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July 30: Flash Fiction Challenge

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Her crowning glory was to be the purple climbing clematis, but something went awry in the potager garden. What was once such joyful possibility is a tangle of disproportions. The balance and symmetry I envisioned grew up wild children with ideas of their own. The Lemon Queen sunflowers once to wispy and whimsical have stalks thick as birch saplings and heads ready to flower a foot over mine. Having planted six, I believe I now have a sunflower woods. At their base, the delphiniums have bloomed twice despite the strangulation of the purple podded peas that the rabbit bit off at the stalks, leaving the tendrils to be dry and brown, still wrapped tightly. The cosmos and bee balm are exquisite, and the snapdragons are starting to get their blooms, and here comes the overreach of the butternut squash with tendrils like those of the Kraken. And who knew courgette plants could grow four feet tall?

But alas, that clematis has not grown into the potager’s greatest centerpiece.

I’m looking at my neighbor’s neat rows and thinking maybe I did it wrong. My thesis is feeling the same way. Her crowning glory was to be a strong protagonist, a deep setting, a hero’s journey. In the middle of things, it’s a grander mess than anything I’ve ever written. My professor provided line edits the way a horticulturist would critique my gardens. I’m just going to say it — writing hurts sometimes. Being creative and visionary feels fraudulent when the results fall far from expectations. It’s my pity party, and I’ll sit in my overgrown garden and cry if I want to. Except I can’t indulge in my bemoaning long.

I’ve got work to do. Courgettes to harvest, seeds to save, flowers to arrange in vases, and the most delicious golden globes of lemon cucumbers to eat. Maybe the crown was not the point. I have writing to submit 15,000 more words by August 10. First drafts and middles are meant to be messy. At the direction of both profs, my peers and I are charged with self-care this week. One shared an article: Why Self Compassion Trumps Self Esteem. Garden and novels are hard work. It does no good to compare ourselves to the finished works of others when ours are still in progress.

Mostly, I’m tired. Most of my son’s guests are canceling, including close friends. My heart hurts for him because many have been reluctant to say they can’t come. It triggered grief in me and guilt. My best friend was known as Aunt Kate to my kids. Wild unicorns wouldn’t have kept her from reaching out to him if she couldn’t be there. The guilt is for abandoning her kids, not keeping in touch with them, after all our wandering. Grief is such an unwelcomed guest, like smoke it permeates. It is never too late to reach out. Never too late to plan next year’s gardens with this year’s lessons in mind. Never too late to resist the paralysis of the writer’s inner critic.

Tomorrow I shall cut my hair. Better yet, I’ll make a hair appointment and mask up for the event. My own crowning glory will not be COVID-hair. I might even trim up the eyebrows that are transforming into caterpillars. Paint the toenails for the open-toe shoes. I’ll hop online in the morning with my fellow veteran spouses, and we’ll listen to one another and encourage resiliency. Later, I’ll go back out to Lady Lake. It’s cooled off this week after a blazing hot weekend. The water will be cold, but I’ll still get in and try to float again. Look for rocks again. Call for the loons. Reset. Then I’ll get back at it. Write.

Another good article to read is The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to overcome Them). Each type calls for a different solution. The first is when you can’t come up with an idea. It happens with the challenges — the prompt fails to spark a story fire. One solution is to do writing exercises. The author gives these suggestions:

“Try imagining what it would be like if a major incident in your life had turned out way differently. Try writing some fanfic, just to use existing characters as “training wheels.” Try writing a scene where someone dies and someone else falls in love, even if it doesn’t turn into a story. Think of something or someone that pisses you off, and write a totally mean satire or character assassination. (You’ll revise it later, so don’t worry about writing something libelous at this stage.)” Charlie Jane Anders

I’d add to that: write the opposite of your first idea. Give your character a quirk. Reset the story someplace exotic, in the loo, or underground. Add a secondary character who is mean, or funny, or clueless. Add a sensory detail like something prickly, a whining sound, the taste of saffron. Collect details and turn them into story ideas or props. If all else fails, add a unicorn. Humor me.

July 30, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase “her crowning glory.” (Thanks to Anne Goodwin for the prompt idea.) It can be in the traditional sense of a woman’s hair or applied to any idea of a best attribute. What happens if you play with the meaning or gender? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by August 4, 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 are now closed. See our latest challenge to enter.

