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June 25: Flash Fiction Challenge

My son tells me its 55 days until his wedding. Then he asks, “Dad got his suit, yet?” Trying to get a 56-year-old brain-altered former US Army Ranger into a tailored suit for his son’s wedding is no minor feat. Never mind it was this same man who taught his son to dress up for flying back when the Hub worked for the airlines and we flew standby, dressed to take seats in first class. Now he tells his son he’s going to wear navy-colored sweatpants. Last year, the joking was funny. 55 days out, not so much.

So, my son is harassing me. (Not that I mind, if this is how I get my son to call me every day, I’ll happily be harassed.)

I thought I was on top of the game. I found a mother of the groom dress I liked and contacted a tailor I know through one of my good Keweenaw friends. Her sister designs and sews all her clothes, and they are stylish and vibrant. The tailor looked at the dress and said she could put various patterns together and make me a one-of-a-kind. My friend and I planned to drive to Chicago where her sister lived for a measuring session. Then COVID hit in March.

That’s when I decided to order the original dress. Except, the online bridal shop gets their dresses from China and they could not confirm delivery. At the same time, I ordered something small from China for the Unicorn Room and it still hasn’t arrived. So, I think it was a good call that I did not plunk down hundreds of dollars for an uncertain delivery of a dress. Still, I haven’t had such a fuss over a dress since my own wedding when a friend re-created a western chantilly lace wedding dress from a 1980s Este Lauder ad.

Finally, I found a dress online, in the states, and on the low end of my budget. When it arrived, I tried it on only to find it was too big. I mailed it back and re-ordered a different size, and now I’m worrying that it’s too plain. I’m the kind of person whose fashion sense vacillates between favorite threadbare flannel and blaze orange capris with flowy butterfly top. My gears are too plain and too garish, and I know my son would be horrified if I showed up with his dad in sweats and me in some sequined purple chiffon.

And if that’s not worrisome enough, when the Hub settled on the suit jacket he hastily bought while we were homeless, our son said that would be appropriate for the rehearsal dinner. I had forgotten about attire for the pre-event. In another tailspin, I began searching for a summer cocktail dress on Amazon (how’s that for desperation?). Don’t knock the soul-sucking warehouse of everything — they literally sell everything. I found three dresses and three pairs of sandals. Only one of the dresses would arrive on time so that’s the one I ordered. The shoes, British-made Clarks which I love for comfort and fit, will mysteriously arrive next week.

Then, today I received a package from another dress shop. Somehow, I had forgotten that I panicked over the rehearsal dress sometime shortly after the COVID lockdown began and it arrived today! Where my memory goes, I do not know sometimes. And I say the Hub is brain-altered. Well, aren’t we all. When I pulled the item out of the package, it was a slinky black dress. I’m flannel or eccentric, definitely not slinky black dress. I looked at the size and barked a laugh. I’m also definitely not a size Extra Small. Evidently, some extra-small gal is scratching her head over my extra-large flowy floral cocktail dress. Having taken months to arrive, I dreaded calling the company, but they were helpful and promised to expedite my order.

So when my son calls to check in on his dad’s progress, I hold back on the full naked truth of our wedding clothes snafus. And we did make progress thanks to a wedding shop in town that just re-opened. As of now, the Hub has rented a tux and ordered a suit online after talking to a specialist. Who would have thought it would be the boy to fuss over what to wear for his wedding? The eldest girl got married on an organic farm and butchered her own pig prior to the ceremony. No, that wasn’t part of the ceremony, just the commitment to harvest her own food for the reception. That, the Hub and I could handle. The other girl? She’s brewing beer on Svalbard with her partner and they have no plans to marry. If they do, we’ll need passports and parkas. Easier than finding me a dress or getting the Hub to agree to a suit, I assure you.

At the end of the day, I can take stock and declare, “I got life.”

It’s not the things. It’s not the clothes. As much as I appreciate the home and its fixings, being homeless taught me the value of life. There’s something empowering about declaring ownership over yourself. I got my toes. I got my arms, my hands, my thumbs. I got fingers. I got my head, my brain, my liver. I take in breath. I got life. Let Nina sing it to you, let her words crawl into your soul, watch her face, her body as she gives her life over to her song and piano. Write like you got life.

