September 21: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

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

September 22, 2017

Tendril by tendril the plants pull themselves sun-ward. Leaves bob on light currents of air, hiding fragile white blossoms. The plants thicken to the point of hiding the slender iron trellis they cling to. They’ve grown so equally green, I can’t distinguish one plant from another. Nor can I tell when the white blossoms have fruited. This is not a patch of raspberries or sun-gold tomatoes. I await a harvest of peas.

The late summer day when the plants drooped, pulling the trellis out of alignment, I knew. I recognized the heaviness of harvest.Ever since that transition from growing, climbing green to drooping, gifting green I have haunted the pea patch. It’s not easy to spot the first pea, but once you train your eye to see, you see the full magnitude of pea harvest glory. It’s a bit like practicing flash fiction.

When I first began writing various short forms, I did so because it sparked my creativity. After that, I began requiring my team to write a specific creative form of 25 words before our meetings. We didn’t have time to linger over creative writing so most meeting days, I announced to the department that we would meet at the Round Table in ten minutes. I reminded each person to bring their project updates, meeting agenda and their cinquain. Often, team members scribbled their 25 words in the final five minutes of preparation.

As a prompt, a flash fiction of 99 words doesn’t take long to write. When I was leading Wrangling Words at the Bonner County Library, I gave participants five minutes to write. Many wrote several hundred words! The first time I gave the prompt it was 10 minutes and the stories were much longer than I anticipated for our group activity. So I know it’s possible to write 99 words in five minutes. Is it ideal for those who gather here? Perhaps not.

But what does flash fiction have to do with spotting a hidden pea harvest?

Draw the similarity between learning to spot green peas and learning to write tight prose. I view it as training. When I first spot a hanging pea pod, suddenly I see more. My brain understands the cue. When you practice flash fiction, you train your brain to tell a story in 99 words. You might still write 200 and cut, or only write 70 and add, but your brain gets better at recognizing its target.

I used to joke that writing creative constrains was magic because my marketing team responded by solving project problems with improved innovation. But I know science supports the power of constraints in forcing the brain to go into problem-solving mode. Thus two factors occur when we regularly write flash fiction — our brains think more creatively quicker and we train our brains to adapt to a pattern.

If you are concerned that you’ll pick up the 99-word pattern, fear not. It isn’t as if you can only write in that mode, it’s more like you can use that mode to solve clarity or literary issues with other forms of writing. I’ve marveled over our writers who add in verse, and now I realize that as poets they have other forms their brains use. These patterns are of benefit to a writer and it legitimizes writing short forms as a tool.

Of course, if you are like me in a pea patch, you probably care more about the pleasure the taste of fresh pea pods bring over the idea that you trained your brain to find what is easily hidden. You might enjoy the challenge of word-smithing among others, the fun of creating stories and reading what others create, and the weekly activity. And that’s good! I’m not in the pea patch munching on pods because I read that peas are high in magnesium. I simply like peas. And the fun I have, knowing I get to them before others in my household!

Ah, the competitive nature. It’s not that strong in me unless I know everyone is having a good time. That’s why I want you all to have a great pea-picking time at the upcoming Rodeo. It is a contest and it will bring out the competitiveness in some, the intimidation or perfection in others. Let’s admit that’s all possible. We’ll likely have many writers show up whom we’ve not met before or who aren’t interested in hanging out by the campfire. So let me be clear about goals.

Number one: Carrot Ranch is a fun and welcoming place to practice literary art. Don’t be put off by the word “practice.” In no way do I want to demean anyone’s writing as scribbles of art. When I say practice, I mean it according to my personal philosophy that literary art is something writers master over a lifetime. How do you know you’ve mastered it? You’re dead. Shakespeare mastered all he was capable of mastering by the day he died. It’s not about comparing our work to others. It’s about never stopping to push into what we can create with words. The process is the hallmark of a literary artist, not the finished product. Therefore, let’s have fun while we figure out what is possible with words and how to sharpen our stories. The Rodeo is intended to bring you something different and exciting from our weekly writing.

Number two: Carrot Ranch wants individuals within the community to succeed. Those who regularly gather and are willing to do collaborative projects like the anthologies are part of a smaller group that helps spur on the Ranch. They are the Rough Writers. In return, they get expanded visibility for their own writing. Those who gather for fun, who share our posts and read regularly are the Friends. It’s up to writers to decide. Either way, there are no obligations. However, Carrot Ranch is a place where writers can step out of their comfort zones. A contest is an example. If it becomes achievable here, it can become achievable elsewhere. Success is what you interpret it to be, and the Ranch believes in the value of literary art and your contribution to it.

