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September 26: Flash Fiction Challenge

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From his post in the Eagle River Lighthouse, a young surfman spied a double-stack steamer through his binoculars. It was dead in the water, listing sideways and he couldn’t see the ship’s name. The maple and birch leaves must have started to turn because it was September 16, 1901. Autumn colors and gales hold hands in September. It can be warm and muggy one day, blustering with cold rain the next. In between, mist hovers and chlorophyll dissolves to expose brilliant oranges and yellows. Concern might have wrinkled the surfman’s brow. A gale with steady eight-foot waves will even stop the modern US Ranger from going out to Isle Royale. Today’s lake freighters will plow through autumn gales but change their course, wary of the Keweenaw. The western edge is unfriendly when Lake Superior orchestrates a gale.

That day, 118 years ago, communication systems fainted at the mere mention of winds, so fragile were the lines to weather. The surfman had no communication with the ship. It was not flying any distress flags, but it was no time or place to have cut the engines. Did they fail? Did something precipitate the quiet listing, such as the ship’s load shifting or another below decks emergency? The winds whipped, the waves roared with a pushing surf, and colored leaves blew from the shoreline trees. The American flags along the Keweenaw were flying half-mast on September 16, 1901, while President McKinley laid in state, assassinated two days earlier. No other signals indicated distress. The surfman watched from his post as the ship rolled over whole and disappeared.

For days, uncertainty cast doubt upon the sole witness. Boats launched to rescue survivors and found nothing and no one. No other ships experienced difficulties with the September 16th gale; it had not been particularly forceful or noted for rogue waves. With communications down, and trips taking days or weeks to complete, it was hard to determine if a ship was yet missing. Newspapers and the nation were focused on the tragic death of the president, not on speculation over what one young surfman at a remote Lake Superior post might have seen.

Then debris began to emerge, most of it wood, including the black and yellow masts that caused alarm — could it be the famous steamer known by those colors? A few bodies emerged, wearing lifevests clearly marking the ship’s identity. As feared, it was the Hudson. 288 feet long, her steel hull never appeared. It took mere days for Lake Superior to bash her wood parts and release the debris to surface and shore. A lake not known for giving up her dead, the surfmen must have felt surprised that a few escaped. None survived. Lake Superior held tight to the crew of 25, including the ship’s master, Angus J. McDonald.

But that is not the end.

There is a maritime legend to consider. In the 1940s, a tug coming around Keweenaw Point encountered a rusty, mud-slimed ship. It plowed toward them, and the tug had to veer to avoid a collision. Thinking the ship in distress, the tug captain boarded it. While it was solid beneath his boots, the apparitions that appeared were not. The ghosts warned him to get off as they were the crew of the Hudson and doomed to relive their sinking every year for eternity. The date was September 16.

That’s not the end, either.

Two Great Lakes shipwreck hunters located the Hudson, using sonar equipment they built. They had narrowed their search to 32 square miles, which in regards to the size of Lake Superior, was a relatively small area. In July of 2019, they found the Hudson in deep water, its bow plowed into the bottom of the lake. Eerily, the Hudson remains intact as if she could rise and float the way the tug captain described of his ghostly encounter. On September 16 of this year, the explorers who found the wreck attempted to see if she remained on her historic day of sinking. They were unable to determine.

It’s not the ghost stories or the maritime history that captivates me. I’m drawn to the Keweenaw shipwrecks because of those unremembered. Immediately, my imagination flashes to the surfman who witnessed the ship capsize. What a sight! And to have no one believe you for days, how would that feel? Who were the people who waited for those 25 men to return to Detroit? One account claimed that the ship’s master was “wedded” to the Hudson. What did that mean? And if the ship were doomed to relive its sinking every year, why? And who was that tug captain anyhow?

The best way for me to answer these questions is a combination of research and writing. You all know my favorite format for writing — 99 words, no more, no less. I start my research with Wreck Reports and other records my maritime historian friend collects. Her interest is in the surfmen who risked their lives to save those in peril on Lake Superior. Over 30,000 lives have been lost on the Great Lakes. That’s a lot of unremembered sailors and such. Alas, I must wait for the initial documents and can do nothing more but imagine the whipping winds and the shock of the sight, a ship rolling over.