Things are looking mighty crazy out there in the big wide world, but if we got life, we got hope. This is a time to keep writing. I know the distractions are huge, but so is our capacity for art. Be oppositional — if you want to write a story one way, write it the opposite and see what pops up. You might be surprised. Let characters talk in your head. Don’t interfere, take notes. Imagine the world upsidedown. What would it be like to walk on the sky? Shake it up, shake your booty, dance on the page. And if you have any tips on how to dress up for a special wedding, I’ll try to pay attention.

June 25, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story with the phrase, “I got life.” It can be told from any point of view. What meaning does it lend to your story? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by June 30, 2020. 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.

Submissions closed. Find our most current weekly Flash Fiction Challenge to enter.

After the Boomtown by Charli Mills

Saxophone notes squeaked across the empty hard-packed street. Sophie swung her hips to the tempo, stirring a pot of slow-elk stew over a campfire. “What I’d give for carrots,” she told Hal.

He paused his playing. “You got seeds Miss Sophie. Plant a garden.”

“A garden means I have to stay in this god-forsaken ghost town.” She missed Italy. She missed rain.

Hal played lower, softer until Sophie dished them up bowls. “Won’t always be deserted,” he said when she handed him dinner.

“Got no customers. Got no gold. Got no carrots. Got no husband. But I got life.”


  1. Ritu says:

    Wonderful prompt!
    I’m taking a little break at the moment but hope to be back soon xx

  2. ellenbest24 says:

    Elk stew, now there is a memory snatch. But I did have carrots and a splash of maple syrup. Vermont was my totally bonkers midlife crisis time, but that story will stay buried for my mind only.

    Now this wedding … in a past life I taught people how to become personal shoppers. A style consultant, hired by a boutique style fashion house to train/ coach their managers. You have few rules but the most important is to wear something that has or captures the essence of you. Do not get what you should wear but what makes you feel the best you. Easy x have fun, laugh and cry in equal measure and love the memory of it all. P.S. a great wedding dress you wore.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ah, Ellen, thanks for the past life fashion tip! That’s how I want to feel — my best expression. What a cool career to draw upon for writing. Do you have fun dressing your characters?

      As for elk stew memories of bonker times, may they stay private as you wish, but color your writing in other ways. And, Sophia actually had “slow-elk” which is western code for having shot a steer, hence it wasn’t as fast as a wild elk. It’s desperate times for her town of two, I think.

  3. Oh, Charli, I feel your pain! Even though styles of dress are so much more flexible these days, some occasions can still take us way beyond our comfort zone, and it’s extra complicated when you feel that pressure from your son. Not that I’ve ever been in that position, or ever will be, but I think mother dresses at weddings are particularly fraught. It crops up in one of my stories, which I’ll share when I get to my post.

    But yeah, we’ve got life – and the fabulous Nina Simone! I’m not one for motivational mantras but something I use occasionally as I get into bed is to list – in my head – all things I’m grateful for that day. It often takes the fingers of one hand to get as far as my morning mug of coffee!

    And the new one for tonight – I’ve got carrots in my fridge and I’ve got the Ranch! And today I’ve got online choral singing to John Rutter’s marvellously uplifting music. I’ll be back with my flash later today or tomorrow.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ha! Do share your mother dress story in your post, Anne. I could use the laugh or groan. I gave the slinky black dress to my daughter today and she asked, “What rehearsal dinner?”

      Nina Simone is something to watch when she gets into her music (I’m grateful to get to see such video clips). I like that sly little smile she gets when her song transitions to “I got…” That sums up how we can feel will we remember to take stock of gratitude. I think it’s also part of resiliency during hardship.

      Do we get to see you sing? I’ve been wondering how your online choir has been going. It must be so uplifting to be a part of such music. I learned a few new drum patterns last weekend with an online drumming circle and I never realized how connecting making even simple music with others could be. I’m grateful to have you at the Ranch! I have beautiful Tom Thumb butterhead lettuce to go with your carrots.