Number three: Carrot Ranch is growing and we want to celebrate. The growth comes in more ways to support access to literary art — the creation of anthologies, public readings of flash fiction, free adult education classes that use flash fiction as a tool to build a local literary community, inspiring retreats, and innovative workshops. We will be launching our first The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology, Vol. 1 late in November with pre-sales in October. A Rodeo is one way to generate excitement about what we do at Carrot Ranch.

Enjoy the Rodeo, use the contests to try different prompts and don’t let intimidation hold you back. Every writer feels doubt. Don’t let it stop you from the joy of what it is to create literary art. Join in, saddle up and write! Remember, the Rodeo replaces the weekly prompt with two weekly contests Oct. 5-31. Stop by the Ranch for a progressive kick-off party on Tuesday, Oct. 3. You might win a random drawing prize so leave a comment on the Oct. 3 blog post. CR FB page will have drawings and live readings from Vol. 1.

Last call for Rough Writers for the next anthology: the one criteria is willingness to participate. We use material from the compilations to build upon, and some of our writers create new work. If you’ve been writing here weekly (even occasionally) send me a quick note. Find out if it’s something you want to pursue. I’ll introduce new Rough Writers at the Rodeo Fest (kick-off party on Oct. 3).

One last note: I’m not perfect. Seriously, it’s worth saying! We all make mistakes and I tend to bring in a bumper crop. So, I fudged my hastags. I’m not a hashtag genius to begin with and I forgot that I had created #FFRODEO for the Rodeo — Flash Fiction Rodeo. When I created the Rodeo Fest promotion I inadvertently created a second hashtag of #CRRODEO as in Carrot Ranch Rodeo. Better editors than my Inner Editor, pointed out the blunder, but by then both hashtags had been shared widely. I’m a flash fiction writer, so having trained my brain for solutions I will simply use #CRRODEO on October 3 for the Rodeo Fest and pretend that’s what I meant.

Be sure to follow along the Rodeo on Twitter at #FFRODEO. May it bring you all a bumper crop of fun!

And if you missed the post on Tuesday, check out the new Flash Fiction page at Carrot Ranch. It includes recipes for preparing flash fiction and introduces something I’ve been working on for a while — The Ultimate Flash Fiction (TUFF), which is a challenge, the final contest in the Rodeo, and the foundation for a new workshop I’ve developed using flash fiction as a tool to teach an integrative writing/editing approach to book revision.

Thank you for your patience as the sawdust clears on all these new barns and events at the Ranch! I’m a week behind on compilations, but whipping and spurring to get caught up in the next few days. I’ll let you know as new pages go up, too! This is the final prompt until weeklies resume November 2. I’m delighted to have you all here!

September 21, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about what it is to gather a harvest. You can use the phrase or show what it means without using the words. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by September 26, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published September 27). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

Harvests Aren’t Gathered for All (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills

Sarah gobbled picked peas from her gnarled hands.

“Get out of there!”

Sarah blushed, gathered threadbare skirts and fled fast as a 91-year-old could muster. She held her head despite the curvature of her back and walked past the angry gardener as if she were on a Sunday stroll. In fact, Sarah realized, it was Sunday.

“You stay out you tramp!”

So much for Christian charity, she thought. Wandering without a destination she passed other gardens in full harvest. At the end of the street named after her father in the town bearing her surname, Sarah turned away, hungry.

###

You May Also Like…

191 Comments

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for sharing, Henrietta!

  1. Frank Hubeny

    Nice story about Sarah.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Frank.

  2. C. Jai Ferry

    You are an amazing and inspiring woman. Your harvests are awesome!!!

    • Charli Mills

      Likewise, C. Jai! Bring on the bounty! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I’m the Head Dishware Reclamation Engineer, by the way. And somehow that puts m in charge of the potato peelings, too!

      • floridaborne

        LOL!

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      An ap-peeling story!
      One man’s potatoes are another man’s margarita?

      • floridaborne

        Or Vodka with a sliver of lime. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        We need to meet up under the lime tree! 😀

  3. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Bullshift Kid

    “Kid!”
    “Dang straight.”
    “Shorty heard you were back.”
    “Shorty herds words. Course I’m back. Wouldn’t miss the rodeo for nuthin’.”
    Well, come on. Let’s saddle up, Kid, do some ropin’ an’ wranglin’.”
    “Cain’t. Busy.”
    “But-“
    “But I got too much to do now I’m back. I gotta corral the bulls and check the chute for the Buckin’ Bull Go-Roun’.”
    “Aw, come on, Kid, that’s a ways away.”
    “An’ I gotta help harvest carrots, make sure theys harvested for the rodeo crowd. You go on without me.”
    “Nah. Reckon I’ll have ta look after you.”
    “Write on, Pal, write on.”

