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December 28: Flash Fiction Challenge

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S.M.A.G., Norah Colvin, @NorahClovin

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Ice crystals lace silver threads of intricate patterns across glass so thin I feel surrounded by frozen cellophane. Any minute I expect ice-spiders to skitter across the glass, adding more crystalline webbing. All I hear is the distant hum of a neighbor’s snowblower, chewing mounds of white drifts, recreating front lawns into winter parking lots.

Then snow crunches and squeaks, alerting me to the return of the Huskies to the top of the deck. The door handle is so cold I fumble several attempts to open it. Two dogs with enviable fur puff through the door, their breath froze in the moment, driftless and white. Everything is white, and this porch is officially below zero (Fahrenheit).

We all rush into the welcoming warmth of the kitchen, quickly closing the seeping snow and leaving the unseen ice-spiders to spin their webs until it warms or the earth shatters.

Lady Lake Superior holds us captive like a Winter Queen in a Fairy Tale. On her blustery days, she forces the lake upon us and I imagine drowning in snow. On Christmas Eve we drove out to a friends and family party, a local Finnish family’s tradition for so long that it’s become generational. Our gracious hostess, an artist of local renown, served us food as if she had painted a canvas or raku-fired pottery.

Many people came and went that night as we lingered close to the table with magic abilities to refill platters of meatballs, spinach puff pastries and bowls of salmon spread. My own offering of smoky twice-baked potatoes dwindled and our hostess proclaimed them delicious. It boosted my spirits to receive a nod from one artist to another.

My art, words upon a page, lately feel frozen, ink stuck in the nib. Tis only a season and this too shall pass. Yet like the hunter, I can’t stop. Maybe the rabbit hunt results in a small mouse, but that sustains me until I snag the rabbit. It’s possible I might cross paths with an elk, and as a hunter, I know that will only happen if I go out on the trail frozen and snow-blown as it is.

That evening I met a delightful artist in her 80s. She lives at the end of the Keweenaw at Copper Harbor. We spoke about mentors and how every artist needs one. She told me about her aunt who was trained back east and highly regarded. She was plucky. At age 15 she rode a bus to apply for a copy-writer job in downtown Chicago, lying about her age. She told me many stories that night, still feeling the tug of writing after decades of painting, and concluded, “Artists are weird.”

I laughed. I think the drive to create also drives us to take risks and experiment. Recently the New York Times published an article, “Why Trying New Things  is So Hard to Do.” If artists are weird, then it’s because we go against the genetic code and try new things. As you can see, week after week, literary artists at Carrot Ranch can try to write one thing in a new way.

Flash fiction is an exploratory tool. Maybe it makes us weird, but it’s a response to the passion to create and tell stories.

After a jolly Christmas Eve, we left while Lady Lake Superior thrust her might upon the land. Have you ever been in a torrential downpour? Snowflakes pummeled existing drifts like pouring rain. To stand in pouring snow was awe-inspiring; to drive in it was terrifying. It fell so fast it covered all hints of the road and made looking out the windshield like staring into strobe lights. All I could see out of the corner of the windshield was the faintest hint of deeper piles to indicate the edge of the road.

Once back at the house in Hancock, I asked my kids how they navigate in such conditions. They both responded that you learn not to look forward but to the side to find the road’s edge. I had it right but found it frightening to drive snow-blind. Perhaps that is what it’s like to write — we navigate the page blind to all but one edge we follow.

If the stars ever return to the sky, when Lady Lake decides to pull back from dominating the terrain, I know I have one up there — my wishing star. Even covered, I know it guides me. And I think of this star on the cusp of one year to the next because I believe in activating my wish. You might call it a dream, but it’s not a goal — goals are what you set to attain your dream.

Pretend ice-spiders exist for a moment. Pretend Lady Lake is real and in a giving mood. She parts the veil of gray clouds to let the electric particles dance in sheets of apple-green and orchid-purple. The sky displays a light show and stars burn like diamonds on black velvet. She momentarily resets the night sky until one star, your star, shines brightest. She grants you a wish:

“Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.”

Don’t think, don’t blink, write it down now!

