Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #4

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.

October 17, 2017

Scars

By Irene Waters

Welcome to Contest #4 of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo. This competition is free to enter and carries a cash prize of $25 for first place. Winning submissions will automatically be forwarded to the All-Around Rodeo Winner which carries an additional cash prize of $50. Naturally you can’t have a competition without rules and as each competition leader has devised their own rules I suggest that you read those for this competition prior to submitting your piece. The rules follow the competition topic.

 

The Topic

As a memoir writer and reader I am very aware that it is the situations in life that have a massive impact on the memoirist, those events which leave scars, whether physical or emotional, that are the chosen part of the life to be relayed. As a flash fiction writer delving into fiction, a genre with which I have not previously attempted, I became aware that we draw from real life to write fiction as well as memoir. The more observant we are as writers the greater our ability to convince our readers of the authenticity of our story. The more we remember from our own life informs our writing. In his book, Misery, Stephen King wrote,

“Writers remember everything…especially the hurts. Strip a writer to the buff, point to the scars, and he’ll tell you the story of each small one. From the big ones you get novels. A little talent is a nice thing to have if you want to be a writer, but the only real requirement is the ability to remember the story of every scar.”

In a double length Carrot Ranch flash, or 2 chapters of 99-words each (198 words total), tell a story that shows a scar. It can be memoir, other forms of creative non-fiction,  any genre of fiction or a BOTS (based on a true story).

 

The Rules

  1. Submit using the form below.
  2. Length of entry to be 198 words measured on Microsoft Word or wordcounter.net. Title is not counted in word length. Please be sure of your word count. Entries exceeding the word limits will be disqualified
  3. Flash is considered to be a complete story i.e. has a beginning, a middle and an end. This is a judging criteria.
  4. Entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm EST October 26.
  5. Your entry must be original and in English.
  6. The Judges rulings are final.

 

CONTEST #4 NOW CLOSED. WINNER ANNOUNCED NOVEMBER 28.

CHALLENGE OPTION: If you don’t feel up to entering a contest, please feel free to respond to this in the comments as a prompt challenge. Weekly Flash Fiction Challenges resume November 2.

 

Judging Criteria

  1. Complete story and structure
  2. Story Length
  3. Relevancy to prompt
  4. Grammar (spelling, tense, punctuation). Allowance will be made for differences in the language styles between countries and for the author to show her own voice.
  5. The Story

 

Judges

Irene Waters blogs at Reflections and Nightmares.

Angie Oakley blogs at Spry and Retiring.

Ellen Stomqvist is an avid reader.

More information about the judges can be seen here: for Angie and Irene.

Contest #4 Leader: Irene Water. For a full line-up of contests, see Events. Next up: 9×11 Twitterflash by  C. Jai Ferry on Thursday, October 19.

 

Announcement of Winner

Winners will be announced on Irene Waters website and Carrot Ranch website on the November 28, 2017.

 

About Carrot Ranch

Carrot Ranch is a literary community committed to providing all writers access to literary art regardless of backgrounds, genres, goals and locations. Common ground is found through the writing, reading and discussion of flash fiction. The weekly online flash fiction challenges promote community through process, craft and exploration, and regular participants form a literary group called The Congress of Rough Writers. Their first anthology, Vol. 1 publishes in 2017. Carrot Ranch offers an adult-learning program called Wrangling Words, available to all communities where Rough Writers reside.

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175 Comments

  1. robbiesinspiration

    Awesome, I have my two linked scars so know I must just pull the threads out of my head on submit them.

    • Charli Mills

      I think this prompt offers much reflection. I hope you enter, Robbie!

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Yes I hope you enter also Robbie. I love the idea of pulling threads out of your head. I wonder how you will weave them.

  2. Charli Mills

    Thanks for a great Rodeo Contest, Irene! I wrote fiction, but based it my own big toe that yet holds a scar from my horse stomping my foot because he was impatient to get his snout into a bucket of oats. I also know that the bond of trust between a horse and a human can transcend many negatives. From that came this story.

    CHALLENGE (NOT CONTEST)

    Deeper Than Scars by Charli Mills

    “Nothin’ but dog meat.” Daniel McFadden spat a stream of tobacco as he leaned on the corral.

    Shelly knew the piebald gelding wasn’t a looker. At fourteen, it was evident she wouldn’t be either. When the ranch foreman said the hands could take what they wanted from the stock, Gooseberry was the only one not selected.
    “Please, Dad. I’ll take care of him. Brush him every day, clean his hooves.”

