May 18: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

May 19, 2017

May 18 Flash Fiction Challenge Carrot Ranch @Charli_MillsJulia McCanles, the wizened old woman in the photo, grew so old as to regenerate new teeth. We know this miracle of age through a quirky newspaper report. Perhaps she lost molars and made room for impacted wisdom teeth. Maybe she really did grow new ones, though unlikely. Her shawl is clustered with crocheted pompoms, which says she had the wisdom to not give a wit what she wore, but dressed as she pleased regardless of teeth.

When I am old and gray, I, too will wear crocheted pompoms. Not purple, though. Turquoise.

Like all of us on the journey of life, I hope to indeed grow wise, gray and toothful. I’m making good headway, turning half a century old on Sunday, May 21. It finally sounds like I’ve achieved a dignified age, one that makes others pause. 50 sounds serious.

A few years ago I lied a few years to sound older. I was interviewing a potential client who turned out to be young and brash, definitely not wise. He had hired inexperienced writers from to submit content to websites he was developing for Spokane businesses. Now he needed a professional to rewrite the content to grow his business. He wanted a “partner” to do the task. His ad was misleading, and I had only been interested in a local writing gig, not investing my own sweat equity in his business. When my line of questioning irritated him, he asked, “Why does everyone just want to write? I need a business partner.”

Well, that wasn’t compelling at all for me. I answered an ad for a writer and explained perhaps he should advertise for a partner instead. He then proceeded to tell me about his marketing prowess, which by this time I doubted. He then made a strange assumption. He said based on all my questions and obvious reluctance to be his partner that I must be young. As soon as he assured himself I was young he began bragging about how big his web business was going to be.

I interrupted him and said I was 50. He hung up the phone on me! That’s when I knew 50 carried power. Who wants to tangle with a wise woman?

Gallup has changed me. I feel as though I’ve emerged from the wardrobe after living a lifetime in Narnia. We left this morning with a revived transmission. By the time we made the left turn at Albuquerque, north on the old Santa Fe Trail, I felt transformed back to the modern world. We can all learn from Gallup. Living in the moment and acknowledging the human dignity in one another, honoring art and making space for beauty, showing strangers the same kindness you’d show friends, not worrying over material things for they are only things, and connecting to history to future are all part of the Gallup way.

Sunday is a threshold of sorts. A time to reflect. I remember a couple’s retreat Todd and I did before we had children, and how industrious I was back then. We both came out of the hard-working culture of the west. In a class, we were asked to make a list of five goals we had for next week, and another for five goals we’d have if we were told we would die in a year. The idea was that the lists should align. If not, were we wasting time we might not have? Later the instructor pulled me aside. He said life is a stage and we should dare to be on the one that is our own. He said I wasn’t even in the audience watching life, I was in the lobby scrubbing floors.

That had an impact on me. Was I working hard toward something, or was I merely working hard?

From that day forward, I made a pact with myself. No matter if I was scrubbing floors, waiting tables, covering council meetings, raising children or going to school, I would make sure my hard work applied toward something. It put me in a never-ending pattern of writing goals. That was my ultimate dream — to be a writer of historical fiction. Therefore, as a mom of young children, I took them to historical sites. As a waitress at nights, I listened to the stories of elders for insights to the past. As a college student, I pitched an independent project to draft an historical novel. When my advisor would not let me pursue the novel as my honors thesis, I made sure the project he approved would teach me how to be a better historical researcher.

After college graduation, I did not get the sexy jobs a writing major dreams of. Instead I wrote obituaries as assistant editor to a daily newspaper. But I reflected on the history of each person. When I couldn’t get hired as an editor or writer in publications, I took a job selling magazine ads, working my way up to writing advertorials and representing my publisher at national conferences. The terrible year I worked as an independent insurance agent, I used my salary to buy the family a membership to all the state’s historical sites. As the kids got older, we found more interesting research, including cemetery look-ups as volunteer genealogists. Once I landed a marketing communications job, I made sure to become the organization’s lead writer and historian. When I left that job and set my goal on writing my first novel, I made sure it involved history even if it was a modern setting.