This wish holds meaning for you. Perhaps it’s obvious. Maybe you have to ponder its symbology. It’s a wish made when you thought anything possible. Now I want you to think about your calling as a writer, a literary artist, an educator, a philosopher, a traveler, a missionary. Pick or add what resonates with you. If you could call yourself anything, what would that be?

You now hold two hints to your vision.

Did you know that visioning is a process? It’s a business process and entails more than wishing upon stars. It sets a northern star in the sky over an organization to lead the way. Goals are like arrows aimed at this star. At times when you are not sure what is next for you, realign to your star, your vision. Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, I trained with Ari Weinzweig and his team from Zing Train. From him, I learned how to train trainers, give great service and include visioning as part of planning.

“Begin with the end in mind,” Ari advises (you can read more in his book, A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building Great Business).

If you set goals, to what end? How will you know what success looks like? You probably already do this, but like your wish, it feels private and fanciful. But Ari calls visioning “positive futuring.” It’s a way to innovate and inspire the action you take. Zing Train is a division of Zingerman’s Deli (yes, a small college town deli cultivates business leaders). In 2007, NYT called them “The corner deli that dared to break out of the neighborhood.” And I’ve reworked the training I received and used in my own workplace to encourage writers to do something with that wish: vision.

Three years ago in the December 24, 2014 prompt I shared the following peek at my own vision:

Recalculations help redefine goals. Why set goals? Because if you have dreams, goals become a way to navigate to them. Your vision is like the north star, guiding you along the way. My vision is big and includes much more than successfully publishing novels. It includes creating literary spaces both physically and digitally–places to learn grow, create and recalculate. Collaboration is part of the vision.

Carrot Ranch fosters a literary space to practice craft, communicate ideas and read stimulating writing. Rough Writers are regulars or founding contributors, and Friends are our readers and commenters. We have many friends who pop in once in a while when inspired and others who faithfully read. Together we create a community that honors what literature is about–progressing the imagination to describe, define or experience life. Literature thrives in an open environment.

Join the dream. An open invitation to the Congress of Rough Writers & Friends:

  • Help develop a Carrot Ranch Anthology (expanded shorts based on flash fiction, for example). It can be a fun way to explore collaboration and indie avenues from crowd-sourcing to publishing.
  • Help develop a Christmas project for next year (what trouble can we write Rudolph into with his visits around the globe).
  • Research a possible text or workshop based on how flash fiction can build skills and that college classes or writing groups can use.

Three years ago, I had no idea that my husband’s behavior was sign of cognitive demise, that my best friend had incurable cancer or that we’d ever leave Elmira Pond. I was expressing to the early writers at the Ranch my wish to do more than write my books. I wanted a literary community, writer collaboration, the opportunity to explore independent publishing, a fun event at the Ranch, and a way to teach flash fiction as a skill-building tool.

Here’s where I get goosebumps. Despite unexpected circumstances, my vision stayed constant. Carrot Ranch thrives, my books have progressed, we have our first anthology of flash fiction in Kindle, I know tons more about independent publishing and it’s altered my goals, Rudolph morphed into a Rodeo, and I now teach Wrangling Words as a community outreach course and will debut TUFF workshop in February. Retreats on Elmira Pond took me to bigger waters where I dream of one on Isle Royale and another on a cruise to New Zealand.

I’m dreaming big! Are you? Let it all out — in a journal, in an email to someone or no one, in a story, in a conversation. Dream out loud. Wish. And craft a vision for your northern star.

Like flash fiction, visioning has magical results; but also like flash fiction there’s science behind focusing an intention and writing down goals. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California found that you become 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis (“The Power of Writing Down Dreams and Goals” by Mary Morrissey).

As the year turns, set your goals pointing to a bright and shiny vision. Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

December 28, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a wishing star. It can be central to the story or used in a different way. You can have a character interact or not. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by January 2, 2018 to be included in the compilation (published January 3). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

Shoveling Midnight Snow (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

Wolves padded across the snowy field, mere shadows dappled by moonlight. Danni gripped the shovel and paused. As loudly as her own boots crunched the tight snow, the wolves passed in silence. Had she not turned to shovel the path to the barn she would have missed the pack. Before the last one merged with the cover of night, he stopped and cocked his head. A shooting star rolled across the sky like a snowball down a hill. Before Danni could make a wish both star and wolf vanished. Would her wish still count? Come home to me, Ike.