Hiding Her Crown by Charli Mills

When Thomas fell down the main shaft and died, the mining company told his widow to send one of the boys or leave the company house. Jack was ten and frail from illness. Robbie was eight, and Brad six. Lizzie was fourteen and fit. She sheared her crowning glory of long red curls. No one likes a ginger, Mrs. Lewis next door would say, her mouth pinched perpetually. Wearing her father’s clothes tied and tucked into her brother’s boots Lizzie settled the miner’s helmet on her bald head. No one ever paid the poor Irish kids much mind, anyhow.


107 Comments

  1. jenanita01 says:

    Wonderful image this week, Charli!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Isn’t that fun? How could I resist a buckskin unicorn!

      Liked by 4 people

      • That story, though, breaks my heart. Mines riddle the ground beneath most of the communities here in WPA, and about a mile and a half from here are two “company towns.” They’ve changed significantly over time, but I think of the old song “16 Tons” – “I owe my soul to the company store.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        “…another day older and deeper in debt…” Sometimes, I find it staggering how much industry happened on this peninsula in a relatively short time, on the broken backs of the company souls. It’s true that widows were asked to leave if they couldn’t supply another back for the mine. Sounds like you have a similar history beneath your soil. Company towns were not for the comfort of the workers, were they?

        Like

  2. […] July 30: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. floridaborne says:

    When it comes to gardening, some of us seem to have a singular talent: We can kill anything that grows.

    If I don’t try to take care of a plant, it seems to thrive.

    Funny you should mention writing about what-if’s. There was a time, around 20 years ago, I went through a “What if I had married/done/chosen ____ instead of _____.” At every point in the path of my life, there was only one conclusion. No matter what other choices I would have made, none would have provided the richness of experiences and insights that allowed me to help others and ultimately led me to writing.

    We are a garden of thoughts on the days that the weeds of doubt and discontent aren’t trying to take over. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ha! Well, Joelle, I should take heart that I haven’t killed off anything (yet) although the clematis is questionable. Some things are over-thriving. There needs to be a balance between killing off and growing a street-side jungle.

      Thank you for your wisdom and what-if exercise. I was thinking about that richness of life today and it matters to our writing. I’m busy weeding!

      Liked by 2 people

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

    Liked by 2 people

  5. […] July 30: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Pete says:

    I was raised to think I was special. My mom liked to call me her crowning glory. She’d smile proudly whenever she said it, blind to my blemishes, immune to my mistakes. She’d look at me, eyes glazed, seeing what no mirror could ever produce.

    The last time she said it was the day I went clean for good. We held hands, my tears spilling to my arm, washing over the scabs and needle marks.

    “My crowning glory,” she rasped, sinking away, leaving me alone with my demons.

    I knew there was a will.

    But I wanted her glory.

    Liked by 7 people

  7. I love your comparison of gardening to writing, Charli. And “Hiding her Crown”! There is a book there that you must write!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Acceptance As Kid’s Crowning Achievement in 3 parts

    “Kid, whyn’t ya ever take thet hat off yer head?”
    “Whyn’t you? Ain’t we s’posed ta wear these hats, bein’ ranch han’s an’ all?”
    “Ya mean fer UV ray pertection out here on the range?”
    “No, I mean fer our iconic stock character status. Ya know, brandin’, like… a look.”
    “Yeah, well, now I’m curious. Let’s have a look unnerneath thet hat a yers.”
    “You first.”
    “Oh fer shifts sake, Kid, jist take it off!”
    “All right. There, ya happy, Pal. Pal?”
    “Oh I never ‘magined thet!”
    “Lemme guess, a dirty sweaty hat ring?”
    “Ya’ve got a uni-corn horn!”
    ###
    “Impossible!”
    “Why? Jist ‘cause I an’ you ain’t never ‘magined it? Someone must’ve ‘magined it, ‘cause there it is, a nubby little horn jist unner yer forelock.”
    “Someone! Indeed! D. Avery! Dang her! Why in heck’s she doin’ this? Thought she di’n’t even like uni-corns.”
    “Heard she’s got a couple neighbors up in them woods a hers is workin’ on her uni-corn issue. Mebbe she’s jist ‘sperimentin’.”
    “Hey, stop puttin’ a hole in ma hat!”
    “Jist givin’ ya room ta grow Kid.”
    “Hmmph!”
    “Mebbe, Kid, it’s like Pinnochio, mebbe ever time ya whine an’ complain thet nub grows longer.”
    ###
    “Hey Pal. Thanks fer doin’ ma chores. Don’t feel like goin’ anywhere’s like this. Uni-corn horn’s gittin’ bigger.”
    “Huh. ‘Cause I know ya been workin’ real hard at not whining an’ complainin’. Mebbe thet ain’t the cause a it.”
    “I been real calm, Pal, been mindful an’ grateful, an’ even practicin’ self-compassion. But when I git all like that, the uni-corn horn grows! This is some situation. Wunner what Shorty’s gonna say?”
    “Shorty’ll be fine with it. Reckon she might even snort laugh.”
    “That’d make this all worthwhile. Ya know, I’ve come ta accept this thing!”
    “Kid! It’s gone!”