    Shelly wanted her own horse. She’d already named him after her favorite pastry, hearing the hands call him a homely piebald.

    He grunted his consent. Gooseberry stomped Shelly’s foot.

    Four years later, Shelly carefully dressed. The thick scar on her big toe was not visible to others. She wiggled it before pulling on her boot sock and smiled, remembering the first time she met Gooseberry in the corral. He stomped her good in his fear of humans. Ugly horses and ranch girls were not met with kindness. But they were kind to each other, bringing out the best of what each had to offer. Hidden gifts; latent talents. No scars today. Today, they’d win the National Snaffle Bit Futurity, demonstrating the beauty of trust between horse and rider.

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      What a wonderful response Charli. So often we base stories on life events, maybe joining one, two or three together and creating characters based on those we know from life that may have had nothing to with the original event.
      I had to look up snaffle bit futurity – it sounds like a thrilling event with the trio of challenges for the reigned cow horse. Sometimes you need the scars to push you to the heights you know can be achieved and that bond that forms between animal and human, and human and human as a result can be deeper because of it. Eat your hat Daniel McFadden, Gooseberry Pie is sure better than dog meat.

      • Charli Mills

        I used to dream of winning the Snaffle Bit Futurity but was not allowed to compete because my own father told me my horse was a “dink” meaning no good. I did get to ride one of the Futurity champions, a blood red bay named Tobasco. But I loved my dink and we rode well together. Fiction, even when we think we are making it up, is based in the wealth of what we know.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        It must have been a thrill to ride Tobasco but I like the sound of riding your dink. Yes we do have a wealth inside us for sure.

      • Charli Mills

        Riding Tabasco was like getting to drive a sports car. But it was my dink I loved.

    • Ritu

      Great response Charli!

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks, Ritu!

    • denmaniacs4

      Loved the story, Charli. And I must say the “snaffle bit” has a flash fiction ring to it, as if every 99 word ride is a snaffle bite of life.

      • Charli Mills

        I like that idea, Bill! Thanks!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Robbie!

  3. Ritu

    Just submitted my own BOTS version!

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Thank you Ritu. I have received it. I look forward to reading it when competition closes. You have the honour of being the first submission.

      • Ritu

        Oh wow! Hope it’t not ‘First the Worst’ Lol!!! I hope you enjoy!

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        Don’t think that. Sometimes a subject resonates you can write it quickly from the heart and it is brilliant. Looking forward to it. I’m sure I’ll enjoy.

      • Ritu

        ????

      • Charli Mills

        That’s Fantastic, Ritu! I’m a believer in the power of the raw writing. You could call it a first burst of inspiration. 🙂

    • robbiesinspiration

      How do you do it so fast, Ritu? You need to come and show me how [smile].

      • Ritu

        Lol ! Robbie, I seem to work on Flash Fiction very quickly. If an idea is there, I just have to write it straight away! It just so happened that the idea came straight away, so I wrote it this morning over my cup of tea before school!

  4. Juliet Nubel

    Good morning Irene and Charli,
    I’ve just sent in my submission which I’ve been thinking about for days. I hope you enjoy it. I am really surprising myself with these entries. I never thought I was a fiction writer let alone a flash fiction writer. Maybe never even a writer! But I am loving these. Thanks for the opportunity to wear another hat.
    Have a lovely day.
    ????

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Hi Juliet. Your submission has made it and I am looking forward to reading it. I’m glad you are enjoying the experience. There is such a diverse range of topics in the competitions and it is surprising what you come up with. You have a lovely day also.

      • Juliet Nubel

        Thanks, Irene.

    • Sarah Brentyn

      You joined another one? Excellent! 🙂 (Told you it was addictive…just saying.)

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks for pushing flash, Sarah! 😉

      • Juliet Nubel

        Yeah, that makes three! And another one woke me up this morning… I blogged about this itch to write flash fiction yesterday on my site. This is all thanks to you, Sarah 🙂

      • Sarah Brentyn

        Woot! 😀

      • Charli Mills

        I second Sarah’s Woot! It’s a lovely pattern to fix upon your writer’s brain! Take all your writing conundrums to flash. It’s a tool as much as it is a solid form.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Juliet! I’m delighted to hear you are owning the writing hat! Irene and other memoirists at Carrot Ranch write about what their experiences have been writing flash fiction as memoir writers. I know I’ve learned much from Irene. You have a lovely day, too!

