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Wow: Amazing Feats

amazing-featsStep right up and gaze upon the amazing feats of writers: 99 word stories from birth and reconciliation to phonetic and Freudian slips. If there was one thing Buffalo Bill Cody was known for, that was a show demonstrating amazing feats of riders.

Here we celebrate the written literary accomplishments of the Rough Writers & Friends.

The following stories are based on the September 14, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an amazing feat. We hope you read and say, “Wow!”

***

Niagara by Jeanne Lombardo

The rapids appeared along the side of the road, sidling swift and headlong into my consciousness. What had I expected: the Falls with no river?

An hour earlier you sobbed in my arms. The world can be dark at twenty-four, but why bludgeon yourself with your mistakes?

In the visitor center we read of Annie Taylor, who, in 1901, at sixty-three years of age, plunged over the Horseshoe Falls in a mattress-lined barrel clutching a heart-shaped pillow. She lived but failed to wreak material success.

You see my sweet, it’s not the spectacle but the living that’s the feat.

###

By a Century by Elliott Lyngreen

I NEVER REACHED Elsie Maxwell; and, in tragic places she neatly understood in uncurious browns and gross hair, in her plain tights she wore without needing explanation, which sent her a century ahead from such apathy I impressed by not expressing anything;

In flashing glints through moments she excitedly, too peripherally, fast-forward, stung her psyche; excessive chattering; tilted me into preoccupation and distracted nerves split at the ends;

I will never know Elsie Maxwell (save for thee age with the only available thoughts to surely think we would last 1000 years – that Elsie reached, before she was there).

###

Flash Fiction by Gordon Le Pard

The skull arrived on the wedding day, all through the ceremony he thought about it.

Was it a primitive human? was it an ape? All agreed it was incredibly old and that more of the skeleton had to be found.
In the quarry where it had been discovered, the manager pointed out the blocked cave and the search began. After several weeks fragments of bone were discovered, the palaeontologist was ecstatic.

“What is it?” the manager asked, looking at the tiny scraps of bone.

“The feet, the amazing feet.” He replied in delight, “It walked upright, it was human!”

And that, oh best beloved was, more or less, how Australopithecus, mankind’s most primitive ancestor, was discovered.

###

The Efforts of Three by Paula Moyer

Still more pushing? Jean had no more to give. Fourteen hours of labor, pushing for two. No baby.

Shift change. New nurse-midwife. New point of view.

“OK. When you feel the contraction, push here.” The midwife, Mary Jo, put her hand on the place.

A new wave came. “Yes! Here!” Mary Jo cheered her on. Next contraction, the midwife was in the bed, Jean’s foot on her ribcage to widen the pelvis. “I can feel the head.” She grabbed Jean’s hand to touch the wet lump emerging.

Then the whole, crying baby.

“Lydia Marie!” Jean crowed. “Come to Mama!”

###

One Small Step by Norah Colvin

Everything she had ever done was preparation for this moment. All eyes were on her. The audience’s expectation was palpable, bolstering her determination. She pulled herself up to full height and looked around, smiling. The audience waited. She checked the positioning of her feet, and her balance. She held up one hand, signifying that an attempt was imminent. She put one foot forward; then raised the other hand as she brought her back foot alongside the first. She paused, poised, momentarily. Immediately cameras clicked and cheers erupted. After two more steps, she launched, triumphant, into her father’s waiting arms.

###

Feats by Irene Waters

“What’s ya doin’?” John ruffled his grandson’s head.

“I’m doing feats.” Jason barely glanced up from his game.

“Whatya mean?”

“I’m acquiring feats. If I meet the prerequisite for the feat then I can work at gaining it.”

“I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Dungeons and Dragons Pa. Don’t you know anything.”

“Yep. I know in my day Feats were Little Feat. Dixie Chicken just brilliant but then the big feat, Feats Don’t fail me now was a mind boggling feat. Every one of the band was showcased at his best. Yep. Those sure were feats to remember.”

