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March 16: Flash Fiction Challenge

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Gone Art. If I were to write a post-truth era dystopian thriller, that would be the title: Gone Art. What would a nation be like if every citizen had to work a 9-to-5 job to profit Big Pharma, Big Insurance and Big Banks without benefit of performing, visual or literary arts? What if paintings in galleries were replaced by flat-screen TVs that displayed 24-hour state news and reality shows. No more screenwriters or actors, but shows, pitting depressed rural communities against urban ghettos to fight for the best ratings. Winners get to loot the losers’ community under the guidance of Big Brother Border Patrol and their high-tech tactical gear.

Performing art might evolve into public floggings of scientists unwilling to believe alternative facts presented by the state. Blackface might return as a dance movement to mock rap while real rappers and spoken word artists labor in privatized prisons under suspicion that art warped their minds and led to consumption of marijuana, spiced rum and Little Debbie Swiss Cakes. Mockery and punishment would be the only state-sanctioned performances, gathering crowds the way public hangings in Victorian London did. Yet, a generation would grow up not knowing what the word Victorian means.

White House ornamentation might include the piked heads that rolled from the shoulders of journalists and novelists and humanitarian advocates who dared to say, “The TRUTH is out there.” Alternative facts will be the new norm for creativity, the only form of creativity allowed, and the greatest masters of its art shall be cloistered to the Cabinet, given free meals, government moonshine and gilded thrones built from the bones of alt artists and Badlands resisters.

Literacy is no longer required. Books are not burned because no one reads them, anyways. Refrigerators and microwaves inform those who need to know, mostly alternative facts pour from the water spickets on the smart-fridge of those in the working class. Daily updates are given in the time it takes to pour a glass of water. There is no water for the poor. There is no birth control, either. Those who fornicate and reproduce are gathered up on farms, fed GMO corn and below-the-poverty-level children of all colors will become the State’s new white meat.

Billionaires will have evolved to drink champagne of fermented oil and eat truffles made of coal. The rest of the working or imprisoned populace will be sick but have Access to Healthcare that replaces any desire for art, nature or fresh food. This song will be outlawed:

What disturbed rabbit hole did Charli wander down, you might be thinking. Like Alice, let me walk backwards and start at another place.

“Europe has cathedrals; America has National Parks.” Public television tells me this every night. It’s Utah’s programming, and given that this state has five National Parks and more monuments and state parks than any other state, I feel as if I live among a cluster of medieval European cities with deep art and history. My reality is that I live near deep nature and pre-history, near the tallest sandstone pillars in the world and abandoned Anasazi ruins. Zion is so popular that now the park canyon we explored over winter is closed to all traffic. Tourists have returned because nature penetrates the soul the way cathedrals stretch skyward to God.

It’s late afternoon and the Hub and I brace against the stiff struts of our truck as we bounce across a desert two-track littered with rocks of black basalt. The dog leans into me and I hug her close to steady us both. My left foot is propped against swell in the floor that accommodates the transmission. My bag sits on the swell filled with crackers, cheese and my laptop. We all have bottled drinking water, even the dog. At first glance, the road looked to cut across the flat. Driving it corrects the perception of flatness. We dip through hidden washes and round clusters of sagebrush and mesquite.

We have three goals in our pilgrimage to the desert: shoot, chase rabbits and write. I’m sure you can match each goal to us three occupants in the truck.

At last we pull up on a dry earthen dike. Gnarled brush hints at water beneath the ground, but none surfaces. It’s a dirt reservoir and why this land is hostile to farm or ranch. The Hub parks on the hard-packed red clay and unloads his long-range rifles: 7mm08 and 6.5mm Creedmoor. He unfolds a canvas shooting mat and sets up his rifles and bullets, which he’s loaded himself. The dog runs, finds quail, and returns to drink water. I drink in the landscape, noting where the red mesas of the Colorado Plateau slam into the black basalt of a geological rift created by volcanic action.

