Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Home » Saloon

Category Archives: Saloon

Saddle Up Saloon; Secon’ Art Showin’

“Whoa! What’s goin’ on Kid? I ‘spect ya ta be whiny an’ even cheesy, but didn’t ‘spect ya ta be servin’ wine an’ cheese so fancy like here at the Saddle Up Saloon.”

“It’s what ya do at art shows Pal. An’ this week we’re showin’ art; I roped a few visual artists inta sharin’ their work here at the saloon.”

“Thet’s great Kid.”

“Yep, we got some great work ta show, some artists ya mighta met here last June, an’ a couple a first timers. Done turned the Saloon inta a gallery. You an’ me Pal, we’ll jist git outta the way and keep cuttin’ cheese. Jist gonna let folks wander ‘roun, enjoy the sights an’ they kin chit chat an’ comment down below.”

“Hmmf.  So… no innerviews?”

“Not this time Pal, jist gonna let the art speak fer itself. Though some a the artists have a bit a literary art ta accompany their visual art.”

“Soun’s real nice Kid.”

“Yep. There’s jist one thing….”

“Uh-oh.”

“Shorty’s uncle is somewhere aroun’ the Saloon. She said we should keep an eye out fer ‘im. Uncle Bernie? But I’m sure he’ll be fine. Now let’s step back an’ let folks see this installation.”

Bridal Bouquet by Bonnie Sheila

Bonnie Sheila is a quiller from the faraway island of Nantucket. More of her work can be found at crescentsandcoils. You might remember her visit at the Saloon last June.

From the Garden by Bonnie Sheila

“I recall Bonnie Sheila the quiller. She’s branchin’ out with this art form. An’ I ‘member this next artist. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. She was in the first art showin’ too. I think we’ll be seein’ more a her aroun’ here.”

“Yep. Don’tcha love her watercolors?”


DOUBLE EXPOSURE
The sun’s reflection
Shines in a sidewalk puddle
The lens adds one more.

UNDER THE SHIBUMI
Ocean breezes blow
Blue canopy flips and snaps
Pure relaxation.

“Beautiful. Kid, was thet her haikuin’ too?”

“Yep. She’s all kindsa artist.”

“Now what’s this? Why’s there a dog at the art show?”

“Look agin, Pal. That’s a handcrafted needle-felted sculpture by Vermont artist Sharon Somers. You should see her stuff.”

“Oh, shift that reminds me. Uncle Bernie!”

“Is that a heartfelt piece?”

“No, Pal, that’s Shorty’s Uncle Bernie. Visitin’ her daughter, looks like.”

“Hmmf. Thought he was stuffed. I wanna see more a this felt sculpture.”

“Well here’s a couple more, an’ ya kin always go to Heartfelt Woolies.com ta see even more.”

“Thet’s really cool, what she does with felt.”

“Yep. She kin do them sculptures up from a photograph.”

“Amazin’. Hey Kid, look’t these pictures!”

“Pal, ya know Jules Paige, the Ranch’s own Poet Lariat?”

“Yep, sure do.”

“Well these here photographs are from her. An’ a course she added haiku.”


brief respite from blues
positive thoughts blossom free
relaxing  strong for strength

©JulesPaige

present reflections
living in precious moments
details bring delight
 
©JulesPaige

“Now what’s this, Kid? Which is the sculpture? An’ is thet one on the right anuther a them felt sculptures?”

“That’s Uncle Bernie again. He’s visitin’ Shorty’s other daughter, the dancer an’ choreographer. Hmm. Uncle Bernie ain’t got the pose down.”

“Mebbe she’s s’posed ta be stretchin’ like he is. Leftward leanin’ upward facin’ down dirty dawgs pose.”

“Mebbe. But let’s check out the next artist. Another rancher, an’ columnist, Susan Spitulnik.”

“The quilter!”

“Yep.”


This quilt is called a sampler because each block is a different well known pattern. I made this as a sample for a Beginner Quilting class I taught in which the students learn the techniques to piece squares, triangles, and other shapes using a quarter inch seam. I then donated it to a local charity for one of their annual auctions.

This is just one of many patriotic quilts I have made. I gave it to Joe Mele who is a friend and member of the Rochester Veterans Writing Group. He is writing his parents’ love story using the original letters his father wrote home during WWII.

I made this t-shirt quilt as a high school graduation gift for my neice using her sports t-shirts that’s why there are repeat numbers. The band-aid fabric represents the fact she went on to college to study nursing.

“Wow, Kid, thet Susan Spitulnik’s as generous as she’s talented. Them quilts a hers warm in more’n one way.”

“I know what’cha mean, Pal. Yep. Sue Spitulnik is a regular Ranch Hand. When she’s not participating in the weekly Carrot Ranch challenges or preparing her Veteran’s Stories guest column she can be found sewing in her home studio.”

“Well I sure am glad she found time ta share her art here at the Saloon agin.”

“Me too Pal.”

“Ya got any more art hangin’ aroun’?”

“That’s it fer this showin’. Oh. What now?

If Charli Mills thinks that scrapin’ some nutmeg inta a French Press whilst campin’ is an art form…

uh, Pal, is it art?”

“Sure Kid, why not? An’ least ways she’s got track a thet uncle a hers.”


“Phew. Well Kid, ya made it through anuther Monday.”

“Yep. I enjoyed the art show but Charli’s uncle’s a bit of a handful. Has he always been aroun’ here?”

“Yep. Look:

“Huh. Never noticed him before.”

“Sure. He goes ta all the rodeos.”

“Huh. Hey Pal, we didn’t do so good ’bout stayin’ outta the way a the art showin’.”

“‘Cuz you have trouble keepin’ yer yap shut. But if I ain’t mistaken, ya did cut the cheese.”

“Mebbe. Shift! The dang mic is still on. I always fergit th—

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Howdy! Welcome to another month of Anyone Can Poem.

I enjoyed reading what y’all wrote last month, when we explored poetic parody. If’n you’re still in the mood, check it out and write to the challenge.

Now, on to more fun! Dust off your chaps and boots and cinch up your saddle straps. We’re going to jump into common poetry forms, beginning with haiku.

What is haiku?

Haiku is one of the most basic forms of poetry you can write, with the exception of replicating Ogden Nash’s “Fleas.” Despite this simplicity, an excellent haiku can still produce serenity of mind.

Furthermore, YOU can write an excellent haiku.