Writing evolved, not scrubbing floors.

But I don’t want a stage for soliloquies. I want a vibrant live play with unexpected twists, drama, scares, laughs, insights and poignant moments. I don’t want to be the only actor, the lone writer. That’s why Carrot Ranch is all about building a literary community. I will always write. My blood will pulse to the tempo of understanding the present through the lens of history. I’ll always be interested in taking something good and making it better. All those things come to life at the ranch.

Yet it’s a place that can mean something different for each person who finds the trail here, or passes through. This is not a community for historical fiction writers. It’s better that we have diversity. Different genres, experiences and interests. Writers are welcome to come and go. Of course, as this community has taken shape, I’ve set goals for growth. I have a vision for using creative efforts to form collective projects. In 2014, I went to LA with my polished first novel (Miracle of Ducks) and a collection of shared flash fiction from Carrot Ranch.

That’s where I met with several agents and publishers. A few took my first 50 pages. They all advised me to seek regional publication for an anthology, but they were also intrigued by what we were doing at Carrot Ranch. From that conference I was able to understand key marketing differences between my prior experience in print publications and book publishing. I began crafting articles to explain what a writer’s platform is actually composed of and how to use one’s unique platform strengths to market. The biggest component that stumps us all is defining and reaching our target audiences. I have theories and a potential partnership with a clever business psychologist (who also happens to be my son).

With all these ideas and experiences converging, I started to build regional connections, including relationships with two publishing houses in the Pacific Northwest. That’s when we began working in earnest on our first anthology. I developed a library program called Wrangling Words, began teaching it monthly and also partnered with a spoken word event to read flash fiction. I kept in contact with the LA conference and hosted several regional events for rural writers. I hosted numerous writers from across the US at Elmira Pond and set in motion plans for workshops. In fact, one was held last fall. Without me. And the regional book conferences I was to do Wrangling Words events (and theoretically sell our anthology) went on without me.

Last June we had to leave our rental so it could go one the market. In a rural area with popular summer tourism, there was a rental shortage and we ended up camping on the Coeur D’Alene River until we embarked on this transient lifestyle that took us from the Pacific Northwest to Mars to alien abduction (or our transmission) in Gallup to (hopefully) Kansas, Wisconsin and Michigan. It’s not been pleasant and at other times it’s been amazing. It has challenged and grown me in ways I might have avoided. Sometimes I felt like giving up and becoming a hermit writer. But many circled the wagons at Carrot Ranch and we got through rocky times where I had to office in mining town libraries or rip out the back end of a leaking old trailer to build an office. One thing I learned was how to make the community platform work.

50 and homeless was not how I imagined life would be. I still sting over the loss of Elmira Pond and all the little injustices that plague those without an address. But I look for the beauty in the natural world, I never forget to see where history intersects modern understanding, and always I write. Maybe if I had been more of a floor scrubber I’d have my own floors. But I wouldn’t trade it for the dreams of a writer and the chance to lasso the moon. Wisdom? What would Great-Grandma Julia say? She left her home in North Carolina for the frontier. This land I’m about to see tomorrow, she saw. I anticipate its impact, the connection, the living for goals like I might die next year.

For my birthday, I want a book. Not just any book, but the first published anthology. We have the manuscript.  If I can raise the funds, I will start an imprint for Carrot Ranch, expand our platform to benefit those who write in this community and seek new ways to inspire and inform other writers beyond the ranch hands. No matter what we have to start with, I will see it through. I’ve failed a few attempts already, but that just clears the way to find what will work. Writers have to persevere. A Patreon is under development and will launch after we get to Wisconsin and Michigan. It will benefit the writers here, as well.