We are in between places; a transition zone.

The Hub has his ear muffs, shooting hat with Ranger insignia and he scopes the land we tracked in the truck. It’s remote, unpopulated and a clear line of vision for him to test rounds at a mile. Yes, his target is a mile away. I can’t even pretend to make up stories how he does it, but I know it includes as much science as it does art. He has to crunch numbers, understand velocity and range, master powder loads and select bullet shapes, and ultimately imagine the shot before he takes it. Satisfied, he breaks my nature-stupor, and says “Move the truck across the dam.

Easier said than done. I profess to be a writing buckaroo, but admit to also being a cowardly cowgirl. Sure, I can drive the truck, but I have a bad half-memory, half-fear of a reservoir like this. I hate moments of unexplained danger. I note the signs — rapid heart rate, a feeling of sinking and separating from self. I’m afraid to walk on the hard earth, afraid it’s not really hard, that it’ll crumble. Gulping air I walk it first, relieved it feels compact, but further frightened by holes big enough to swallow my dog. Fear dissipates with curiosity, so I investigate.

I’m peering down the rabbit hole. Only it’s not made by a rabbit or any creature. I realize that water in this arid land not only carves ancient dunes and gathers scree, it also tunnels secretly underground as if to escape the evaporating heat above. This dike, built by a rancher at some time, is now pocked by sinkholes. The earthen structure might feel solid to walk upon but what lies beneath is Swiss cheese. Drive the truck across it, I don’t think so! Instead, I drive across the soft flat of the reservoir, turn around until its positioned just so and call the dog. Once she’s safe in the cab, I give the thumbs up to the Hub. He’s free to shoot.

And no matter my earlier intentions, I can’t write out here. My computer is set up on the tailgate, but the screen looks black in all this sunlight. Never mind. I draw a deep drink of bottled SmartWater and stare at the land like Hildegard visioning at Bingen. Art requires time to stare.

I would have stuck to my original post and led a merry chase down rabbit holes, but I read the morning news before I finished writing. I’m not as stressed as I was earlier in the POTUS’s first few weeks. Like the earthen dike, I had stepped out to test the solidity of the situation, my heart reacting to danger unseen but felt. In a nation divided by politics, navigating social space is like one of those books where you pick your own adventure: option A is alternative facts and belief-based “news;” option B is investigative journalism based on facts and science many don’t “believe;” and option C is propaganda renamed “fake news” and is liberally applied to all options, thus giving the real lies longer shelf-life. I’m weary of trying to teach people how to read critically and take accountability for the options they choose to place in their skulls. And it’s redundant to tell the skeptics and resisters what they already know.

So I’ll stick to my art. Except there will be no more art.

Here’s the rabbit hole I fell down, reading the about the proposed Presidential Budget in the New York Times this morning (note this date in infamy as the Day After the Ides of March When the Dictator Was Not Taken Out: March 16, 2017).

Gone would be federal financing for public television, the arts and humanities.

Gone. Gone art. The article goes on to cover the horrors of other cuts basically bashing in the brains and hearts of artists, writers, scientists, humanitarian advocates, teachers, diplomats and workers. POTUS wants to eliminate…ELIMINATE…the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. I disagree with the New York Times journalist who writes that this upsets the East Coast elites. Now just hold your horses on that thought! Damn it! Why do we Western writers get discounted? Because, like Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner, we’re just tumbling tumble weeds writing hymns to places most New Yorkers never see? Because we can ride a horse and rope stray words into stories?

Western writers are relevant right now, especially when it was the VOICE of rural Middle America who elected this destructive clown in the first place. My western fellow citizens, and most across the nation in other rural bubbles of America, the people I roll my eyes at and call “Trumpers,” I get them. Come on, I’m a 49-year old homeless woman married to a combat vet too-long-denied his benefits to the detriment of his own health, a displaced worker, un-insured, Jesus-believer, science nerd and lit geek who wrote profiles of FARMERS and RANCHERS for 20 years, advocating for local food and revitalization of rural communities. I’m their God-damned writer! I don’t agree with them, especially when it comes to Trump, but I speak our common tongue.