This past week, my coursework prepares me to begin training in the infamous MFA workshop process. As writers, we can feel intimidated to receive feedback. Receiving criticism on our writing is not easy but is necessary for improvement. It’s not the writer who is critiqued, but the work. Authors make common mistakes, and we are learning what to look for when critiquing our peers. An amusing but informative primer from the Science Fiction Writer’s Association blog pinpoints such problem areas with humor specific to sci-fi. However, all writers can learn from it’s evolving list. The same site also offers guidelines for critiquing work for publication.

This training will inform the bedrock of workshops we’ll one day have online at Carrot Ranch. In addition to my MFA, I’m also studying for a certificate to teach creative writing online. While that fruition is a ways off yet, another endeavor at the Ranch is right around the corner — next week, the Flash Fiction Rodeo begins.

Leaders and judges from last year might feel unremembered, but that was not the intent. So much has happened between last Rodeo and this, I simply did not plan as I had in the past. D. Avery, Sherri Matthews, Norah Colvin, Geoff Le Pard, and Irene Waters and their judges did a fine job last year. Their creativity and critique are much appreciated. This year, a group of local judges will manage their duties at a Roberts Street Writery event. Judges will converge over a shared meal and relaxed environment to pair up on four different contests to pick a top-prize winner and two runners up. I’ll be the tie-breaker judge in all events.

The purpose of the Rodeo is to provide writers with an opportunity to showcase your best skills. It’s also a chance for those who have not entered contests to get their feet wet in a safe environment. This year, I intend to provide a brief critique to the top ten contestants. It’s a way for me to practice, and an opportunity for writers to gain an insight into the effectiveness of flash fiction writing. 40 critiques, even brief, is as much as I can manage. As I did last year, I’ll publish all the contest entries in collections.

Another difference: This year, writers can only submit one entry. Why? Because it is a contest. I want us all to learn how to first critique our own work. I want you to take enough time to let your first draft sit. Sit, don’t submit. Then read it over after a day or two. You’ll be surprised at how you’ll read it differently. Read it out loud. How does the language flow? Is it complete? Is it correct? Polish it up. A contest is different from a challenge. Focus on your best draft. If the prompt leads you to multiple drafts, you will have the opportunity to submit extras as challenge responses. Or, if you don’t like the idea of a contest, submit as usual, but indicate Challenger in the box that will ask you Contest or Challenge. Challengers will be published weekly through the submission form as usual.

Top prize offered is $25 in the form of US dollars or an Amazon gift card or as a donation to the charity of the winner’s choice. The Rodeo is meant to be fun, and also a step up from a weekly challenge. I hope you all enjoy the next four weeks. The Flash Fiction Rodeo begins October 3 and ends Oct. 29. We’ll run on the same schedule — contests announced on Thursdays, ending the following Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. The only difference is that I’ll be more punctual! After all, I have to step up, too.

Now, let’s play one more week before the Rodeo commences.

September 26, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone unremembered. Is it a momentary lapse or a loss in time? Play with the tone — make it funny, moving, or eerie. Go where the prompt leads you!

Respond by October 1, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

The Night After Lake Superior Swallowed the Hudson by Charli Mills

“And she rolled over like a lapdog!” First-mate of the Eagle River Life-Saving Station hooted. He slapped Charles on the back, blowing pipe smoke in his face.

Charles coughed; his lungs weak from a bout of pneumonia after attempting to reach a floundering fishing boat last month. “Saw it, I did.” He glowered at their jovial faces and stalked off, rounding the dark corner of the station, nearly colliding with the white-bearded keeper.

“Wreckage will rise, Charles. The teasing will cease. Let them laugh for tonight. It’s the best they can do for those unremembered beneath this cold-hearted sea.”


196 Comments

  1. “Vendor Contenders”

    “Pal, where’s Shorty?”

    “What’re ya up ta, Kid?”

    “Circlin’ the chuckwagons fer the rodeo. I already talked ta a couple a folks who’s willin’ ta set up shop an’ feed the contestants an’ spectators.”

    “Who?”

    “Well, Pepe LeGume’s gonna serve up his world famous beans with sourdough tortillas fer one. An’ ol’ ornery Ernie’s gonna come down outta the hills an’ serve his liquid corn.