###


185 Comments

  1. Norah says:

    What magnificent writing, Charli. Your opening paragraphs describing the cold and the snow left me gobsmacked – such beautiful imagery. I can but imagine for I have no experience of such cold and snow. It seems beautiful to me, but treacherous too. I’m so pleased you survived the drive home, guided by those edges, creating another analogy to writing. Let there be no end to it.
    It was reassuring to re-read your vision as expressed in 2014, and to see that you have remained focused on that north start, even when your physical journey drifted off-course, and your emotions took a beating. There’s really no wishing in it. It’s all hard work, determination, grit and a not yet philosophy that keeps you focused. I don’t foresee an end to the vision or the journey, just a greater expression of who you are and what you wish for, gathering momentum like that “shooting star rolled across the sky like a snowball down a hill”. You’re that shooting star brightening the darkness, shining light on possibilities, and guiding our journeys. Thank you for envisioning and creating Carrot Ranch, a safe place for writers of any persuasion.

    Liked by 11 people

    • Norah says:

      Hi Charli, Here is my wishful thinking contribution: https://wp.me/p3O5Jj-13A – not quite as light as I’d planned. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ah, Norah, you have taught me so much, including the value of having that not yet mentality. It has helped when the gaps seem wide. Hopefully no end to the analogies! I have fun looking for how life and writing intersect. I wish I could, I wish I might, share some snow and cold with you tonight! It is beautiful, best observed from inside, though spurts of snow activities can be invigorating. As it snows, I think of all your bird chatter. Dreaming…We are stars shining light together in a vast universe. Let there be no end to our starlight! Thank you for shining your light on the Ranch. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Norah says:

        Well, it is good then, that we learn from each other, each contributing a little more to make the other complete. I would have loved some of that snow, as you would have loved some of my warmth. The birds will return to you soon, I’m sure – when the snow thaws. I like thinking of us as stars shining in the universe, our lights twinkling brightly hoping we’ll be the one someone will make a wish on tonight. Whether by starlight or candlelight – I love writing at the Ranch. As long as my candle is lit, or my star twinkles, you’ll find me there. How dark would the days be otherwise?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on ladyleemanila and commented:
    a wishing star 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Outside the window snow fell, snow flew, snow blew in all directions, silently, and it felt like in this room they were figures in a snow-globe. Her bedroom now her hospice room, the ventilator pulsed time towards the inevitable yet still uncertain end; none of them had been here before.
    Finally the snow stopped, the clear and cold night sky sparkling, so many stars that to stare up at them was like being in a snow-globe, mesmerizing and oddly comforting. Through a lens of tears one figure thought she saw a falling star, falling up, so bright, so distant.

    I had written a longer version of this earlier for another “star” prompt. (https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/falling-up/) I think I like this 99 word version better.

    Liked by 9 people

  4. Shorty’s Blues?

    “Pal, ya ever hear about Shorty bein’ a country singin’ star?”
    “Nope.”
    “Think it’s true?”
    “Dunno. Don’tcha have ta qualify? Like ya gotta have ‘sperienced yer truck breakin’ down, yer dog dyin’, deferred dreams, an’ general pain an’ heart ache an’ such as life hands ya.”
    “Oh. Well Shorty’s got a beautiful blue-skied ranch, the best rodeo on the bloggin’ circuit, an dreams abloomin’ like cactus.”
    “An’ us! She’s got a fine bunch a ranch hands.”
    “Yep. Reckon she ain’t got the right name for singin’ stardom anyway. “Shorty” ’s kinda runna the mill.”
    “Spins a good yarn though.”
    “Yep.”