###

From Death, Rebirth by Geoff Le Pard

Paul studied the hairy knuckles. He looked at the lined face: unmistakably Leon Patrick. How many years? 20? He felt the strong grip. ‘You good?’

Memories flooded back; that hand pulling him down, those knuckles swelling his lip. He nodded.

‘Probably too late to say sorry, Paul, but anyway. Sorry.’

Paul looked up. Genuine concern looked back. Anxious too.

‘Funny, you know, remembering what I did. That got me into anger management.’ Leon began to turn. ‘I’d better go.’

Paul stopped him. ‘Drink?’

An hour later they still talked. Amazing, they said, how Jerry’s death had brought some closure.

###

Reconciliation by Sarrah J Woods

Mary was cutting her dog’s hair in the yard when an old blue pickup truck turned into the driveway below and started up the hill. She frowned. Who was this? “Go inside, please,” she called to her son, who was playing nearby.

As the truck crunched up the gravel drive, she gasped. Surely it couldn’t be him, after all these years. How long had it been?

The truck stopped and her father got out. Mary stared confusedly at his white hair, his trembling hands.

“Hi Mary. You look good,” he stammered. “I just wanted to say…well, I was wrong.”

###

Card Trick by Larry LaForge

“Pick a card,” Ed said confidently. “Any card.”

Edna complied, looking at her card without showing Ed. As instructed, she slid it face down toward him.

Ed reinserted Edna’s card into the deck and reshuffled several times while spouting some nonsensical words. He spread the deck on the table, closed his eyes, selected one card and showed it.

“Edna, my dear,” Ed proclaimed with flair. “This is NOT your card.”

“Wow,” Edna feigned. “That’s amazing. Can you do it every time?”

Ed looked around, leaning in as he whispered: “Almost. It seems to work about 98% of the time.”

###

Options by Bill Engelson

Dobbs made the calculations. He held a losing hand. To survive, he
would need at least two sharpshooters. And quickly.

Aggie Runacre was still at the Taylors.

He made his case. “They will ravage the town. Men like these…”

“Henry’s a crack shot,” Merle said. “Or so he tells me.”

“Then fetch him,” Dobbs directed. “And he might know of one more man with a deadly eye…”

“Man?” questioned Aggie.

Dobbs and Merle looked at her. She had their attention. “I have my late brother’s Spencer Repeating rifle, Mr. Dobbs…and I’ve been known to shoot a snake or two.

###

When He Was Young and Innocent (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills

Hickok crossed his arms and drew his pistols, shooting the tossed sardine can. Nancy Jane howled with laughter, but Sarah frowned.

“Don’t you like my neat trick,” he asked, feigning hurt.

“I’m studying your grip,” said Sarah.

“Grip? What are y’all serious about now,” asked Nancy Jane.

“Why do you wear your guns backwards?”

Hickok returned each pistol to his red hip scarf, butts facing out. “It’s how I learned to cross draw. Fastest way to sling guns.”

Sarah nodded. “Ever shoot anyone?”

Hickok drew again, twirling the pistols. “Nah,” he said with a smile that reached his eyes.

###

It Takes Only Moments by Denise Marie

Her hands were bound behind her back. Yet, Ellen managed to tear her wrists loose of the rope that bound them. Her hands started to bleed as they scraped against the prickly twine. She had only seconds to untie her ankles and scurry toward the door before he came back. Her hands were shaking uncontrollably. He grabbed her on her walk home after class. No one would know she was gone for hours. Would she even be alive that long? She shook her head, knowing it was too much to think about right now, escaping, that was her goal.

###

Flash Fiction by Angela Dawson

A road trip for a writer is akin to soil to a gardener, it’s foundational.

We recently drove from Wisconsin to Oregon. The beauty of the mountains is unmatched. The land is breathtaking. The amazing feat is God’s awesome design.

But true to American irony, we saw her shadow side.

In the middle of our trip we faced racism in Bozeman, Montana.