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        Thanks Charli. I think we learn from each other and that is what community is all about. We all have things we are good at that we can pass on in a non-threatening supportive ranch.

      • Juliet Nubel

        Thank you Charli. I’m definitely trying to own the writing hat. I’m having trouble taking it off in any case. The next piece is buzzing around up there already…

      • Charli Mills

        You are welcome to keep showing up with that hat. Looks good on you, Juliet! And as Irene says, we have a supportive community for sharing and learning.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, D.!

  5. julespaige

    Irene,

    I agree with Mr. King. Though not all scars have to cut deeply. Some scars can be as gentle and soft as a slight chilling breeze or a very deep single strange look of pure nasty from someone we don’t even know.

    Much to think about here. So I may just take some time before submitting a challenge as well as a contest piece.

    ~Thanks Jules

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Couldn’t agree more Jules. Scars can be many things. Some scars can be trophies to be worn proudly for all to see, others we try to hide, all shape and give us stories. Think as long as you like, well almost as long, there is plenty of time.

      • julespaige

        OK… My grandson played quietly before going I had to take him to school this morning.

        I’ve got two pieces waiting in the wings. One for the Challenge section and the other as an entry. They just need titles.

        When you get an idea or two it is best to pen them before too much time passes and (with getting older more frequently) you forget 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, we can have many scars.

  6. julespaige

    Cicatrix Trio
    (198) Challenge

    One you can’t see it if you don’t look. I’ve a thin scar on my
    chinny chin chin.That’s from trying to roller skate and hang
    onto apartment walls – then falling forward with a big bang!
    Luckily I didn’t break my jaw bone.

    Another scar also a head wound… maybe a tiny bit visible
    when I get some sun on my face, is also from stupidity. By
    diving in the shallow end of a pool while playing ‘Marco Polo’.
    And it kind of looks just a bit like Harry Potter’s. Though truth
    be told Ms. Rowling… I had it first!

    At least one scar that I have isn’t on my face. It’s sort of
    under one of on the inner side of one of my elbows. It was
    when I let a big dog take me for a walk. Hey when you are
    a kid you’d like to believe you are stronger than you look!
    The neighbor’s dog gave chase to something and dragged
    me and my arm about a half a concrete city block. That one
    didn’t need stitches.

    Those are the visible ones… But we’ve all got scars that
    will never see the light of day.

    ©JP/dh

    Cic·a·trix : ?sik??triks/ noun 1. the scar of a healed wound. A )a
    scar on the bark of a tree. B) BOTANY C) a mark on a stem left
    after a leaf or other part has become detached. OK I’m not a tree,
    but I think cicatrix is a cool new word. And often people can be
    described as having characteristics of trees; weepy like Willows,
    or as strong as an Oak.

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Loved your humour Jules. I bet the dog scar even though it didn’t need stitches was probably the one that hurt the most. Hope those invisible scars have become Cicatrix. Wonderful new word. Thanks for introducing me to it.

      • julespaige

        Did you get my Contest entry?

      • Charli Mills

        It’s in the form feedback, Jules!

    • Charli Mills

      A new word and perfect for scars! I like how you used humor and physical scars and then gave us a switch, leaving us to think about the invisible ones. But dragged by a dog on concrete? Ouch!

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        I’ve also been dragged by a dog on a tarmac and the next day the dog had a halti harness. It hurt. Yes ouch.

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, no, Irene! Sounds like the harness worked. My Big Brown Dog was a puller, but I never did get dragged by him. We used to harness him to the wood sled in winter.

      • julespaige

        I think getting stepped on by a horse can be ‘Ouch’ too 🙂

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        I brought two donkeys for the wood wagon. If I’d thought about it it might have been easier to train the dogs.

      • Charli Mills

        True! I hoof can hurt. And dogs or donkeys might be easier to manage!

  7. katimac62yahoo

    Charli, I’ve enjoyed participating in the rodeo but I’m concerned about the upcoming 11 x 9 event. I don’t have a Twitter account. Am I still allowed to participate?

    katimac62@yahoo.com

    • julespaige

      Personally, if you can follow the directions for the challenge… I suppose it is a possibility to still participate. But I am not on Facebook, Snapchat nor do I tweet. And do not plan on opening said accounts just to do so. The simple fact is not everyone will participate in all events.