      • We’ve been nibbling through several varieties of lettuce already but it will be a few weeks’ wait for tomatoes and cucumber might never make it.

        When you’re online drumming do you get to hear the other participants? We can’t with choral singing – apparently it isn’t possible to synchronise the various devices live – but we too have an encouraging conductor and either a piano accompaniment or a pre-recorded blended video to sing along to. As I write in my post, it’s a bittersweet experience as I’m grateful for and enjoy the opportunity but it’s a painful reminder of what I’m missing with live choral events.
        Having been a non-singer for most of my life until about ten years ago, I know how much this means to me, but joining in online is better than not joining in at all.

        And then I had a lightbulb moment that that’s exactly what Nina Simone’s song is about – and that it’s common ground between the optimists and pessimists. I’ll leave you to ponder that.

        This morning I made you a video! Having another look at the story about the wedding, it’s strongly from the daughter’s point of view so the mother’s sartorial options aren’t really explored, aside from some criticism by the daughter – but even she has bigger concerns. Instead I chose an extract from “A Dress for the Address” – although it’s about finding something smart to wear that doesn’t look like a wedding outfit, I think my character’s loss of confidence when she opens her wardrobe to pack for a conference isn’t necessarily confined to that specific situation.

        The main focus of my post is what to do with inspiration that emerges out of Covid, while my 99-word story is about emerging out of Covid full stop – or period in the US.

      • Charli Mills says:

        I love this excerpt from your book of short stories, Anne! Clothes play an important role in identity and I can relate to your character’s dilemma when the clothes call out, me, me, me but say the wrong thing at the special function. It’s a special ability to express one’s internal life through external trappings.

        Hmm, I just nibbled lettuce leaves as I listened to you read. I’m also ever hopeful for the cucumbers but usually disappointed. Maybe this year. The courgettes are coming on. I’m going to have a bumper crop!

        We learned some beats and strokes, then followed along. We weren’t producing music for an audience so I think it worked okay to be out of sync online. I hadn’t realized that to perform in choir you had to record your voice solo. Your aspirations to sing as a non-singer inspire my drumming attempts!

        Thanks for the video!

  4. beth says:


  5. So. You got no dress. You do got life. And in this life lately we’ve all gotten used to clothing optional, or is that only for the zooming guests?
    You got life, Ms. Mills. and you bring words to life, bring life to words. You built a place from words and brought that place to life. For which I am profoundly grateful. (even though I just remembered another name I’ve used for you, Frankenstein) It’d been a while since I heard Nina Simone sing that song; a version of it is in the Hair soundtrack too, but she, well, owns it. It is an ongoing poetic epic unbalanced equation, the litany of ain’t gots, finally balanced by the having of life. Write there at the piano she creates through words her very self, each iterated simple block of gots rebuilding a powerful determined whole person.
    You got Life, Ms. Mills. Even if you cover yourself up in a beautiful dress all the world will still see that you got Life.
    P.S. Me too.
    PPS I decided a long time ago that you only need one dress, basic black. The wedding/funeral outfit. Let the accessory scarf and Keens set the tone.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hair! That movie makes me cry, it’s so profound with its culture clashes and yet, in the end, it comes down to recognizing the humanity in all of us even when the world is in chaos. But you are so right — Nina Simone owns that song and you can watch it in her expression and body and music. To write like Nina Simone sings, that is the monstrous quest.

      Thanks, D. I’ll cover up. That slinky black dress could have been an option but I don’ think it would have fit the bill of “cover up.” Ooh, yes, I should look for a pair of navy-colored Keens. Hmm.

      You got life, Sister. Go grab it by the tail feathers!

  6. Jim Borden says:

    I am sure everything will fall into place 54 days from now…

    It’s funny that you mention Svalbard – I know you had talked about your daughter before, but I never paid attention to her location. However, just the other day I wrote a blog about how I had checked my blog stats, and over the past five years I have had at least one person from every country in the world read my blog, except for Greenland, Svalbard, and a couple of African countries.