The mother-tongue of a westerner is land and water, spoken in poetic contradictions. We fight among ourselves to prepare battles with outsiders who want to wrestle away control of our western lands we love and live off of, knowing better how to manage public lands than some bureaucrat in DC. But they think drain the Swamp means eliminating Fat Cats. They don’t understand the Fat Cats are draining the swamp of all that does benefit the people. They are eliminating We the People, using fear of others. We are fearing the wrong safety-breach.

Trump has blind-sided the people in pain, feeding them populist ideas. They don’t know what a populist idea is! They might be the poster children for populism, but they are controlled by its fake promise to bring back all they’ve worked so hard for throughout generations. Everything I write is imbued with western thinking. I don’t say I’m a buckaroo because it’s fun; actually it’s a painful reminder of my painful past. I’m a buckaroo because my feet knew cowboy boots in toddler size one and my eyes learned to drink in the landscape that contains the bones of seven generations of westerners.

If I’m silenced as an artist, that voice so desperate to be heard that it voted in destruction, will be silenced, too. C. Jai Ferry who writes grit lit is the west’s sharp edge, while Ann Edall-Robson (luckily for her she’s Canadian) is it’s softer nostalgic pool of memories. We need all the western writers in between. We need literature to express that voice in constructive ways, to be heard. We need books young westerners can read and see themselves in, we need to encourage the next Stegner or draw out from the eastern elites, the next Abbey or Thoreau. We need art in the West, the East, the North, the South. We need wild spaces. We need art.

March 16, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place where art is not allowed. It could be a small story or a dystopian vision. Is there a power struggle over art? Would the general public miss it? Is the end of art a natural evolution? Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by March 21, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published March 22). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

The Coming Truce (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

“You think I shouldn’t be allowed art?” Danni drank the Oregon Pinot, glinting like crushed golden berries in her glass.

Michael stood in her living room, his body tense. Neither wanted to be in the other’s presence, but Ike insisted on a truce while he served in Iraq. “You have no right to Native artifacts.”

“Art, Michael, and it’s mine. Those chinks? My great Uncle Riley made those. His Nez Perce wife beaded them. The peace pipe, a gift.”

“Your art is my history, Danni. I’ll take that wine now. If it’s not toxic.

“The wine or my art?”

###


130 Comments

  1. ellenbest24 says:

    I hope I don’t get to live in a dystopian world like that. Children white meat… that’s awful. As for Trump I refuse to think of him as any more than a caricature of stupidities making. Charlie you never cease to amaze me. The world it seems is down the rabbit hole and stuck in the back of a wardrobe in the forest of doom… with the borrowers trying to side with hobbits to save the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ellen, I love that image of the borrowers joining forces with the hobbits to save the world. It’s a metaphor for the little people taking a stand against evil. As for children, yes I waxed a bit Jonathan Swift for that one for if the feds want to regulate women’s bodies but refuse to support children through health and education, let’s unburden the state. I find this budget proposal as disgusting as Swift’s Immodest Proposal. Thanks for reading and giving me that lovely image!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear God Charli the potus has done this? I’ve turned it all off it is so awful and so am ignorant of the continuing lunacies. Who will stand against this destruction of your land, your culture, your freedom? Did you read Cloud Atlas? Is this the genesis of the great Corpocracy we are all witnessing? I don’t know what else to say. It seems we become silenced by the shock of witnessing such evil. I wonder if this is how the German people felt during the 1930’s…….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      The POTUS published his budget proposal and it is abysmal, except for the military and border patrol. My dystopian reaction expresses my outrage. How you describe feeling is how I felt during the election season. Afterwards, I was stressed and furious, but realized we have deep fissures in our nation. I see this as a time of correction. When I walked in the Women’s March, I felt hopeful. Since then, a movement guided by both the Women’s Marches and another called Indivisible has spread nationally at the local level. That’s why people are focused and organized to resist the Trump administration agenda. I find my frustration on a daily level has subsided because there are ways to resist. I’m interested in the impact this time will have on our literary output here. Thank you for reading and commenting, Pauline!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. D. Avery says:

    Yikes.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. rogershipp says:

    A Noble, Necessary Occupation

    The bell rang.