      (Though I have no clue as to what the 11×9 event is…) I haven’t looked that far ahead. Charli’s rodeo is about writing a book… Not sure if I’ve got enough in me to do that. 😉

      Good luck to those who can. 🙂

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      I don’t know the answer to this one either. I do have a twitter account but I rarely visit and it feels like a foreign country to me when I do. I’m hoping the challenge might make it a bit clearer to me. As Jules said – if you can follow the directions…. Charli might have better answers for you. I received your entry. Thanks. Look forward to reading it when all are in.

    • Charli Mills

      Good question! I’m glad you are participating, and the purpose of the Ranch is to make literary art more accessible. The wide variety of contests is to expose writers to different literary forms, and the 9×11 Twitterflash is meant to highlight the way Twitter has evolved as a literary writing tool.

      Thus, the challenge of Twitterflash is to use the 140 character limit to craft a story one Tweet (or sentence) at a time. 11 sentences of 9 words = a 99-word flash fiction. The additional constraint is the character limit and the use of hashtags. Definitely Twitter inspired and driven.

      However, in keeping with accessibility, I’m building a form to mimic the TwitterFlash so that those who don’t have a handle can still participate. For those who do have a handle, but aren’t on Twitter often, I’d encourage them to use this contest as a way to experience how literary artists are using Twitter. This challenge will judge each line as a stand alone and the cohesiveness of the overall flash.

      Long answer — yes! You can still participate by following the form in the Rodeo #5 post.

      • julespaige

        Excellent! I like playing with new short forms.
        I hope we get some extra examples too.

        If I am reading this right does the # and your handle or name count as part of the 140 characters…. just something to clarify.

        Thanks again!

      • Sarah Brentyn

        Oh, what the heck. I’ve written one for the challenge tomorrow and will post it as an example. Perhaps not a good example, but an example.

    • Sarah Brentyn

      I’ll let the leaders of the Ranch answer this (while I put my two cents in). 🙂 Twitterature (writing on Twitter) is awesome.

      I’d say, as long as it’s okay with the boss(es), you could simply write 11 complete sentences each consisting of 9 words. That will give you the 99 words but in the format you’d use on Twitter for this contest.

      P.S. The hashtag does count against the 140 characters but, with 9 words in the tweet (or the sentence, if not on Twitter), that won’t be an issue.

      • julespaige

        Sarah,

        Twitterature – cute. Kind of like three line fiction stories.

        So you don’t have to use all the 140 characters as long as you have 9 words in 11 sentences?

        (I think I’ve got a ‘handle’ on this now…)

        Thanks, Jules

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        Thanks Sarah for the link. I am a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to twitter and twitterature (love that word). Am going to give it a shot and may learn something.

      • Charli Mills

        For the contest, the judges decided to make Twitter a requirement because of how they have set up their process to follow and judge it. They also felt that the “social” aspect of Twitter is important.

        You can see examples by going to twitter and searching the dual hashtags of #FFRODEO and #twitterflash. Sarah has given you a good example. 9 words does not take up much of the character count.

        If you want to do a challenge in the comments it’s a 99-word story crafted in 11 sentences f 9 words each. But it really is a different process doing each sentence as a Tweet. It makes you think more about that sentence standing out on its own.

        Thanks for your help, Sarah!

    • Charli Mills

      OKay! Katimac, Irene and Jules, we were unable to replicate what the Twitterflash does on Twitter by using a form. I’m completely new to literary forms on Twitter but they are a big deal, and I’m excited to learn.

      If Twitter is not a platform you want to do you can take the challenge and respond in the comments. We want to make is accessible to all writers, but also manageable for the judges.

      You could tweet for ten days and then leave it be!

  8. Pete

    Challenge

    Dress Rehearsal

    Dad and I spent the afternoon sorting out Mom’s closet. I climbed into a jungle of dresses and blouses and coats and sweaters. We joked some, to fill the silence, about how women had so much stuff. I hung Mom’s sheer scarves over the open window and Dad watched them dance in the breeze to a song in his head. Every piece had a place in his memory. The turquoise number she wore to a wedding, the yellow one from a banquet dinner at in Ocean City Maryland ten years ago. Her favorite church dress, a satin fundraiser getup. Funeral attire, like the one she’d worn yesterday in her coffin. The one she was wearing now, I guess.

    Like inventory, Dad knew every dress and every moment they’d had. He told me Mom wore the scarves to hide a small scar on her neck. I didn’t remember a scar. Dad nodded, said her father burned her with an iron when she was little. Dad said he used to kiss the scar when she’d let him. I looked to the scarves, Mom’s dresses heavy on my arm. Dad got to his feet, said he had to check on dinner.

