The author’s chair is available. If you dare to sit.
Writers responded to the prompt, and what follows is a collection of perspectives in 99-word stories arranged like literary anthropology.
Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.
Stories from the Author’s Chair by Sue Spitulnik
I went out of curiosity, to hear what the veterans wrote about their experiences.
Each author sat in the special chair to read a piece of his writing. An Army officer recounted delivering coffee in the dead of night to frightened young rookies in look-out towers. An Air Force pilot related seeing a plane crash, then having to walk around the wreckage to go fly his own mission. The Marine lowered his gaze, described the sounds, smells, and angst of the front line, and carrying his wounded buddy to the medical tent.
I wondered who had the worst nightmares.
Ghost Writer by Ann Edall-Robson
This is my chair. It is my favourite place to come. It’s where I sit in the sun or hide from the weather under the eaves. The view from here and the noise of nature always make my heart sing. The songs let me soar with the lofty clouds to grasp the words no one else hears. Capturing them on scraps of paper I kept tucked in my pocket for just such moments.
My chair is old, but I see it still beckons to those who need to connect to their words. I wonder if they feel me nearby?
Author’s Chair by Saifun Hassam
At the yard sale, Nancy found an ornate garden chair, its metal frame painted bright blue. Nancy placed the chair near the old but still serviceable wood table in the garden near forest green hosta, ferns, and variegated rainbow-colored coleus.
When her best friend and indie author Trish saw the chair, she immediately thought of a garden tea party scene for her new historical fiction novel. Saturdays turned into a scrumptious garden party for their friends, to read and share ideas for their novels and poetry.
The garden chair settled into its new home. Proud to be a ghostwriter.
Strategic Support by JulesPaige
Just one seat, that old chair…
When words cease to flow
Who can we blame for our lack of skill to write
When the night brings us fright
And we trip, face first
If we could get to it
Those legs strong and true,
To lend us strength to hold us with love and care,
That one chair, near glass with
A view to change sight
To lift and warm our soul
Ease on to that pad
Sit still with calm peace, that slow warmth to grow strong
‘Blank page you will not win’
That must be the cry
Author’s Chair by Michael Fishman
A lumbar support is strapped over wooden cross rails; a cushion covers an unforgiving seat.
My author’s chair hates me.
I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not too cheap to buy an author’s chair. I just don’t consider myself an author.
The chair mocks me.
I’m lying down reading and from the corner of my eye I see the chair angled toward me. “C’mon,” it taunts. “Sit.”
I blink; it appears closer. “Whatcha gotta say?”
I shake my head.
“Got a story, Mr. Writer? A rhyme?”
As it scrapes across the floor toward me, I lose my mind.
Arthur’s Chair by Bill Engleson
He was one of those kids who needed steadiness. OCD? Maybe. He was a finicky little critter from the get-go. First day, grade one, he had to have a chair and desk right next to the teacher’s desk.
She’d been teaching a while, but Arthur was a new one on her.
“Wouldn’t you be happier sitting next to a friend, Arthur?” she asked.
He shook his head.
She was a smart lady.
“Fine,” she said, “We’re desk buddies.”
Thing was, it worked for Artie.
Gave him the confidence to stand his ground.
Or sit it.
Imposter Syndrome by Norah Colvin
When Dave revisited his junior school, he smiled to see the chair in its usual spot.
“Get down,” his big sister had said. “You’re not allowed on there. It’s only for authors.”
“I am an author,” Dave said, holding up the book he’d made in class.
“Not a real author. Real authors have real books published by real publishers, and their feet touch the floor. Anyway, it’s time to go.”
This time, when Dave sat in the chair, his feet touched the floor. The audience hushed as he opened his real book and began to read. Imposter no more.
Author’s What? by Duane L Herrmann
“An Author’s what?”
“What a curious idea. Sometimes a student had to stand facing a corner in the front of the room, otherwise, students seldom came to the front.”
“Not unless they were in trouble.”
“That’s harsh, man!”
“We didn’t want to be in the front with everyone staring at us. I had to do it once, in third grade, to give a report, and I was sure glad to get that over with!”
“Did anyone read outloud?”
“Aside from our reading group in class, which I hated, only the teacher.”
“Only the teacher?’
The Author’s Chair by Joanne Fisher
“So you want to write books?” the figure asked.
“Yes.” the author replied.
“What you need is the Author’s Chair. You won’t be able to stop writing.” the figure said. A brown leather chair appeared.
“That’s what I want. How much for it?”
“Only your soul.” The author laughed upon hearing this.
“It’s of no matter. Go ahead and take it!” the author urged.
“Fine.” The figure disappeared.
The author sat down and began writing and found he couldn’t stop. He wrote many works, but died of thirst, hunger, and exhaustion from never being able to leave the Chair.
Tree of Life by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Stepping from the top of one tree to middle of the other, she slides toward the trunk, tests each step. Bark snaps and spirals; it’s a long way down. Desire stays true, the guiding song.
Ascending, though the needles hurt, she’s careful to avoid new shoots. The snap of sap both glues and sparks; it draws her upward toward her mark.
Tree sways in an onshore breeze. Lake promises sweet and ease.
Sky opens wide, near Red Pine’s peak. She builds her nest, to wait and seek.
Eagle soars and tips his wings.
She is learning all new things.
It’s Not the Destination, But What Happens on the Way by Anne Goodwin
Bracken scratches my ankles as I traverse another false summit. For years, I’ve hacked through forest, trod on tarmac, scrambled over boulders, meandered through meadows, lost my way and rediscovered it, but still can’t reach the top. Yet it’s called to me since childhood, as I farmed in the valley below. “Come, scale the mountain, and sit on the gritstone throne.” The closer I get, the more it eludes me, but glimpses tantalise, urging me on. Until, pausing to slake my thirst, I see marvels reflected in the pool. “Relax,” say the waters. “There’s a wondrous view from here.”
Anticipated Success by Lindsey F. McPherson
The agony of thought, struggles of imagination, threat of criticism, prospect of praise, disturbs my creativity. I always associate the flash fiction competition with the smell of grass, hot dogs and rhythmic jazz music, all necessary for a good festival. On stage, the rainbow-coloured author’s chair is both inviting and threatening, depending on the quality of imagination that trickled into my fingers.
My blood thunders, tentatively I sit. I see family and friends anticipate a successful performance. I’m wide-eyed, bugged-out nervous. Polite applause confirms my failure for the fifth year running. “Never mind’ mother quips, “there’s always next year.”
The Trinity by Annette Rochelle Aben
Wandering through an estate sale, Michelle hoped they had an old wooden roll-top desk. If it had a matching chair, all the better.
Dan was constantly rearranging items as other items sold. It was his goal to see that everything would catch the eye of the right person.
He had barely moved the Remington typewriter to a more prominent place, when he heard a gasp. Michelle couldn’t believe her eyes. There was her roll-top desk with a matching chair!
She handed him a check for all three. After all, a writer needed a desk, a chair, and a typewriter.
Author’s Chair by Anita Dawes
My authors chair is in a pub called The Drum.
It has a blue plaque with his name on, H G Wells
A man before his time, no pun intended
He sat inside with the likes of Lewis Carrol and others
Discussing their latest ideas
I would love to have been there as he wrote notes
about what became my favourite film
The TIME MACHINE
How many would queue to sit in that chair
I would in a heartbeat
Push that crystal stopper from his brandy decanter
be on my way
Don’t look for me, I’ll be a while…
Author’s Chair by Reena Saxena
It’s a kind of pilgrimage for her.
They say the author’s soul still resides on that old leather chair, and blesses writers who dare to sit on it. The agent charges a whopping sum for taking people there, and allows no refunds.
A piece of eternity is on her palms, as she touches the worn out chair. Magic flows – she just knows it’s hers – very familiar, very comfortable and she sinks in the seat, never to rise again.
The agent is horrified.
Her frozen smile seems to mock him – “Are you offering a refund now? I won’t take it.”
Sour Grapes by Doug Jacquier
At John’s sale, his office chair is marked ‘Author’s chair $500.’
‘Are you a published author?’
‘Not yet but I will be and then you can re-sell it for a fortune. And it comes with the tapes’.
‘I can’t type so I dictated it. The money’s to pay a transcriber so I can send it off to a publisher and become famous. And then you’ll be rich.’
‘Your book’s that good?’
‘I’m pretty sure it is but I’ve never listened to it, so it might need a little polishing.’
‘I think I’ll pass, Mr. Steinbeck.’
‘You’ll be sorry.’
Chair by Simon
Authors Chair, with it, I’ll be famous, just like him.
You can sit under a tree, but you can never be Bhudha.
A talking chair?
Attitude! can you make me famous?
Do I look like a Genie from magical lamp
You are magical and talking!
You are a Human, use your brain, start writing.
I will give you great comfort! I’m just a talking chair.
I can see that.
Then why you keep asking?
No use of talking.
Shut up! I’m writing
Author’s Chair by FloridaBorne
It was 1997, the year I stopped working for companies and started my own business.
The old clunker of a desk was far too big for my office, and needed an army to move it. My new desk was lightweight, and easily relocated at a whim.
I plopped into 50 chairs before I found the perfect backrest, seat padding that wasn’t too firm or soft, and arm rests at just the right level.
Then I read the price tag. “$100? For a chair?”
It’s been 24 years, and I’m sitting in that same chair as I write this post.
Queen’s Corner by Kerry E.B. Black
Marshalling troops, in that nondescript corner of the family living room. Caught up in her private battles with deadlines and artistic excellence, she remained miles from the mundane. It’s hard to imagine the wonders she created from such a threadbare throne, yet create she did. Three novels and countless short stories she penned in the days before computers, long-hand translations of mental impressions and fanciful flights of imagination. She answered contest questions to earn spending money, captioned for prizes. Now, we haul the wingback to the rubbish as we mourn her loss.
Seat Of Horror by Hugh W. Roberts
Will Adrian’s birthday gift to Richard spark new ideas or give reasons to be concerned?
“What is it?” squealed Richard as he tore off wrapping paper while Adrian took photos.
“You’ll soon find out.”
“Not just any chair. Stephen King’s chair.”
“Stephen King?” You’re kidding me.”
“Nope. I got all the paperwork of authenticity.”
“I love it.”
“Get writing that first novel you keep telling us you have inside you.”
“Horror! It’ll be a horror story. It has to be horror, what with it being Stephen King’s chair.”
“Don’t let it go to your head. I’ve hidden all the knives and sharp objects but left you a pen,” giggled Adrian.
Purpose Rewritten by Rebecca Glaessner
The alien looked ugly, dying in the dirt, trying to remain human.
It looked like her when she screamed about my room, again. Face twisting like I wasn’t supposed to be there. I screamed back, she slapped me. I laughed.
Actually, she looked like it when I left. Ugly and dying.
I found the alien later and sat with it. It gave me its memories, stories of broken kids.
I let it.
It’s dead now, but I’m not. I found the others.
We got ourselves a space, chairs, tables, where we share the alien’s memories, and rewrite our futures.
Marked by D. Avery
These ones are grateful for their shelters, are proud of what they have built, though their houses are not as warm as our nush wetus. Even Bradford’s home is not as comfortable as Swany’s was in Cornhill. But like Swany, he has a chair and a small table where he marks on big leaves they call paper. Bradford reaches for his bible as Standish reaches for his musket.
I want this magic, these marks the English make and interpret. When I am sachem, Bradford will be obliged to share the secret of marking leaves. I will know this power.
Esprit Egression (Double Ennead *plus) by JulesPaige
In the autumn of life
The inkwell was still
In use by the paper thin skinned hand that now
Shook just a little more
while filling the page
Letters scritchity scratched
Black India Ink
Ran, danced, echoed memories real and
Imagined from the pen
Until the cold winter
Arrived leaving just
The bare bones to drape on the author’s desk chair
Would fame come now that death
Had taken all else?
Is the pen mightier than thoughts that wield it?
Can we define what haunts the doorways of our trials in this life?
Will what’s left tell?
And Still They Are Missing by Charli Mills
Louise pressed her back against a cottonwood tree, dipped her pen into the ink jar and wrote in her journal. “Silver vanished before the snowmelt and now the mountain aspen turn gold.” Her pen paused. Ink pooled. What else to say? The miners hauled more ore. Investors traded stock. Silver’s mother waited for her “Lord” to return from England. Rumors circulated that Bigfoot carried off Louise’s best friend. No one looked. Only Lord Chalmer’s disappearance made headlines in The Argonaut. One day, Louise vowed to sit in the author’s chair and give voice to the girls sentenced and silenced.
Author, Author! by D. Avery
“Pal, who’s Arthur?”
“Why d’ya ask Kid?”
“Shorty’s wantin’ folks ta write ‘bout Arthur’s chair.”
“Thet’s ‘author’ Kid, as in writer.”
“Oh. They’s writers all over the ranch.”
“Thet’s right Kid, an’ they’s invited ta take a seat in the author’s chair— share a piece a their work.”
“Soun’s like a hot seat.”
“No, Kid, it’s a friendly exchange. A chance ta share an’ engage with one another as readers an’ writers.”
“Like we do ‘roun the Carrot Ranch campfire ever’ week?”
”’Cept jist one author’ll be featured at a time.”
“Cool! Cain’t wait ta see who signs up.”
Author’s Chair by D. Avery
“So Pal, anyone readin’ this is eligible ta be in the Author’s Chair?”
“Yep. Kin read anythin’ they’ve writ; mebbe somethin’ we’ve seen b’fore or somethin’ we ain’t. Mebbe somethin’ thet’s been reworked somehow. But it ain’t got ta be Ranch related. Kin be from a WIP, a forthcomin’ book, an older book, or no book.”
“Someone jist sharin’ somethin’ they wouldn’t mind talkin’ more about.”
“’Zactly Kid. But the talk’ll mostly come from other folks’ questions an’ comments.”
“Seems ta me folks that write injoy talkin’ ‘bout writin’.”
“Yep. Thinkin’ the Author’s Chair’s gonna be a good ride.”
Someday like it or not, we will all sit in The Author’s Chair of life, and be judged by deeds in words and actions. Sorry I missed this chance to express my opportunity.
I enjoyed reading most of them here and now.
You bring up a different theme for the prompt, Myrna. That’s what makes the collection so interesting — the variety of ideas.
Thought and collections are indeed a domino effect!
Well shift, that was a fast week. I do usually try to read and comment on the stories. I apologize for not having made the rounds. And, as this is the first time for me to read the responses, I got to appreciate more the collection as a whole; the tasty literary salad that Charli concocted from the individual contributions. Pretty cool stuff Carrot Ranch Authors/Writers!
Me, too, D. I didn’t get to read any of these until just a few minutes ago. It changes the perspective reading them this way. I’m impressed.
Some weeks are like that! Besides, it gave you a different perspective to appreciate. CRAW, CRAW, is the sound the crows make at the Ranch.
[…] Submissions now closed. Find the full collection here. […]
Well, I missed the cutoff date, but I finally wrote one. For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get into the author’s seat prompt. That is, until I finally came up with an idea. I haven’t read the others yet so that I might be echoing someone else’s. If so, please forgive me. Regardless, here is mine:
“Author, author!” the crowd at the bookstore chanted. They were there to see the famous author, who penned the series, Fractured Fairy Tails.
G.E. Locke had not only become famous for her twists on fairy tales, but she was very particular about everything especially her author’s seat.
When she arrived, she had tried out the high-backed armchair; she tried sitting in the recliner. She even tried out an ergonomic desk chair. She rejected them all.
None of them felt quite as comfortable as she desired. Finally, Goldie sat down in a wooden rocker. It was just right.
Nancy Brady, 2021
Nan, we didn’t get any fractured fairy tales! It’s true, sometimes we get echoes, shadows, light, and bookends within the collection but never has a story repeated. Twenty people with the same idea still have twenty different perspectives and voices. Thanks for hopping into the Author’s Chair!
So glad I didn’t copy anyone else. It is amazing the variety of all the pieces presented each week. I purposely don’t read any of the entries until I have written mine. I tend toward procrastinating, and last week was a perfect example. In fact I just barely got this week’s in. And the clock just switched to the new day.
Great job everyone. Philosophical chairs and real chairs; chairs to entice the mind to write. So much imagination.
So many chairs! And some I’d avoid!