    Each student stepped to designations.

    “Begin. Page 17. Future Career Possibilities. ”

    Never a “Good Morning” or a “Nice to see you.”

    “All life was castrated.” Dad whispered that once… as we lay in bed awaiting the proper sleep.

    At night, alone… Oh, the stories. Of giants and beanstalks. Of trolls and elves. Once Dad drew on our sheets. “Daisy,” he said.

    No more. Not since little Sarah passed. That night, dad hummed. Music.

    It made me cry.

    “Alfred. Are you with us?”

    “Yes, Sir.” I stood at my desk. Alert.

    “Erasers. A noble, necessary occupation.”

    https://rogershipp.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/a-noble-necessary-occupation/

    Liked by 7 people

  5. Joe Owens says:

    Hey Charli. You just have to realize no matter the holder of the office we have to live our lives. I did it for eight years and all was well. Here is my try at the rabbit hole without art. https://fictionplayground.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/holey-outlaw-canvas-crff-031617/

    Liked by 3 people

  6. D. Avery says:

    Feedings

    There were entertainments, of course, at the arenas. Relentlessly the Trump Youth rooted out books and paintings that still polluted many of the buildings. These fueled their great bonfires after the Feedings. Artists were kept on hand in miserable cells until a show at the arena where the large animals from the forsaken zoos would finally get to satisfy their hunger. The writers were the first to go. Not just the journalists, but all writers, even poets and songwriters.
    All eyes were on the pouncing tiger. Only the poet saw the single ashy page fluttering aloft on the wind.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, wow that final line, that image! It really grabs my heart and gut. Trump Youth. Gives me shudders, but youth are vulnerable to such exploitation, as with Hitler’s Youth.

      Liked by 1 person

      • D. Avery says:

        I literally shut the lid on the computer after reading your prompt. I did not want to go there; this is way more than not the best eight years. The deviance and the damage… in two months! Make America Hate. These are frightening times and no one should be complacent.

        So I lifted the lid and felt better actually after writing. It was a true challenge this one. But isn’t that what we have to do now more than ever? Artists! Make art!

        I had to have a bit of hope in the story; that poet is praying that page of poetry along into the right hands, to the right eyes and hearts. Meanwhile, back in the miserable cells, the artists and writers are bloodying their own fingers scratching their art into every surface.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        I felt better after writing, too. In a way, writing through these outrageous times is action. When we can find expression, readers can also connect to what it is they feel but can’t articulate. Thank you for lifting the lid up on your computer and writing. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m seeing that battered page floating just beyond and away from the orange tiger’s tiny, yet vicious paws

        Liked by 1 person

    • Beautiful prose but I don’t like the bleak premise! LOL

      Liked by 2 people

    • D. Avery says:

      Escape

      Sprawling from the impact of the tiger, the poet grasped at more loose pages from a half burned book of poetry among the bone littered ash. The tiger nudged and pawed her. The bloodthirsty spectators thundered with taunts for the poet to get up and fight. Knowing that fighting for her own life was futile, the poet would fight for theirs. Even as the half starved tiger ripped into her flesh, delighting the crowd, the poet stirred and clawed at the ashes, releasing ninety-nine ragged edged poems unto uncertain winds that carried them over the walls of the arena.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        I used the second one you submitted and put it here. Did I get it right? It’s no problem! I can always edit something at your request. Wow, what a sacrifice in the poet’s last act. I’m so glad you let the story carry out as it bubbled up to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • D. Avery says:

        The number 99 is my thanks to you.