    Liked by 7 people

  5. reocochran says:

    I enjoyed your story, Charli. I think people in business use Vision Boards. My youngest daughter has made three years in a row, written words, pictures and steps to attain each year’s goals. She exceeded her goals, too.
    I am glad to follow you and read, being a guest and commenter but not contributor. 😊 Thank you. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Broken Dreams

    “Kid! Found ya. Ya weren’t in the bunkhouse.”
    “Cain’tcha see I’m lyin’ out here in my sleepin’ bag enjoyin’ the stars? Jeez, Pal.”
    “Really?”
    “Really. An’ mebbe I’m even wishin’ on a star.”
    “Kid, ya cain’t jest be wishin’ an’ dreamin’. Ya gotta git up an’do! I swear ya ain’t never gonna amount ta nuthin’, jest layin’ aroun’ wishin’ at stars. Git up Kid. Make yer dream happen!”
    “I had done achieved it, Pal, till jest now.”
    “What?”
    “Yep. I had wished ta lay out here enjoyin’ the stars in peace an’ quiet. Now I’m wishin’ ya’d go away.”

    https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com/ranch-yarns/

    Liked by 8 people

  7. Annecdotist says:

    It’s lovely how you’ve fulfilled your dream, Charli, and pulled so many of us along with you. And despite the hardships you’ve encountered along the way. A real hero’s journey.
    I agree it’s good to dream big and then build in the practical steps to make it reality. Not sure about wishing star, though. I’m already feeling severely challenged by the challenge, but let’s see.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      A bit of fun to let go and wish upon a star. Then back to working the reality, no matter what. The hero’s journey promises an elixir, but not what it is. Good to have you along on this journey, Anne. It’s okay to pass on the wishful star. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. […] If you want to participate, here’s the link:  https://carrotranch.com/2017/12/28/december-28-flash-fiction-challenge/ […]

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ritu says:

    Beautifully put Charli! I am so happy that things have gone your way, after many hardships. You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for pushing us all, stretching our creative limits.
    Talking of creative limits… here’s my entry!
    http://butismileanyway.com/2017/12/29/december-28-flash-fiction-wishing-star/

    Liked by 6 people

  10. Reena Saxena says:

    The last one appeals to me “Research a possible text or workshop based on how flash fiction can build skills and that college classes or writing groups can use.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Liz H says:

    You flash brought a tear to my eye, and your beautiful blog this morning fills me with light and inspiration. Despite the dumptruck loads of snow being heaped on some parts of the US, and the Medusan bitter cold that’s turning my state to stone, the solstice has passed, the days are getting longer, and things are looking up!
    I’d decided I needed to set some goals during the next year, but your thoughts have made me realize I need to articulate my dreams, first. Hoping…for clarity. And what gift Carrot Ranch is to those ends!
    To a bright, generative new year!!

    Liked by 9 people

  12. As the snow falls outside my window, I was inspired to write this flash fiction.
    https://notyouraveragemomblogweb.wordpress.com/2017/12/29/wishing-for-warmth/

    Liked by 5 people

  13. denmaniacs4 says:

    Conversation on the Midnight Ferry-August 1965

    “It’s a wonder, eh!”

    “What is?”

    “Looking up to a glittering sky, a clear night, that one cloud there…see?”
    “I do…”

    “And how it’s shading the moon, and that star…do you know your stars?”

    “Once…a few years back, I knew them pretty well. Our Cubmaster…drilled them into us.”

    “You were lucky.”

    “I suppose. He was a cookie salesman too…stars and cookies. Great times.”

    “Now that’s real luck. Look, there it is again…a shooting star…is that what they call it?”

    “Yeah…a beauty, that’s for sure…I wish…”

    “What for?”

    “Ah, man, I’ll be livin’ in the city. University. No stars, probably.”

    http://www.engleson.ca

    Liked by 9 people

  14. Pete says:

    Jimmy sat in his usual seat, working the trivia machine, trying to wrap his bourbon-soaked mind around the lifespans of supergiant stars–how they took a billion years to see.

    Shooting stars. Dead beauty.

    Between drinks, Jimmy felt a fleeting ache under his shirt pocket. A clink of ice in his glass, the stutter of his daughter’s giggle. The splash of Beam, quick blast of Ginger Ale. He wished again to see his wife’s sleepy eyes shining as she nursed the baby. A billion years ago…

    The new drink arrived. The ache had passed.

    Jimmy worked the trivia machine.

    Liked by 10 people

  15. mrmacrum says:

    As usual, I am not sure which dusty corner I found this little nugget.

    http://lostinthebozone.blogspot.com/2017/12/12812-carrot-ranch-challenge-99-words.html

    Just in case the link was broken, here’s the cut n paste.

