Miracle of Ducks and manage to stitch it up to your satisfaction. I’ll be happy to read Rock Creek. 🙂
        Education has always been a battleground. 🙁

  13. While i should address the reason i started writing -to imbed a better image and understanding of the strain to have IBS; which in my case extends beyond my guts..and limits my quality of life…to the point i cant comprehend anyone not appreciating everything. But i know theres more importance in the world, cuz i give too too much craps i have invented this flash. Thank you Charli and God Bless.

    ‘America’ Deserves an Idiot (not Americans)
    By Elliott Lyngreen

    After the same commercial (you know the one where the kid is eating that three foot tape of candy, and eating the other end of it is an alien looking creature dressed like his grandmother???) for the umpteenth break in the latest televised celebration, Cletus disgust, “Morons..”

    Billy Bob victoriously grinds his knife across a tri-stone, “Ha! Hear them blowing dog whistles cuz?. They all goin to hell
    …. People earning livings off tragedies? the advertising…? . This fake ‘America’ aint it .. well, Seems we chose the right Idiot for ’em.”-“Amen.”

    • Charli Mills says:

      That’s the craps, EL! I’ve got a loved one with IBS and at her worst, she came out to the Mayo Clinic when I lived in Minnesota and her little boy was just a toddler. She cried because she didn’t know if she’d see him grown. Now she has five and that eldest is 12. IBS is minimized, never gone though. It’s crappy. But your flash is anything but…! “this fake ‘America’…” Oh, wow. Yes. We’ve created a reality tv show out of our own nation. As such, we chose our leadership well. Great writing!

  14. Pete says:

    A Day At The Office

    I crush the stress ball, feeling subhuman, asking this poor guy for proof that his wife’s death was natural. “Mr. Flint. We haven’t received the death certificate.”

    “I don’t give a crap. What have I been paying you for?”

    No idea. Across the cubes, Frida exits the Madison room with a Kleenex and a folder. Twenty-two years, neatly severanced. Mr. Flint starts to sob. “If this claim, if you crooks don’t pay up…I’ll kill myself.”

    Frida packs up, sniffling. “Mr. Flint. If I can just put you on hold.”


    I stand. Frida’s packing up, shaking her head. “Bastards.”

    • Pete says:

      Okay, I’m having too much fun now. Charli, please don’t feel obligated to include this on in the comp!

      The Artist

      At midnight, the band finished its set and a spokesperson announced that it was time.

      Champagne flutes clinked. Techie elites and business moguls lurched forward.

      “Fuse considers this to be his life’s work, titled, Giving A Crap.”

      Fuse didn’t speak. His disdain for vocal communication was well documented. Quietly electrified, the crowd waited. After some grunting, the curtain dropped to reveal Fuse, hunched atop a commode.

      Polite applause. Fuse stood triumphantly, naked. He turned, amidst the delighted murmurs, and picked out his feces, barehanded, and smeared them across the canvas.

      “We will start bidding at one million US dollars.”

      • Charli Mills says:

        No stopping you, Pete! You’re on a roll! I’m dying of laughter here — the poise of the elites throughout this spectacle! Now I know how easily caviar must have been introduced. 😀 Brilliant title for his life’s work. What a movement!

    • Deborah Lee says:

      This one made me angry and sad at the same time. As it was meant to, no doubt. Great flash.

    • Deborah Lee says:

      I meant the “Day at the Office” one. As for what some people think of as art…okay. I guess. lol

    • Charli Mills says:

      “I crush that stress ball…” and the story unfolds contrasting client and coworker getting screwed over by corporate practices. Wow! What a story you’ve caught in 99 words!

  15. rogershipp says:

    I Wish a Better Life for You

    I despised school.

    Memorize…Regurgitate… Repeat.

    Hated my classes.

    What you wore… Who you dated… God forbid if you were different.

    I loathed my teachers. Be’in’s as I was from the wrong side of the tracks. Who’d I think I was applying for advanced placement enrollment?

    I wanted out. I wanted something different.

    Turning out the light quickly, I slide The Iliad back under the covers.

    Past midnight… Dad’s home.

    Tuesday… All three jobs today.

    He worked hard. Wanted a different life for me. Not what he had.

    The door cracked… “Go’night, sweetheart. See’ya in the morning,” he always whispers.