        Liked by 2 people

      • D. Avery says:

        Opening

        The artist had witnessed many fires, many Feedings. Peering through the crack between two stones, he watched the poet stride purposely to where just the night before there had been a tremendous blaze of paintings, books, and the remnants of bodies.
        Then came the tiger.
        He had seen many struggle desperately for their lives, but this poet was much stronger. She conjured hope to rise up from the ashes.
        He would go out in a blaze too. He prepared for his exhibition. Finding a small sharp rock, he began an outline of a phoenix on his chest and torso.

        Liked by 3 people

      • “Knowing that fighting for her own life was futile, the poet would fight for theirs. ”
        Nice!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        What speaks to me is how the act of the poet inspires the artist.

        Like

    • denmaniacs4 says:

      Very powerful…

      Liked by 2 people

      • D. Avery says:

        Detail

        “Did you enjoy the Feeding?”
        Marlie straightened, startled. “Yessir.”
        “Disappointing, the lack of fight in that cowardly poet.”
        “Oh, yessir, very. Disappointing.”
        “Well, Marlie, you’ve got clean up detail tonight.”
        The officers weren’t supposed to call the Youth by name.
        “I should patrol outside the arena as well. Wind took some litter from the stands.”
        “Very well.”
        Taking the bucket and stick, Marlie methodically cleared the bleachers of dropped napkins and cups, hoping the lieutenant hadn’t noticed her anxiousness.
        Out around the gate she gathered litter, working her way towards a singed piece of paper lodged against a bush.

        Liked by 5 people

    • Norah says:

      Lift that ashy page high on wings of hope! Fly free!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Norah says:

      What a powerful story of hope in a series of 99 words.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        Quite a series that rose from the ashes of art! I like the intertwining perspectives in each.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        Yes. It’s very clever.

        Like

      • D. Avery says:

        Well, thank you and Charli for your words. I have ideas for continuing this, now that I have some live characters. I need to follow that page I suppose. I enjoy the freedom of the constraints of 99 word installments, no more, no less.
        yikes.This is all rather addictive and I need to attend to my day job. Off to work.
        And I am excited for the next prompt…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        The flash fiction prompts are very addictive. Watch out! Soon you’ll be hooked. But it’s a great addiction and does nobody any harm (except maybe a few characters along the way)!

        Like

  7. That kind of world is sad to imagine…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on ladyleemanila and commented:
    gone art 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. […] 16, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place where art is not allowed. It […]

    Liked by 2 people

  10. […] Written for Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction 99 Word Challenge: Gone Art […]

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Scarlett Sauvage says:

    I attempted a dystopian tale for this challenge, but my brain just didn’t want to go there. I ended up with a much smaller story, but still someone’s small world without art.

    https://scarlettsauvage.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/carrot-ranch-fiction-challenge-march-16/

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Pete says:

    Great flash Charli, love the last line! Here’s mine:

    “Jake. Let’s go.”

    Jake stared at his primary clash. Blobs of blue invaded the mounds of yellow, giving birth to a swirly green orb.

    Jake’s mother nodded, flushed from her race through traffic. His jacket swished in her hands. “Jake. Come on, we’re late.”

    The paint was no longer magical but wet and droopy. Jake hated tee ball. His father always scolded him for sitting in the outfield. Told him to focus. He was focused. On four leaf clovers.

    “Jake.”

    Jake stood, the colors now ran down the page. Mom, yellow. Dad, blue. Jake, the green smudge they’d created.

    Liked by 6 people

    • D. Avery says:

      “primary clash”… indeed. I like this. Your writing evokes empathy for that sad secondary product, an artist forced off to the drudgery of tee ball.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hi Pete! Thanks, and also for reminding me that art is in the eye of the beholder. Even in art-free zones, we can still see, although I hope one day this smudge of a boy grows up brilliantly colorful.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. […] for: Carrot Ranch (99 words on an inverted view of […]

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Martin Cororan says:

    Good stuff…A provocative piece of writing.