  1. Think of a subject. It’s traditional to use something from Nature, but no one says you can’t poem about ice cream.
  2. Frame your subject into very, very simple terms. If your subject is ice cream and you want to write about its melting, think, Cream hot melt. That’s right: I want you to jot down words like someone writing a telegram who only has seventeen cents to do so.
  3. Start writing! Actually write Cream, Hot, Melt. Write more; why not Chocolate Desires Now Sidewalk? Or, Mint Chip Pavement?
  4. DO NOT HESITATE. DO NOT ERASE. There is no wrong way to do these steps, apart from skipping out from fear of mistakes.
  5. Look over what you’ve got, and open your fingers. Count the syllables of your chosen words and split them into three lines of 5 syllables, then 7 syllables, then 5 syllables.
  6. Look over what you’ve got again, and edit as needed for clarity. Some haiku are rather nonsensical while others form a complete phrase or thought over the course of the three lines.
  7. Try to avoid rhyming. It is not necessary; plus, readers will assume you know what you’re doing if you don’t…

Repeat these steps as needed. Write several poems if you’d like! Who’s stopping you?

After you’ve had your fun, send your creation(s) my way through the form. You may also share a haiku or two in the comments for all of us to enjoy.

—–

Cream hot melt pavement
Chocolate sidewalk desires
Mint chip dreams now gone

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon; Liber bar, ey?

“Kid? It’s mighty quiet in here Kid.”

“Right up till you come in. Shush, now Pal, I’m readin’.”

“Readin’? This ain’t no library. Shouldn’t ya be runnin’ the Saloon?”

“Ain’t much ta run this week. Ain’t got nuthin’ goin’, got no guests lined up. Figgered I’d read this here book.”

“Jeez Kid! Folks ain’t gonna come by ta watch ya read! How’s the Saloon gonna make any money if’n ya don’t git somethin’ goin’?”

“Make money? You or me ever asked anybody ‘roun here ta PayPal? Nope, this is jist a comf’terble place fer folks ta hang out, say howdy.”

“Well yer s’posed ta have some ennertainment organized, innerviews an’ sech. Jeez, Kid.”

“If ya must know, Pal, I’ve reached out ta some visual artists ta see ‘bout a nuther art showin’. Jist waitin’ on folks ta respond an’ fer the art ta show up. So fer now, speakin’ a art an’ artists, I’d like ta jist read this here book.”

“Well, what’s it even about?”

“Thought ya’d never ask, Pal. This here’s a biography of a artist I ain’t never heard of.”

“’Nuther one a them ‘nonymous artists?”

“Could a been, but fer his own perseverance and a bit a good luck an’ some generosity.”

“So who’s it about already?”

“Book’s called A Splash of Red, The Life and Art of Horace Pippin. Published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2013, it was written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Horace Pippin’s story an’ the way the author an’ illustrator present it puts me in mind a the literary artists here at Carrot Ranch.”

“What? Why Kid, thet’s a kids’ book.”

“No it ain’t Pal, it’s a picture book. Folks is missin’ out on somethin’ if they think picture books is jist fer kids. Like flash fiction, a picture book has ta present a story clearly an’ concisely. This is enagagin’ an’ if ya look ta the back ya kin see it was well researched by both the author an’ the illustrator. There’s a historical note, author’s an’ illustrator’s notes an’ a whole long list a further readin’s, websites, an’ the quotation sources.”

“Well, alright then Kid, mebbe this ain’t jist fer kids. What z’actly put ya in mind a the folks thet write at the Ranch?”

“Well, in the historical note Bryant describes Horace Pippin as ‘a curious and observant man’ who ‘found his subjects almost everywhere.’ Ain’t that what writers are? Curious an’ observant? Gettin’ ideas ever’where an’ anywhere? Bryant wrote, ‘He painted everyday scenes in natural colors; then he added a splash of red.’ That sure soun’s like some a the flash I read at Carrot Ranch. Folks write like Pippin painted, with a ‘masterful use of color, form, and composition’.

“Yer convincin’ me Kid.”

“Pippin had always been drawn ta… drawin’, an’ picture makin’. No matter what. No matter where. Sometimes life got in the way, but he was most always makin’ pictures. ‘He used charcoal, broken pencils, whatever he could find.’

“Kinda like Shorty always paintin’ with words.”

“Yep, Shorty, an’ I reckon most all the Ranchers. Pippin use ta say, If a man knows nothing but hard times, he will paint them, for he must be true to himself…

“Thet’s what some folks do with their fiction writin’ an’ poemin’.”

“Yep. An’ like some a the Ranchers an’ their loved ‘uns, Horace Pippin served. He was over in the trenches in World War I. Even there he drew ever’ chance he got. He said later, The war brought out all the art in me. I can never forget suffering and I can never forget sunset. I came home with it all in my mind. But he come home wounded and unable ta use his drawing hand.”

“Oh no, Kid! He had ta give up his art?”

“Come on Pal. How could he? Nope, he fin’lly got back ta it an’ kep at it. Used his left hand ta support his right hand. He started a paintin’ usin’ left over house paint an’ other salvaged materials. He used ‘the somber colors of war. Here and there he added a splash of red.’ That paintin’ took three years ta finish.”

“Whoa. Thet’s a while ta be workin’ on one paintin’.”

“Reckon he needed ta do it. He told a friend ‘bout that paintin’, It brought me back to my old self. An’ he got some mobility back in his hand an’ got back ta his art. He still got his ideas ever’where— childhood mem’ries, fam’ly stories, Bible stories, even movies. But Pippin took ta plannin’ the scenes fer the ideas that come ta him. I go over that picture in my mind several times and when I’m ready to paint it I have all the details I need.

“Soun’s like a plantser. Did he git famous?”

“Not right away, Pal, but he kep on paintin’. He was able to hang his paintin’s in a local store and a restaurant. People liked ‘em, but they didn’t buy ‘em.”

“Ain’t thet the way?”

“But then the president of a local artists’ club saw them paintin’s an’ invited his friend N.C. Wyeth ta see ‘em. The exhibition they organized for Horace brought attention and buyers ta his art.”

“Yahoo! Thet is a cool story, Kid. A real fine picture book ‘bout a picture maker.”

“Yep. Now ya kin see his paintin’s in galleries an’ museums all over the country. There’s listin’s an’ even a map fer that in the book too. In fact, Bryant come across him through a paintin’ she saw a his in the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, PA while doing research for a YA novel, Pieces of Georgia, that has ta do with the Wyeth family of artists. Dang if she didn’t have her next book idea.”

“Well, I’m real glad she did. Reckon she wouldn’t mind ya spreadin’ the word here.”