  16. A. E. Robson says:

    Charli, there was no doubt in my mind what this 99 words would encompass. Passion or obsession. If you truly believe in something, you give a crap. That is how I feel about our Western Heritage and how quickly it’s evaporating. I call it my soap box. If you have the time or inclination, follow my link and see the slide show of some of the things I am passionate about.

    I Give a Crap!
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    Snake fences, two pronged barbed wire, old machinery, wagons and buildings. All are very quickly being torn from our history without a care.

    Well, I care. These pieces of our history are needed to tell future generations of the hardships and laughter our forefathers lived to give us the gift we now live.

    Writing is one way to embrace and record history, but I am at home behind a camera lens capturing the mementos, potential stories. Sharing the rusted icons and pastures riddled with old fences. ​

    I am passionate about their story. Matter of fact, I give a crap!

    • Loved the slideshow, images I don’t see around here, and beautifully selected and presented!

      • A. E. Robson says:

        It’s always a thrill when I make a discovery. Thoughts race around in the brain wondering why here? Who left it? What is the story? The creative side of me gets nourished; but more importantly, the knowledge that another piece of our Western Heritage has been uncovered for sharing. Thank you for taking the time to view the slideshow.

      • Charli Mills says:

        These items are the memory keepers and you are the one who seeks to coax their stories, preserve their heritage. Worthy crap, a care I share with you. Your stories each week draw upon this heritage of things.

  17. […] Charli is in a curmudgeonly place this week with her prompt […]

  18. C. Jai Ferry says:

    I don’t think you’ll be at all surprised…

  19. […] week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills asks “Who gives a crap?” and about what. She declares some things that are important to her, things she gives a crap […]

  20. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (January 12, 2017): In 99 words (no more, or less) write a story that expresses a strong concern, something to give a crap about. Something that brings out the feeling to stand up. How can you use it to show tension or reveal attitudes? […]

  21. Sometimes giving a crap means shutting off one thing and slowing down to experience what you could lose. My take:

    Worth Preserving

    “Enough of that,” he snapped off the television and stepped onto the back porch. Easing into a wooden rocking chair, he cupped his hands around his coffee, and gazed down dewy lawn and dark granite, sloping to the mist-shrouded lake.

    “How was hunting?” he raised an eyebrow at the tortoiseshell at porch’s edge, opened lap space to share warmth.

    She purred and kneaded his thigh, her claws catching in the thick corduroy. He chuckled as she arched and settled under his knotted fingers.

    The chair creaked. The sun spilled over the hills of the mainland. Another quiet day unspooled.

    Liz Husebye Hartmann

  22. […] Carrot Ranch Rough Writers and Friends January 12 writing prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that expresses a strong concern, something to give a […]

  23. Deborah Lee says:

    “Standing up in the toilet bowl of what dissension in the US has become…” AWESOME line. (For those who may not know, you can get a free Chrome extension that blocks Trump for you. I do read REAL news and stay abreast of things, but social media has become both smarter and a lot more pleasant.)

    My contribution this week:

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks, Deborah! Is that the Chrome extension that replaces Trump photos with kittens? Because I might need that! I’m determined to stay intelligently informed and engaged. 🙂

      • Deborah Lee says:

        Nope, it just blocks a LOT of memes and “suggested posts.” There’s a lot less of him in my feeds now. He takes up a big enough portion of legitimate news without fake news and general stupidity. 😉

  24. Deborah Lee says:

    “As I stand in the toilet bowl that has become dissension in the US…” AWESOME line.

    For those who may not know, there is a Chrome extension that will block you-know-who for you. I still read REAL news and stay abreast of things, but social media has gotten both smarter and more pleasant.

    Love this week’s post and prompt!

  25. Annecdotist says:

    Your rant certainly encapsulates the conflicts of modern society in which a positive choice in one area can be a negative in the other. I wondered where you were going to store all that toilet paper in your downsized home, and I’m sure it’s worth it the chance to type the phrase “standing up in the toilet bowl of dissension”. I think we’re all pretty nervous about Friday’s inauguration. There was an interesting piece in the Guardian about that so called press conference, suggesting journalists need to take an “I am Spartacus” approach – wouldn’t that be lovely?
    You might also like this piece – although somewhat depressing – about America as “a failed democracy” with continued denial of human rights
    (not to suggest it’s any better elsewhere).
    So you prompted my own post about what I give a crap about but, alas, it’s not an area in which I can be brave!
    Cry, Baby, Cry!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks for the links, Anne! Some journalists I know criticized those at the press conference (or wildlife documentary) for not taking that “I am CNN” approach. By now, the US Press Corps has issued an open letter to Trump that indicates journalists will respond with better solidarity: My favorite part is the final paragraph pointing out he’s on a short-game schedule and the US Press Corp is the long-game. Of course, unless we’re engulfed by what it is to be a failed democracy. I’d rather believe our Republic has taken hard blows from complacent citizens. More are awake and complacent no more. But I haven’t yet read your second article. Perhaps after Saturday. Friday will be a day to ignore media, and Saturday I march in solidarity with women in Washington DC from a Utah town an hour away. I’m marching off to your place now.