    Liked by 6 people

  9. […] Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 2 people

  10. (a small scene of familiar characters)

    “Look out, Ilene, bees are swarming. Your hair-do’s looking like home to them.”
    “Shut-up Nard. This is my crowning glory.”
    “What? Your hair-do or the fact you’ve had it for forty years?”
    “Somebody tell me why I invite Nard to anything, let alone my college graduation.”
    “I think you endure Nard for Marge and because this group is like family for you.”
    “Wow, Ernest!”
    “I also believe you enjoy sparring with her oldest friend.”
    “Where do you fit in?”
    “I simply manage to stay out of it but sleep with the matriarch. My crowning glory.”
    “Eww, gross.”
    “Shut-up Nard.”

    Liked by 6 people

  11. […] Author’s Notes: It’s a Friday. It’s a story. 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 “her crowning glory.” […]

    Liked by 2 people

  12. denmaniacs4 says:

    This one has not impulsive errors, Charli…

    Scat

    She’d sneak into the rooms of others, paw their possessions, hold the ones that appealed, and then, rather than scurry away, hide in a closet, and listen for the sounds of other people living their lives.

    We suspected she’d use whatever hairbrushes she could find and stroke her hair, leave some of the hairball bramble that always seemed to tangle her up.

    More often than not, she would be discovered.

    Occasionally though, her crowning glory was a sly entry, a sensuous caress of some personal items of another, secreting away, being pleasured by their sounds, and a clever exit.

    http://www.engleson.ca

    Liked by 6 people

  13. TanGental says:

    Knees Up
    ‘Aunty Madge mailed.’
    ‘How is the old loon?’
    ‘Fed up with lockdown, though she’s ridiculously excited she’s got a hair appointment.’
    ‘What is that all about? A hair cut? Sheesh!’
    ‘You’ve got none to cut. Mum always said her hair was her crowning glory.’
    ‘What’s yours, Logan?’
    ‘I’ve not given it any thought.’
    ‘Mine’s my knees. I’ve always thought they were rather finely sculptured.’
    ‘Seriously? Knees have to be man’s ugliest feature.’
    ‘No, that has to be elbows. Awful things. Come on, what’s yours?’
    ‘If I have to pick, then my intellect.’
    ‘More like your crowing glory, then.’
    ‘?’

    Great prompt Charli!

    Liked by 6 people

  14. […] This was written in response to this week’s prompt over at #carrotranch […]

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Gosh, writing does hurt sometimes? It comes with either harsh feedback, but I think one of the more common things writers experience is *no* feedback. It’s hard for me to think about which is worse, though I suppose having a professor (and thus someone who is proven to know what they’re doing) rip something with comments is another beast altogether. The only writing class I took in undergrad was “technical writing”, and I’m pretty sure they go easy on you in that class because most people are complete and total non-writers. I’m actually pretty sure you write well, though I haven’t read your book, and I can only assume it’s not as bad as you may worry.

    I’m at a point right now where I’m searching my first love of writing again, so my hope is to work more on the novel and less on… other stuff, for now. I think that change of writing love has been keeping me less responsive recently, though hopefully I’ll get back into the groove once I’ve replenished my stocks. Still plan on popping in with some comments.