Our truck broke down and we were refused service by local businesses. The truck is still in Montana three weeks later.

It’s curious how race creeps through every crevice of this nation, right through the Mountains.

Piercing.

###

Navigating Thorns by Ann Edall-Robson

What took you guys so long? You never listen to me. I told you to stay away from the wide open slopes. All the predators can see you. The gooseberry bush next door is the best way to travel. Takes a little longer navigating the spikes and thorns, but hey, it gets you up here without the worry of your life ending. Up here in God’s country. Where the sun shines and the nectar percolates from beneath the budding petals. The trip is gruelling, but so worth it when you make it to the top. Ant heaven. Peony buds.

###

Metamorphosis by Jules Paige

Finding a Monarch caterpillar is a feat in and of itself with the
scarcity of the species. When one has children…who play in the
dirt and bring home bugs, you get some interesting chances to
watch nature unfold.

One summer the caterpillar was found, brought inside,
carefully handled, housed, doted on, feed all the milkweed it
could eat everyday as well as provided with a roosting stick.
It is an amazing thing to watch the cocoon be strung. And then
to wait (seemingly as if forever) for the Monarch butterfly to
unfold…And then to set it free.

###

Speed Dial by Anne Goodwin

Phone clamped to my ear, I throw clean underwear into a bag. I hate to miss her birthday, but Gill will understand. Grabbing my toothbrush, I blurt out what I know. The idiot’s done it again. I’ve got to go. There’s no-one else.

Silence at the other end. Why doesn’t she speak?

“The idiot?” A man’s voice? Offended. How could I call him instead of Gill?

“Sorry!” I cringe to think I’ve hurt him. “I didn’t mean it.”

But I did. “We need to talk about this.” Time he got some proper help. Stopped relying on me.

###

The First Trick (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

Bubbie sat, quivering. His brown eyes crossed to gaze at the biscuit perched on his snout. Nostrils flared, and thin drool hung from his lips. Danni backed away and the children in the clearing held still. No one spoke. Then Danni gave a command and Bubbie snatched the biscuit with his darting tongue. The children erupted into cheers.

Mrs. Gunnerson held up her hand for silence and order returned to the fourth-grade field trip. “Listen up, children. Dr. Gordon and her archaeology dog will lead you to the park petroglyphs.”

Danni exhaled, grateful for the dog that was her ice-breaker.

###

Hat Trick (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee

“We’d like to offer you the position. “

Jane almost drops her phone. Emotions flood her bloodstream: relief, amazement, gratitude – and a whole new nervousness.

She did it. She beat out the younger, fresh-faced, idealistic, just-graduated twenty -somethings. It’s only a file clerk job, but it’s a start. It’s a paycheck.

“Oh, thank you!”

Her mind races over hygiene and wardrobe logistics. Shower at the gym. An outfit for each weekday at the thrift store. She should have just enough money. If she can keep anyone from finding out she’s homeless until she isn’t anymore, that will be the trick.

###

 

March 16: Flash Fiction Challenge

March 16Today is a cake kind of day. Go on, grab a fork and savor a bite. Settle in for a story.

Carrot Ranch is imaginary. It’s a place where literary writers gather. Like rainbow cake, we are many colors and layers. Some write novels; some short stories. Some write memoirs; some science journals. Some write poetry; some write web content. We write from different places around the world: Australia, UK, Canada, Poland, US, Spain and have welcomed others passing through from Germany, Turkey and India. We’re a mash of genders and generations. We have different views regarding writing, books and publishing.

All those differences are what makes us a tasty layer cake!

The frosting that holds us together is literature. This might surprise you if you expected me to name the frosting flash fiction. That’s certainly what we do here, and flash fiction is common ground. But the original intent of Carrot Ranch as of March 5, 2014 was to create a bully-free zone where writers could learn to access creativity through problem solving (the constraint); write from a unique perspective (diversity); read and discuss the process or prompt (engagement). All those attributes add up to a literary experience.