“Reckon folks realize them’s Jen Bryant’s words italicized in single quotes an’ Pippin’s quotes from her book are in italics.”

“Yeah, we git thet. So yer gonna have a art showin’ here agin Kid? When?”

“Whenever I git some art gathered t’gether. Wanna have a worldwide garden tour too, but it cain’t work if folks don’t send their best couple a photos ta our writer at shiftnshake@dslayton.com . Thet stage there is open ta the Carrot Ranch community, so we’re always lookin’ ta hear from someone wants ta join us fer a chat or innerview or even somethin’ we ain’t thought up yet.”

“Yep, hopin’ folks talk ta D. Avery so we ain’t here talkin’ ta ourselves. Though I did injoy thet picture book. Any a y’all have a fav’rite picture book fer all ages?”

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon; Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge No. 3

Happy April! Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. As a guest of the Saddle Up Saloon, every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem. No blog? Don’t worry. Add your poem in the comments below.

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

This month, let’s explore end rhyme schemes in our double Ennead poems.

First, let’s learn more about end rhyme schemes. Here is a quick definition:

A rhyme scheme is the pattern of sound found at the end of lines. These rhyme schemes are given a letter, usually beginning with the letter A.

A four-line poem with a rhyme scheme is something like this:

The first line rhymes with the third line, and the second line rhymes with the fourth line. The rhyme scheme is ABAB.

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
Shakespeare is dead?
I had no clue.

Let’s use the simple Abhanga syllabic form as an example. The Abhanga is written in any number of four-line verses. The syllable count is 6-6-6-4 per stanza.

In this form, only L2 and L3 rhyme. Often, the letter x, is used to denote an unrhymed end word. This rhyme scheme is:

xaax, x = unrhymed. (Lower case letters only show the rhyming pattern).

magic is found within 
breathe deep into your core 
open your heart and soar 
find inner peace 

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

We use rhymes in many poetry forms. Rhymes aren’t always used in patterns or at the end of lines, which means not all rhyming poetry has a rhyme scheme.

We only use rhyme schemes for poems that use end rhyme—which is rhymes at the end of lines.

A rhyme is a repetition of sounds, usually the same sound, in the final stressed syllables of two or more words. Poets use rhyming for artistic effect. It makes our poetry more interesting. I enjoy the challenge of mixing syllabic poetry with end rhymes… it’s like solving a word puzzle.

Litcharts.com has an excellent discussion of end rhyme schemes you can read HERE.


For this month’s challenge, write a double ennead poem using an end rhyme scheme of your choice. You can select the theme that inspires you.

If end rhyme schemes aren’t your thing, write your double ennead based on a magical experienceOR do both! I did!

Always check your syllables with a syllable counter when composing and writing syllabic poetry. The pronunciation of words is very important to conveying a meaning in your poems. You can use sodacoffee.com as a syllable counter. There is also howmanysyllables.com, which is my favorite because you get access to synonyms as you’re composing.

My Example:

Image by dewdrop157 from Pixabay

I’m a visual person, so I found some inspiration on Pixabay.com.

The rhyme scheme in each stanza (or couplet) is xxaax, x = unrhymed, only L3 and L4 rhyme in each stanza.

“The Cherry Orchard”

down the path from the farm
the cherry orchard 
ablaze in shades of mauve... glows under the moon,
while pink katydids’ croon
anthems to the stars

break of day streaks the sky
birdsong welcomes light
dew-kissed grasses bend in the delicate breeze
wildflowers hail the bees
morning glory dawn

magic blooms in rebirth,
blush buds share secrets
life unfolds in cycles and seasons repeat
ancient helix complete
life in the orchard


©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro 

  • Write a double ennead poem using an end rhyme scheme of your choice. You can select a theme that inspires you. If end rhyme schemes aren’t your thing, write your double ennead based on a magical experience—or do both!
  • Post it on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, copy and paste your poem into the comments below.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the HTTPS:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media! I’ll share a roundup of all of your poetry on colleenchesebro.com the Saturday before the next month’s Double Ennead challenge.

Now have fun and write some magical poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon; Howdy Clark Farley!

“Kid, who’s thet feller jist come in? I don’t think he’s from aroun’ here.”

“Well, I’ll be a six sentence gun-of-a-son. That’s Clark Farley.”

“Some sorta writer, Kid?”

“Some sort fer sure. Thinkin’ he might be sortin’ it out. Let’s talk to ‘im. Howdy Clark! Welcome ta the Saddle Up Saloon.”

“Well are ya er ain’tcha?”

“Pardon?”

“Wondrin’, are ya er ain’tcha a writer?”

“Well, I have written a Six Sentence Story every week since sometime in July 2015. Six Sentences is where I met your writer.”

“Whut?!”

“Easy, Kid, ya know it ain’t never been a ‘sclusive relationship. Writers kin carry on with all sorts a dif’rent characters an’ dif’rent blog hops. Wouldn’t ya say, Clark?”

“Ahem, well yes. As I have a first class jones for serial stories, I have a large number of characters at any one time.”

“Yer a serial writer? Seriously?”

“Yes, I have concurrent stories. Of late I’ve written Six Sentence Stories as installments of two serial stories, ‘The Whitechapel Interlude’ and ‘The Case of the Missing Fig Leaf’.”

“Six Sentence Stories agin… what d’ya injoy most ‘bout Six Sentence Stories?”

“They happen every week! Interestingly enough, most of my novel length stories, such as ‘Almira’ began as a Six Sentence Story.”

“Ain’t surprisin’. Ever’ acorn contains a tree.”

“Our writer’s grown some stories there. She say’s yer a hoot ta write with, Clark. D’ya participate in any other blog hops er writin’ prompts?”

“Yes. The TToT (Ten Things of Thankful) and, until relatively recently, Finish the Sentence Friday.”

“Them story lines a yers, all them characters… got favorites?”

“My favorite right now is Almira and ‘The Case of the Missing Starr’.”

“Why thet one?”

“The characters became real enough to tell me the story. I listened and typed.”

“Yep, we kin relate ta that. Some of us fictional characters make it real easy fer our writers. Think sometimes we work harder an’ you know who. We run a saloon an’ never git a chance ta set an’ injoy a bev’rage.”

“Shush, Kid, this ain’t ‘bout you. Clark, ya said ya been writin’ Six Sentence Stories an’ even growin’ some of ‘em inta novel length stories. Thet’s some word wranglin’ right there. What d’ya find most challengin’ ‘bout writin’?