    Here’s my response:

    https://martincororan.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/the-bad-ole-days-crff-160317/

    Liked by 2 people

  15. […] dark wanderings down a rabbit hole that leads to a hypothetical future and this prompt over at Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place where art is not […]

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That was a dark journey! LOL
    Also, I wrote mine before I read yours, Charli, so our characters coincidentally share a name.
    https://allisonmaruska.com/2017/03/17/flash-fiction-the-tray/

    Liked by 3 people

  17. […] 16, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place where art is not allowed. It […]

    Liked by 1 person

  18. julespaige says:

    Charli,

    We all come from different spaces. I cannot imagine a world without art. I’ve seen bumper stickers that say “Fear No Art”… I make sure when I’ve got my grands over that we do fun, artistic and science. There is always free play, but there is always time to look at the beauty of the wild birds at the feeder and helping to feed them. There are always crayons and paper. And I encourage using the same old toys in different ways.

    I read about the budget cuts and how the first budget presented by the new office is always stricken down. What I also couldn’t understand was the cuts on Meals on Wheels and the idea that that program wasn’t accomplishing anything. Very scary. My flash took a tweaked turn being combined with an inkblot:

    Double Tapped (link to more info in the post)

    Double Tapped (or Redundant Triggering)

    It was a meat eater. There was a beauty in the raw plant that
    digested living things. Some of the students just said ‘Yuck!’
    Mr. Cartwright could only hope that one of them would see
    beyond the science and venture to write something interesting
    on Venus Flytraps. There was art in the way the plant preyed.

    Jasmine had been to S.T.E.M. classes from preschool. She
    enjoyed learning. Hearing jokes about how her mother had
    gone to college to get her ‘MRS’ was all she needed to know –
    about what she didn’t want. Jasmine was drawn in…

    ©JP/dh

    Liked by 7 people

    • Norah says:

      Love the things you do with your grands, Jules. That’s an interesting twist with your flash.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      How you guide your grands is how I led my kids, too — art and science! Technology is amazing, but I also believe in getting in the dirt (or among the birds) and coloring, playing dress up and being able to imagine and make up games. To me, these things have created paths to the technology, but I hope it never replaces free and dirty art, science and play. And like you, I was stunned by the revelation that Meals on Wheels couldn’t “prove” it was worthwhile, or that feeding children made them better students. I used to support Meals on Wheels in Minnesota, and the stories from the volunteers speak volumes. Great flash in response.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. […] latest challenge issued by Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com : “March 16, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place […]

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Art
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    Mya blinked back tears.
    Her husband Eric clenched his jaw. “I not going to pay for that.”
    She held the canvas away from her chest, unwilling to look from a greater vantage. The piece came to life under her scrutiny as it was, filled with riotous joy and an appreciation for intellect and beauty. Subtle hues hid encouragement for future artists, while the highlighted portion danced with real and present victory. As her heart swelled, tears broke through her dam.
    She memorized the lines and colors, but since she had no money of her own, she left the art.

    Liked by 6 people

  21. denmaniacs4 says:

    A slight divergence from the prompt. And a return to a real place of my youth.

    No Access

    For the final time that week, Delia drove to the ridge overlooking Pipers Lagoon. In the bay below, morning sun shone on the rustic ramshackle cabins of Shack Island.

    “So little time to capture this simple beauty,” she whispered as she hauled out her easel and paints. “Before we forget.”

    The memo from the Department of Beach and Ocean Access had been pointed.

    EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, OCEANS AND OCEAN VIEWS WILL BE OUT OF BOUNDS TO ALL BUT AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL. SMALL CRAFT AND FERRY TRAFFIC HAS BEEN SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

    “What have they done to the sea?” she wondered.