    Hmmm…. if there’s someway for someone from Svalbard to just click on my blog… 🙂

  7. denmaniacs4 says:

    Maybe just a tad too much memoir here. Thanks, Charli, for the prompt…I did want to call it hairesy but that would have been a darker tale…and the sun is shining at the moment.

    Hairy Thoughts


    Singing that song!

    Hippie joy gone deep.


    Hadn’t thought about this in years.

    I took a bus to Seattle, late spring, 1970. June, maybe! I’d been bunking in with a friend, providing a shred of male influence to her house guests, first nations borders, teens, from isolated communities up the coast, on the island.

    Its pretty much a blur. I was in such an in-between world, a lonely space, sleepwalking, trying to readapt.

    So, off I went south to Hair, a local production playing at the Moore theater.

    On my return to Vancouver, I got life back.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hair must have been amazing to see as a live performance. As well as living that hippie joy. At any stage we can get (back) life.

    • denmaniacs4 says:

      Meant to write “boarders” but on reflection, there were and still are borders to get beyond…

  8. joem18b says:

    Hi. Here’s mine:

    There is a typo in the title in my submission to Carrot Ranch. If you could tweak it, I’d much appreciate it!

    Cheers. 🙂

  9. How exciting to have a wedding coming up, Charli. I am sure the clothing will all work itself out. My sister drove me nuts with her wedding. She wanted to have a colour palette and everyone had to dress in certain [boring] colours. I had a bit of an argument with her about it because I think if you want to dictate what people should wear then you should pay for it. Anyhow, on the day, my boys and I were dressed for the colour palette but no-one else did. I felt a bit bad for her.

    You prompt week reminds me of this brilliant song from Mame:

    • Charli Mills says:

      Yes — we have the color palette going on, and I understand it’s for the photos. Weddings come with such high expectations. We’ll do our part just as you and your boys did.

      Oh, great song! “Open a new window every day.”

  10. Miss Judy says:

    Hi ! Judy at Delight in Your Garden here with my first ever offering for the flash fiction challenge. It is over on my site at Would welcome comments from the community.

  11. Pete says:

    For weeks the crowds had swelled in numbers, a collective resistance simmering into rage as they marched the town. They were loud, boisterous, lighting fires and smashing windows, drunk on pilfered spirits as they arrived at officials’ quarters.

    These final acts had pushed them too far. Treated as second class citizens, the wealthy had the nerve to say they lived too well. And now, led by Samuel Adams, the mob ransacked the Lieutenant Governor’s mansion, destroyed his possessions and looted the house of furnishings.

    In the flames, a resistance was born. And soon, a new country would have life.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks for that historical perspective, Pete. We seem to be marching to that tune over and over. Until we no longer have second class citizens and oppression.

  12. […] Carrot Ranch June 25, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story with the phrase, “I got life.” It can be told from any point of view. What meaning does it lend to your story? Go where the prompt leads! Respond by June 30, 2020. […]

  13. Jules says:


    Got life = got spunk. 😉

    I’m not having to cook tonight and need to get ready soon so I’ll cut the small talk and lead you to:

    gone green and rainbow (haibun with solo renga)

    Used to up and left the building. Used to get a box full of mail, mostly junk. Nowadays days go by and nuthin’ honey. No cereal samples, no magazine subscriptions. Less stuff to toss. And because I don’t answer junk calls – I get less of them too.

    I got life! My raised garden is growing, I completed a project, and I’m going out to eat tonight!

    a tumble in time
    chores, favors, fill the gas tank
    sun shifts the shadows

    six digit number on cell
    out of country, hit delete

    two hours til dinner
    actually inside an
    eatery…with friends


    Note: Yes ‘we’ve’ gone green. But there is still a boatload of restrictions. Numbers spike, some states close their borders. All we can do is one day at a time…

    • Charli Mills says:

      That’s right, Spunky Jewels on the Page! I hope you had a nice night off from the kitchen. I’ve closed mine down for summer. Just the outdoor kitchen now.

      Mmm, you got life out of the soil and pared back junk. Small things returned feel significant.

      • Jules says:

        The other day I made a young lettuce, mixed herb (all from the garden) and avocado salad ~ Yum.