“Starting. Writing isn’t hard, starting the process on any given day, very much can be. I wish I’d been the one to originally say, ‘I love having written’.”

“Well it soun’s like yer givin’ it a good go, writin’. Which come first, the writin’ er the bloggin’?”

“I’d say I’m a blogger first.  I’ve been blogging since June 2009. My lack of skills prompted me to write, as immersing myself in a story is a painless way to practice.”

“Kin ya tell us more ‘bout yer blog?”

“Thought you’d never ask, Pal. The Wakefield Doctrine (the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers) is a perspective on the world and the people who make it up. The Doctrine has proven to be remarkably predictive, coherent, useful and fun. The core idea is determining how a person relates themselves to the world around them, i.e., as an Outsider, a Predator or a Herd Member, allowing a body to know way more about a person than one might imagine.”

“This like one a them personality profiles?”

“I suppose, or an insight into your personal reality. The core premise of the Wakefield Doctrine is that we are, all of us, born with the potential to experience the world as any of the three. At a very early age we settle into one (and only one) and grow and develop our social strategies, coping mechanisms, quirks and picadilloes, aka personalities. While we have only one ‘predominant worldview’ we never lose the potential of ‘the other two’. Sometimes our secondary or tertiary aspect is significant.  The Doctrine is concerned with the character of the relationship between the individual and the world around them. For reasons best labeled serendipitous, the three categories of Outsider(clarks), Predators(scotts) and Herd Members(rogers) yields a degree (and quality) of insight into a person that is, kinda, impressive.”

“That’s some deep shift. Yer no ordinary writer! If yer blog is ta do with this theory of clarks, scotts, and rogers, what’s yer bloggin’ goals?”

“Why, to write the perfect Wakefield Doctrine post.”

“Now I’m wunnerin’ if thet doctrine a yers heps yer writin’.”

“The Wakefield Doctrine is grounded in the notion of three ways a person can relate themselves to the world around them, as would an Outsider (clarks), a Predator(scotts) or a Herd Member(rogers). For unknown reasons, the characteristics of the experience of the world (and the people who make it up) from these ‘worldviews’, is totally on the mark. The three worldviews are gender, age, and culture neutral. If you said, ‘Hey! A clark, a scott and a roger are all in a car approaching a (very) recent traffic accident, how would each behave?’, it wouldn’t matter whether they were male or female or old or young or Romanian. They would, beneath the external shape of behavior, respond like Outsiders or Predators or Herd Members.

So, for writing, especially cross-gender (i.e. male author writing a female or female writing male character) there is possible a fundamental accuracy in predicting responses and reactions to novel situations.”

 “Huh. Might have ta study up on thet.”

“Clark, d’ya find it at all odd to be innerviewed by fictional ranch hands from a virtual word wrangling ranch?”

“Have you read any of my writings? Lol… no, serially, some of my best friends are virtual.”

“Ya sure got a passel a characters in yer varied stories, Clark. Do ya have fav’rites?

“They’re all my favorites.”

“Which a them’s most likely to sit up at the bar here an’ injoy a beverage?”

“I think that’s depend on what is going on in their ‘lives’ or, narrative permitting, what they believe is happening in their respective worlds.”

“Well don’t look now, but I think one a them jist walked in.”

“Ian Devereaux! What are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same, Clark. What, you’d rather be here with hayseeds in a saloon than with me at the Bottom of the Sea Strip Club and Lounge?”

“If you must know, these characters are interviewing me. But don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten your serial Ian.”

“Me, I’m just searching for a reason for it all. But, please, don’t tell my client, she thinks I’m trying to find her ex-husband’s murderer. Funny thing about missing persons… figuring out the ‘why’ is way more useful than the ‘where’. Everyone’s got a where.”

“Jeez, Ian, yer so Guy Noir!”

“And more, Pal. I have to go now… Mysteries to solve. Don’t mind the heel-clickin…kinda want to get back through the right door. ”

“Uh, yeah.”

“That shouldn’t be considered a judgement on your existence. As imaginary settings go, you got yourself quite the nice gig here. Only one way in, a thousand backdoors, and the help are working for love not money.”

“Ya got thet right. Good luck with yer case, Mr. Devereaux. An’ Clark, it was real good gittin’ ta know ya an’ show ya off here at the Saddle Up Saloon.”

“Yep, we wish ya luck with all yer writin’ Mr. Farley. Mebbe you’ll try a Carrot Ranch flash challenge one a these days, 99 words, no more no less. Yer sure ta recognize some a the ranchers that come by.”

“The pleasure’s been all mine Kid and Pal.”

“Well Kid, thet Clark Farley was quite a character.”

“No, Pal, he’s real. Ian was the character. One a many.”

“What I meant was— oh, never mind. Hey Kid, I think the mic is still on.”

“Oh shift, not again, here I’ll jist

Clark Farley can be found on his entertaining and interesting site, The Wakefield Doctrine. In addition to his fun stories and serials, Clark is one of the most asterisking commenters out there. One of the three gentlemen in the photo is not only a clark, but is the Clark.

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Happy April, pard’ners! It’s about time for another session of Anyone Can Poem.

Thank you to everyone who stepped up to last month‘s challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your poetic thoughts! Anyone and everyone is welcome to re-visit that post and fulfill the challenge; it’s an excellent first exercise for poets of all levels.

For this month, we’re going to try mimicry. Parody. Pastiche.

Now, before you panic and pretend you’re only here for the free peanuts, I’ll let you in on a few secrets:

  1. Parody is not difficult. Haven’t you heard the variants on “The Twelve Days of Christmas?”
  2. You can do this. How do I know? Elementary students run around the playground singing, “Jingle Bells! Batman smells! Robin laid an egg!”

…..

Maybe I should’ve used more seasonally-appropriate examples.

The important point is that parodying poems is simple. Don’t get offended if that’s your go-to, because ‘simple’ does not mean parody can’t be difficult. Simple, in this case, means it’s an easy place to start. Plus, like in an aerobics video, I’m going to have three levels of difficulty depending on your comfort level.

STAGE ONE: Parody a nursery rhyme. I recommend “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or “Little Jack Horner.”

Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go….
© Sarah Josepha Hale

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!”
© Mother Goose

—–

STAGE TWO: “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” or “This is Just to Say”

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter….
© Clement C. Moore

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
© William Carlos Williams

—–

STAGE THREE: William Shakespeare, Emma Lazarus, or William Wordsworth

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
“Sonnet 18,” © William Shakespeare

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
“The New Colossus,” © Emma Lazarus

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze….
“Daffodils,” © William Wordsworth

—–

The ‘rules’ are also simple: pick a stage (one, two, or three) and write a parody or pastiche. You can include it in the comments, or fill out the form and share it with only me.