    “Thinkin’ this ain’t a good idea, Kid.”

    “What could go wrong? These products’ll provide the courage ta do what’s gotta git done. An’ I’m gonna serve carrot sticks.”

    “Well thet’s good.”

    “Wrapped in bacon!”

    Liked by 12 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Bacon-wrapped carrots, yum! Hmm, maybe sourdough fry bread for the beans. Not sure about the liquid corn. While writing, not editing/

      Liked by 2 people

      • “Told ya Kid, so you go tell LeGume he an’ his smellavision ain’t needed.”
        “Hmmf. Anyways Pepe is busy a on another project now. He an’ Ernie’s workin’ out a bean based beverage.”
        “Jeez. Why?”
        “Growin’ beans is better fer the soil than corn fer one.”
        “Valid. But ya mean ta tell me they’s up there distillin’ beans?”
        “Yep. Ain’t that a gas?”
        “Gotta bad feelin’ ‘bout this.”
        “Come on Pal, what could go wrong? Hey! What was that? It weren’t thunder!”
        “An explosion! Look’t thet cloud spreadin’ over from Ernie’s hill.”
        “Eww, I kin smell it from here.”

        Liked by 6 people

      • “Shorty!!!! Shorty, we gotta bad situation. There was a bean explosion. Do you have a hazmat team? An EMT squad?”
        “Kid, Pal. Breathe.”
        “No way. It stinks!”
        “Okay, but remain calm. Safety first. Pal, ride up and see that Ernie and Pepe are okay. Of course they will be because they are fictional characters and this is a safe place.”
        “What about me, Shorty?”
        “Kid, get out your quill.”
        “Am I gonna fan the cloud away?”
        “That’s up to you. You’ll have to write it away. We cain’t have that dark cloud over the ranch. The rodeo is comin’!”

        Liked by 4 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        Come up for a breath of air and pondered, what stinks?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pal helped Ernie and Pepe git back ta the Ranch. They was ok, as Shorty predicted, but Pepe LeGume, all facial hair burned away from the blast, yep, even his eyebrows, looked jist like a bean. An’ ol’ ornery Ernie also got blasted with jist a few thin strands a hair like corn silk left on his head.
        As fer the brown cloud, well, the gales of November came early, blew that thing clean over the Ranch. It finally stalled right over the White House in Washington D.C., where it remains, its stink unnoticed amongst the existing swampy smells.
        by A. Kidd

        Liked by 4 people

      • Rodeo Shift

        “What’sa matter, Kid?”
        “Dang it all, Pal, I jist wanted the rodeo ta be somethin’ ‘memberable. But Pepe’s smellavision never caught air. An’ now Ernie an’ Pepe’s laid up so there won’t be any food concessions. Feelin’ bad, Pal. Wish some a these wild ideas could be unremembered. That bean cloud jeopardized the Ranch’s safety.”
        “Calm yersef Kid. The Ranch was never in danger. Carrot Ranch’s always a safe place.”
        “Even durin’ the rodeo?”
        “Yep. Gotta play ta win, but yer a winner fer playin’.”
        “I still wanna hep out.”
        “See thet shovel?”
        “Yep.”
        “Jist do yer shift, Kid.”

        Liked by 3 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        In this case, great gales are welcome! Lots of shifting but always shoveling to do. It stinks sometimes but we stick together even when our friends look a bit blown up. Kidd done good.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Norah says:

      I’ll say no to the beans, but accept the carrot sticks wrapped in bacon with gratitude. Thanks.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Hot diggity dog … I’ll have some of those carrots. Everything tastes better with bacon!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. “If Not You, Who Will Pay, Pal?”

    “The rodeo is big, Pal. Gotta think big.”

    “Thinkin’ you oughtta slow down, Kid, run yer ideas by Shorty.”

    “Shorty’s busy, she’ll be happy I’m heppin’ out. Wait till she finds out Pepe LeGume’s gonna broadcast the events, gonna make it so the folks at home’ll feel like they’s right here at the ranch.”

    “Really? How’s thet?”

    “Pepe’s workin’ on smellavision. It’ll record the sights, sounds and smells a the rodeo!”

    “Bull shift!”