        Still quite a bit of junk to go, but I worked on straightened out my laundry room yesterday…

  14. […] Author’s Notes: It’s a Friday. It’s a story called “Let’s Do It!” Call it Friday Fact or Fiction. Some stories will be 100% fact (or close to it) while others will be 100% fiction. Most will be a little bit of both. You, the reader, can delight in speculating where the story belongs.Today’s entry is in a category known as flash fiction. There are many other names (micro, mini, nano, etc) and a variety of different lengths (one-word stories, six-word stories, 12-word stories, 100 words, 500 words.) Carrot Ranch is a dynamic online literary community for those practicing their craft, reading stories and discussing the process. Charlie Mills 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 “I got life.” […]

  15. TanGental says:

    Ah ha the MOG dress dilemma. One the Textiliste will have to confront next year as the boy’s nuptials have been postponed a year. She nailed the MOB outfit mind. And fortunately the Vet asked everyone to dress as colourfully as they liked at hers which led to a sort of neoPride riot of colour. Enjoy the journey… it sounds like it might be easier than destination day

    • Charli Mills says:

      MOG dresses make me look like I’m soliciting or trying to imitate Barbara Bush. I hope the Textilist has better options. I did buy British shoes. I think they’re British. If Clark’s are not, let me pretend. I would have fit in at the Vet’s wedding; I love that she instigated a neoPride riot of color! Thanks, I’m hoping to arrive properly dressed, but truth is, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. What times when they marry, eh?

      • TanGental says:

        Clarks are as british as silent contempt and egregious colonisation. Mum swore by them. Go for comfort with style.

  16. Got My Fingers, Got My Pal, Got My Hunger, Ain’t Got No Bacon…

    “I’m hungry Pal. What’ve we got fer breakfast?”
    “Outta bacon. Hens ain’t been layin’.”
    “Dang, sure coulda gone fer some eggs an’ bacon. Mebbe you’d make me a smoothie?”
    “Couldn’t even if we had the fixin’s. Yer fergittin’ yer blender blunder.”
    “They was jist twigs.”
    “Yeah, well, now ya know where birch beer don’t come from. S’prised ya still got yer fingers after thet. Shut thet fridge already, Kid. Starin’ an’ wishin’ ain’t gonna put food in it.”
    “They’s a jug a milk. We got any cereal?”
    “Thinkin’ we are a serial.”
    “Aha! Here’s some cereal! I got Life!”

  17. […] This was written with the prompt I got life provided by the Carrot Ranch June 25 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

  18. I thought this prompt might be difficult, but it only took me a day to think of one:

  19. […] was written in response to this week’s prompt at the Carrot […]

  20. jgard3 says:

    Life Sentence

    Closing his eyes, Marcel imagines there ain’t cinder blocks squeezing the bunk bed, creating a corridor so narrow he can’t walk in his cell without turning sideways first. He dreams of sky, sun, fresh air.

    He can’t pretend the bed don’t shake when his roommate coughs and wheezes. He can’t ignore the face mask. When he inhales, it flutters against whiskered cheeks, contaminated air fogging his glasses.

    “I got four more months,” his roommate repeats. “What you got?”

    Marcel wants to disappear into the threadbare blanket around his shoulders. He’s sweating, but he can’t get warm.

    “I got life.”

    Here’s a link to the story on my blog:

    • Charli Mills says:

      Wow, this is why I love different perspectives. I hadn’t considered the phrase as one of incaseration. Great details, too.