Not sure where to start? Read over one of the included poems a few times. Think about how it could apply to another subject -perhaps to something humorous or to a topic that deeply resonates with you.

Change the original poem enough to fit your new subject, but retain some vestiges so that people know to what it refers. This can be done by keeping some of the words, especially those that rhyme; by rhyming with the words in the original; or by writing of similar happenings but with a different animal.

Harry had a giant ham,
Its skin was black as sloe;
Everyone who smelled its scent
Said, “Hey! That ham must go!”

Yeah… it’s a work in progress. You can do better. I know it. In fact, get on that ‘doing better’ right now! You’ve got a month; I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon; Howdy Pete Fanning

“Pal, what’re these notes here on the bar? Justice In a Bottle? That’s a good name fer a drink. RunawayBlues? That with blueberry vodka? Bet either a those’d give ya the blues if yer not careful.”

“These ain’t cocktails Kid, they’re book titles. Our guest this week come out with Justice In a Bottle in 2019; Runaway Blues was one a the good things ta come out in 2020, an now there’s Bricktown Boys. Heard tell there’s another book in the chute too.”

“Jeez, Pal, this guest is real prolific!”

“I don’t care if he’s fer lifficks er aginst lifficks, Kid. Thinkin’ we’re real lucky ta git Pete Fanning ta stop by the saloon. Hey, here he comes now. Howdy, Pete! Welcome ta the Saddle Up Saloon.”

“Hello Pal. Hello Kid.”

“Seems I seen ya ‘roun the Ranch afore, Pete.”

“Oh man, yeah, we go way back. Seven or eight years? I had some stories in Rough Writers Volume I. I still write flash fiction, sometimes respond to Charli’s prompts at Carrot Ranch. Over at lunchbreakfiction.com the stories are usually a bit longer, 500-800 words”

“Is writing yer job or do you still fit it in on lunch breaks?”

“Writing is too much fun to be my job. Not that my real job isn’t fun, mind you. (Hi boss!) I write in the mornings and find myself reading at lunch, or at night if I can stay awake.”

“Well ya seemed ta a found some time somewheres. We was seein’ how yer on a roll!”

“I’m glad it looks that way! Timing, I suppose. I wrote Justice in A Bottle and Runaway Blues a while back, maybe in 2015. They sat for a year, as I wrote other things (coming out now), then I came back to them and changed some things. Then I fixed them again. Then, while querying, I kept on chugging along, writing new stuff, and so on…”

“What’s the most challenging part a writin’ fer ya?”

“Kid, I’d have to say it’s the getting started part. That’s the hard part. Once it gets going, it’s good.”

“Good, huh? Whut’s the easiest part a writin’?”

“The easiest part is when you fall completely into your story. When you are there. Those times when you stop and have to blink yourself out of it. Those are my favorite times.”

Heard tell ya had an aging coach tell ya once ya didn’t deserve to wear a Duke t-shirt, implied there was things ya jist couldn’t shouldn’t do. Anyone ever try to dissuade ya from writin’?”

“Ha, joke’s on the old ball coach, I’m a Virginia fan. To your question, maybe not so much dissuade but a lot of people couldn’t understand me making time to write. I remember one friend telling me, ‘You either have it or you don’t.’ Which is nonsense. Stephen King didn’t wake up one day and write Carrie. He wrote ALL THE TIME.”

 “What does a writers’ t-shirt look like? How do ya know if ya deserve to wear that one?”

“If you enjoy it, wear it. If it makes you happy to write words, build worlds, create stories, wear the air brushed, neon green hoodie that reads, WRITE STUFF. Just me? Okay cool.”

“So are ya one a them plotters, or are ya a more of a pantser?”

“Let me consult my notes to better answer this… Kidding! Pantser all the way. To a fault.”

“Pete, we ‘preciate ya comin’ by fer this innerview. We know ya been featured elsewhere, includin’ a PBS television innerview. Some folks come here an’ take the stage in our fam’ly frien’ly dinin’ area an’ others cozy up ta the bar here fer conversation.”

“This seems like a classic western saloon bar, Pal, except for the books lining the shelves.”

“Yep, Ernie stocked us with books of all sorts as well as bottles. I notice thet lots a yer short stories thet I’ve read at lunchbreakfiction.com have a drinkin’ drunk of an adult character thet brings real tension ta the story. Not jist Troy in Bricktown Boys.”

“I feel like things happen in real life and they should be told in real life language. I get that some people might not want to read about things they disapprove of and that’s fine too. My next book, THE GIRL IN MY TREEHOUSE features two parents and a loving household, and one sheltered boy whose world changes in one magical summer.”

“They’s some incomf’terble truths in Bricktown Boys. Nuthin’ wrong with thet. How’d ya meet the characters a Bricktown Boys?

“I wrote this terrible novel one time, okay many times. But this even before Justice and Runaway Blues. The story was filled with flashbacks of the main character’s childhood. That was probably the beginnings of Sam and Tommy. Over time the story changed but the football was there, the kids too. Troy came along. Mrs. Coleman’s part grew and then I thought: Well, she’s just has to coach the team. Delia came last. She’s what I call the best kept secret of the book.”

“I liked all yer characters, well almost all the characters. They felt real.”

“Thanks Kid.”

“How long ya been working on that one, Bricktown? I feel like I seen some scenes here at Carrot Ranch in 99 words.”

“Again, the origins sat in a desk drawer for a while—years—which was good for the book because in the meantime I became a better writer. Trayvon Martin’s death hit me hard. Tamir Rice, too. I’m sure it was in the back of my mind when I came back to the story.”

“I didn’t like Troy, but know folks like ‘im, an’ thought ya dealt with ‘im kindly. I loved Mrs. Coleman! Did ya have either a them characters in yer real life ever?”

“I grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood. Different races, same boat. I met some Troy’s but luckily my Dad was always around. Each kid in the book is loosely based on friends I had growing up. Mrs. Coleman is a mix of my grandmother and a few teachers and a few friends’ mothers.”

“Pete, d’ya have characters that ya jist cain’t shake even after givin’ ‘em a novel? Will there be sequels or series?”