    Best wishes to you! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hi H.! Well, I had a good insight from my prof this weekend and she helped me see something one of her profs said when she was getting her MFA. What makes the MFA program unique is that at no other time in an author’s life do they receive this depth of feedback. So, yes, sometimes it is hard to endure, like learning to swim in the ocean, this is not fun and games. I appreciate that her detailed critique is meant to help me swim in an industry that only accepts 4% of the manuscripts submitted. Yet, it also furthers my intent to create a broader education platform for all levels and interests of writers. And, she says that all writers go through what I’m going through — keep writing forward.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Jim Borden says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your son’s guest list shrinking; I am sure it was a tough decision for all those guests…

    Liked by 3 people

  17. […] to Charli Mills’ July 30th: Flash Fiction Challenge to write a 99-word flash fiction using the phrase “her crowning […]

    Liked by 3 people

  18. […] Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction in 99 words July 30, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase “her crowning glory.” (Thanks to Anne Goodwin for the prompt idea.) It can be in the traditional sense of a woman’s hair or applied to any idea of a best attribute. What happens if you play with the meaning or gender? Go where the prompt leads! Respond by August 4, 2020. MLMM Sat Mix Opposing Forces Opposing Forces: – dark and light (suffix “-ness” may be added) – arrive and depart The Saturday Symphony 4 PONDEROUS THOUGHT; THE MUSIC OF MY SOUL ~Write about your favourite musical instrument(s) and the things it/they make you feel~ […]

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Jules says:

    Charli,

    My heart aches for you, and yet I burst with joy knowing that you will have a wonderful time at your son’s wedding. These are trying times, while we get to see the people we love while restraining from full on hugging.

    Your flash is brilliant. That the daughter would take on such a responsibility. Sad too that the mining company treated the family’s in that way.

    I’ve done a bit of a mash, which I think is a tad borderline, but it is where all the prompts met; enjoy this haibun – at my site there is an additional ponder thought answered in/on one of the prompts for:

    Coda?

    The instrumental of her voice, soft whispers, forced grunts, maybe even a scream or two. When she’d thought of all she’d ever done it was her crowning glory to ‘gift’ a safe arrival to her children. Everything else paled. Departing from graduation ceremonies, even the wedding ceremony – while still high on the list of accomplishments – the light of her life that brought her out of the darkest of thoughts were the successes of her children.

    lullabies she’d sung
    created solely from love
    easing them to sleep

    Still, she remained an individual. And perhaps that counted the most.

    ©JP/dh

    Liked by 6 people

  20. Hi Charli

    Like that unicorn image!

    “her crowning glory” brought to mind Medusa!
    And a poem by Shelley. Irresistible poetry!

    “‘Tis the tempestuous loveliness of terror;”

    Here are selected lines:

    On the Medusa of Leonardo Da Vinci in the Florentine Gallery
    Percy Bysshe Shelley – 1792-1822

    //…
    “And from its head as from one body grow,
    As [ ] grass out of a watery rock,
    Hairs which are vipers, and they curl and flow
    And their long tangles in each other lock,
    And with unending involutions shew
    Their mailed radiance, as it were to mock
    The torture and the death within, and saw
    The solid air with many a ragged jaw.
    //…
    ‘Tis the tempestuous loveliness of terror;
    For from the serpents gleams a brazen glare
    Kindled by that inextricable error,
    Which makes a thrilling vapour of the air
    Become a [ ] and ever-shifting mirror
    Of all the beauty and the terror there—
    A woman’s countenance, with serpent locks,
    Gazing in death on heaven from those wet rocks.”

    Source: https://poets.org/poem/medusa-leonardo-da-vinci-florentine-gallery

    Keep well.
    Saifun

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hi Saifun! Thanks for sharing that verse of Shelley. Medusa had a terrific crowning glory. The line you highlighted, ‘Tis the tempestuous loveliness of terror;’ describes what I think when I see the image of the coronavirus. It does look rather Medusa-like.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Norah says:

    I like the sound of your wild garden, but I’m disappointed to hear about the mess you feel your book is in. I thought the professors were meant to help. I think the advice to look after your well-being is a good one and you have some good strategies planned. I’m sorry to hear that the wedding will be minus a few guests. I hope that those of you who attend (those that really matter) enjoy the occasion and stay safe and well.
    Interesting flash. I’m sure the situation occurred more than once. I love ginger hair. I have a whole (almost family) of red heads. (I almost wrote ‘read’ heads, but they are that too. 🙂 )

    Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      ‘Tis the messy middle, nothing more! My prof told me this weekend that I’m feeling what other authors feel in the middle when none of it seems to be coming together. It’s important to move forward to the end. Growing pains! I got sun and lake over the weekend, and I’m less worried about my mess of pages to turn in next week.