    ###

    Well Maybe

    “You enterin’ any a the contests, Kid?”
    “Nope, gonna jest enjoy the spectacle.”
    “But ain’tcha jest itchin’ to git in the saddle?”
    “Well, yeah. But I done told you, I’m busy. Jest gonna watch.”
    “You know Kid, seems like yer pretty good about doin’ what ya say you’ll do. But it also seems like ya ain’t very good about not doin’ what ya say ya ain’t gonna do.”
    “Ain’t ridin’ this one.”
    “Uh huh. Then let’s go harvest us a drink.”
    “Ain’t drinkin’.”
    “Uh huh.”
    “Well, maybe jest one.”
    “Jest one, Kid, while we check out the rodeo events.”
    ###

    • Charli Mills

      It’s always starts with just one…just one drink…just one bull…just one flash! Can’t wait to see the bulls you’ve corralled for the Rodeo, D.!

    • julespaige

      Some of them Rodeo events just dang scare my breeches off…
      OK that ain’t a purty sight. But Heck – I agreed to host one of ’em.
      Some I just ain’t prepared for – Ain’t harvestin’ stuff that’s too complex or on Social Media. Some ole dogs just can’t do new tricks no more.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I feel like the grammar has gone downhill around here. Oh well. I look forward to your rodeo event.

      • julespaige

        Even that scares me…having to be a Judge.
        I’ll live.

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha, Jules! I think your scares me the most!

      • julespaige

        And I think it is the simplest…
        Create a spell in 14 words and just space ’em funny. 😉
        The flash is easy peasie 🙂

      • Norah

        Hilarious, Jules. You sure give the Kid a run for her money. 🙂

    • Norah

      These are great. Sounds like the Bullshi*t Kid has got the bull by the – horns? (I didn’t see the ‘f’ when I read it first. I thought “What the _? The Kids gone dang crazy”. I wonder if you’ll be able to sit on your pencil for the contests. Surely you won’t have that much to do until your contest goes live. I’m not sure if I’ll enter or not, and not sure how I’ll go with some of the “Live” sessions with the time difference. It might be tough keeping up with it all. Just as well my prompt goes first – gives more time for roping and judging. Whatever you decide to do, it sure feels good to have you around.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Neel, good to see you at the Ranch! Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed Sarah’s story. I enjoyed reading Ramprasad’s rewards as a gardener!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Gardening sustains in multiple ways. The smiles of passersby made me smile.

  4. robbiesinspiration

    A lovely piece of flash fiction, Charli, but so sad! It all sounds very exciting and I would love to write for the anthology. I have undertaken a local exercise of this nature and it will be my first one. I am learning a lot from it.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Robbie. Sarah’s life calls me to use the magnifying glass of flash fiction to consider all she endured. As a Rough Writer, you’ll certainly have the opportunity to be part of the process for Vol. 2. I am learning a lot, too!

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, that’s the kind of harvest that satisfies many urbanites these days!

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      it’s never too late to go back home, and taste the bounty of our earlier years.

    • Charli Mills

      Not exactly the maple harvest one would expect in Canada. 😉 Clever take on the flash, Reena!

      • Reena Saxena

        Harvest for the humiiation suffered 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Perhaps the humiliation is like the fertilizer to a garden.

  5. julespaige

    Charli and Community –

    I’ve got a little visitor today – but I managed to get this written and posted.
    I’ll be back to glean the fields here later… enjoy:

    Harvesting Humor

    They know what hard work is. Though for them work is life,
    That isn’t really that hard. They might bend some of their
    own rules for the ‘English’ – but generally they are a very
    peaceful people. One business, one of many of buggy rides
    for the tourists – the Amish driver of the team, explained that
    most of what this group was seeing, the feed corn and alfalfa
    would be harvested for the animals.

    A bit of humor was harvested this trip. The team of draft
    horses had the same name of a couple visiting from England.
    Dick and Debbie.

    ©JP/dh

    Note: This is not a BoTS this is more Memoir…. Since it actually happened this month! 🙂 Our driver said in all his years giving tours this was the first time this had ever happened for him!

    • Charli Mills

      Enjoy your wee visitor, Jules! I hope you get outside to enjoy the natural sights. Funny story! That’s one to remember!

      • julespaige

        He was more intent on playing with his Dad’s old small building bricks… that begin with L. I must have had about 3 – 5 pound worth 🙂

  6. denmaniacs4

    Last Harvest

    When she saw the wasps come, when they swarmed the orchard, she knew she had, once again, failed to gather the golden plums.