“I have this book (Coming in July!), Fairy Dust Fumble. It’s about a clumsy middle school kid who’s cast as a fairy in a play. But when his sister actually creates a spell that turns one of his stage props magical, he starts doing all these crazy things on the football field. Well, she was too much fun so I’ve written an entire sequel with her as the main character. I’m calling it Spellbound and I’m currently pitching to my publisher.”

“We don’t doubt thet it’ll git published. Like we said, yer on a roll. Wondrin’, are ya at all worried about fame and fortune? What with bein’ on PBS already and what with Justice in a Bottle nominated fer an award.”    

“I am not. Besides, Justice is like a bridesmaid. It was a finalist in the Indies Today awards and was considered by the New York Public Library for their best of 2020 list, but my mantel isn’t exactly overcrowded with hardware. My son is proud of me and that’s pretty cool, but if I ever start thinking I’m big time I can just go change his sister’s diaper. That will take care of that.”

“Well Pete Fanning is a big time name ta us.”

“Ha! Funny because my sister started calling me Pete when I was three and it stuck. It’s what I go by and like to be called, and what my first three middle grade books are written under. Now, my publisher has asked me to take a pen name for future Young Adult releases, some of them with more mature content. I had to laugh. I’m using a pen name!”

“Well, congratulations on all a yer successes, unner any name. Thanks fer comin’ by the Saddle Up, Pete Fanning.”

************************************

Publisher:

https://www.immortalworks.press/product-page/bricktown-boys

Amazon:

Bricktown Summary:

It’s 1987 and twelve-year-old Sam Beasley only wants two things: to play football and for his mother to stop dating losers. Only there’s no money for a football team in Bricktown, while there’s an endless supply of losers for his mother to bring home.

Sam finds a friend in the elderly widow down the street. While he’s careful not to let on about his crummy home life, Mrs. Coleman always seems to know when he needs to do wash or eat a hot meal. When he mentions his football dilemma, she surprises him by offering to fund the team. It’s a dream come true, until she names the team The Gospel, declares herself head coach, and arms herself with a whistle, Bible scriptures, and a mouthful of grammar lessons. But Sam has bigger worries, like his mom’s latest loser, Troy, easily the worse one yet. As Sam’s home life spirals out of control, the boys of Bricktown become more than a football team, and football becomes more than just about winning.

The Girl in My Treehouse Summary (4/12/2021)

Only one summer sits between Matt Crosby and high school, and it feels like his middle school friends are leaving him behind. But when a comet of a girl moves in up the street, Matt discovers a side of himself that’s dying to break free and try something new.

Lia doesn’t see the Matt Crosby everyone else sees: the shy, awkward kid with the stammer, but instead a friend. With Lia, the long, summer days are action-packed with wonder. From scavenger hunts at the grocery store to midnight canoeing under the moon at Preacher Higgins’ pond. Or maybe just staring at the sky and feeling completely comfortable in his own skin. But in a small town like Maycomb, a girl like Lia doesn’t go unnoticed.

Matt’s old friends make jokes about the way Lia dresses, her hair, even her darker skin. As a correctional officer, Matt’s father has already run into Lia’s mother at the jail. But it isn’t until Matt discovers Lia sleeping in his treehouse that he realizes things might be worse for her than she’s letting on. Having found the courage to follow his heart instead of his friends, Matt realizes that somewhere along the way, he became the Matt Crosby Lia saw all along.

Author Bio:

Pete Fanning is the author of Justice in a Bottle, Runaway Blues, and Bricktown Boys. He lives in Virginia with his wife, son, newborn girl, and two very spoiled dogs. He can be found at www.petefanning.com, where he’s posted over 200 flash fiction stories. 

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon; Serious Fun

“Pal? Pal, where ya at?”

“Pal’s not here, Kid. Just me.”

“What? Why’re you here at the Saddle Up, D. Avery? Where’s Pal?”

“Pal asked me to fill in this week. Said it might do you some good to touch base with your writer.”

“Hmmph. Ya know well as me I kin write m’sef.”

“I do know as well as you Kid. But Pal thought maybe I should check in on you.”

“Hmmph. But I s’pose ya knew I was gonna say that.”

“Kid, I know a lot of people identify me as your writer, but the fact is I don’t often know what you’re going to say or do. So why don’t you tell me what’s bothering you.”

 “I ain’t quite sure either. Guess it’s this writin’ thing.”

“I saw that you wrote a short story for Marsha Ingrao’s Story Chat! Congratulations, Kid.”

“Yeah. Thanks. It’s jist that, people think I’m funny. That was a serious story a suspense an’ mystery.”

“Ahem. Okay. But, Kid. Being funny is your job around here.”

“Well that’s a lotta pressure, D., havin’ ta be funny. An’ then what if I ain’t funny?”

“Is that your worry? Sure, you take risks Kid. Everyone that writes at the Ranch is taking a risk, putting themselves out there. But I think it works; you are usually funny.”

“Yeah. Thanks. It’s jist that… ah, never mind.”

“No, what, Kid?”

“It’s jist that bein’ so funny an’ all, I worry I won’t never be taken seriously.”

“Seriously Kid? You’re worried about not being funny and about being too funny?”

“Well, it sounds funny when ya put it like that.”

“Listen, Kid, I’m glad you’re taking humor seriously.”

“You tryin’ ta be funny?”

“Not always. But humor always helps. I’ve been thinking about this lately. Maybe something I read at Norah Colvin’s site? Growth mindset and all that? I don’t know. But just recently the Wellness Committee at my new school asks, Did you know that humor is actually a way to build resilience? Yes, I did know that. Your friend Shorty must know that too, Kid. She set you up with the Saddle Up Saloon at the beginning of the pandemic so that you could help people reduce stress by giving them a laugh.”

“Yep, she give me an’ Pal a space ta ennertain folks.”

“Funny you should say that. A space. Sogyal Rinpoche, a Buddhist teacher from Tibet, said humor is a way of ‘making room’.  Of being accommodating. I always felt, as a teacher, that humor facilitated both teaching and learning in the space provided by its use. And humor can provide a lens to look at problems in a new way, to see things differently.”

“But I ain’t no teacher, D.”

“You might be, Kid. I’ve learned from you and from Pal. And what you do is provide people some time and space to step away from reality. As Elena Aguiliar says, When we laugh at ourselves, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. When we laugh with others, humor breaks down barriers, brings us onto common ground, and builds our resilience. If you can help people to laugh, Kid, and get silly, well that’s important work. Humor helps build a healthy mindset.”

“Mmm.”