    “Limits”

    “Wish I were, Wish I might……… Ah, screw it. This doesn’t work anymore.”

    Crestfallen, Jesus stood on the Mount and stared up at the night sky. Moments passed as he wallowed in self pity. Off to his left, a brighter star than the rest seemed to come closer.

    “Boy, I told you there were limits. “

    “But Dad, how can I turn this planet around if you won’t cooperate?”

    “Well son, I’ll tell ya. No water walking, leper healing parlor trick is going to upstage that damn Free Will clause I enacted ………… Time to pull the plug.”
    ______________________________
    Happy New Year everyone!

    Liked by 7 people

  16. […] December 28: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Juliet Nubel says:

    Another beautiful and thought-provoking post, Charli. You have certainly stayed true to your literary goals of three years ago and now we are all benefitting from your generosity and vision.
    I haven’t seen many stars recently because our skies have been raining for days. But when I do I will think of you and this little old lady below…

    Heavens Above

    “Let them stay healthy, happy and safe.”

    She repeats this twice more then starts reciting the list of names.

    It used to be a short list – ‘Mummy, Daddy and my sister.’

    With the years it has stretched, gathering in a fiancé turned spouse, then children, then their children and their loves.

    Her hands are clasped tightly as she looks at the lone star.

    If you saw her you might think she were praying. But her god has no name, no face, no man-made place of worship.

    She is speaking to the sky, her blue-edged blanket of the universe.

    Liked by 7 people

  18. […] Current Carrot Ranch Challenge December 28, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a wishing star. It can be central to the story or used in a different way. You can have a character interact or not. Go where the prompt leads. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  19. julespaige says:

    Charli and Ranch Buckaroos and Visitors;

    Busy weekend here… hope to get back to more of last weeks and this weeks sooner than later.

    I have been taught two stories on wishing stars… meteors or the first star of the night… I incorporated both…

    Winter Realities
    Gina was small then, holding some grownups hand while
    they stopped briefly to talk. Maybe they all had been saying
    good-bye after some holiday visit. It was cold. While no one
    else was looking – there it was – a flying wishing star. Later
    Gina found out it was a meteor. And wishing on it hadn’t
    really changed anything, at least not then.

    Present time, years end; A clear night – a huge halo around
    an almost full winter moon. Who could tell what the first
    wishing star had been? It really didn’t matter – wishes only
    come true if ‘you’ follow through.

    ©JP/dh

    (‘you’ in the last sentence should be in italics.)

    Liked by 6 people

  20. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (12/28/2017): In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a wishing star. It can be central to the story or used in a different way. You can have a character interact or not. Go where the prompt leads. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Liz H says:

    Because this needs to be said. 😉

    It’s Too Fekkin’ Cold!

    The granite was rough and hot under her bare feet. She squatted by the tidal pool, peering at the life teeming beneath her.

    Kelp crowded in the center, tiny multicolored crabs parting its fronds with their dominant claw, blowing bubbles in irritation at being observed. Near the edge, barnacles glinted under the same sun that sizzled her shoulders and tightened her skin.

    Soon they’d board the plane, back to Winter-socked home.

    There! Behind that collection of miniature mussels! She gently grabbed a perfect star, stood and flipped him seawards, an exchange—a wish.

    She smiled, knowing she’d be back.

    https://huldermn.wordpress.com/2017/12/30/its-too-fekkin-cold/

    Liked by 6 people

  22. […] for Carrot Ranch, December 28, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a wishing star. It can be central to the story […]

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is, here it is:

      Nashville Dreams

      People come here to where the stars burned bright.

      *Stirring embers of memories, sifting through the ash
      They’re looking for Patsy, looking for Johnny Cash*

      Tourists ignore my singing, walk by my coin sprinkled case, go inside where it’s warm, go inside for ten-dollar drinks, where they’ll tip the band for playing lousy covers, tell them they sound real deal. Like they’d know.