    “Zactly, Pal. An’ hoss shift, an’- ”

    “What stinks is this so-called smellavision. LeGume chargin’ fer it?”

    “About that… Was wonderin’ if ya’d hep pay, Pal.”

    Liked by 11 people

  3. Hello! How are you?

    There were warm smiles and hugs all round, general chit chat and catching up over a period of about fifteen minutes.
    It was so lovely to see them, they said so.
    It had been such a long time, and how were the family, the dog, the new house?
    How was their health, were they enjoying retirement?
    Parting company, any familiarity faded and frowns replaced their polite smiles. They knew so much, yet they couldn’t be placed.
    It’s the old story. Minds are searched, family faces summoned from the deepest depths. Who were they exactly? Damned if I could remember.

    Liked by 13 people

  4. […] September 26: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a story and exciting times at Carrot Ranch and Roberts Street Writery! Thanks for the mention, Charli, I was honoured to take part where I could. Looking forward to this year’s Rodeo. But first, I’ll sail by soon with my flash, nothwithstanding any shipwreck 😉 ❤

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I was certainly drawn in by the opening essay. Although from Michigan, I had no idea that over 30,000 lives have been lost on the Great Lakes!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Back again! Sorry I missed the last few — busy schedule! Hope you’re all well. Here’s mine for this week, it’s called ‘Visit’:

    Gusts of wind moaned through the skeletal trees, scattering the burnt-orange leaves across the graves.

    “That time of year again, Frank?”

    “Yep.”

    “Same as last year?”

    “Same as every year, Harry.”

    “Hmm.”

    The wind wailed between the headstones, shrieking like a ghoul.

    Harry cleared his throat. “Well… maybe they forgot?”

    “Twenty-seven years in a row?”

    “I—well, maybe not…”

    “Yeah, maybe not.”

    The gale was picking up speed now. The town’s citizens would be battening down the hatches.

    Frank was changing, too. Becoming. Tattered skin and rotten flesh were stitching themselves together again.

    “This year,” he said, “they’ll remember.”

    Liked by 13 people

  8. […] Check back on the first Flash Fiction post if you are unfamiliar with the basic rules. Here are the rules for this challenge, which can be found at Carrot Ranch Literary Community: […]

    Liked by 2 people

  9. […] Carrot Ranch September 26, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone unremembered. Is it a momentary lapse or a loss in time? Play with the tone — make it funny, moving, or eerie. Go where the prompt leads you! Respond by October 1, 2019. […]

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Jules says:

    Charli –

    Being remembered is hard when you don’t have any facts to begin with. Why is it so hard to ask questions or be believed when you want to know or tell something.

    I’ve gone with a haibun:
    Father Figured…

    Father Figured…

    Each with their own thoughts, maybe they remembered? But they chose not to share. That created blank spaces in Harper’s young mind. He couldn’t even remember what story they might have told as to why his father wasn’t coming home. Did they even try to say that the man had gone with angels to heaven?

    Harper only had a hole in his heart. Questions weren’t asked because no one else brought up his father’s name or even showed old photographs. He would remember whatever he could.

    a life ends early
    grave hours pass without telling;
    their stories are lost

    ©JP/dh

    Liked by 10 people

  11. tedstrutz says:

    Good story, Charli.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. […] hosts the weekly Flash Fiction challenge which limits stories to 99 words – no more, no less. This week’s challenge is to write with the prompt of “someone unremembered.”This tale has also been shared on Friday Flash Fiction where you can read more short-short […]

    Liked by 2 people

  13. […] week’s writing prompt courtesy of Carrot Ranch’s – Flash Fiction Challenge is to write a 99-word story (no more no less) about someone unremembered. What could be worst […]

    Liked by 3 people

  14. […] If you want to participate, here’s the link:  CARROT RANCH […]

    Liked by 2 people

  15. floridaborne says:

    Today must be “what if” day. My imagination is going wild with thoughts of my heritage:

    https://rantingalong.blog/2019/09/27/99-word-prompt-unremembered/

    Liked by 6 people

  16. Norah says:

    That’s an incredible story about the wreck, Charli. And then the tug boatman’s sighting and what he was told too. I’d love to know more about him as well. What a shame the Hudson wasn’t able to be located on Sept 16 this year. I wonder where it was.
    Thanks for the links to articles about accepting and giving critiques. I’ve put a story forward to my writing group to be critiqued this week and I need to critique others too, so it’s well-timed for me.
    Your story captures the excitement of the sighting and the frustration at the disbelief. So many mysteries that deserve a story (or two) to be told.
    The rodeo sounds good. I think the way you are doing it this year is interesting, and I like the way the contests are meant to challenge us to put our best work forward. I’m sure the competition will be strong. I wish the judges well. It’s not an easy task. And I wish all writers success with their writing, whether they win or not.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Norah says:

      I’m back with my story:

      Unremembered
      A recluse, unremarkable and forgotten in life and unremembered in death, she’d lived in her own world hidden behind overhanging branches and overgrown gardens. Unseen for so long, newcomers didn’t know she existed, thinking it was simply undeveloped land.
      One day, developers came and pushed down the trees and cleared the undergrowth. They paused at the sight of the tiny wooden structure their work revealed. Unsure how to proceed, they investigated. Though not art enthusiasts, they knew that what they discovered was something special. When the work was curated and exhibited in galleries worldwide, she was never unremembered again.

      Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 8 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hi Norah!

      It pleases me that you found good timing with the shared articles on critique. It’s interesting, what I’m learning in my MFA program. A good workshop with critique, or even a critique group, operates on the premise that the person creating the environment be experienced and well-read, allowing for participants to reach their potential. Feedback should encourage, yet be tactful and truthful. The second premise is that participants should receive training in a feedback process with the leader acting as a role model. And lastly, everyone involved should agree that creative writing can be improved. I think these distinctions are important. Anyhow, I’m receiving my training now! Let me know if those articles helped.

      I’m curious about that tug boat captain, too! My maritime historian friend did not know that ghost story but she’s going to reach out to others in her network who collect eerie tales about the lake and report back. I wonder where the Hudson was, too on September 16, although likely it was right where it plowed into the bottom of the lake. They said it was windy and hard to aim the camera so far down.

      Your story gave me chills (in a good way)! The repetition of “un” words creates a lovely lyricism of language. The discovery creates a pleasant surprise and an unexpected happy twist that feels like vindication beyond the grave.

      Thank you for your support of the Ranch!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Norah says:

        It is interesting that you are learning about critique, Charli, in a professional forum. I’ll have to read back over my own advice that is included in the Anthology and see if I still agree with it. 🙂 I’d be interested to know how it fits with your new learning.
        I agree with the distinctions, for how can we ‘rate’ a piece of writing without knowledge of its genre, intention and audience. I think tact combined with truth is important. If we just say nice things, how can a writer improve? And of course, there is always room for improvement. It’s a yet growth mindset.
        I do hope your historian friend is able to expand on our knowledge of the tug boat captain. What you have stated is probably the truth of the ship, but …
        I wonder if there will be a possibility of vindication beyond the grave. If there is, I hope I find out.
        Thank you and the Ranch for your/its encouragement and support of me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        I still agree with your advice, Norah. Creating community is critical to creating that safe environment where growth and play go hand in hand. It’ll be interesting as I go through this process, how it will all gel in the end. But then, it’s never the end when we grow.

        Like

  17. denmaniacs4 says:

    A Mere Image

    She lifts the arm.

    “There, Mr. Sam, that’s right, draw it down your right cheek. Through the foam.”

    The razor in the right hand slides along the stranger’s face.

    There is a scent.

    Peppermint?

    “That’s right. Careful not to nick.”

    The hand jerks. A gash. Blood mingles with the foam.

    She grabs a tissue, dabs the face. “That’s not so bad. You have to be more careful. Perhaps I should finish it for you.”

    Her hand embraces the razor, shaves slowly, bypasses the pinkish tissue, finishes, wipes the face with a warm cloth.

    “Done.”

    Her hand caresses the face.

    Liked by 9 people

  18. denmaniacs4 says:

    I must be of two minds today, Charli…

    In the Shadows of Time

    Who do we remember?
    What comes to mind
    when we think of the lost ones?
    Not the main actors on the stage of life.
    Perhaps the stagehands?
    The lighting technicians?
    The audience members far up in the gallery?