Also, congratulations are in order: Carrot Ranch has been nominated for a Bloggers Bash Award as an inspiring blog. That’s a reflection on each and every one of your who make this a welcoming, fun and safe place to write, learn and explore. I want to thank you all, whether you are here regularly or not. Many of you don’t even write, but generously read and share our collection. Those who do write share diverse perspectives and talents. Thank you! You can vote at the link above, but know that it’s a greater honor to be nominated with you all than it is to win. Kerry E. B. Black gave us a great story last week about Blue Ribbons. Friendships matter more than competition.

What wisdom can you share with a forever-young, always-seeking, no-more-scrubbing-floors, newly-minted 50-year-old?

May 18, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a wise story. It can be about wisdom, expressing wisdom or advice for turning 50! It can be a wise-cracking story, too. Go where wisdom leads you.

Respond by May 23, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published May 24). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


Seeking to Understand (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

“Does your creative outlet help you, Jen?” asked Danni.

“Does interviewing war widows help you?”

“Feels like I’m doing something,” Danni answered.

“Me, too. Same with the brothers. They want to feel useful. Do something good. Let me ask you, why did you stay?”

“You mean when Ike left for Iraq?”

“Yes. This was new to you. You must have felt deserted. Why did you stay?”

Danni  paused, reflecting on all her earlier turmoil. She could have left the day she took Ike to the airport.  Had she gained any wisdom?  “I stayed to take care of his dogs.”



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    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Lady Lee!

  1. pensitivity101

    Good luck with the voting!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m happier just knowing we’ve been nominated! Thanks, Di!

    • Charli Mills

      We can all use some of it in our lives! Thanks, Michael!

  2. floridaborne

    “Writers have to persevere.” That says it all. I’ll get to work on my 99 words. BTW: I was almost 17 when you were born. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Perseverance because writing is like digging out a dinosaur, one bone fragment at a time, using the smallest utensils to bring about the largest vision. Oh, good! I know the next 17 years will be vigorous! 😉

      • floridaborne

        You’ve just described my definition of editing. 🙂 For me, the writing part is huge amounts of fun. Editing is painful.

      • Charli Mills

        Writing is the fun part; it’s like the big discovery. You’re right — editing is the slower painstaking work that follows. But it makes the discovery a masterpiece.

    • Charli Mills

      Exactly! See, you are older and quicker! 😀

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for joining in! It’s the collective that makes this challenge dynamic. 🙂

      • kittysverses

        Welcome Charli 🙂

  3. Annecdotist

    Firstly, congratulations on your well-deserved Bloggers Bash nomination – I have now voted!
    Secondly, congratulations on your pending half-century and hope you have a fabulous day. I love that when you’ve lied about your age you added years instead of subtracting, as some women do, celebrating the wisdom that comes with experience which you demonstrate so well in this post.
    Thirdly, congratulations on grabbing the reins and living your life. I think it’s very easy to fall into the trap of working hard, but not at the things that really matter to us. It must have been quite a shock when that instructor gave you that feedback (and I still, sceptical as ever, wonder if he was right to be so negative) but the great thing is that you used it positively, as a wake-up call as they say. I love the way you used your experiences to further your ambitions, even when circumstances seemed to have been blocking the direct route.
    And a fourth round of congratulations that you’re on the move. I imagine you have mixed feelings about leaving Gallup where you seem to have built a home for the short time you’ve been there.
    Not sure how I’ll find the wisdom for my own 99-word story, but I did celebrate turning 50 in a way that was right for me, so I’ll give that some thought. But I’ll probably be pairing it with a review of a novel published on an imprint that came out of a well-respected writing blog (the Literary Sofa), so there might be something useful in that for your ideas about a Carrot Ranch imprint.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Anne! I think it was a shock, but he didn’t say it in a way that was negative to me, which is why I think it made an impression. It’s more important to me that life be an authentic experience, sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s not. But the exploring, learning and believing my ambitions have meaning are worth risking a different life than one of social security. It was mixed feelings leaving Gallup, but then we met Raton. Ooh, mountains and wildlife, moisture and clear, sweet artesian water. We extended our stay, met up with an online friend, researched and thought about staying. We headed out this afternoon, and 20 miles away from the New Mexico Oklahoma border, the truck broke down again. Tonight I worried on the computer asking the road until it died, since we have no electricity. Now I’m on my phone, at least it plugs into the car. Talk about a place having a hold! Hopefully it’s not a big deal. Kind of a reality check to the extraordinary weekend we had. And thanks for the future links to another imprint. It can be done casually, but I’m shooting the moon to do one that will garner respect and create a broader platform for writers here. I have the vision, the business plan and now I need the timing. These breakdowns really hinder what I was headed east to accomplish. Perseverance doesn’t come quick or easy on the midst.