Literature most commonly refers to works of the creative imagination and includes the responses we create as flash fiction. Often we think of literature possessing artistic merit or lasting value, so how is it that we can claim literary status for works created at an imaginary ranch and constrained to 99 words? It goes back to that literary experience — we are not collecting a canon of trendy flash fiction, but rather using them to explore our ideas, characters, longer works, craft and more. We share what we write. We read a collection each week that speaks to our world experience right here, right now, from multiple perspectives.

Literature is what speaks to us and through flash fiction we are speaking how we observe and interact with the world.

Consider these thoughts:

“It’s in literature that true life can be found. It’s under the mask of fiction that you can tell the truth.” ~ Gao Xingjian

“Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.” ~ Boris Pasternak

“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” ~ C. S. Lewis

But who comes to an imaginary ranch to be constrained and roped into a literary process?

I have a Just One theory. For something to happen, it takes just one to set the spark. On March 5, 2014 just one person bridged people I knew with people I did not. Several writers from social media, Susan Zutautas and Ruchira Khanna, showed up to the first challenge, and I was grateful. My friend and family member, Paula Moyer, also showed up and I felt supported. Yet, from Australia, and only serendipity can say why, Norah Colvin stepped on to Carrot Ranch and took the challenge.

Norah was my Just One. She is the catalyst that got flash rolling. All four writers who showed up that day set the flames of the future in motion. The next week Pete Fanning showed up, followed by Georgia Bell, Sarah Brentyn, Anne Goodwin, Geoff Le Pard, Lisa Reiter, Larry LaForge, Irene Waters, Amber Prince, Jeanne Lombardo, and Sherri Matthews. I don’t know what stars aligned, but it took just one writer to saddle up and here we are. These are the earliest members of the Congress of the Rough Writers, which now consists of 33 writers and more Friends who join us weekly.

Today is our 99th Flash Fiction Challenge. When I compiled all the stories for the anthology manuscript, I narrowed the responses down to the literary group and contained it to our first year. That amounted to 68,706 words or 694 stories. And to think it started with just one!

As a treat to go with cake, I’m going to share with you some “firsts,” including my first McCanles flash fiction. I never thought I’d actually write Rock Creek, yet all it took was just one 99 word story to plant the seed of a novel. It reminds me that I might get 8,000 publishing rejections to wall-paper my office with, but all I need is just one acceptance.

Firsts

Flash Fiction by Paula Moyer

Jean scrunched her fingers and toes, back and forth. They were all moving, but she was not strong enough to shake off the rubble. There was just too much of it. She was also unable to bat away the sense of shame. It was all her fault. She had known for some time that she needed to clean up her home office – excavate it, to be more precise. But after years of neglect, the once-rectangular stacks had rounded up into piles – and piles. Yet today, right on time with spring, she sneezed while reaching for a pen. Buried herself.

###

Flash Fiction by Susan Zutautus

As we were racing down the hill I felt a strange and eerie rumbling going on as the earth shook beneath my skis. I looked over at my son who most likely did not hear or feel anything as his music was probably cranked.

Scared to turn my head but feeling I had to; I saw the white cloud approaching behind us. Quickly I motioned to Allan that we were in big trouble. Seeing the look of terror on his face we both knew deep within our souls that this might indeed be the end for both of us.

###

Repercussions!! by Ruchira Khanna

Sandra is in a cleaning spree cause if mom will find out she is bound to get a time out for goofing around. As she is wiping those stains from the floor, chair, and table she hears footsteps. Her face is red with guilt and is ready to face the music for her actions.

Gets up to face her mom, who surprisingly has a calm expression and is all ears to hear her side of the story before coming to a decision. Startled Sandra explains how the cans came avalanching when she opened the cabinet thus the mess everywhere.

###

The Avalanche by Norah Colvin

The trickle began; imperceptible, unheeded and ignored.

Needing more attention, the volume swelled and quickened pace.

Still no attention was forthcoming so the surge became more urgent and incessant in its plea.