    • julespaige

      Romantic and heartbreaking.

      • Pete

        Thanks, sorry for the repetition and other mistakes, it was a lunchtime write!

    • julespaige

      What mistakes… I’m not judging this one 😉

      We write from the heart. And that is not a mistake. 🙂

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Just beautiful. Moved me to tears. If there were mistakes I didn’t see them either.

    • Charli Mills

      Geeze, Pete, way to choke me up! That’s some fine lunchtime writing.

    • Liz H

      Oh your last two sentences! Subtle and powerful~~

    • Sarah Brentyn

      Pete! Again… This hit me – actually made me cry. Beautifully done.

  9. denmaniacs4

    On a broader note, I have been enjoying each and every Rodeo Contest in this series. Really a brilliant idea and I hope thousands participate…and if they do, my condolences to the judges…

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      I agree. The diversity of the contests is large and the number of entrants show their skills in fields they know well and those that are new to them. Daunting for the judges but what a joy lies in store for us also. I’m looking forward to reading the submissions for this challenge.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Bill! I’m enjoying how it’s all unfolding and the diversity of contests. Our judges have some work to do! But as Irene says, it’s also a joy.

  10. Sarah Brentyn

    I am LOVING this one. I’m a sucker for scars (physical and emotional). I’ll be back… 😉 Good luck, all!

    • Charli Mills

      Scars. Such potential to carry a story. Thanks, Sarah!

  11. Colleen Chesebro

    OHHHH… this looks amazing. Today was crazy but tomorrow is another day! 😀

    • Charli Mills

      Still plenty of time for scars. I agree, this has potential for deep writing!

      • kim blades, writer

        Hi Charli. It is 24 years since my mother died and I think it is the emotional scarring I received because of and after her death that is largely responsible for the bad decisions I have made since.

      • Colleen Chesebro

        I’m a wee intimidated… but all in nevertheless! 😀

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        Don’t be intimidated Colleen but at the same time don’t go where you aren’t ready to go. Scars can be on the surface or deep.

      • Charli Mills

        Such scars do impact our lives and choices. Scars are also evidence of healing, while also acknowledging the original pain. <3

      • Charli Mills

        Colleen, I can’t help but wonder what kind of scars fairies carry?

  12. Norah

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    Have you got any scars you wish to share? Maybe others you’d rather hide?
    Irene Waters has thrown down the challenge for the fourth of the contests in the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo. #FFRODEO
    We’re halfway through the challenges. Can you believe that!
    I’m having a difficult time judging all the wonderful entries for my contest. Thank you to all who entered.
    Have you entered any of the contests yet? There’s a $25 prize for the winner of each one!

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Thanks Norah for sharing. I haven’t started reading any of the entries yet but I fear it is going to be hard to judge as I think they are all going to be good. Hard to believe we are half way through.

      • Norah

        I didn’t read any of my entries until after the contest was closed. I’ve read them all at least twice. They are all very good, and it’s difficult to make a decision. It’s a good thing I’ve got others to help me. Good luck with yours.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        Thanks Norah. I think it is going to be tough judging them if the quality of all is high and I’m thinking it probably will be. Yes I think it is a good thing we have three judges.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for sharing, Norah! Wow, we are halfway through. I was thinking we were in the thick of it. 😉

      • julespaige

        Thick as stepping in cow patties in the dawn fog at the Ranch…
        Nice we don’t have ‘smellavision’ *giggle*

      • Norah

        We are in the thickest of it! What fun! 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! Yes, we would be accumulating a lot of cow patties and horse apples by now! 😀

  13. Norah

    Great prompt, Irene. I’ll have a think about scars.
    Charli, what a great diversity in prompts. There’s something for everyone, and lots of new things to try. It’s a great way to expand our comfort zones. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity.

    • Charli Mills

      It feels like a buffet. So many tasty bites to choose from! Thank you for adding to the wealth of diversity!

      • Norah

        At least over-indulging isn’t quite the same worry with this buffet. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Low calorie, high impact word buffet!

  14. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Thanks Norah. You have written some great scar stories in the past with your little girl (memory loss moment for her name). I agree the diversity in competitions allows everyone to enter in and out of their comfort zone.

    • Charli Mills

      Marnie! And I think of Norah’s character as fitting this contest. Yes, we are all feeling in and out of our comfort zones. Stretching!