      • Annecdotist

        I imagine that fellow was a fine educator as it takes great skill to give challenging feedback safely. I totally agree with you about living authentically and I’m grateful that for me, the moment, that doesn’t impose many material challenges.
        What bad luck about the truck breaking down again, but glad you had a good weekend.

      • Norah

        Not another breakdown! And no power for computer activity. While some offline time may be recommended, the advice seems less than wise when one really wants to be on it. I wish you patience and power, a quick repair and enjoyable journey.

      • Charli Mills

        We finally arrived! Whew! And such a good meal, lots of hugs and fast internet! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Di! Glad you have memories to share as wisdom! 🙂

  4. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Well; on the road again, or still, and never still. You have created some powerful transcriptions, all while waiting on your transmission. What a time, a turquoise time to transmute, transform, transcend.
    One definition of transmission is power train; all aboard, the Carrot Ranch power train is steaming ahead.

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, yes, a splendid time of turquoise to saturate the soul and the journey. I love it — all aboard the power train! Carrot Ranch is indeed steaming ahead and I’m excited for all on board. So good to have you along!

      And, we are now resting in Kansas tonight. Let’s see what unfolds next…

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I am so happy for you to have finally arrived. Good luck with the enchanted unfolding.

    • Charli Mills

      I like a good mash-up! Thanks, Alison!

  5. Carrie Gilliland Sandstrom

    I watched as she moved ever so slowly, as she always did, living as if time had no meaning. I bit my tongue to swallow my reprimand. “Charlotte, I am going to tell you something that my Mother told me when I was 7, like you are now.”
    Her yellow hair glowed in the sun creating a halo around her face as she looked at me, waiting for my words of wisdom. “What?”
    “Your husband is going to have to be a very patient man.”
    She only paused for a heartbeat and replied. “I don’t know any patient man’s.”

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Carrie! Glad you could add to our wise words this week. I really like the way you cast this aged character “living as if time had no meaning.” Although Charlotte’s response is wise for her younger years! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Reena! Thanks for your wise words!

  6. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Alien Anthropology, D. Avery

    “Strange. They develop automation, even as they suffer obesity, depression and anxiety. They have many devices for communicating, but they aren’t saying anything. They desire access to information but don’t seem to value knowledge, with no apparent interest or ability in interpreting or analyzing information.”

    “They are poisoning, mining, and bombing what’s left of their natural environment… They are ruining this planet. We should just take over.”

    “No, our orders are to just observe and to seek wisdom. We shall consult their older people.”

    “And artists?”

    “Yes, and we’ll visit the ancient sites and natural wonders.”

    “We’d better hurry.”

    • Charli Mills

      Better hurry, indeed! It would be painful to look at the lack of wisdom that seems to be our planetary condition.

  7. Kate

    Congratulations Charli on the Blogger Bash nomination. As our lead buckaroo you welcome and corral us riders every week with your wisdom and insights, motivating us to inspire and participate.