    He had been her gleaner, ever ready with a basket, his wobbly wooden ladder that he kept under the porch, the strain of the short walk along the slight incline of the path that had always been there, three generations old, and the climb, the climb, and that sudden deadly fall two years ago, crashing to the earth, resting there amongst the dropped plums, the waiting wasps.

    She missed him so.

    And those lovely golden plums.

    http://www.engleson.ca

    • Charli Mills

      Wow! You had my attention at the opening 6 words and each one that followed painted this beautiful, sad and stinging tale to the end. That’s a great flash, Bill.

      • denmaniacs4

        Many thanks, Charli. But, for me, the magic is the prompt.

      • Charli Mills

        I’m glad it took you to a writer’s harvest.

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      Loving the rhythm of this tale of a failed harvest. <3

    • Norah

      Clever. I’m not sure what got him in the end – the fall or the wasps. Neither very pleasant, but superbly written anyway.

  7. Liz Husebye Hartmann

    Okay, this happened because I was searching for the right term for harvesting peas… :-O

    Kaiju Harvest

    Godzilla and King Kong sat at the edge of the airfield, munching happily in the sunshine. Fighting was hard work, and they were grateful the film crew had broken for the day.

    Kong brushed at a hawk circling his head, “I know that we shuck corn.” Turning the slender capsule in his hands, he licked its bottom.

    Godzilla grabbed another capsule and snapped off its wings. “And we snap beans.” He bit the end, and pried it open.

    “So what are we doing here?”

    “I believe it’s like shelling peas.” He deftly scooped out screaming people with one claw.

    https://huldermn.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/kaiju-harvest/

    • Charli Mills

      Liz, I’m not even going to ask how searching for a term to harvest peas led to this unexpectedly ghoulish (or goulash?), yet darkly funny flash. Some days I read everyone’s flash fiction and shake my head at the depth of imagination and breadth of storytelling! Great flash!

      • Liz Husebye Hartmann

        Thanks! It’s nice when someone appreciates my weird sense of…whatever it is! 😉

      • Charli Mills

        Ha! It’s fun to get to express (and to read) that not quite definable weird writerly quirk!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yep, it’s funny. Unless you’re the pea I suppose.

      • Liz Husebye Hartmann

        Pea-ple, pea-ple who eat pea-ple, are the luckiest pea-ple in the world! (KINDA works, but…never mind…)

      • Charli Mills

        😀

    • jeanne229

      Love this campy flash. Great imagery… Weirdly wonderful!

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Oh My!! That was very entertaining =] truly enjoyed it from the get go .. ‘Godzilla and King Kong sat at the..” Quite imaginative. Great Flash Liz!

      • Liz H

        Thanks, Elliott!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, for joining us, Walt! My poor peas don’t stand a chance of changing my mind.

    • susanzutautas

      What a fun read and a good laugh!

      • WaltPage

        Thanks for reading it 🙂

    • elliotttlyngreen

      well hello little pea lol Very Humorous flash. Like it Walt

  8. WaltPage

    Please delete this comment 🙁

  9. Pete

    Tina in HR is about to fire us both for unethical behavior when Kurt lolls back his head and sobs. It works, his bit about how since Sue left him he’s an empty vessel—the man says empty vessel—until Tina relents.

    Kurt keeps sniffling until the elevator, where we start our descent. Then he brags about how he said, “empty vessel” three times without a crack.

    But I’m done. With Kurt. With pranks and games. The bar. Harvesting nighttime hops and barley for a Friday morning hangover. Maybe Kurt is an empty vessel.

    Damn, Maybe I am too.

    • Charli Mills

      Powerful writing, beginning with the “act” and drilling down to the truth. The story flows and tightens to the very end. Sharp writing.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I saw this pair out a couple of nights ago! Riptide was playing.
      Glad Kurt is losing his wingman.

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      Very sharp! But the narrator is no empty vessel, as he notes the lies & need for his own change.

    • jeanne229

      Ditto on Charli’s comments. A rich story here with much untold history. I can almost see the characters. Inventive use of the flash.

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Dont be done with Riptide until before you hear their early stuff. .. Great write. I, too, am immersed in these characters and this story now.

      • Pete

        Thanks Elliot!

    • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

      Well, Kurt is a bit of a skunk, isn’t he? Great flash!

  10. Alexis Donkin

    Harvest was my word for 2017 so I had to FINALLY jump in.

    **Realized**

    Wandering through tall grass, my hands brush the tips. The breeze blows through my hair. In the distance children laugh, playing as adults prepare to celebrate.

    The wheat is cut and gathered. The berries picked. Lambs are slaughtered – a wether roasting on the spit.