      Yes, we will witness the moment and share that special day with our son. I’m even scheduled to get my hair cut and brows waxed. I might yet look civilized!

      Ha! I like to think that gingers are indeed read heads! I have the gene from both sides of the family, varying shades, too. My dad was blonde but when he grew his first full beard after we moved up to the mountains it was as red as my hair. Everything eventually turned white. My hair seems to get darker each year, less ginger-y. Ah, well, at least I still read! How about your family, Norah? Do you know the origins of your red-headed-ness?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        I’m pleased you’re happy with your story’s messiness at the moment. I’m hoping I’ll move to that stage soon. I got feedback from an agent about two of my stories at a recent conference. I can’t make sense of how to take the next steps. All I’ve done is made a mess.
        I want to see a photograph of the civilised you! 🙂
        My mum was one of five red-headed siblings. I’m pretty sure both parents were redheads. I’ve been told the red gene needs to be on both sides, so I guess there was something on my dad’s side too. I’m not sure how far back. Both my children are red, though my son started quite fair and went through every shade until he became quite a deep auburn when reaching adulthood. Now his children don’t believe he was ever red. His partner is ginger and both children are flaming redheads. I love the hair. The skin doesn’t do well in our Queensland sun. I’m not sure how far back in my hub’s family the red existed but he has an occasional red hair in his beard, so it must be there somewhere. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        I love the red-haired lineage in your family and chuckled at your husband’s minimal contribution!

        Hang in there with the mess. I understand it is expected. I think this is often where writers say enough, good as it’s gonna get, or almost there. And there’s no wrong or right of it.

        Like

  22. Jennie says:

    Wonderful story. I think people keep holding on that they can get there, if Covid eases up. I hope your dear friend comes! And please be careful not to chip your freshly done toes in the water.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Getting out of bed when it’s still dark to head out on the backroads has some amazing rewards.

    Tip of the Hat
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    The quiet rumble reminds her of far off thunder as the truck tires roll over the cattle guard. She knows her way out of the blackened ranch yard by heart, not turning on the headlights until she reaches the end of the lane. Her hand drops automatically to flick on the turn signal. She laughs at herself knowing the courtesy is only necessary when headlights or dust tails are coming toward you. In twenty minutes she’ll be in the hills waiting for the sun to rise. The morning’s tip of the hat, her crowning glory, to start the day.

    https://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/tip-of-the-hat

    Liked by 5 people

  24. […] July 30, 2020, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase “her crowning […]

    Liked by 1 person

  25. A bit of Irish mythology: “The Queen of Winter”

    The wind howled like a banshee as the first storm of the season battered the cottage. Niall settled into his chair for the night.

    Wild dreams tortured his thoughts. The image of the Cailleach Béara bloomed in his mind. Each year the old crone brought winter’s fury. When she appeared, stones flew from her apron and landed upon the ground. These stones, her crowning glory, grew into rock formations or mountains.

    The next morning Niall’s home perched on the cliffs above the sea. Nearby, a large rock resembled the ancient Cailleach’s face. There she remains to the present day.

    Liked by 5 people

  26. […] ‘s the July 30, 2020, prompt from Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase “her crowning glory.” […]

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Never Mind

    Never mind what exactly the boys said, the gestures they made. It was rude. It was disrespectful. And how they waited for her response, grinning, still taunting. Who would treat an elder this way?

    She calmly unpinned her gray bun, shook loose her long hair. She stood tall, her hair now a high wind whipping and lashing the cowering boys. She watched, impassive, her hair now a frenzied torrential rain that pelted the whimpering boys.

    Then she brushed her hair, now a golden sun, a dazzling halo. And she wound it back into a gray bun, her crowning glory.

    Liked by 6 people

  28. […] for prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase : Her Crowing glory  and cyranny word of the day:respectful and Sheryl daily word prompt:tout  and August […]

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Sorry about the wedding blues, Charli. Here in the UK they were just about to relax the rules on numbers and venues but then did a U-turn – probably the right decision but badly communicated along with several others at the moment!

    When I first started blogging I wrote a few posts about how writing is like gardening but I’m not sure I included the main factor which is they never go according to plan, unless you regiment the life out of them. It’s tricky striking the balance between order and serendipity. Here, the wildflowers have done better than my veg – while most people have a surfeit of courgettes, I have NONE! So not take this summer!