    Liked by 4 people

    • D. Avery says:

      I don’t think you diverged from the prompt. Art requires nature. Healthy societies require healthy art and healthy nature.
      Your piece inverts the scariness of 1984-ish type fears, where They can view us through ubiquitous cameras and media devices, into the frightening prospect of controlling what WE view, even the great outdoors. You leave the reader with a troubling question. Effective use of 99 words.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Not a divergence at all, Bill. This makes me think that if the US builds border walls, the next step in “security” would be to make the oceans out of bounds. Wow. What a thought. And, of course, an artist would be among those wanting a final glance.

      Like

  22. […] for the 99-words-challenge on the Carrot […]

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Enkin Anthem says:

    This is a topic too grave for 99 words 🙂
    It made me think of a german song, “Die Gedanken sind frei” (Thoughts are free). It’s ancient, early forms are from the middle ages, in its original form it exists since the 19th century. Since then, it has always played a role in various resistance movements, especially during the 3rd Reich. Today, every german kid learns it in school, and it’s also one of the first songs I remember learning from my parents.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Gedanken_sind_frei

    Please find my contribution here:
    https://enkinanthem.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/words/

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you for introducing me to “Die Gedanken sind frei”! After reading what you said about the song and on from the link you provided, I have a profound respect for its heritage. It makes me realize that the struggle to influence the thoughts of others is perhaps as old as humanity. One one hand, I understand the concern for safety, yet isn’t that concern what is often exploited to control our thoughts? I’m impressed too, to understand it had a role in resistance during the 3rd Reich. American needs these words for her resistance!

      Like

  24. Annecdotist says:

    I didn’t get to hear about that regressive step over here, but it’s sadly predictable. But your colourful creative outburst in response is a beautiful way of fighting back. I could imagine you wearing your pussy hat as you rattled that keyboard.

    And then another interesting question in your flash about who Art belongs to, which reminds me of a novel I reviewed some time ago, Still Life with Breadcrumbs.

    Your prompt led me to contemplate the role of visual art has in my own forthcoming novel, Underneath. You might think having written the novel I’d know why it was there, but I’m still struggling to get my head round it.

    However my flash takes my current WIP as its point of departure, speculating on psychiatric services as the place where art is not allowed:

    http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/annecdotal/arts-capacity-to-disturb

    Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, Anne! You give me a great idea for stories written beneath a pussy hat! I’m seeing some of that idea, to whom art belongs to, in the flash showing up at the ranch. Which is interesting that you are thinking about the role of visual art in “Underneath” because it might be one of hose surprises yet to come from a reader. By the way, I’m getting all the more excited for your release each time I read a post and see your teaser.

      Like

  25. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (03/16/2017): In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place where art is not allowed. It could be a small story or a dystopian vision. Is there a power struggle over art? Would the general public miss it? Is the end of art a natural evolution? Go where the prompt leads. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I had a hard time with this one, but here’s where it took me (my apologies in advance for offense taken):

    The Art of Creation (or vice versa)

    In the beginning, there was darkness. No movement. No sound nor smell.
    No Spark, the spirit that signifies the living and is dissipate with the dead.

    Time stopped because there was nothing to segment, nothing to connect that which would be segmented.

    And it was fucking dull.

    God rolled over in the darkness, and gave a great fart. This poofed the blanket of nothingness. An irritating, organic smell scraped out and sparked an idea, lighting up the darkness with a big bang. This caused greater friction, resulting in discussion, and artistic and scientific work, which created more spark.

    Divine!

    https://huldermn.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/the-art-of-creation-or-vice-versa/

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Happy Spring Charli!!!! WArmer days are ahead. Hope all is well!!