    I mosey to the long table, groaning under its abundant spread. I stop across from the single full seat.

    “It’s not what you expected, is it?” he asks quietly.

    Blinking, I sit down across from him. In that moment, I see the trees fade, overtaken by white sage and saltbush.

    “No. It’s not. It’s better.”

    ***********
    Thanks for doing this. It was a joy to write. 😀

    • Charli Mills

      Alexis, I’m so thrilled to see you here with a flash. Nice details. Isn’t it lovely the way 99 words sifts all the ideas into a clear image? Your last line gave me chills!

    • jeanne229

      Beautiful flash with flow and movement.

    • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

      I love this, Alexis. And I find the words strangely appropriate to my own life right now. Thanks for your story.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Susan! You wrote a beautiful bounty!

      • susanzutautas

        Thanks Charli! So glad you liked it.

      • Charli Mills

        It felt like the kind of community I’d want to live in, sharing the harvest. ?

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Good and good for ya. This is what kids should be doing.

    • Deborah Lee

      My daughter has taken great pleasure in working on a community garden that helps those in need. So much to harvest!

      • susanzutautas

        Oh that’s wonderful!

    • elliotttlyngreen

      What a satisfying flash. Great work!

      • susanzutautas

        Thanks so much Elliott!

    • julespaige

      Excellent. There has to be a leader though for children to follow.
      A local school had a garden, but when the ‘leader’ retired….the garden fell to weeds…

      • susanzutautas

        A school across the street from me planted gardens but no one took care of them during the summer months.

      • julespaige

        Hard to wrangle volunteers. If they had made up some sort of schedule before school let out or made arrangements with the custodian?
        Sad to see all that work…diminished.

  11. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Harvest Tours

    “At Harvest Farms, we believe in recycling and reusing, and we compost year round.”
    He appraised the gaits of the elderly tour group as they went ahead into the facility. There were sure to be titanium joints, probably pacemakers, definitely hearing aids. The door closed.
    The next tour, a busload of young recidivists, would be harder. It always was but even without the hardware, it’s where the profits were. Their organs and tissues brought twice the price as those of these old people.
    After work he drank heavily, with the full knowledge that he was devaluing his own liver.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, wow! I didn’t expect that twist. Also, you added the devaluation of the tour leader’s own worth which is like a secondary twist. And all in 99 words!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        But of course; no more, no less. Thank you for the prompt.

      • Charli Mills

        It’s producing a bumper crop of something I didn’t realize was planted! Deep thinking plucked from the vines.

    • Colleen Chesebro

      This is an excellent creepy story.

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      Oh my Lord! You made Soylent Green look like a stroll in the park!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Thanks, I guess. I’ll be right back, I have to google Soylent Green.

      • Liz Husebye Hartmann

        Heston did a couple of pretty cool post-apocalyptic films, back in the day. He always seemed to play himself in all of them…

    • Deborah Lee

      Oh, my goodness. Soylent Green, or what? Deliciously creepy.

    • cadencerage

      I love how carefully you’ve laid out the twist. Really well done!

    • jeanne229

      Dark and somber flash, the horror intensified by the detachment of the narrator’s reflections and the sad way he equates his worth to the health of his organs…

    • elliotttlyngreen

      This is one of those rare flashes at the ranch that we get and i find myself wishing you had the entire book! Like, i want to read more. Great work here D.

  12. elliotttlyngreen

    Saving all my stories for the #CRRODEO. Now im really extra-cidered.. =] Bday party. Football. Family. Green River. WOTF. Heres what i got this week for the Ranch.

    GO BLUE. God Bless

    Give us Harvest by Elliott

    Give us the body. The one with palms read. Stigamta. Stalactites. Give us souls the holy trophy. We are under a tree writing the victory while the rest are still racing. Well, then give us hearth and home. At least. And we’ll continue our story of angst and feast. What was buried in the forests? Underneath our skins? Give us blood. What cures the itch of black plague? Sun shines low and north winds return us, lumineers, in knee high socks because they give to us – harvest. We manifest as artists and the new renaissance. We eat. We dance.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Elliott! I feel like I misnamed the hobbits. I want you party (extra-cidered!) with #CRRODEO and flash all October with #FFRODEO. It all would have been much simpler if I had stuck to one hashtag, but alas, my wandering (not lost) mind!

      Whoa! What a harvest party! It’s poignant and delicious all at once, like the labor and fruits of life. Beautiful writing.

      • elliotttlyngreen

        I was getting an idea of harvesting artists. Or maybe writers. Like, they are ready.. but i lost it (kind of).. er i mean the flash. Lol. I dont even have twitter!! I think u can use both.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I like this. Thou gaveth a hearty flash here.