  15. kim blades, writer

    AN EMOTIONAL SCAR
    At 53 years old my mother was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour.
    I moved out of the flat I had shared with Dave, the man I loved, and went back home to help my dad look after my now paralysed mom. Dave was also devastated by my mom’s illness and death 5 months later but by this time he had decided that he wanted move on with his life and soon had a new girlfriend.
    I was now 30 and alone. My father had gone to live overseas with his own elderly mother and, unfortunately, a rift between my older sister and I widened and I saw little of her.
    The friends Dave and I had shared had been his friends first and they remained so. I was not invited to socialise with them and they refused all my invitations.
    Depression hit me big time. My self-confidence and self-esteem evaporated and I withdrew into myself, teaching History at high school and returning home to my two cats every afternoon. Two years later the temporary post I held at school ended and I was unemployed as well.
    This period of intense loneliness and depression has scarred me permanently.

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Kim this was a life story that didn’t warrant the like I gave it, as it was one episode of sadness followed by another and a huge burden to bear. It is so hard watching one you love succumbing to tumours and it must have been heart wrenching seeing your Mum paralysed. How nice though that you were able to look after her and I’m sure you brought her great comfort and lots of love in her final days.
      To then have your Father leave the country, your boyfriend go his own way and rifts appearing with other family members I am not at all surprised you suffered from depression. I can see you would have many scars as a result I hope they are becoming cicatrix (as Jules used earlier for a scar now healed). With the number of scars you have I’d say you must have a novel or two in you. To get this all in the required 198 words and elicit such an emotional response in this reader – you have packed a punch with your writing.

      • kim blades, writer

        Hello Irene. Thank you for your lovely comments. Unfortunately the trauma caused by my mom’s illness and death and all the other upsetting things that happened to me shortly after, has resulted in my suffering from PTSD and a resultant rushed and failed marriage and an inability on my part to hold down a job. I am an English and History teacher but was unable to cope with the awful behaviour of, unfortunately, the majority of children I taught. I became very ill with an overactive thyroid, caused by stress, and eventually gave up teaching in 2008. Writing keeps me sane. Kim

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        I’m glad writing keeps you sane Kim. You’ve had a lot to deal with and all coming on top of each other. I have said for years I am so glad I’m not a teacher – because of the behaviour of the children. There is seemingly little discipline given at home and schools are now hogtied and cannot administer it either. Makes it very hard on teachers. Keep writing. Cheers Irene

    • julespaige

      It is amazing how our life tragedies sometimes want to take over. But we can persist as we slowly peel back their clawing grip to heal and move on. Just knowing that we are not alone in how we have at one time felt makes us bond. And that strength helps to heal us. We do not have to forget, but we can be made stronger and move forward with grace and confidence.

      Best to you and all of us as both our visual and invisible scars vanish as we put them on for display.

      Hugs, Jules

    • Liz H

      Yeah, “like” does not express it. I’m with you, have been in similar shakes, and promise that with self care and love, those scars will become a thing of beauty.

    • Charli Mills

      The burden of such isolation and loneliness can leave so many scars upon scars. What a devastating time in your life. Thank you for sharing your emotional scars and I hope writing about it gives some healing and introspection.

    • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

      Have to agree with the others – “like” is hardly the right response here. Thanks for sharing your story.

      • Judy E Martin

        You’re welcome 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for sharing the chance to write about scars!

  16. Judy E Martin

    An emotional one for me this week BOTS 🙂

      • Judy E Martin

        Yes, I agree, writing can be liberating. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Often we see what’s beneath the scars. I’m glad you find writing to be liberating. I find it to be empowering.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        I like empowering. Liberating is good but to take it that extra step – fantastic.

  17. robbiesinspiration

    I am done and entered. I wonder what you will think of it.

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Thanks Robbie. I am not even taking a peek until submissions close. I’m looking forward to reading and will let you know what I think down the track a bit.

      • robbiesinspiration

        Yes, I think it makes sense to read them all fairly quickly so that you can do comparisons while they are fairly fresh in your mind.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        I think I will be reading them all a few times. Looking forward to it but must admit am a little daunted as I have a feeling they are all going to be worthy. Luckily three judges might make it a little easier.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you for entering, Robbie!

  18. Colleen Chesebro

    I’ve entered and hope you will enjoy the continuing saga of The Heart Stone Chronicles… <3

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Thanks Colleen. Looking forward to all the submissions. Resisting until they are all in.