    And a very happy birthday to you! I thought I’d share my favorite metaphor for aging, it’s a quote from Jane Fonda: “Aging is a staircase, the upward ascension of the human spirit, bringing us into wisdom, wholeness and authenticity.”

    Charli, wisdom does not come from simply reading great books or spending time with amazing people but rather from applying what we learn from these. Each week your posts are an illustration of wisdom in action as you share with us your journey. Thank you Charli.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Kate! Thank you for your insights and kind, as well as wise, words. I’d like to think writing is a way for each of us to gain that wisdom through action, even if it is of the reflecting sort. I like this visual I get from Jane Fonda’s words. May we all continue that ascent of the human spirit. The journey is so much richer taken with company.

  8. Pete

    I’ve got all four of my wisdom teeth, little good is does me. As usual Charlie, thanks for hosting such a thoughtful, inspirational, and yes, safe place to write! I’m still having fun with last weeks prompt…

    Kylie handed over the bow. “They were late, right? Doesn’t seem wise to me.”

    “Here we go,” Nat grumbled, steadying the arrow. “It’s the three WISE MEN.”

    Kylie arched her brow, fixed her ponytail. “If you say so.”

    Nat’s eyes pulled to Kylie instead of the can. His shot sailed wide. Again. He was down 3-0.

    Kylie scoffed, snatched the bow and yanked back the arrow. “Now, Margaret WISE Brown…”


    “Goodnight Moon.” The arrow was gone in a wink. Nat heard the clink of the can without looking. Kylie stood, her smile spreading like wildfire. “4-zip.”

    “Show off.”

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      It’s good to see this competitive couple again. Well done.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Pete! And who knows, maybe those wisdom teeth will leach some wisdom, yet! 😉 Great way to develop a scene through dialog that creates a visual. You have much wisdom when it comes to writing.

  9. Sarah Brentyn

    Well, Happy Birthday! 🙂 Have a beautiful day! 50… That IS big. And I’m not far behind you, lovely lady. Glad to hear your are on your way with a new transmission. Congrats on the nomination, as well! Will vote ASAP. Lemon Shark was nominated, too, and I am surprised, to be honest, but thrilled. There are some hard-working people behind that Bloggers Bash. And there are a lot of blogs out there–it’s an honor just being nominated. Best of luck to you and the Ranch.

    Wherever you go, yes, there is always beauty (and wisdom) in the natural world. <3

    • Sarah Brentyn

      Accidentally hit ‘publish’ on this one before I could edit and now it’s out there. I thought of reverting to ‘draft’ before I figured…”Eh, what the hell.” *shrug* Raw literature, right? ???? So here it is. Thanks for the prompt word and look forward to reading the actual 99 word stories (as this one is about 200). Hope you had a wonderful birthday! Here’s to pompoms on teal shawls and whiskers on puppies.

      • Charli Mills

        Dare to go raw lit! 🙂 Thank you, what a comforting thought, pompoms on teal shawls and whiskers on puppies! <3

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Sarah! It is big, but feels just fine on this side so come on over to 50 when you’re ready! 😀 And I was excited to see Lemon Shark nominated, too! Congratulations! I agree, lots of hard working folks at the Bloggers Bash and we Yanks will crash it one of these years.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Gordon! Your stories are always a treat and you bring the historical dialog to life. Thanks!

  10. julespaige

    Yay…you’re on the move again. If I remember you’ll be visiting family along your route. May all the memories you take with you help you along the way – as writers everything can become inspiration.

    And belated Happy Birthday. I hope you were able to find a good book. In the hotel library I was able to find a couple of quick reads. One is an Ella Clah novel called White Thunder. Ella Clah is a special investigator with the Navajo Police! By Amee and David Thurlo. I think I read one of the other Ella Clah books a long time ago.