    Given the prompt came from me, it should have been easy to find my 99-word story, but I struggled, perhaps because my muse was preoccupied churning out ideas for my WIP. The fields finally delivered a silly story, but he might have to visit my blog for the images to make sense of that last line.

    Shaggy inktop

    Feathered frame for her face, her surprise lockdown hair was a triumph, visually. That couldn’t be said of the inglorious thicket that sprang from her crown. Sweat lathered her nape as the sun reported for duty. Fatigue in her arms as the queue formed outside the shower. Should she chop it to the bone, don a hat with her mask for the supermarket? No-one saw the back of her head on Zoom. Should she make it a feature, a topknot, a śikhā, a Hindu thread to heaven? Inspiration dawned with a fungus: inky black dye topping her shopping list!

    Are you ready for women in translation month? https://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2020/07/are-you-ready-for-women-in-translation-month.html

    Liked by 5 people

    • Slight alteration!

      Feathered frame for her face, her surprise lockdown hair was a triumph, visually. That couldn’t be said of the feel of the inglorious thicket that sprang from her crown. Sweat lathered her nape as the sun reported for duty. Fatigue in her arms as the queue formed outside the shower. Should she chop it to the bone, don a hat with her mask for the supermarket? No-one saw the back of her head on Zoom. Should she make it a feature: topknot, śikhā, Hindu thread to heaven? Inspiration dawned with a fungus: inky black dye topping her shopping list!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Liz H says:

      When in doubt, give Mother Nature a shout.
      There’s a fungus among us and it’s looking fabulous!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’m a bit worried rules might tighten but we are getting close and will be at the wedding. Who knows what will inspire my hair? Your flash is fun, embracing the silliness where we can. I’d send you courgettes, swap you for some wildflower seeds. I like the reminder that a regimented garden is one missing life. Mine has life. And the sunflowers are about to be the life of the party! Good to hear you are fast at work on the WIP.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. suespitulnik says:

    Hi Charli,
    I’m sorry about your son’s wedding guest list. Perhaps it will spawn the excuse for a big party next year, or whenever it becomes safe to gather again. Your wild garden growing willy nilly made me chuckle, so much like life, we plan, we get thwarted, and we carry on in spite of ourselves.
    This prompt was difficult to fit into Michael and Tessa’s story but gave me many things to think about…

    He’ll Walk for Emma
    Tessa leaned close to Lexi to ask, “How did you get Michael to wear his legs for the baptism?”
    “Reality, Mom. I simply told him I was afraid Emma wasn’t safe being perched in his lap while he was using his arms to wheel his chair and I wanted her grandfather to carry her forward when it was time for the ceremony.”
    “That will be your crown of glory for years to come my daughter. Next time I think he should walk instead of ride, I’ll get you to convince him.”
    “Not my doing, Mom. Give Emma the credit.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Yes, Sue, I think we will plan a future celebration when we can all gather again. Ah, the best-laid plans of a garden, eh? I will look forward to those sunflower trees opening up. I’m glad you found a way in for Michael and Tessa this week!

      Liked by 1 person

  31. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (07/30/2020): In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase “her crowning glory.” It can be in the traditional sense of a woman’s hair or applied to any idea of a best attribute. What happens if you play with the meaning or gender? Go where the prompt leads! […]

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Liz H says:

    The Wheel Turns
    [The Wheel Turns]

    Chad scrunched his brow, tapping the turntable with a desultory forefinger. The sculpture rotated slowly, displaying all its sides, seeming to delight in its own ineffable shimmer and elegance. It almost winked at him, whispering “You don’t get me, do you?”

    He shook his head and turned away to pour another dram of Scotch into the ceramic mug, one of the first pieces Susan’d submitted to apprentice with him. He threw back the Scotch and grimaced at its bite.

    This was her crowning glory?

    Yet there was something…artistic genius he couldn’t grasp.

    The student had bypassed the teacher.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. […] week, Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com/ invites all to write 99 word stories about “crowning glory.” In answer, I wrote two […]

    Liked by 1 person

  34. […] response to Charli’s prompt for this week’s 99 word flash where she […]

    Liked by 1 person

  35. […] This was written with the prompt her crowning glory provided by the Carrot Ranch July 30 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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