    Was this the message Ford was getting at?
    Tom Doniphon?
    The Man Who Shot…?
    The Confederate General on his marble steed?
    Sir John A.?
    Drunkard?
    Racist?
    Our George Washington.
    We remember who we see.
    We remember the stars.
    The lights.

    There are those we forget:
    a lost love among many,
    a slight fancy,
    a memory somewhat out of sync
    with now.

    Liked by 8 people

  19. Ruchira Khanna says:

    Excited about the challenges coming up. Till then, my contribution for this prompt: https://abracabadra.blogspot.com/2019/09/sammy-was-standing-in-cool-breeze-with.html

    Love n Light

    Liked by 4 people

  20. […] was written for Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week’s challenge is to write to a prompt in exactly 99 words. This week’s prompt […]

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I’ve not had time to dedicate to blogging and responding as I’d wish recently, but I wanted to say that I love reading about your MFA journey. I’m so glad that it’s going well, and I enjoy seeing what things you’ve gotten up to recently.

    I’m looking forward to the Rodeo – I loved it last year, and I’m hoping to get at least the one entry off! I have a question, though: do you mean 1 entry per prompt, or do you mean choose to respond to only one of the prompts as part of the contest?

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Jennie says:

    Reading your stories is a great pleasure. Thank you, Charli.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. […] week on the  Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills   the challenge was to write a story in 99 words on the subject of someone […]

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Scorned

    I just stopped. Our arguing raged like the gale winds that pummeled us broadside. How could he? How could he have a fiancé waiting in port? I refused to move unless he forswore that woman. For hadn’t he already chosen a life on the waters? Wasn’t he wed to me?
    He had his engineers doing all they could but I refused to respond, for his desperation was to make it to land- to her. No. Let her be unremembered.
    High rolling waves consummated our vows. Now every September we celebrate our anniversary. He and I will never be forgotten.

    Liked by 10 people

  25. […] week on the  Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills   the challenge was to write a story in 99 words on the subject of someone unremembered…The […]

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Hi Charli

    What a great blog!

    The sunken ship reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The City in the Sea”.
    Also Hugo-award winning sci fi & fantasy writer NK Jemisin’s “The Fifth Season.” One of the characters Syenite raises an ancient obelisk from the seabed. A terrific writer.

    And thank you for those links to sci fi articles – they’re very helpful to me in reading/summarizing the sci fi (and other) novels I read! I’ve read stories by Bruce Sterling – another terrific writer.

    I have to say a special thank you: I’m now reviewing novels by indie authors at readersfavorite.com. I learnt about it here at the Carrot Ranch. And writing FF has helped me to write the reviews in the format required by the editor of readersfavorite.

    Thinking over ideas for “unremembered.” I may end up “entangling” two timelines and characters from my past FF. Pierre Yandeau, contemporary marine scientist and archeologist.
    And Diamante – teacher and scholar from an ancient coastal people, long vanished, the “unremembered. ”

    Saifun

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hi Saifun,

      I’m so glad you mention Edgar Allen Poe’s poem because that is actually one I had not read. “No rays from the holy heaven come down…” Oh, yes, he captures the murky tone of the dead sea bed.

      You are doing so well — expanding your reviews to a professional venue, studying literary art as both writer and reader, and finding usefulness in the 99-word artform. Good job!

      I like your idea of tangling the paths of two different characters in your repatoire.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt(09/26/2019): In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone unremembered. Is it a momentary lapse or a loss in time? Play with the tone — make it funny, moving, or eerie. Go where the prompt leads you! […]

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Liz H says:

    Here’s my effort, based on a dream and a day and a Carrot Ranch Prompt

    Noted

    I dreamt last night of snow.
    It lay,
    A thin blanket over vibrant late summer.
    Silent white, still as death,
    Satisfying in its containment.

    [Continue ]

    Liked by 5 people

  29. Jim Borden says:

    thanks for the guidelines on how to give and take criticism, both quite useful skills. my mind is spinning with something to come up with for this week’s flash fiction!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. magpie477 says:

    Often laughter, which seems inappropriate, can be someone’s only way of coping with tragedy or trauma. The wise keeper has seen this before. Wonder how many of the surfmen laugh to mask “there but for the grace of God…”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      That’s a good observation. These men went out in rowboats to save sinking ships and often died in the process. Laughter would have been a coping strategy. I have a sense that young Charles is an unusually serious young surfman.