“Aguiliar also says that much research has shown that laughter strengthens the immune system. And that laughter is grounding.

“It does feel good ta be a part a that. But that’s jist more pressure fer me ta be funny. An’ if I am funny then that’s jist more reason that folks mebbe won’t never take me seriously.”

“Look, Kid, playing the fool doesn’t make you foolish. Pay attention to old stories and traditional tales. The jester is as important as the wise man to balance the king, and the jester’s counsel and advice often contains more wisdom, in a more palatable form.”

“Mebbe. Like havin’ a musin’ character and a amusin’ character?

“Uh, yeah. But, look, Kid, if you really want a serious role, I can write you differently.”

“You’d do that fer me?”

“If it’s important to you, yes.”

“Kin fix it so I ain’t mixin’ up words, things ain’t goin’ over my head? Fix it so I ain’t messin’ up an’ gittin’ inta scrapes?”

“Sure.”

“Not annoyin’ Pal all the time?”

“Yes. I mean no. I mean, yes, you could not be annoying Pal all the time.”

“Well that doesn’t sound like much fun, D.”

“But I thought— ”

“Think agin. I was just Kid-ding!”

“Phew!”

“Mebbe I’ll even start tellin’ dirty jokes.”

“No, Kid, not that.”

 “What, ain’tcha got a sense a humus?”

“Ugh. See you around the Ranch, Kid.”

“Yep.”

“And Kid?”

“Yep?”

“Congratulations to you and to Pal. It’s a year today that you’ve been running the Saddle Up. And I think you’ve got another great year ahead.”

“Ya got that write, D.!”

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse

And cool the earth, the air and you.

~Lanston Hughes

Interact! Leave a link to a favorite funny story, or leave the story in the comments. What are your thoughts on writing funny?

*Elena Aguiliar quotes are from her Onward; Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators .

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon; Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge No. 2

Happy March! Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at Carrot Ranch with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have a month to write your poem.

Check out the poems from last month HERE.

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Why write poetry?

When a writer embraces the ability to convey complex images and emotions in just a few lines, they have learned to strengthen their writing. In the same way, flash fiction helps us hone in on the words to tell our story, syllabic poetry does much the same by forcing us to find the best word and meaning. This brevity of words leads to more concise writing.

Syllabic verse is any kind of poetry defined by the number of syllables in each line. In English, syllables must have a vowel sound. For example, the word “apple” has two vowel sounds, which divide it into the syllables “ap” and “ple.” Depending on our accent, we pronounce some words with different accents on the syllables. For example, the word “fire” and “poem” can be read with either one or two vowel sounds.

Always check your syllables with a syllable counter when composing and writing syllabic poetry. The pronunciation of words is very important to conveying a meaning in your poems. You can use sodacoffee.com as a syllable counter. There is also howmanysyllables.com, which is another favorite because you get access to synonyms as you’re composing.

Our Inspiration: “SPRING”

This month, let’s work with the theme of spring. Write your poetry inspired by an image, a photograph, the view outside your window, another piece of poetry like found poetry, or even a song. It’s up to you! Share whatever inspired you to write your poem.

For example, here is my inspiration piece below:

Corinne Bailey Rae – “Put Your Records On”

Three little birds sat on my window
And they told me I don't need to worry
Summer came like cinnamon
So sweet
Little girls double-dutch on the concrete

Maybe sometimes we've got it wrong, but it's alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same
Oh, don't you hesitate

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams
Just go ahead, let your hair down

You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow

Blue as the sky, sunburnt and lonely
Sipping tea in a bar by the roadside
(Just relax, just relax)
Don't you let those other boys fool you
Got to love that afro hair do

Maybe sometimes we feel afraid, but it's alright
The more you stay the same, the more they seem to change
Don't you think it's strange?

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams
Just go ahead, let your hair down

You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow

'Twas more than I could take, pity for pity's sake
Some nights kept me awake, I thought that I was stronger
When you gonna realise, that you don't even have to try any longer?
Do what you want to

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams
Just go ahead, let your hair down

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams
Just go ahead, let your hair down

Oh, you're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow

AZLyrics.com

“Fly Free”

a trio of sparrows
flit from branch to branch
my window, an open stage to their slow dance
chasing the winter blues
waiting for the thaw

life's cruel winds dictate
situations change—
maybe I've got it all wrong, but it's alright
it's time to chase my dreams 
nothing stays the same

azure skies and sunshine
are coming my way
It's time to find myself, to fly free on wings,
filled with inspiration
and new beginnings

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

Poetry is based on your perceptions. This song makes me want to dance under a starry spring night! I used the song as a metaphor for “spring” and new beginnings. Follow your inner voice for inspiration.

  • Write a double ennead poem based on the theme of spring. Your inspiration can come from whatever source inspires you.
  • Post it on your blog.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media! I’ll share a roundup of all of your poetry on colleenchesebro.com the Saturday before the next Double Ennead challenge.

Now have fun and write some double ennead poetry inspired by spring!

Saddle Up Saloon; Howdy Ann Edall-Robson!

“Pal, is that…?”

“Yep. Sure is, Kid. Ann Edall-Robson ‘as stopped by the Saddle Up.”

“Woohoo! The Rough Writer who pens the Quiet Spirits column fer Carrot Ranch? I heard she might be too busy fer us, heard she’s got a lot a irons in the fire. Uh, Pal, does that s’pression refer ta when irons fer clothes was heated up on a cook range, or is it referrin’ ta brandin’ irons on the cattle range?”

“Reckon we could ask Ann, she might know.”

“She might er she might not. Heard tell she makes stuff up.”

“Thet’s ‘cause she’s a story teller, Kid. Come on, lit’s go talk with ‘er.”

“Howdy Ann!”

“Hello there Kid. Pal. You caught me wetting my whistle here at the bar. Come sit with me.”

“Thet soun’s good, Ann. Sure liked what ya did couple weeks back in yer Quiet Spirits column. Had folks guessin’ whether yer stories was truth er fiction. How much does thet blurry border matter ta story tellin?”

“Well Pal, it’s hard not to mix the two and at the same time it’s not hard to mix the two. Writing a story specific to a topic needs believable information. It shows readers who are knowledgeable about the subject that my work is credible.”

“Speakin’ a borders, where d’ya hail from, Ann?”

“Home for me is Canada. I grew up in what is called The Cariboo Country of British Columbia. Some forty odd years ago a transfer became available with the company I worked for and I migrated east of the Rockies to Alberta, where I have hung my hat ever since.”