      *They walk by they look right through me, unseen space between the stars
      Just another street bum, all I have is my guitar*

      Cold. It’ll be another sleepless night of shivering, of wishing underneath the stars.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Nashville fed the Muse, I see. I’m sure that town feeds lots of muses. What a cavern between those with the money to listen to bad cover and those without money and possessing the ability to create new covers if only someone would truly listen.

      Like

  23. What a beautiful flash Charli. I felt as though I was in there feeling her aloneness in a landscape that she was part of but did not truly belong. Her wish and her desperation I felt keenly. Wonderful writing as was your post. As Norah said your description of your surroundings put us in place and made us feel the cold and marvel at the ice. When I was much younger I followed the principals of Creative Visualisation by a woman called Shakti Gawain and although I don’t verbalise my vision anymore I probably still silently head in the direction of an end outcome. She was of the belief that you visualised the end – where you wanted to be, who you wanted to be and then set goals to make it happen. One of the most important parts of her philosophy was that the end was not set in concrete and if on the journey there you visualised a different ending you then set goals to make that happen. There was no failure for changing the end vision. I agree – Anything is possible you just need the vision. Carrot Ranch has achieved so much this year Charli thanks to your vision which you kept in sight despite all your personal upheavals. Wishing you and all those at the ranch a Very Happy New Year and the making visions become reality.
    https://irenewaters19.com/2017/12/31/wishing-star-99-word-flash-fiction/

    Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks, Irene. It seems like ages ago when I read Shakti Gawain, and it was through that creative visioning that I got into college and pursued writing. I had forgotten that influence! Even the ancient writings in the Bible warn that without vision the people will perish. I think we know this deeply and intrinsically as humans, yet we put down “dreamers” and “only imagination.” There’s something of our potential revealed in those dreams and imagination is a powerful tool. And I agree — visions for the future are not set in stone. I imagined there could be a fun and creative literary community, but Carrot Ranch takes on different attributes from anything I dreamed. Perhaps it’s become a collective vision. As long as we have a place to unleash what we can write — it’s all possible. “No matter what…” was my mantra last year as I followed the north star. Let’s see what this New Year adds to the vision! Wishing visinon into reality for you and everyone else gathered here, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. AJ says:

    As always Charli, your words create such a beautiful story!

    Well, it has been a long while since I have done this, so here we go…

    A Lonely Wish:

    The darkness suffocated me; even the moon had abandoned me tonight. My eyes never adjusting, my nerves never settling, but I continued on. There was nothing to turn back to, but if I was to be honest, there was nothing to go forward to either. My body begged for rest, but I was afraid to listen. Stopping wasn’t an option, quitting meant giving up, giving up meant…

    I watched the black sky, hoping for a sign, but not a single star granted me its presence tonight. It was as if they had all died as well. I wished anyway.

    Liked by 5 people

  25. When you are innocently outed by a teacher, wishing on a star might be the answer when there is more to the story than that we read.

    Wishing Hill Star
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    Jen sheepishly looked at her Dad. Busted by the science teacher with nowhere to go but plow right in.

    “He wanted to know where and how I got my descriptions about the sky. Said it was like I was right there. I told him about the hill and how I go there to watch the sky. I said it was the best place in the world because my Grandpa used to take me there to wish on falling stars.”

    Two nights later Jen’s science class lay sprawled on the hill, the black sky exploding with meteors crisscrossing all over.

    http://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/wishing-star-hill

    Liked by 5 people

  26. susansleggs says:

    Innocence of Youth

    “Mama, I’ve been reading some of your flash fiction. Why are they all such downers?”
    “Well, flash fiction by definition is a short story and it requires an arc with a problem and a resolution; something with an adrenalin rush to keep the reader’s interest.”
    “But I want to read short happy stories; maybe about puppies. I’m going to wish for that on the next falling star I see.”
    “That would be an admirable wish honey.” I turned away from my ten year old with tears forming, wishing she could stay that innocent for the rest of her life.