      • Charli Mills

        I like the artist harvest, and that what Ifind most delicious in your flash! My favorite kind of harvest. 🙂 Ah, I could use both but then it adds extra characters to a tweet. I’ll defiitely search for both throughout October, but I’ll stick with #FFRODEO for the contest. Limber up writing fingers!

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Cracking knuckles and stretching fingers.. all i need now, charli, is some fantastic wonders..

    • Colleen Chesebro

      Oh, this sounds poetic. Love it.

    • jeanne229

      Powerful flash Elliot, one that poetically delivers its truth not line by line but in the sum of all its parts. The religious symbolism, the echoes of fantasy and myth: it’s achingly beautiful. And my god, “lumineers”–what a beautiful and perfect word. Reading your work is like receiving images and information on a different wavelength. I bow before you.

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Please rise my friend. Lol. So I can bow to your comment. =] thank you so much. And i love the Lumineers, but failed to realize it is not an actual word. Its just the name of a band; or dental whiteners… but it felt right. Im definitely on a dufferent frequency Jeanne. But you just made my day. I appreciate you taking a moment for such a deep reflection.

  13. Kerry E.B. Black

    Poor Sarah. My heart aches for her.

    Here’s mine. It offers traditional and esoteric harvests.

    Gentle Harvest
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    Death walked the hospital halls like shadow until she found Jane’s glowing soul. She listened to her life whispered in rattles and gasps before Death assumed a comforting form. For this soul, she became Jane’s beloved Grandmother. She stroked the patient’s sweaty hair from her forehead until her twitching calmed. Her voice reverberated with love. “Jane?” The patient’s eyelids fluttered. Pain and fever stole vision. Death hummed a childhood song, one Jane had sung with her Grandmother when they had brought in crops and sipped iced tea after. By holding hands, Death made her harvest and guided Jane home.

    • Kerry E.B. Black

      darn, this is the unedited version of the story. If you’d be so good as to peek at the edited version, it is on my wordpress page. I can’t figure out how to edit it here. I’m sorry.

      • Charli Mills

        Not a problem! I grabbed the edited version. You did a terrific job with creating something unexpected and beautiful out of the Grim Reaper. Realistic details brought me right into the heart of your story.

    • Colleen Chesebro

      A great take on the harvest. Well done. <3

    • Deborah Lee

      Oh WOW. Beautiful flash.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Robbie! It’s a relief when we regain our humor, and I appreciate how writing lets us explore all of our expressions. But humor is an uplifting one! Have a good week!

    • elliotttlyngreen

      ‘Timeously’ – a crafty little word in there. Very keen flash indeed.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I thought that’s where frost came from… thanks for this gift.

      • Colleen Chesebro

        Oh, thank you. 😀

    • Charli Mills

      Oooh, a myth! I love it when writers take forms they work in (mythology, poetry or even WIPs) and apply the prompt!

      • Colleen Chesebro

        Yippee! I will do some poetry at some point also. Thank you. <3

      • Charli Mills

        I enjoy the poetry! 🙂 It expands what can be done in 99 words. 🙂

    • cadencerage

      Beautiful ?

      • Colleen Chesebro

        Many thanks. 😀

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Wow! That was a heavenly flash Colleen. Cool name for the character and just rapt within the poetry of this huge little Flash!

      • Colleen Chesebro

        Thanks so much. Your comments made my day! <3

    • Charli Mills

      Your flash makes me think of the rebirth of the Phoenix. Sad, but hopeful! Ah…and you included rocks!

  14. cadencerage

    Hi! I’ve just ‘discovered’ your website, and I must say I’m loving the sense of community here.

    Here’s my piece:
    https://cadencerage.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/harvest/

    Please forgive the unconventional approach, this is just how my brain works. Thanks for the great prompt!

    • Deborah Lee

      A fantastical harvest! Nice flash.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Welcome. Seems as if your character is plagued with work. Or worked by plague?

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch! I enjoyed your unconventional approach. Thanks for contributing!

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      Hello darkness my old friend!
      Love this~

      • cadencerage

        Thank you! I enjoyed writing it so much, I’m now considering bringing Kol back for part 2 — this time in the midst of the Underworld’s worst labour strike yet. Should be fun!

    • elliotttlyngreen

      WElcome to Thee Ranch!! Let me just say.. ‘the sea of hysteria’ is just, just outstanding.

      • cadencerage

        Thank you! 🙂

  15. Stephen Marsh

    Love the story about Sarah. Touching.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for stopping by to read, Stephen!

    • Charli Mills

      Hey! And then you stopped back by to write! That’s great! Thanks for contributing!