      • Colleen Chesebro

        LOL! I’m really enjoying the challenges. Thanks for hosting. <3

    • Charli Mills

      Sounds intriguing, Colleen! Thank you for entering!

      • Colleen Chesebro

        Thanks, Charli. <3

  19. Sherri Matthews

    Great to see your memoir flash contest Irene. I will enter my ‘scars’, can’t miss this one <3

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      I hope you do Sherri. Yours will be upon us in the blink of an eye. The time has gone so quickly.

      • Sherri Matthews

        Thanks Irene. Time is flying, that’s for sure…and you won’t believe it, but at last, hallelujiah, we are moving into our new home next week! Exchanged late yesterday…still can’t believe it’s really happened. I’m toying with a couple of things for yours…will definitely enter 🙂 <3

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        How exciting. You will soon be nesting. That is the nice part about moving I think. Look forward to your entry. ??????

      • Sherri Matthews

        Nesting is always the best part – and I am at at long last allowing myself to get excited! Thanks Irene…quick check in here, but I will be back just under the clock no doubt! 😉 <3

      • Sherri Matthews

        Yes…that would be so nice! The voice of experience…thanks Irene 🙂 <3

    • Charli Mills

      Ah! The memoirists are gathering! <3

  20. Sherri Matthews

    Reblogged this on A View From My Summerhouse and commented:
    Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #4 ‘Scars’ is live now! Memoir writer Irene Water’s asks us to write a double length Carrot Ranch flash, or 2 chapters of 99-words each (198 words total), tell a story that shows a scar. It can be memoir, other forms of creative non-fiction, any genre of fiction or a BOTS (based on a true story). Deadline 11:59 pm EST October 26. Read on for all details and submission guidelines, and as always, good luck one and all!

  21. Liz H

    Question! (Please?):

    MSWord counts symbols to break sections as a word (ex: “**”). But it that symbol doesn’t seem like a word to me, and this issue (may have) occurred in earlier submissions in this Rodeo.

    So, if I use a “**” or a “***” or (a “*” as was used and not counted in the septolet examples), am I adding a word? And is the rule the same across the different challenges?

    I only ask because I’m confused. I can fix what I understand. Thanks!! 🙂

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Hi Liz, I will not count ** as a word and as you have alerted me to it if your entry comes up over I will total the two sections separately and add together. Each competition has its own leader who has devised their own set of rules so you possibly need to check with them.
      Thanks for alerting me.

      • Liz H

        Thanks! I will proceed an upload tomorrow. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a good alert! Jules discovered that too (she requested * be used to show where the septolet parted) and we did not count it even though the counters did!

  22. floridaborne

    I’m in the process of finding the right words — for words I was taught were not right. This is the hardest challenge yet.

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      I hope you find the words you are looking for. Surprised you find it the hardest as most of us write scars in nearly every flash we write. Perhaps we don’t think of them as scars. I found the humorous the hardest and perhaps the septolet. They all have their challenge.

  23. Chris Mills

    Submitted. I wrote four stories to get this one. This was a thought-provoking challenge that ended up being an emotional experience as well as an exercise in writing. Maybe that’s how it should be every time we write.

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      I think that any time we allow emotion to surface powerful writing results. Looking forward to reading when all submissions are in.

  24. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Inscription

    “Hey, Shorty. What’s up? Besides the rodeo, I mean.”
    “I been busy, what with rodeoin’, ranchin’, wranglin’ an’ ropin’, an’ ridin’ herd on some other projects.”
    “So what brings ya by?”
    “Kid’s been kinda scarce. Ya know anythin’ Pal?”
    “Yep.”
    “Well?”
    “Kid’s been hangin’ out back East agin. Got some sort a rodeo goin’ on there by the sounds a things. Or did the Kid call it a three-ring circus? Either way they’s been a bunch a jugglin’ goin’ on and balancin’ acts an’ such. Kid claims to be workin’ at tamin’ wild uns, kid-whisperin’ even.”
    “School?”
    “Yep.”
    “The Kid’s workin’ with kids, yer talkin’ ‘bout?”
    “Yep. Math.
    “Go figger.
    “Kid says they’s some real fine stock, full a potential, but some’s jest plain scared and confused.”
    “ ‘Bout math?”
    “Life. Scary present, uncertain future. An’ some’s already scarred by their pasts, carryin’ buckets full a loss an’ grief. Kids ain’t goin’ over the river an’ through the woods to granma’s anymore. Granma’s raisin’ ‘em.”
    “That’s a tough equation, Pal.”
    “Yep. But scars don’t have ta equal disability. Kid’s hopin’ these school kids’ll someday know their scars as an inscription that tells a story a healin’ an’ resilience.”

