Well, this is awkward. Carrot Ranch is moving.

Don’t panic! Wait, that’s what I need to hear. Okay, I’m not panicking. You’re not panicking. The moving van is here and I don’t know where we are going.

Headquarters remain at Roberts Street in Hancock, MI where the Anishinaabe have made their ancestral and modern homes among a plethora of wildlife, Northwoods, surrounded by the deep waters of Lake Superior. Here, water is life and imagination is real.

The move is virtual. If all goes well with the movers, charlim3.sg-host.com/blog remains the key to the weekly challenge, followed by its collection of 99-word stories. What is awkward is the process.

The website has been glitchy on WP ever since the theme used to build the Ranch became obsolete. It’s true, Carrot Ranch is aging. We’ve been wrangling words here in 99-word constraints for ten years. Yep. A decade. Some of you get comments or stories lost in the backhopper. Others find the form a finicky eater of links. It’s time to repaint the place, refocus the mission, and make room for dreams and veterans.

What does that mean to the Weekly Challenges? Hopefully, not much other than I can’t migrate a website AND collect submissions in the backdoor. I have a new backdoor. But I can’t use it until I move the website. But I can’t move the website without alerting you, nor can I collect your submissions from a backdoor that closes mid-challenge.

For this week only, you will submit via email. Not ideal, but it is what it is. Everything *should* go on without a hitch in our giddyup.

A new structure is waiting. One I’ve built with fancy tools smarter than I am, but rest assured, I’ve employed not AI. At least, not knowingly. I don’t fully understand the magic of switching hosting platforms, but the experts at Site Ground will be making the move and the pages will be in disarray. Over the next weeks, pages will go down, reappear, and welcome new pages. Some things will be archived, like past Rodeos and past collections. Anything published at Carrot Ranch will stay visible, but the links may change.

Be patient as the awkward move gives way to messiness because there is a vision for what is next at Carrot Ranch — we are a literary community, making literary art accessible through writing, constraints, and collaboration. We are writers, poets, memoirists, and dreamers. And every week, Carrot Ranch holds a container for our community at play. Challenges will continue to post on Tuesdays and the ensuing Collections on the following Thursdays.

It’ll be unwieldy at first. The Ranch might “disappear” from your internet view. Carrot Ranch will no longer be in the WP Reader. There are plans for challenge and collection notifications. Pages will transform. New content will appear. But for now, welcome to the awkwardness of transition. After ten years, we are ready to cacoon and re-emerge.

There’s the movers!

March 5, 2024, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write an awkward story. You can expand and demonstrate awkwardness in the action, dialog, verse, setting, or characters. You can explore the theme of what makes something awkward. Or submit a BOTS (based on a true story). Go where the prompt leads!

  1. Submit by March 11, 2024. ***THIS WEEK ONLY*** Submit by email to wordsforpeople (at) gmail (dot) com. Use your Higher Intelligence to decode the email address. The Collection publishes on the Thursday following the next Challenge. Stories must be 99 words. Rules & Guidelines.
  2. Writers retain all copyrights to any stories published at Carrot Ranch.
  3. A website or social media presence is not required to submit. A blog or social media link will be included in the title of any story submitted with one.
  4. Please use this guidance for how to submit your story:
    • In the E-mail Subject line, write in All Caps: MARCH 5 CHALLENGE
    • In the body of the text, include your story title, byline (the name you publish under to maintain your copyright), 99-word story (please include formatting, including line spacing between paragraphs and dialog), and a link if you want to include your website or blog post. I will acknowledge the receipt of your story by March 12.

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