  21. […] June 25: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

  22. Hi Charli! Here’s my contribution. Lots of possibilities with life, so I decided to go with the board game. Hope it works. Here’s the link:

  23. suespitulnik says:

    Hi Charli,
    A wedding that is happening. Yeah. We had one in July, moved to next July and one in October moved to next April. I get it, but I was looking forward to both and the parties that will eventually happen with them. I am jealous of your clothing issues but totally agree not telling your son was a great decision. It is ironic that it is your son creating the stir instead of a daughter. I’m sure you will find something that is totally you at the right time, and good for the Sarge to settle into the program. Nina’s song wasn’t familiar to me, but it sure does paint an accurate picture. “I Got Life,” Amen…

    Now I’m Living

    I was a single military man
    A lady here and there
    Living the life
    I thought of you
    Even on the day I met the bomb
    I lost my driver
    I lost my legs
    What’s the point in living
    You wouldn’t want me
    I met a fierce lady
    She taught me to walk
    I called her Clarice
    She wasn’t you
    I went back home
    And by God, you did too
    Twenty five years later
    We’re together again
    Today we held baby Emma
    Her parents are moving to be near
    Now I know why I have life
    Four generations’ll do

    • Charli Mills says:

      Sue, I chuckle that it’s my son fussing. He’s not quite Groomzilla, but he knows exactly what he wants. The wedding will be greatly reduced. The Catholic Church is only allowing 50 people inside and our middle daughter can fly out of Svalbard but then she’d get stranded in the states so she’s not coming. My son and his fiance are filming it for her and I’ve heard of others doing live streaming. You’ll have to teach me your secret for enjoying parties!

      Wow, I could really hear Michael’s voice in this piece. It seems like he’s come to know what life is all about and that his sacrifice didn’t exclude him.

  24. Miss Judy says:

    Hi Ranchers! Seems my post strayed away from the corral and was lost; but it has been round-up and hopefully you can see it at

  25. Norah says:

    You’ve got life and your son’s got the best two parents he could have wished for to attend his wedding, no matter what they’re wearing. Not only have they got life, they’ve got hope and love. How exciting to have a wedding in the family to bring joy when so much around us is bleak. I wish the young couple love and joy that will fill and overflow their hearts and make their lives complete. Enjoy!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Aw, thank you, Norah. That is a perspective I need to use to reset when I feel anxious over the silly matters. Like one of the dresses that arrived today, fits beautifully except for the “plunging” neckline! Will focus on the joy of our young couple and their wedding. <3

      • Norah says:

        “plunging” neckline. I’m sure there’s something you can do about that if it bothers you. You probably don’t want to take attention away from the bride. (Some suggestions here:
        Yes – focus on the joy, not the … 😉😂

  26. Weddings are so hard right now. Hold the ceremony or not? Ban people from plague zones like North Carolina or not? Can we even get dresses? etc.

    My best friend is getting married in August – but she has bad enough health problems that she can’t risk getting Covid. She and her husband (rightly, given their circumstances) decided to not allow people coming in on a plane who couldn’t quarantine in their town for two weeks. People in their town have to quarantine two weeks before coming. I, being from the aforementioned plague zone, cannot come despite bridesmaid status. Her own *parents and sisters* can’t come.

    I hope I’ll get to see her and wear the bridesmaid dress I bought back in January. It’s all a hard, sad situation right now… but at least their wedding will be memorable.

    • Liz H says:

      We have a similar situation here. My son & future DIL have put off their wedding until they feel safe–maybe try for next Spring, since this past one didn’t work out…

    • Charli Mills says:

      H, I’m actually heartened to hear that she’s doing everything she can to remain low-risk and yet have her wedding. Maybe you can facetime with her, wearing your bridesmaid dress while she’s getting ready. I’m essentially quarantined anyhow due to my daughter’s health crisis so I can be around her for appointment backup or hydrotherapy. I’ll quarantine when I get home after the wedding. Neither of us lives in plague zones but we are the vulnerable fringes where COVID hasn’t yet struck. And people are amazingly disconnected from science and emotional intelligence right now. Stay safe! And all my best to your friend!

      • I think we’re planning on doing a “virtual bachelorette party” and playing some D&D! Luckily, like you, my friend lives in Michigan, so she’ll be fine!

  27. Planet Earth Is Blue

    At first, before they sedated and intubated me, my eyes were open. They looked like spacemen.
    *Can you hear me Major Tom?* They don’t know I can hear them. I can.
    *Though I’m past/100,000 miles/I’m feeling very still.* I can’t move. I can’t speak. But I can hear them. They are worried about me. They are worried about themselves. They are scared. *Tell my wife I love her very much/ She knows*.
    They talk about how pointless it is, say I’m going down. I hear them. *Can you hear me Major Tom?*
    ‘Yes,’ I silently scream, ‘I got life.’