    Liked by 7 people

  27. […] December 28: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 1 person

  28. […] December 28, 2017, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a wishing star. It can be central to the story […]

    Liked by 1 person

  29. […] for Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge Hope it’s okay to do flash fiction poetry! […]

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Alexander De says:

    Inspiring. Hope it’s okay that I did this as poetry.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. […] to The Carrot Ranch, December 28 Flash Fiction Challenge — Wishing […]

    Liked by 1 person

  32. […] first story in 2018 has been written for Charli Mills and her Carrot Ranch Literary Community. The prompt this week […]

    Liked by 1 person

  33. What a truly magical and inspirational post Charli. Here’s wishing that all that you and my fellow buckaroos wish for in this year comes true, as long as they know what they truly want 🙂 My first story this year, dedicated to this amazing, wonderful community: https://jagahdilmein.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/be-careful-what-you-wish-for/

    Wishing everybody a brilliant new year!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you, Anurag! Often, the first part of wishing is figuring out what it is we want. Sometimes, when we sit in the dark with shooting stars we begin to know what that seed of a wish is within us. Wishing you a brilliant new year, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  34. […] December 28, 2017, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a wishing star. It can be central to the story […]

    Liked by 1 person

  35. janmalique says:

    Dreams lie hidden within plain sight…Very best wishes for 2018!
    Here is my contribution for the challenge:
    https://strangegoingsonintheshed.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/ephemeral-wishing-star-flash-fiction-challenge/

    Liked by 3 people

  36. […] The Carrot Ranch Literary Community, hosted by Charli Mills, is HERE. […]

    Liked by 2 people

  37. […] via #dailypost and Carrot Ranch flash fiction contest […]

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Michael B. Fishman says:

    What I liked so much about “Shoveling Midnight Snow” is that wolves (at least from my perspective) are so mysterious and elusive. You know they’re there and you know that they’re cool, but you never really see them or get to interact with them, and when you tied the story up with the almost-said wish and the doubting as to whether or not it would come true, and then capped it with the thought of Ike returning, it gave the whole story that same sense of mystery and elusiveness (is that a word?).

    Here’s mine for this week:

    https://michaelsfishbowl.com/2018/01/01/when-you-wish-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-challenge/

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ah, yes, wolves have that quality. I was hoping to create surprise leading with the word “wolf” and taking expectations elsewhere. I’m glad it worked, and created a sense of mystery and elusiveness (it’s a word!). Thank you for contributing, Michael!

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Ula says:

    There is so much that resonates with me in this post. I just want to say thank you, Charli, for creating and holding this space for writers. There is so much good that you do. I’m glad you are realizing your dreams.

    I’m still working on my site, but I don’t want to wait any more to join in the flash prompts, so here is my 99-word response:

    The Meteor Shower by Urszula Humienik

    “Let’s go outside, I heard there’s supposed to be a meteor shower tonight. We can make some wishes.”

    “Isn’t it wishing on falling stars?”

    “Oh I don’t know. Meteor shower, falling stars, it’s all the same to me.”

    “Look at that moon! Isn’t it huge?”

    “I didn’t realize it was a full moon tonight. It’s beautiful.”

    “Have you ever howled at the moon?”

    “No. You?”

    “No.”

    “I dare you.”

    “Me? Here? Now?”

    “Yes.”

    Anne faced the silver sphere hanging low over the property and let out a deep belly howl.

    Something howled back.

    The girls broke out in laughter.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      “Holding space for writers” is such a beautiful way to put it, Ua. Thank you! And yes, I’m here holding space, jumping up and down excitedly to see a flash of you. In a way, the Ranch is like a tavern where we gather and tell stories by the fireplace until we each go our own ways, knowing we’ll meet up again. It’s good to read your writing, and I love the moment of the girls laughing. To me, that speaks of feminine confidence. Lovely!

      Like

  40. Ahh…wish I could have got here sooner Charli. My memoir starts with ‘Wishing on a Star’…as in Rose Royce’s famed song. I’m processing everything you’ve written here along with the train steaming through my brain carrying dreams galore. Make sure you book a ticket for me on both those retreats, cos I’m coming baby, oh yes I am! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  41. That is one this I have noticed is that artist are very much so out of the box and are know to try things aside from the norm, many times I think is a great trait to have🙂
    Nothing is better than feeling the warm after experiencing the bitter cold

    Like

  42. […] actually December 23rd, in response to Charli Mills‘ December 21st prompt to write about white flowers in 99 words, I added a few hundred words and wrote the following fairytale in three parts. Here it is in its […]

    Like

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