    I’ve added to Janice and Richard with the help of your prompt and two others. The title should be the link to the post which will have the wordle list and the photo prompt:



    Richard picked up the thirteenth pottery shard never expecting
    to be found hidden – engulfed in the weeds. The colors reminding
    him of Janice’s eyes…

    A short elusive keta with the magnitude of a heavy chair being
    thrown across the room, and hitting his head allowed the elusive
    emotion of disgrace to flash across his mind. Janice wasn’t the
    traitor. Was he?

    How had Janice been so wise, to know how broken he was.
    That she could not fix him, she had to leave him… Richard,
    behind the shed in her yard…wanted her – she wasn’t home…
    Where was she?


    • julespaige

      I noticed some issues with the piece…
      going to the link you will find corrections for easier reading have been made.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Jules! And we have arrived at our first destination, staying with family in Kansas. Ooh, I have not heard of Ella Clah series; I’ll have to look those up, as I’m on a Navajo kick for reading right now. Good to see Janice and Richard again. I grabbed your flash from your blog.

      • julespaige

        If you’d like to email an address for your next stop I can mail the paperback to you… I think media rate takes just a tad longer than regular mail.

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks, Jules!

  11. Liz Husebye Hartmann

    This week’s effort, with a link to last week’s missed, to bring the two together. Yeeks!


    They circled the pit, noted the downward spiral that curled into thick darkness. Dropped a stone and waited for a splash, a thud, the clatter of a change in angle.

    “Hell bent?” she quipped.

    He sniffed. “No smell of sulphur.”

    “Literal much?”

    He tipped his head, brow knit.

    “Never mind,” she scanned the landscape for dust devils, signs of life or breath. Nope. Only them: isolate, arid, no stars nor moon above.

    “Ladies first,” he nodded towards the pit.

    Always leaping, never moving.

    She senses a curl of light, a sweet new scent, opens her hands and steps down.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Liz! Great use of smells to drive the mystery and story. Thanks for linking Trading Up, too!

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Ruchira! May we all continue to find inspiration among community!

  12. Kerry E.B. Black

    Old Skills
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    Aunt Amaryllis gripped the table. Veins rose from translucent skin, yet her voice remained sure. “Remember, control the material.”
    Kirsten fed silk into the machine, but it snagged.
    Aunt Amaryllis’ perfume accompanied her nearness. “Slow and steady. Even pressure on the foot. Gentle guidance here.” The cloth flowed with her direction, stitches marching along the seam. She handed Kirsten a seam ripper. “This tool’s your friend.”
    Kirsten groaned but removed the snag. She pressed and sewed.
    Aunt Amaryllis smiled at the complete the garment. “What a fine wedding gown!”
    “I wish you’d be there.”
    Aunt Amaryllis dabbed Kirsten’s tears. “I will, in spirit.”

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Kerry! Oh, I think the seam ripper is also the writer’s friend when revising. Beautiful and tender flash!

      • Annecdotist

        Very apt analogy, Charli – a great story about creativity and learning.

  13. Kerry E.B. Black

    Reblogged this on Allusionary Assembly and commented:
    The newest challenge issued by Carrot Ranch – write 99 words about or displaying wisdom. The head Buckaroo, Charli Mills, shared some big news. She has an approaching birthday, and has been nominated for a Bloggers Bash Award. Great nominations! Vote, if you’re inclined.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you for sharing and being a part of this literary community!

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Mike! Welcome to the ranch and thanks for sharing a BOTS!

  14. dnagai

    As I had to ask for the donation link and what it was about.. guess that outed me as having NOT read your blog post yet. My excuse is that I prefer to read your blog post AFTER I write my flash, as I’m afraid I’ll be influenced in my direction if I read too much beforehand. In any case, thank you for your patience as I asked for the info and link. And, thank you for your writings and welcoming community you have built. And, happy birthday! You have done amazing work and have more to give/write/live. Good luck in all things writing and life. Here is my flash:

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Diana! No worries! I know other writers do it that way, too. What I earnestly hope for with this community is flexibility to each person so it’s mutually beneficial. And honestly, I have it structured so that the post is not necessary to read. Not that I promote that. 🙂 And thank you for asking!