      • Solveig

        I did, well the story wouldn’t leave my head 🙂

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      That’s the best way to harvest berries. 😉

    • Deborah Lee

      Very clever flash, and it left me quite depressed. lol

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yep, there are those farmers out there. Be mindful, folk, you may get plucked.

  16. Deborah Lee

    My heart breaks for Sarah. It takes a village, but villages don’t always take care of their own.

    But the peas! It takes me back to being a kid, when I was supposed to be weeding the garden. My dad would catch me sitting between the rows, munching on raw peas. He’d start to get mad, but would always sit down and join me.

    https://99monkeysblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/harvest-jane-doe-flash-fiction/

  17. rogershipp

    Providence Is in My Hands

    Slowly and steadily Steven maneuvered the one-wheeled cultivator through the freshly tilled earth. After each carefully calculated pass, he methodically removed every stone and pebble the tines had exposed. For this year’s harvest there could be no impediments.

    Picking up the malodorous bucket and his father’s haversack from the top of the preceding row, Steven continued to mimic the planting ritual he had seen his father do in years’ past.

    Systematically pacing off ten-foot increments, Steven knelt, laid the head of a sun perch, and encircled it with the three sisters.

    As new head-of-family, providence was his to command.

    https://rogershipp.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/providence-is-in-my-hands/

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      That corn will be high as an elephant’s eye before you know it!

      • rogershipp

        Thanks for the read and the kind words.

  18. Norah

    Hi Charli, I’d love to be in that patch of peas with you and Sarah, shelling and eating to our hearts’ (and bellies’) content. Actually, I guess I am in a way, reaping the rewards of belonging to the Carrot Ranch Literary Community and engaging in weekly flash fiction practice. There’s a lot going on at the Ranch. You are sowing some pretty fine seeds that will grow into amazing things. I am very happy to be a part of it, though I have to admit things are a bit hectic for me at the moment and I’m miles behind in my reading and commenting. I am looking forward to the contests which begin next week and am pleased to be leading the troupe into the ring. What fun! So much to look forward to. Thank you for the wonderful support you offer to we writers, and congratulations on seeing your efforts begin to bear fruit. Well done!

    • Norah

      Hi Charli, I’m back to share in the shelling with my Peace in a Pod http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-YR
      What a bounty of stories your prompt has harvested this week. I am looking forward to reading. 🙂

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        You are a wonder from down under, relentless in your positivity for children.

      • Norah

        I try! 🙂

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Amen Norah! I would second that (your last few sentences from ‘so much to look forward to’..)

  19. A. E. Robson

    The prompt, write about what it is to gather a harvest, immediately took me to the place that I am passionate about, writing about and sharing – our western heritage, the farmers, and the ranchers.

    But alas, 99 words were just not enough for me to work with. The result was many more words; however, 99 of them became very important.

    The Farmer, The Rancher
    by Ann Edall-Robson

    “The outsider sees it as a glamorous life until they take the time to do some digging and find out we spend most days racing Mother Nature. Sometimes it’s to get the crops planted and sometimes it’s to get them harvested. Calving doesn’t wait for sunny days and neither does fall round up when an early snow can blizzard its way across the range. We are not immune to floods, wildfires, and droughts, so why do we do this ritual year after year? It’s simple, it’s what we do. It’s part of us. It’s our life. It’s our livelihood.”

    http://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/the-farmer-the-rancher

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Flash means winnowing and making word wrangling choices. I don’t know what you culled, but this seems a rich harvest, the kernel of your theme.

  20. Annecdotist

    Interesting musings about harvesting, Charli. I so agree that our brains quickly develop a template for the crop – so much so that, after I’ve been reading all harvesting, it’s hard to resist taking that frame of mind onto other people’s land. So I really feel for Sarah in your flash. So cruel her neighbours will let her go hungry and they have food to spare.
    I hope I don’t miss the rodeo next week but I’m assuming that your October 3rd will be 4th here – which easily confuses me!
    My brain having settled into composing the weekly 99-word story, I hope it will adapt. Here’s the link to the latest:
    Two novels and a memoir about caring for babies
    http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2017/09/two-novels-and-a-memoir-about-caring-for-babies.html

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      Writers need that extra bit of perspective-shifting to move their work forward and out to the public. Brilliant!

    • susanzutautas

      Loved it!!

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Wonderful Flash here. I was thinking this is amazing how choice/select words can ‘fill in’ the unwritten details. I have a perfect sense of the service and the gathering. This ‘old matriarch’ must have impacted many.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Itchy skin, scratchy hay, prickly relatives; harvest time!

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Fine details in this flash. I felt like i was there; that i was the narrator. Great WorK!