“Slow down! Stop me!”

To no avail.

The avalanche engulfed her.

Heat flashed through her body, from feet straight to her head.

Heart pounding loudly, “Let me out of here!” it pled.

With reverberations magnified in each and every cell,

the heady swirl became too much –

she trembling choked. “I’m dying?”

But no:

B-r-e-a-t-h-e s-l-o-w.

B-r-e-a-t-h-e d-e-e-p.

R-e-l-a-x.

S-o-o-t-h-e.

B-r-e-a-t-h-e . . .

The panic abates.

###

Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning

Any other day a ride to the dump would have made my week. The mountains of treasures, stacked far and wide over the rolling hills. Sure, the smell could get thick, nearly visible during those muggy days of summer, but today my nose was too stuffy to smell anything. I wiped my face with the back of my hand, still unable to look back at my old friend, sitting on garbage bags in the bed of the truck. Dad put a gentle hand on my shoulder, his eyes soft.

“Son, I’ll get you another big wheel, this one’s caput.”

###

It’s Just the Wind by Georgia Bell

I pressed my forehead to the window, the cold glass soothing against my flushed skin. How long had I stared down at the sidewalk, waiting for something – for someone – to be the change I couldn’t initiate? How long had I been sitting here, wanting and needing and not acting?

I felt him standing behind me. His silence as loud as the words he wouldn’t say. I didn’t turn, but flinched as the window rattled in the frame.

“It’s just the wind,” he said, and I nodded, closing my eyes, hope burning as hot as the tears on my face.

###

Dreams and Debris by Sarah Brentyn

Sitting next to the bonfire, I read the words I wrote when I still believed. Better days were ahead. Success awaited me. Love would find me.

Flipping through pages, I watch my handwriting change. Ugly scribbles fill the diary toward the end where I wrote about the things that were lost and the things that were never found. I want to remember, to feel something. But I can’t hold on. Bits of my life flutter in and out of my head and these memories lose their meaning. I toss the book into the flames and walk into the lake.

###

Virgil Kane is My Name by Charli Mills

I says to my wife, there goes them no-good McCanlesses. Me, I’m out plowing the field them Yankees trampled after murdering Cap’t Morgan. Stoneman’s cavalry. Bah! Bunch of thieving turncoats, I say. “You leave Tennessee,” I shouts at them. Their wagons creak but they say nothin’ to me. Old man Cobb McCanless slumps in his wagon seat. Hope he feels a fool having to flee Tennessee. He was my school teacher once. Old man Cobb. A poet. Virgil Kane is my name and I rode on the Danville train. Until Cobb’s sons came and tore up them tracks again.

###

Flash Fiction Character Bio by Anne Goodwin

Winning the TV quiz show, Family Challenge, assured me a rosy future. My encyclopaedic knowledge would fuel my teaching career. I hadn’t bargained for a pregnancy midway through the training. When I surrendered my baby for adoption, I lost my sense of purpose too.

Can’t complain, though. I work in a school, albeit in admin. I’m extremely popular on quiz nights down the pub. But, if people ask if I have children, I don’t know what to say.

Everything’s changing again, as Jason has made contact. Given he’s about to become a father, can I call myself Grandma now?

###

Seth by Lisa Reiter

Stooped and bowed, by both time and hard living, his florid, round
face and rude countenance throw up barriers he wishes were not there
but like a caged animal, knows little else.

Once a traveller, now he only journeys between pub and house – no
longer much of a home since Helen left, except for the loyal, mangy
Skip who barks at every passerby – claiming Seth as his pack.

But he loves that dog and ruffles his coat roughly in greeting. Might
be the only time you’ll see him smile but you’ll get a glimpse of a
once warm man.

###

Dogged by Geoff Le Pard

Harry dropped his gaze to avoid looking at Sally. No point; she didn’t know he existed. He looked at the dog. Milton looked back; he scratched his ear before lowering himself into a squat.

“No. Christ. Not here.”

Milton held Harry’s gaze as he shat on the pavement.