    Many words lifted from David Bowie’s Space Oddity, because that song came to mind when I heard a segment on NPR about ICU’s.

    • Charli Mills says:

      I love intersections between art. How profound this song is when paired to NPR’s segment on what’s happening in ICUs. This one is going to stick with me a while.

  28. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (06/25/2020): In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story with the phrase, “I got life.” It can be told from any point of view. What meaning does it lend to your story? Go where the prompt leads! […]

  29. Liz H says:

    My sympathies on your wedding woes, Charli. My son and his fiancee, after two cancellations due to COVID and vulnerable family members, decided to forget trying to get married this year, and maybe try it again next spring, when it’s safe to do so. They want the party & the family, and these are the kind of trials that solidify the marriage bond, so…ok.

    And this weeks attempt has nothing to do with weddings, and everything to do with persisting in creativity under adversity and new norms. KOKO (Keep On Keepin’ On).

    I Got Life

    Pre-COVID, we met, early Saturdays, in the Midtown Market. Few stirred: lady mall cop, staff from the attached hospital, lone coffee shop doing brisk business, shops from around the world setting up. We were inspired by Heaven’s scents.

    One restaurant owner allowed us space for a free-will donation; he’s a poet and painter himself. In another, possible future, we’ll enjoy his hospitality again. For now, we Zoom.

    “Three minutes!”
    “OK…prompt is ‘I got life.’”
    Puzzled looks.
    Biting pens, we gaze to a corner in our separate boxes. Pens touch paper. We begin to scribble.

    We got this.
    [To post: I Got Life]

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ah, Liz, I love KOKO. That’s the first I’ve encountered the acronym though familiar with the phrase. Yeah, it’s tough decision time for couples. Our families are small, and they went to college together and have the same tight group of friends. Either way, I think these are tough calls to make. And we’ll make do and support them. Even in a MOG dress!

      Times like these are when you need creativity — to process, to find meaning, spread humanity and goodwill. Your community could use creative outlets. Like that stirring mural of George Floyd. Let your words color and heal and fly. KOKO!

      You got this!

      PS Scroll down this ancient table of contents:

      • Liz H says:

        A lot of street artists have answered the call–thete’s now an effort to preserve that work. These are monuments we won’t topple; hope they won’t be ignored & forgotten.

  30. Hope you get the clothes sorted although I’m of a mind as long as the couple are happy it matters not. We don’t have the wedding rehersal dinner so that is at least one thing we don’t have to think about. I have seen a few films featuring them (always comedies) and find it a strange custom. Do you know the origin of it?
    Loved your flash. I am in awe at your ability to do a full meaningful story in so few words. My creativity has gone out the window but at least this week I have got one.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ha! Well, there’s my dilemma, Irene — the couple wants the parents properly attired for their wedding happiness. Mostly, I don’t want to disappoint them and I feel fashionable awkward in these situations. And that you’ve only seen wedding rehearsal dinners in comedies is going to make me smile at the actual rehearsal dinner. I was never one of those girls who dreamed of her wedding so I missed out reading bride magazines and getting educated. I’m learning, though! I think it’s a time for the families to gather before the wedding. And at a Catholic wedding, there really is a rehearsal with the liturgical readings and Father Clayton explaining what to expect, which my son has asked me to read and I’m honored to do that for them.

      I think many are struggling with creativity write now. Be gentle with your inner writer. Let her just play. <3

      • Glad I am going to give you a smile Charli. I think if I had to do it twice I would just elope. I can understand you wanting to make the happy couples day even happier but I’m sure they will find a perfect day is nowhere near as important as a happy life together. I hope they have that.

  31. Chel Owens says:

    Ah, Charli. You are hilarious. “I’m the kind of person whose fashion sense vacillates between favorite threadbare flannel and blaze orange capris with flowy butterfly top. My gears are too plain and too garish, and I know my son would be horrified if I showed up with his dad in sweats and me in some sequined purple chiffon.” I love it.

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