      • Annecdotist says:

        Thanks for sharing that link, Charli. It could just be that something as outrageous as the election of Trump mobilises journalism to get its own house in order. And, while he has the capacity to do a lot of damage in those possible eight years, it is important to remember that it’s temporary. Sadly, unlike our Brexit vote for which there’s no opportunity to change our collective mind a few years down the line.

      • Charli Mills says:

        I hadn’t thought about the more permanence of the Brexit vote. Even two years from now, we get to elect Congress again. However, I do worry that the “break the model” approach Trump has supported might lead to policy changes making our future votes less effective.

  26. […] This post was written in response to Charli Mills’ weekly Flash Fiction Challenge.    […]

  27. lucciagray says:

    Hi Charli, Here’s my entry for this week. The Mourner. I’m afraid it’s Victorian, yet again, and a bit rambling, but the flash is at the beginning, so no need to read on! I get carried away with all things Victorian. The crap was in Oliver Twist’s workhouse, it’s is my (second) favourite novel, so I couldn’t help myself 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hi Lucy! I’m so pleased you bring your Victorian stories to the ranch! It adds to the richness of diversity. I always enjoy reading the posts, too to get an idea of where each writer pulls there thoughts on the theme at hand. And yes, I agree it was crap in Oliver’s workhouse! The way children were used.

  28. Joe Owens says:

    Somehow I missed this last Thursday Charli. I got to thinking while walking the dog this morning that something seemed to be missing and when I checked I realized this was the thing.

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

  30. Sherri says:

    Oh Charli, I will never forget Chris Farley and his ‘down by the river’ speech. Good old SNL…a classic skit if ever there was one. And the other link I sent you was before I read your post. But seriously – your post as always is thought-provoking and heartfelt, giving us plenty on which to ponder. I was talking to C about the way people are so damn quick to attack when someone doesn’t agree with them. Tumbl’r is full of it. The go-to attack, as easy as saying go slice some white bread, is to tell someone to ‘go kill yourself’. That’s how to deal with a disagreement, apparantely. So much anger and hatred and the inablility to listen to reason and the desire to find that resolution in the conflict. Who does give a crap? I like to think that still many do, but the way things are portrayed these days in the media, we could not be blamed for thinking otherwise. Too much ‘my way or the highway’ kind of thinking. I think it rises out of helplessness, feeling disenfranchised, ignored for too long. But without any sense of order and reason, the conflict only increases. So much to unravel, it gets overwhelming. Many are waiting with baited breath for Friday, wondering ‘what next’ with more than a little trepidation. How cool for your daughter to have been part of Will Steger’s documentary. We recently watched a brilliant but disturbing programme about the Inuits and their threatened future. The last line of your flash perfectly illustrates how every-day service of men like Ike is, sadly, too often distorted when held up to the mirror of someone elses distorted ideals. As for your recent shipment of TP, what a fantastic idea! I’ll be back shortly with a flash…hope I’m not too late! <3

    • Charli Mills says:

      Chris Farley’s in a van down by the river skit is one Todd and I evoke often with our twist, in an RV down by the river! It’s pure silliness. SNL has had some hilarious skits lately, like the one you shared with me. As for the attacks from people, I think it also has to do with feeling disconnected, too. We don’t always take time to connect heart-to-heart in our busy modern society. When I worked in marketing it was actually an issue among shoppers that they felt disconnected, so a strategy was to give shoppers a welcoming experience and customer service that was authentic. Not that I’m advocating a marketing strategy! But if that pattern started emerging ten years ago or even earlier, perhaps by now we are seeing its ugly results. But I can’t tell you how we reach out, and connect with those spewing such vitriol. Thanks for your close read and never too late at the ranch! <3

  31. Sherri says:

    Here’s my flash Charli…thanks as always for a great prompt <3

    Part Of The Problem

    She knew the minute she walked into the room with her daughter, the therapist didn’t want her there.