      Like

  31. […] Remembering My Forgotten Man Source:  Flash Fiction Challenge Prompt: Write a story about someone unremembered. Word count:  99 […]

    Liked by 4 people

  32. […] was written for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. Thank you, […]

    Liked by 2 people

  33. […] Forgotten” is my second attempt at this week’s prompt for Carrot Ranch. I might publish the first one. […]

    Liked by 2 people

  34. […] in blogging challenges such as Sunday Stills, WritePhoto, the Carrot Ranch 99-word flash fiction challenge, Thursday Doors, Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Poetry challenge, to name but a […]

    Liked by 1 person

  35. […] This short story is written for a flash fiction challenge over at Carrot Ranch.  […]

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Yeah! Rodeo time is almost here. Looking forward to it again.
    Here’s mine for this week:
    http://susansplace.blog/2019/09/30/sad-to-be-forgotten-flash-fiction/

    Liked by 4 people

  37. […] by my own laundry room experiences for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: someone […]

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Exciting to be moving on to a new phase of your course. Giving and receiving criticism is quite a skill.
    As to the Rodeo, I think you’re wise to restrict the entries to one per person, Charli, and I hope you and the judges have fun analysing them in the real world. It’s quite a task to critique forty stories, even super short ones, although you probably do more than that in the comments on an ordinary week.
    The inspiration for my unremembered flash comes from reviews of two novels about young people potentially forgotten in hellish institutions, last week’s attachment theme and my dystopian novel WIP:

    https://annegoodwin.weebly.com/annecdotal/teenagers-trapped-in-houses-of-no-hope-how-we-disappeared-the-nickel-boys

    Liked by 5 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      I might be slipping into overachiever mode, Anne. My profs have us practicing and so I thought the 40 critiques would be super-practice! I’ve workshopped in undergrad writing classes and at weekend events, but I’m excited to be “training” in the skills. I have insight, but I’d like to master the vocabulary to communicate what makes a piece effective. I’m using a suggestion you gave last year as a judge and narrowing the selections to the top ten, then inviting a group over to read and discuss and select. Always something to learn! And that’s the point of dystopian novels — to learn from the story.

      Like

  39. I cannot believe it’s time for the Rodeo again. Excited to see what this year will be like. Sound like you’ve got a great Rodeo planned! ✏️🐎

    Liked by 2 people

  40. susansleggs says:

    Charli, Thank you again for sharing your classes with us. I think I will print the links you mentioned and make hand-outs for my local writing group. They are not kind when critiquing.My month away has made me glad I’m home so I can focus on the rodeo. Let’s ride!

    Was It a Dream

    We hoped for more soldiers to arrive, not so we could go on R&R, but so there would be enough men to fight back when the next firefight happened. The night was quiet. I got about four hours sleep. When I woke, there was a replacement guy sitting three feet from me. I was about to introduce myself when bullets started flying. We both went flat to the ground. When the shooting stopped, he was dead and I wasn’t. I never learned his name so can only remember that he was there. I don’t think it was a dream.

    Liked by 6 people

    • magpie477 says:

      Thank you Susan, this resonates…both in the need for kind and constructive criticism and in the chilling message. My husband, a Vietnam vet, survived only because he left the trench to relieve himself…when he returned the other guys were dead.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Welcome back, Sue! I’m still reading your “kicks” from Route 66. I’ve enjoyed the ride and saw your car got carried home, too! My son has a mini and I love riding in it.

      Critique must build up. What good does it do anybody to tear down with unkindness? Maybe your group has gotten into bad habits, modeled by one or two people who have no business spreading poison. Or maybe its ignorance, maybe they believe harshness improves writing like suffering. Many MFA programs behave that way and I researched how SNHU does workshopping because I wanted to stay clear of the negativity that I think blocks access to literary art. I hope you can make some shifts armed with those articles.

      Wow, you came back with a powerful flash, a realistic glimpse at what makes survivor’s guilt so lasting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • susansleggs says:

        I’m just getting back into the daily routine. It’s nice to be home with an expanded outlook on this big country. I gained knowledge and perspective that will surely show up in my writing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        Let experiences inform what you write (that is what fuels “go where the prompt leads). You have already enriched your writing by taking such an expansive trip to see first-hand.