“Are ya all snowed in out there, Ann, er d’ya got stuff goin’ on?”

“Snow and cold aren’t a big deal when you grow up with it. You learn to be prepared for every kind of weather. When it gets real cold, like -40F or colder, it’s nice to know I don’t have to go out. I hunker down and work on one of the dozen or so projects I have on the go. Although, when the weather is that cold, it can make for some pretty amazing photography opportunities. We are also very lucky in this part of the world to experience Chinooks. They are also known as snow eaters and the weather can change from -40 to above zero in a matter of hours.”

“Ain’t that ranchin’ country out there where yer at?”

“Kid, didn’t’cha know? Ann here is a real deal rancher.”

“Truth?”

“Truth, Kid.”  

“Well, not quite, Pal. My dad ranched and rodeoed before enlisting to go overseas in WWII, but that’s a story for another day. I grew up in ranching country. We had family members and friends who were/are ranchers and I spent as much time as I could with my aunt and uncles on their ranch. It’s where I got addicted to horses and doing chores and chasing cows. It’s common for ranchers to help each other to round up cattle in the fall and gather to brand cattle in the spring. Whenever I could, I was immersing myself in this life. Somehow I managed to convince my parents it would be a good thing for me to own my own horse and my aunt and uncle gave me a mare and foal when I was ten or eleven. It didn’t take long for me to start entering local gymkhanas and rodeos.”

“Is that where ya git yer stories from Ann?”

“Maaayyyyybeeee…haha… It’s like this; where I come from guides me to where I need to go. As luck would have it, I am passionate about letting people know about the western and ranch culture that encompasses a way of life that is fast disappearing. I can hopefully educate people by including the knowledge I was lucky enough to experience growing up into the books and such that I write.”

“How an’ when did ya git from them ranches ta Carrot Ranch?”

“I have a collection of my writings going back to my high school days. The man of the house (aka my husband Steve) and I had many discussions about publishing these archaic works, but neither of us had a clue where to start. Steve was an advocate of networking, and started doing research to see if anyone else out there was in the same boat. Through some online searching for like-minded writing people/groups he came across the Carrot Ranch. I remember the day he announced that he had found the place I needed to get involved with to start getting my work seen. In April 2016, I wrote Ivor Oaks, and my first 99-Word story was published here at the Ranch.”

“How would ya d’scribe the kinda writin’ d’ya do?”

“I write in several genres (cozy mysteries – contemporary fiction, cookbooks, children’s books, some poetry, and, non-fiction). They all have one thing in common – western and ranch culture.”

“Which kinda writin’ comes easiest to ya?”

“Anything that gives me the opportunity to share mine and Steve’s heritage and culture. Oh, and stuff that turns a random what if thought into a rambling of words that need to be sorted out somewhere down the line.”

“Which gives ya the most satisfaction?”

“The knee jerk reaction to that question is, “All of them!” What it boils down to is, I love to share what others may never get to experience. You will hear me say that time and time again; but the reality is it’s true, and through all of my writing genres, I am able to do this. Now if you want me to identify my absolute favourite genre, I would have to say the cozy mysteries and the children’s books are neck and neck.”

“Ya done mentioned photo opper-tunities. Thet camera yer totin’ ever git in the way a writin’ er does it git the writin’ goin’?”

“My photographs never get in the way of writing unless you take into consideration the days I think I should be writing and I am out somewhere taking pictures, like today.”

“What do you do with all yer pictures?”

“A lot of my pictures can be found on our DAKATAMA™️ Country where people can order products with my pictures on them. I use my photographs for my book covers, and have had other authors use them as well. We are also in the process of adding photo products to our new business website. If you follow my Ann Edall-Robson FB page, we share a picture prompt there every Thursday. And, we have recently added The Photo Challenge to our website for those who are not on FB. 

But, here’s a secret for you about the hundreds of thousands of pictures in my photo library – My 99-Word stories or any other prompt writing I might get involved in all boil down to one thing – have I got a picture to go with it? Very seldom is the answer ‘no’. Not many people know about my photo inspirations in writing my 99-Word stories, that is unless they actually follow the link back to my website.”

“I’d highly recommend they do link back to yer website jist ta see yer amazin’ photos. Seems like some was featured here at the Saloon too, when we ran thet Art Showin’.”

“Yep. Ann, yer a visual artist, well as a literary artist, seems like it goes hand in hand. But what’s been yer greatest challenge as a writer?”

“For me, I would have to say Marketing is a challenge for two reasons. First because I am an Indie Author and my company publishes my own books so it is completely up to us to market our products. Second, and I think this falls in line with the challenges I face in marketing, is my upbringing. I was raised that if you talked about yourself and your accomplishments, you were a braggart or blowhard and most likely both. This was not acceptable. People knew what you were capable of and would spread the word if necessary. It has taken me quite a while to get past the morals of my upbringing to talk publicly about my work and what my passions are. Since I have resigned myself to the fact that these elements are a necessary evil in promoting myself and my work I now consider it part of the job. It doesn’t make it any easier to do, but I know word of mouth isn’t the marketing platform it once was.”

“What’s been yer greatest joy as a writer?”

“Writing! Being able to put all the thoughts spinning on the Bunster Wheel down on paper. Knowing that some will never see the light of day and others will be shared with the world whether they want them or not. Getting the past as I know and remember archived in some way for future generations.

Writing has also given me the opportunity to mentor others in the craft. Not necessarily as writers, but the independent publishing and business side that comes with wanting to become a published writer with aspirations to sell their books.”

“Sure seems like yer like-minded with Carrot Ranch all write. Yer a real asset.”

 “Thank you, Kid, but speaking of assets, I need to step down off this stool and stretch.”

“Pal, look! Ann Edall-Robson’s tall like Shorty!”

“Shush Kid. Ann, we wanna thank ya fer a fine innerview.”

“Yep. We sure ‘preciate ya takin’ time outta yer schedule and findin’ yer way ta the Saddle Up.”

“My pleasure. Thank you Kid and Pal.”

Ann Edall-Robson relies on her heritage to keep her grounded. Reminders of her family’s roots mentor her to where she needs to go. Gifting her with excerpts of a lifestyle she sees slipping away. Snippets shyly materialize in Ann’s writing and photography. She is a lover of life and all things that make us smile. Edall-Robson shares moments others may never get to experience at HorsesWest, DAKATAMA™ Country, and Ann Edall-Robson where you can also contact her. Books written by Ann Edall-Robson are available through her website, at Amazon, and various other online locations.

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.