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April 20: Flash Fiction Challenge

April 20The prairies that American pioneers crossed in the mid-1800s must have looked like oceans of grass. The vistas were like that of being at sea with no civilization in sight. At night, wagon trains circled the wagons to contain their livestock, share a meal in fellowship and sleep in the safety of community. Here at Carrot Ranch we have a community of helping hands and now a circling of wagons. That I’m not lost on the prairie is a comfort while I gather my bearings from the unexpected in life. This is an amazing community that I’m proud to share the trail with.

We also had a contest recently at Carrot Ranch and just today announced the winners. I’d like to thank Norah Colvin, Geoff Le Pard, Pat Cummings and Sarah Brentyn for their capable judging and commitment to time. It was not an easy ranch duty! We have broke ground for more contests in the future, and our judges will use their experience to guide writers with future guest posts on the topic. The judging was blind, so you can imagine the delight and surprise when Pete Fanning, a regular Rough Writer, was revealed to be the First Place Winner. It must be all the practice he gets in weekly at the ranch. Congratulations, Pete! We did a happy dance for you!

And thank you Norah! I turn over the reins to you this week.

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NorahCircles of life

The circle is a powerful symbol used to represent many concepts, including:

  • limitations of boundaries
  • continuity and infinity
  • inclusion, unity and wholeness

In a wedding band it expresses the continuity of love. The wheel represents freedom of movement. Though one continuous line, the circle contains an infinite number of points that can be expanded to include everyone and everything; like in the circle games we play or our comfort zones.

In the classroom we have sharing circles where everyone comes together to share their work, thoughts and ideas. In the circle everyone is equal, with equal opportunity to be seen and heard. Each can see, and be seen by, everyone at the same time. The focus is taken from the teacher and shared equally with class members, creating a democracy.

Venn diagram are circles that overlap, showing what is shared. If we were to represent humanity on a Venn diagram, it would show far more intersection than difference.

The word circle is also used to express different ideas, including:

  • the immediate family is known as the family circle
  • one’s closest friends form the friendship circle
  • to go full circle means you (or things) end up back where you (or they) started
  • a vicious circle occurs when bad things lead to other bad things and there seems to be no way of escaping or preventing further occurrence
  • sometimes we feel we are going around in circles, trapped in the monotonous repetition
  • but if we run rings, or circles, around others it means we do things with greater ease and speed than they
  • we may talk about the vultures circling waiting to take advantage of the vulnerable
  • but when the wagons circle they offer protection and support.

The Carrot Ranch is the centre of a Venn diagram, the intersection where many writers come to sit around the campfire and share stories. Charli Mills, the lead buckaroo, sets the theme and writers respond in a way that suits them.

At the moment Charli is doing her best to avoid those vultures which are circling to pick at her resolve. I’m pleased to say that Charli is running rings around them. But Charli does have a lot on her plate at the moment so the Rough Writers have circled their wagons to help protect and support. Heeding the call by Lisa Reiter, first on the scene, to help out at the Ranch with a few guest flash prompts, a number of Rough Writers have stepped up. This week it’s my turn.

April 20, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write about a circle in your life. Is it a supportive circle, or a circle that entraps you? What’s its significance? Take you where the prompt leads.

Respond by April 26, 2016 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Here’s mine:

Friendship Circle

He was new. They saw it. He felt it. With different hair, different clothes, different words, different – everything, he felt a world apart.

They huddled together, talking in loud whispers. He remained apart, attempting nonchalance but feeling unworthy, dejected, and afraid. Their occasional glances were followed by hoots of laughter. He wished to be anywhere else.

Suddenly the circle disbanded and some of them, the bigger ones, headed his way. He couldn’t move. He’d never get away. The others stood by, watching. He waited for the assault.

“Hey,” said the biggest one. “You’re new here. Come and join us.”

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