    It was the always the same: the unspoken insinuation that she, the mother, was part of the problem, in the way, hindering progress.

    I’m here to help, she wanted to yell. I’m here because my daughter wants me here and because I give a crap! I’m here because she has Asperger’s and when you stare at her and tell her to ‘step outside her comfort zone’ and make friends, she wants to scream, ‘But I don’t have a comfort zone, anywhere.’

    • Blaming women/mothers attests to our power—but i don’t think the blamers are consciously hip to that.

      If you’re interested in the autism POV, you might find this interesting:

      • Sherri says:

        ‘Consciously hip’….I like that. Thanks for the link Liz; it’s always good to read the autism POV. My youngest was diagnosed with Asperger’s at 18, now 24 and I have written a few posts about our family’s experiences, mindful of privacy and only with permission, hoping to try and explain the invisibility of it in a world of neuro-typicals and the way Aspie’s are so often wrongly perceived and misunderstood. Writing/blogging is a lifesaver for my youngest.

    • Annecdotist says:

      Oh dear, Sherri, not a good experience! It’s not easy, but a skilled therapist ought to be able to handle the potential for differences in perspective between mother and daughter and mobilise family support as part of the solution. It’s also unfortunate that the therapist can’t create the conditions in which her daughter can voice her true experience in lacking a comfort zone. Again, a good therapist would have some strategies to help her find one, no guarantee that they’d work but better than shaming her for not taking risks.
      I know it’s fiction, but she needs another therapist!

      • Sherri says:

        Fiction coming out of a place of real frustration Anne! Thanks for your insight. This was our experience in the early years, certainly, until we found that therapist who could indeed handle those differences in perspective and listen enough so that my Aspie no longer felt condescended, humiliated and ridiculed. As in, one ‘therapist’ once said: “You should go out and meet up with friends, that would make you feel better.” What part of autism didn’t he get???? That’s the whole point; social anxiety and avoidance!!!! All that comment did was to create inner rage, lack of trust and from that moment on, a total lack of respect and a slamming of the door to any further suggestions, even if they might have been helpful, although unlikely. And mobilising family support consists of offering a support group. Which in real life I attended for 3 years until a year ago and I realised I was listening to the same stories on repeat all that time and knew it was time to go. Which leads me to replying to Charli’s comment below…

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, Sherri, this: “the unspoken insinuation that she, the mother, was part of the problem, in the way, hindering progress.” A carer or advocate is aware of this scrutiny, yet also aware that to back off would be to abandon the one they are trying to help.

      Liz has a great link (thanks for sharing)! And I wish what Anne points out could still be true: “mobilise family support as part of the solution.” My thinking of why it isn’t is a matter of capped resources. 20 years ago it was. I thought this was a problem in the VA, but maybe it’s become more widespread.

      • Sherri says:

        Exactly Charli…the knowing when it’s time to back off, but aware that as a carer, we are also there to advocate. Stress, sensory overload, anxiety, all create a problem with focusing on the task/conversation in hand at such times, and so vitally important for advocacy…even under that scrutiny! Seriousl lack of funding and capped resources is a definite problem here in the UK for mental health, but there is hope this will improve. Always the hope, right? As I said to Anne, the only help for mobilising that family support is to offer support groups. Local doctors offer a ‘Carer’s Champion’ but upon calling, they also offer support groups. But we need to know who to call when the you know what hits the fan, for ourselves. In the UK we have Carer’s Rights supposedly. But again, with funding tight, how far does this actually go? I need to look deeper into this….watch this space!!

      • Annecdotist says:

        If you look at the NICE guidelines for psychosis and schizophrenia there’s a whole section on carers
        which goes beyond peer support groups. Of course, this might dwindle with budgetary cuts but at least it provides a framework within which to campaign for help. Also, of course you shouldn’t have to be fighting for what you need, but perhaps there’s something similar for Asperger’s?

  32. […] Response to Carrot Ranch’s January 12 Flash Fiction Challenge: Something to give a crap about […]

  33. […] For: January 12: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

  34. I’m reblogging one of my earlier posts, Charli 🙂

  35. ruchira says:

    I do realize I am late to the game. Sorry!

    Attached is my link…

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