“Great” Harry stared at the sticky turd. He patted his pocket. No bags.

Harry glanced up, wondering if he could leave it. To his horror, Sally was a few paces away. She held out her crisp packet. “Here.”

“What?”

“For that.”

As Harry cleared up, Sally rubbed Milton’s head. “Cute dog.”

###

Bye Bye Betsy by Larry LaForge

He’s struggling with it, but knows he must dump her immediately after graduation.

They had a great ride for four years. He took her everywhere, and she never let him down.

She didn’t come with a manual, so he had to learn everything on the fly. It was rocky at times. Someone more experienced could have kept things running more smoothly.

Her presence at the big job interview was embarrassing. Now that he must impress his uppity colleagues, she just can’t be in the picture.

But deep inside he knows.

That’s the best pickup truck he will ever own.

###

Vacation Getaway by Amber Prince

Night had fallen like a thick blanket dropped from the sky.

I gripped the steering wheel, drying blood oozing between my fingers. I pressed further down on the gas.

It was too late. Headlights flickered in the rearview mirror.

I turned off my own lights and let off of the gas, not using the brakes. I veered off of the road, flying into the field.

I maneuvered into the backseat, pushing the still warm body over top of me.

My only hope was the dead taxi driver, and my ability to play dead.

Man, I should’ve vacationed in Alaska.

###

The Wheel Barrow by Irene A Waters

The sound came again. Closer this time. It sounded like a squeaky wheelbarrow. He ran to his mother’s room. She would know what to do. Hugging, they listened to the sound. She rang the police. Arriving quickly they searched outside, returning pronouncing the culprit was a leaking hot water system. The plumber was called and the leak repaired. The next night he was again woken by the sound of a wheelbarrow. Not waking his mother he went to check the hot water. He saw the wheelbarrow when suddenly, a hand over his mouth turned his scream silent.

###

The Patrick Cat by Jeanne Belisle Lombardo

The rain stopped. She stepped through to the patio, drank in the scent of quenched earth and creosote, then moved to the Palo Verde tree.

Her hand on the smooth, green bark, she looked east. A rainbow crowned Fire Rock Mountain.

Then she noticed it, the chain, hanging free from a bough. The terracotta winged cat that Patrick had given her was gone.

She toed the earth. “Where are you Patrick?” she whispered. “Don’t die on me again.”

A rustle near the rosemary. A cat the color of clay pawed the air. “Meer,” it said. And took flight.

###

Last Train Home by Sherri Matthews

Settling in for the train journey, Jamie plugged in, metal guitar riffs screaming. An hour in, he turned and saw her.

Dark eyes met his, frozen in disbelief. Turning to her new man, she giggled as they sat down in the seats in front of Jamie.

“That’s Jamie sitting behind us!” They swapped tongues.

Jamie exploded out of his seat, leaping off at the next stop. He caught a glimpse of her staring blankly out of the train window, chewing her nails, looking ugly. Jamie turned away and kept walking. He smiled then. Poor bastard, it’ll be him next.

###

March 16, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write about the idea of “just one.” If all it takes is just one, what is the story? Explore what comes to mind and go where the prompt takes you. Bonus challenge: eat cake while you write, or include cake in your flash.

Respond by March 22, 2016 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Thank you to all who come here and add to the literature of our times, joining together to write in fellowship.

***

Just One to Speak the Truth by Charli Mills

Sarah handed Leroy a cup of cold coffee and the carrot cake his wife had fixed earlier. Five days now since Cobb was gunned down at Rock Creek. She could still smell blood. Hickok, Doc Brink and Nancy Jane’s lover were under arrest for murder in Beatrice.

“Did you find the teamster?”

“Yes.” Leroy downed the coffee and set aside the plate.

“He’ll testify?”

Leroy growled. “No. Not one man will speak well of Cobb.”

“Mary’s got to let Roe testify.”

“She won’t. She’s scared.”