      • jackschuyler

        Thanks Elliot, I’m thrilled that my character was relatable to you!

  21. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Looking forward to the party Charli and all the other planned events. Normally I would say I was going to miss the weekly prompts but with two competitions each week I don’t think there will be time.
    Lovely to see Sarah again and still being treated abysmally. Lets hope we can all share the harvest easier than she could. I have just planted out a veggie garden and looking forward to my first harvest in my new home in 8 – 10 weeks. My flash harvest this week https://irenewaters19.com/2017/09/26/bringing-in-the-harvest-99-word-flash-fiction/

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yikes. Some things never change for the women folk. You harvested a heavy flash here.
      As far as your garden, I hope you have seen some rain.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        True. We had one evening of good rain but we aren’t on water restrictions so I can water the veggies.

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Interesting. I have played around with the same idea – “they should have been fighting wars”… We men folk need great hand-to-hand combat, we need victory, and of course we need our women. It seems these days all that we have is drugs, and a sense of loss. calculated flash Irene.

  22. Kate

    I’m huffing and puffing tonight, rushing and late in getting this story out. This is what happens when we spend the weekend celebrating my husband’s birthday. Back in the early 20th century, Nora Bays and Jack Norworth wrote a song ‘Shine on, shine on harvest moon,’ that was all about romance. And that is where my mind jumped this week’s prompt.
    https://eloquentlykate.com/2017/09/26/harvest-moon/

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Excellent! the Neil Young definitely drizzled along the romance here.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. neelwrites/theharvest/flashfiction/shortstory/99words/September 21: Flash Fiction Challenge/22/09/2017 | neelwritesblog - […] Hosted by Carrot Ranch at https://carrotranch.com/2017/09/22/september-21-flash-fiction-challenge-2/ […]
  2. Immigration – Reena Saxena - […] Flash Fiction Challenge at Carrot Ranch […]
  3. (nf) CR/ Harvesting Humor (9/22) | Jules in Flashy Fiction - […] September 21: Flash Fiction Challenge September 21, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about…
  4. Kaiju Harvest | From the Valley of the Trolls - […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (09/21/2017): In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about what it is to…
  5. Harvest Tours | ShiftnShake - […] Carrot Ranch; September 21, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about what it…
  6. #Carrotranch Flash Fiction Challenge – Harvest – Robbie's inspiration - […] This week Charli Mills over at Carrot Ranch Literary Community has given us the topic of harvest for the…
  7. “The First Frost” – Flash Fiction – ?The Fairy Whisperer ?Colleen Chesebro? - […] I’ve written this story for the Flash Fiction Challenge at Carrot Ranch.com. […]
  8. Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge: Harvest of Hope | M J Mallon Author - […] Here’s my story for Charli’s Flash Fiction Challenge at Carrot Ranch.com. […]
  9. Carrot Ranch FF Challenge – Harvest Rewards  – The Bag Lady - […] September 21: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  10. Harvest – Cadence Rage - […] To participate, here’s the link: https://carrotranch.com/2017/09/22/september-21-flash-fiction-challenge-2/ […]
  11. Innocent Harvest – Solveig Werner - […] This is my first participation in the ‘Flash Fiction Challenge’ from the Carrot Ranch  […]
  12. Harvest (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) – 99 Monkeys - […] week at Carrot Ranch Literary Community, Charli Mills hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge. This week’s…
  13. Harvest #flashfiction – Hugh's Views & News - […] Charli Mills’s 99-word Flash Fiction challenge with the theme of ‘Harvest.’ Click here for full […]
  14. Flash Fiction: Bounty of Hamsters | Allison Maruska - […] hope you enjoyed my take on this week’s flash fiction challenge over at Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no…
  15. Memorial Service – Fledgling Fiction - […] Response to Carrot Ranch’s September 21 Flash Fiction Challenge: Gather a Harvest […]
  16. Gathering the Harvest – Rebecca Glaessner - […] September 21: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  17. Peace in a pod | Norah Colvin - […] The words resonate with me at any time, but especially this week when writing my response to the flash…
  18. Bringing in the Harvest: 99 Word Flash Fiction | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) - […] response to Charli’s prompt where she […]
  19. Anticipating Harvest – The Meaning of Me - […] post submitted to the September 21 Flash Fiction Challenge at Carrot Ranch […]
  20. Harvest Moon | Eloquently Kate - […] wrote this in response to Charli Mills’ September 21, 2017 Flash Fiction Challenge. In 99 words (no more, no less) write…
  21. The Things I Carry – Kelly Griffiths - […] meant to write about a harvest, which was my prompt from Carrot Ranch. Unfortunately, I got side-tracked. When I think…

Discover more from Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading