I’d rather be kayaking than driving in yet (again) another snowstorm. The longing of spring sparkles in the extended daylight hours. I wonder if kangaroos and koalas notice the days getting shorter? Ah, I’d rather be traveling than stuck in a snowbank.
When I was a kid, the phrase, “I’d rather be fishing” became a popular saying on bumper stickers and dad t-shirts. It was meant to be a humorous slant on an activity considered leisure and thus the opposite of work. It’s become a fill-in-the-blank prospect nowadays.
I know my students would rather be on spring break. It’s not this week but next. A seemingly max exodus of the UP is underway as yoopers would rather be where there is less snow. We’ve had 224 inches so far and it’s so deep, we have nowhere to put it. Scooping now means pushing snow up huge hills so it is easier to use a snowblower.
I’d rather be on spring break, too. Almost there.
For a week, I will be the sole caretaker of Ghost House Farm. This is my daughter’s and SIL’s place populated with my grandkids (goats, two 6-month-old puppies, and Mona kitty). I get to be a snowed-in writer/farmer for a week, feeding chickens, caring for the very first seedlings for the next planting, minding the woodstove, snuggling puppies, and…milking Peggy. A goat.
Yes, I agreed to milk a goat.
Some of you might remember that I have a history with goats. I’ve ridden them, roped them, and, apparently, licked them. I can’t drink goat’s milk or eat goat dairy cheese. The taste gives me the shudders. I don’t have a specific memory, but the byproduct tastes like licking the critter. Yet, there I’ll be next week, milking a goat.
I’d rather be…
It’s a great phrase for writers to consider. “What if…” gets us thinking forward. It’s a plot question that creates cause and effect. What if goats were aliens? What happens next because of that. “What if…” begins a story and gets the log rolling downhill.
On the other hand, “I’d rather be…” is introspective and requires a perspective — a character. “I’d rather be turned on,” said the lamp in the dark parlor. Even an object takes on a personality by answering the question. Knowing what one character would rather be doing compared to another creates a story of differentiation. We begin to wonder why these characters would rather be doing something else. The question is one of character development.
While I’m standing in as farm-mom next week over spring break (no classes or learning labs), I will finish my vision planning for Carrot Ranch. On March six, I will be honoring the work of Carrot Ranchers who, over the course of the pandemic, kept Carrot Ranch encouraging and inspiring with yarns, columns, poetry, and discussions. It was important to see so many among our community shine the way forward during dark times. On March 13, I will be sharing news about Carrot Ranch.
As long as the goats don’t eat my plans in progress while I’m on the farm. Oh, and yes, I will be penning some of those ghost stories along with my daughter.
February 21, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “I’d rather be…” You fill in what comes next. What would a character(s) rather be doing and why? How can you use the phrase as a literary device? Go where the prompt leads!
- Submit by February 26, 2022. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. The Collection publishes on the Wednesday following the next Challenge. Rules & Guidelines.
- Carrot Ranch only accepts stories through the form below. Accepted stories will be published in a weekly collection. Writers retain all copyrights.
- Your blog or social media link will be included in your title when the Collection publishes.
- Please include your byline which is the name or persona you attribute to your writing.
- Please include the hashtag #99Word Stories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts in social media.
Submissions are now closed. Find our latest challenge to enter.