“Cobb wasn’t armed. I’ll testify. You need just one witness…”

“…who isn’t a woman.”

###

June 18: Flash Fiction Challenge

Carrot Ranch Flash FictionMists and guests swirl around schedules and deadlines, creating a cowboy two-step kind of dance at the ranch. A Congress has been declared, and new plans unfold. Thus work at the ranch continues.

Beginning July 10, Carrot Ranch will raise a barn–in the form of a new page on this site–dedicated to the recently declared Congress of Carrot Ranch Rough Writers. From an idea born in the wild west–to wrangle weekly flash fiction from 99 words each week–a global lot has galloped in with saddlebags full of writing vim and vinegar.

Think of the upcoming page as a dandified “blogs I follow” with special attention given to the unique contributions of each Rough Writer to Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction. Each writer will be introduced in sequential Thursday posts with insights to their writing process, influences and goals.

Why do this? Well, I had hoped to create a “literary community” out of practicing flash fiction. Writing is like riding a horse–we ride/write alone. We imprint our ideas, imaginings, perspectives and sense of identity upon the page and our readers reflect back their own. Yet, often we don’t get to experience full literature (reading, writing, discoursing) because we are alone in what we do.

Therefore, a literary community writes, reads and has discussions. It’s a group dynamic. Writers can trot through once in a full moon or saddle up weekly. It’s not the frequency; it’s the contribution. The Rough Writers have each exhibited the talent to write; the courtesy to read; and the intelligence to reflect, comment and discuss. This is how literature connects us.

Flash fiction–as a weekly practice–does make one a better writer. I remember saddling up my horse in spring after a winter of not riding. I felt floppy in the saddle and sore after the first few rides. By the end of summer, my legs were strong, my reflexes quick and my sense of joy in riding was maximized.

Practicing the craft of fiction regularly results in a stronger, quicker and joyful writer.

So, onto the prompt. Last week we explored exhaustion, everything from birth to dying (and beyond); from the practical to the fantastical, which included the return of a few favorite unicorns. This week, we are going to look at the result of hard work. It’s the Rocky Balboa story of getting stronger:

June 18, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about getting stronger. What hard work or practice has paid off? Has the character, setting or story changed as a result? As you continue to write, may your writing get stronger. May your words fly! Respond by noon (PST) Tuesday, June 24 to be included in the compilation.

Ready to Ride by Charli Mills

Hickok stood holding the reins of an unsaddled roan. He watched what looked like a barn-fly bobbing on the prairie horizon until it waxed into a frothing mount and rider. Hickok flexed his gloveless hands. If the Pony ever paid him he’d buy a beaded pair with fringed gauntlets. His roan nickered at the approaching relay, anticipating the mail saddle that would soon pass to his back. Every morning when Sarah gathered eggs by the corral, Hickok galloped the roan through several maneuvers. Today he’d get the chance to show her he was more than a pretty stock tender.

###

Rules of Play:

  1. New Flash Fiction challenge issued at Carrot Ranch each Wednesday by noon (PST).
  2. Response is to be 99 words. Exactly. No more. No less.
  3. Response is to include the challenge prompt of the week.
  4. Post your response on your blog before the following Tuesday by noon (PST) and share your link in the comments section of the challenge that you are responding to.
  5. If you don’t have a blog or you don’t want to post your flash fiction response on your blog, you may post your response in the comments of the current challenge post.
  6. Keep it is business-rated if you do post it here, meaning don’t post anything directly on my blog that you wouldn’t want your boss to read.
  7. Create community among writers: read and comment as your time permits, keeping it fun-spirited.
  8. Each Tuesday I will post a compilation of the responses for readers.
  9. You can also follow on Carrot Ranch Communications by “liking” the Facebook page.
  10. First-time comments are filtered by Word Press and not posted immediately. I’ll find it (it goes to my email) and make sure it gets posted! After you have commented once, the filter will recognize you for future commenting. Sorry for that inconvenience, but I do get frequent and strange SPAM comments, thus I filter.