    Off-beat Punk and the Parapet Eclipse
    by Elliott Lyngreen

    She was leaking them bright eyes; like the end and the shiny little dark was no longer – and the rest would be history. . . as we lost Record Rewind.
    Looking up; sign glowing that seamed portion of the parapet; what could remain used and renewed again and again? She wanted to go back more than ever.
    Gone forever; textured sounds slipped feint along the old way art goes.
    In her usual far-off daydreams. . . . the sun angled, grazed her jawline, fractured, eclipsed, where she finally felt the tear drip.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. […] This post was written in response to Charlie Mills’ Carrot Ranch Weekly Flash Fiction Prompt  […]

    Liked by 1 person

  29. […] this response to Charli’s prompt to In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place where art is not allowed. It could…? I have considered what it might be like for Marnie should her should she be robbed of her […]

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Norah says:

    Hi Charli,
    I’ve read a few times, trying to soak up all your post has to offer, but I’ve posted my response before I’ve even left a comment. Tch Tch. My piece is called No Art, and you can find it here http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-SB. It’s not quite what I thought I’d do, but it’s on the same path.
    I do not like the dystopian world you painted. Oh, please save us from that. Keep the madness away, and let the sunshine in. Swing meliorism into action to take a stand against the threatening darkness. I hope better days are on the way.
    What an outing with the three of you agreed upon a location, each with different ideas in mind. Were rabbits found? Did shots meet their targets at one mile? Sunlight and computer screens don’t mix, do they? I’ve thought a few times to work outside but the light is never conducive. Chained to the chair! Still we get to benefit from your wonderings and your words.
    The landscape seems amazing and I feared for you crossing the dam and am pleased the cowgirl in you won out and you took the safer route. I don’t think Swiss cheese would be much fun to traverse. Your descriptions paint a very vivid picture.
    I’m enjoying the ups and downs of the relationship between Danni and Michael. This is an interesting piece with artworks given to Danni showing her, previously unrevealed, heritage. The repartee between the two tells a lot about their developing relationship. Ike’s glue is spreading and growing in strength.
    As always a great post, and thanks for the challenge.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you for taking the time to soak up, though not all of it was pleasant. Yes, rabbits were found (not caught) and targets were hit. Alas, as you’ve discovered, a computer screen outside is really not doable. Never mind, I had plenty to look at, explore and contemplate. Especially that Swiss cheese, and how those holes were made. I really like that you see Ike’s glue! That is the connector between these two, but they have to work out some differences. Happy to see you up for the challenge!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        I guess most would consider two out of three not bad! Unless you’re the third missing out! Pleased to hear you were happy exploring and contemplating. The brain is always buzzing. Sometimes the fingers need to buzz too. 🙂

        Like

  31. A. E. Robson says:

    Lifeless
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    She loved music and dabbled in the arts. Creating sketches to hang on the walls, playing the piano, singing as she went about her daily tasks. The day she didn’t come home was a day of hell for all who lived there. Silence and loneliness the engulfed the rooms, terminating the life within. Slowly the artwork faded to nothing. The piano stood lifeless. Practising lessons stopped for fear of ripping the memory open. This desolate place where once love, laughter and music roamed the rooms, now only dust and cobwebs shroud the ivory keys. Life’s art lingers no more.

    http://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/lifeless

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      You remind us of how art can go with the person, so intricately connected. This line carries such pain: “Practising lessons stopped for fear of ripping the memory open.” The pain so deep it can’t even be passed down.

      Like

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

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Barely made it in this week. I didn’t get to read the other entries yet (didn’t even get a chance to read your post yet). Eek…sorry. Crazy busy but wanted to get a 99 in this week. Cheers!

    https://sarahbrentynflash.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/colors/

    Liked by 2 people

  34. […] week, Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge. This week’s prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place where […]

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Deborah Lee says:

    Why is it that the less I have to do, the less I get done? I’m here, just under the wire:

    https://99monkeysblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/gone-art-jane-doe-flash-fiction/

    Liked by 1 person

  36. […] engaging posts introducing the weekly flash fiction prompt, she often reminds us (such as here) of the potential for silencing inconvenient voices and the importance of safe spaces in which […]

    Like

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Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo

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