        Like

  41. […] Charli challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone unremembered. Is it a momentary lapse or … […]

    Liked by 2 people

  42. […] This week’s Flash Fiction challenge comes from Carrot Ranch. […]

    Liked by 2 people

  43. […] This was written with the prompt about someone unremembered provided by the Carrot Ranch September 26 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

    Liked by 2 people

  44. […] Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 2 people

  45. A little dark, but it is where the prompt led me. Thanks for letting me share. https://padresramblings.wordpress.com/2019/10/01/unremembered/

    Liked by 3 people

  46. Hi Charli, flashing by in time for once…thanks again for a great challenge and here’s to the Rodeo! ❤

    A Rose Like No Other

    ‘Look at this…’ Barbara handed the photograph to her son. ‘Remember Rose, our neighbour with the lemon tree, when you were little?

    ‘I do…nice lady,' smiled Nick. 'Still in touch?’

    Barbara shook her head and sighed. ‘She was ill, years ago. I wrote but never heard back. I’m not sure she’d remember us now…’

    A letter arrived one morning from America. Rose’s daughter, who had tracked Barbara down, to tell her of Rose’s passing.

    ‘Mom talked of you often, how much she loved your letters even when she couldn’t reply.’

    Barbara, like Rose, would remember their friendship forever.

    Liked by 6 people

  47. […] I wrote this for the September 26th Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 1 person

  48. tnkerr says:

    Writing this week from the high desert in New Mexico. Limited time and connectivity.
    Here’s what I got.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Prior... says:

    “Wreckage will rose”
    Reminds me of
    “The truth always surfaces in the end”
    Or as my mom would say
    “Your sin will find you out” which to her meant that she was trusting us as teens but to do the right thing because sin (or missing the mark) would come out at some point so she reminded us to have integrity and know that truth is worry free and a nice place to live in (something like that)
    And the social connections to not being believed was hit upon here! People can be so disheartening –
    Also liked the small details
    The pneumonia – the dark corner to round and colliding with the keeper –
    Really brought us right there

    Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you for your close reading Yvette. What you say about truth coming to the surface and those messages we grow up with regarding truth mold our character. Yet, I wonder if that’s what frustrates those who have trouble remembering their own life truths. It must feel uncomfortable like the opposite of that worry-free space. And maybe that’s why those who have loved ones living with dementia feel so compelled to “correct” mis-rememberings. Interesting thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        thanks for the nice reply – and now I am chewing on what you shared here – also very interesting (and my heart breaks for those who have loved ones With any major impairment – especially dementia) – hope you have a nice week

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        You made me think of how our idea of truth shifts with memory loss. I also adhere to Wallace Stegner’s idea that truth isn’t real until we’ve fictionized it. We are all made upp of stories, eh? You have a nice week, too!

        Liked by 1 person

  50. Pete says:

    I barreled into the school parking lot, tires screeching, thumping across the speed bump. Amelia sat slumped on a bench, one sock up, one sagging to her shoe. A teacher stood by her.

    I left the car running. “I’m sorry baby, I—”

    “You forgot me. I can’t believe you forgot me!”

    Three kids, one me. But now, seeing my youngest, face glazed with tears, how even her sock had given up on her. I was a terrible parent.

    “Amelia.”

    She flung herself into me, part hug, part tackle. Like her socks, my daughter was let down, yet resilient.

    Liked by 3 people

  51. Hi Charli, here is my piece for this week: https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2019/10/02/flashfiction-unremembered/. I’ll be back later to read the others.

    Liked by 2 people

  52. […] prompt for this week from Carrot Ranch is unremembered. Not sure where the darkness came from but I went with […]

    Liked by 1 person

  53. […] Mills sounded the historical depths of her Superior lake and discovered a mysterious and spooky tale , though what caught her was the idea of those “unremembered”. Who are they? […]

    Liked by 1 person

  54. […] September 29: “Never Forget the Soap,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s […]

    Liked by 1 person

  55. […] “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone unremembered.” – a prompt for this week’s CW piece. [Source: @CarrotRanch] […]

    Liked by 1 person

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