  15. 40levenreasons

    Not sure if I have overstepped any boundaries here Charli….apologies if I have done so. I thought I had something when I sat and wrote at a time, only yesterday, of frustration. Not so sure I had any words of wisdom. Well, nothing I could cram into 99 words anyway. It was a chance to link this prompt to an earlier post of mine that had me pondering, Is 50 Too Late to Start Again ( Yesterday, the straw that broke the camel’s back, had me asking myself the same question…….
    While I sat frustrated and beaten (internally at least), I received a text. This prompted me to re-write. Again, this could have easily led to more than 99 words, but I managed. I chose to write in poem form for something different. It seemed fitting, however, that the message received, came at a moment when I needed reassurance that, maybe, everything does happen for a reason. A gentle reminder. I have, therefore, included both. Hope that’s ok?
    Much love to all.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Deb! Sometimes the prompt sparks more, and when you go where it leads, I hope it creates an insight or inspiration. Therefore, there is no overstepping. And everyone is welcome to link to appropriate pieces to share beyond the flash fiction. This is a safe space to explore and express. Thank you for sharing!

      • 40levenreasons

        Thank you Charli! ????

  16. Norah

    Hi Charli, I love the story of Julia McCanles and her numerous teeth. It is usually said that someone grows long in the tooth, not increase the number of teeth!
    I appreciate what you say you learned from your Gallup hideaway: “Living in the moment and acknowledging the human dignity in one another, honoring art and making space for beauty, showing strangers the same kindness you’d show friends, not worrying over material things for they are only things, and connecting to history to future“
    I congratulate you on your milestone birthday and welcome you to the second half-century. May this decade be the one in which you realise many of your goals.
    The observation made by your ‘instructor” about engagement with life, and your response to it, is interesting. We each have a different way of spending this one lifetime we have. Do we have a right to judge others by the way they choose to spend theirs?
    I admire your dedication to learning history. And what an interesting personal history you have shared, and are creating. I wish you success.
    Congratulations on the well-deserved nomination for a Bloggers Bash Award.
    Wisdom is ethereal. It manifests in different ways, in the choices we make. You show this in Danni’s thoughts. Was it a wise choice to stay for the dogs? Only time will tell and she will know.
    Here’s my contribution, Growing into wisdom.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Norah! What a curious phrase that is — long in the tooth. And yes, I’ve heard it more than I’ve heard of extra teeth! Thank you for connecting with the Gallup journey and the warm welcome to the next half-century. I’ll be mindful of my choices. I think Danni has become aware by this point in her story, too.

      • Norah

        Doesn’t long in the tooth have some horsey connection? I’m not sure. Perhaps I should ask Google. Okay, I did, and was right.
        Tooth.html Apparently one can tell the age of a horse by the length of it’s teeth. I guess teeth are a giveaway for children up to twelve, but after that – I think not.
        Ride strong into the next fifty years! Yahoo!

      • Charli Mills

        You are right, Norah! This might explain “floating a horse’s teeth” as they age (filing the molars). I remember cowboys looking at a horse’s teeth and that was the link to Danni wanting to look at the kid’s teeth to determine age, and yet I didn’t realize it was length that was being gauged. Thanks for sharing this with me!

      • Annecdotist

        Oh, yes, while it’s true about horses teeth I think it DOES also apply to humans in that as our gums recede with age our teeth do indeed look longer!

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Kalpana!

  17. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

    Again, happy birthday! Already voted for Carrot Ranch! Even in the short time I’ve been hanging around here, I have found great inspiration for writing and for life. Came over to read this again today because my email brought me much frustration and irritation this morning. I needed to get rid of that before I could get my words written for the day.
    That said, I need to finish (and by that I mean start) my 99 for this week as well as a 300 word for a class I’m taking. So I’m off, but I’ll be back.