    • julespaige

      Learning through experience is always a challenge.
      Nice how you rounded up them words to say so.

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      I like your sentence that scars don’t equal disability. They should be seen as evidence of life and hopefully that of resilience. Battle scars to be proud of.

    • Charli Mills

      That last quote is beautiful wisdom and hope all expressed in the idea of scars.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Dang it Boss, I hope their someday is ok; more woundings since this.

      • Charli Mills

        <3 🙁 <3

  25. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Irene, this was a tough prompt for me. I have boring scars, no good stories, just little reminders to be careful with fatigue and saws and hedge trimmers. But it would scar me not to manage something for your challenge, so here’s something:

    First Separation

    “My bellybutton.”
    “What?”
    “That’s the first scar we get, the first scar of first separation.” She trailed her finger around his navel as she spoke.
    “Ok”, he said, rolling onto his side, “Besides your bellybutton, what other scars do you have?”
    “The blankets when you toss them aside and leave my bed are a scar. A scar of separation.”
    “Really?”
    “Yes, and when you go, it is wrenching, and the door is a scar.”
    “Another scar of separation? Drama! I return, we heal.”
    “What makes you think I have scars?”
    “Everyone does. They’re our own imprinted stories. I showed you where I slid into the barbed wire fence.” He lifted his calf for her to see the scar again, then kissed her, held her gaze. “Thing is, we’ve been together a few times, but always with the lights off, always you wear a nightshirt.” Her eyes dropped.
    “Look. Pruning saw slipped the branch, ripped my finger.” She kissed his finger then pushed his hand away.
    She sat up, pulling off her shirt. “Scars of separation”, she whispered. “But I got away.”
    “And I will never hurt you”, he said, gently tracing each raised imprint of a plunged knife.

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      For something you struggled with you came up with a mighty powerful flash. Thank you for spending the time to think – it paid off.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Thanks Irene. But I wasn’t thinking about this story, at least not that I know of. I do have to live with a prompt for a while sometimes, just put it in my head and leave it there. Nothing was going to happen on a weekday. Somehow those characters in the panel above get out quickly and easily and seem to serve to get things going. This week’s Ranch Yarn ended up prompting my response for the twitter flash. But then that prompted me to not leave your challenge unmet. And the prompt had basted enough, voila, and phew.
        Geoff’s was the hardest, I didn’t get anything out for his, couldn’t do funny.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        Glad you rose to the challenge D. I found Geoff’s the hardest also. You write humour all the time and I often have some humour in mine but to write humour on command is more than a little difficult.

    • Charli Mills

      Scars of separation and then that last line, the reveal. Powerful writing. I understand what you mean about sitting with a prompt or idea or character. Sometimes they have to simmer to let the flavors blend. I can’t believe you didn’t do the humor! You are always funny! Oh, I know, the moment we are told to be funny is when humor goes dry.

      • Charli Mills

        Now you have me giggling!

  26. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

    Well. I’ve had all three of us down sick with one thing or another for the last week and a half, so I’ve sadly missed the first few contest deadlines. Stupid germs. I’ve been thinking about this one a lot and I think I have something I’m ready to submit. Going to sleep on it a bit still.

    • Charli Mills

      Those sneaky germs like to take down families one at a time. I hope you’re all feeling better.

      • Charli Mills

        Whew! Now I hope you are all inoculated by the virus, and well for the rest of winter! Which is coming…

    • julespaige

      Hope everyone is healthy now. I always get a big drip when the season changes..
      You can always enter closed contests as challenges…
      Just a thought if you were interested.

  27. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

    *raises hand*
    Technical question!
    Is a hyphenated word counted as one or two words? At the moment, I’m going by MS Word’s word count, but just want to clarify before I hit submit this evening. THANKS!

    • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

      OK so I submitted! Wordcounter.net says 199 because I used a ~~~ to separate chapters. MS Word says 198. If any problem, please holler!

    • Charli Mills

      MS Word count is good. Same as wordcounter.net. Both count hyphenated words as one. Yes, we did discover the asterisk in the Septolets was being counted, too. I’m glad you realized it and adjusted! Good job managing your own technical difficulties! 😀

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  5. First Separation | ShiftnShake - […] is my response to Irene Water’s challenge for the Rodeo event #4 over at Carrot Ranch. In a double length…
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