      • Annecdotist

        Hi, Lisa, I left a comment on your blog to say how much I enjoyed your wise flash but unfortunately it hasn’t registered, so hope you get it here.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Lisa! Thank you for joining us here at the ranch. You add to our community, and I appreciate the vote, but more so I appreciate you writing here. I”m thrilled you had an experience of writing something you hadn’t intended!

  18. The Plagued Parent

    Been away a while. Thank god for summer so I can finally catch up with fine people and fine writing. Here you go Charli; great prompt.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Tony! Good to see you at the ranch and glad to kick off summer with a story!

  19. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Happy birthday Charli. I hope you get your birthday wish. You have achieved a marvellous feat in bringing together a community of writers, giving safe haven and the nomination is well deserved. I don’t know whether I will get back in time this week (I will try) but my piece of advice for turning 50 – Take hold of your last half century – it has made you the wonderful strong person you are and go into the next half century excited and ready to discover that there is even more to learn and discover than there was in the first but potentially less time to do it in. Above all enjoy doing it. Happy birthday.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Irene! Thank you for the birthday wishes and wise words. Ah, now there is a time constraint. Good to keep in mind.

  20. elliotttlyngreen

    Having issues posting my comment so i alologize if this occurs more than once…

    How great to read you are underway again!! And happy belated BIRTHDAY Charli!! Hope it was wonderful.

    Well i have some fantastic news to share. I received an email today that a short work of writing i submitted is going to be published!! It is not a huge deal, but all day i kept thinking just how ‘cool’ it is. I dont know how grand of an audience it will reach, but considering it is my first acceptance its just ya know…. pretty cool.

    I think it is awesome and rocks! what you have put together here, this community. And made me see writing in a quite different light – its not meant to be a competitive realm, or some partnership, instead a place for many ideas to grow together or inspire other ideas, but mostly to bring that idea of thoughts out, and into a light for its greater understanding.

    The Light in the Empty Room by Elliott Lyngreen

    In an empty room save for a fixture absent a bulb, yet with its string; doors exactly cater-cornered of parallel walls; after opening one, walking through only led him into another room perfectly mimicking the previous.

    So he tried the opposite door, diagonally, again entered yet another inversion.

    After exhausting attempts to leave, he only re-entered flipped patterns – one after another; lone empty lamp holder.

    He decided to pull the string; over, around his arm, down himself like pulling open a sleeping bag or circumventing a body bag, unzipped the room, and became the light, illuminating ideas within vision. . . .

    • Charli Mills

      The WordPress spam monster ate your comments! I retrieved them from the jaws of the beast, but left just one. It offered no reasonable explanation other than it’s a WordPress monster and was hungry.

      Ah! Elliott! That’s such good news! Every publication matters and adds to the body of print and ideas. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your news, for the birthday wishes and for understanding the intent that we can all bloom here on our own terms, at our own pace, yet share the meadow we create collectively. Great flash that evokes what it is to turn on the light within.

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Im super excited. And very grateful…and have worked pretty hard ….just to get 1! Lot of writing. Seen a wordpress commercial the other day, first one. They have become a monster. I think i posted the comment 5 times. Not sure what happened.

      • Charli Mills

        I’m excited for you!

    • Norah

      Elliott, you posted after me this time, so I’m pleased I came back from the compilation to read and leave you a comment here. I was going to say how much I enjoyed your flash. I think it is my favourite (did I also say that last time?) I must be “getting” your stories more. I love this – unzipping the room and becoming the light, illuminating ideas within vision. That is an awesome image.
      But now I also know that congratulations are in order. Your first acceptance! Yay! That’s fantastic. I wish you many more.

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Yes! Hopefully the start of many! Thank you for commenting or coming back to. That makes my day =]

    • Annecdotist

      Love this flash, Elliott, and congratulations on your first publication 🙂

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Well Thanks Anne!! Much appreciated

  21. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Geoff!


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