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Rough Writer Tour: Ruchira Khanna

One of the benefits of writing flash fiction with a community of writers comes from getting to know each writer and watching his or her literary art flourish.

Ruchira Khanna’s writing bridges two worlds (India and America) just as her latest book tackles what the immigrant experience is like, coming to the US for school, jobs, new friends and love interests, but yearning for parents and home-connections, as well. Her book, Breathing Two Worlds portrays the experience through language and story-telling.

Voyagers into the Unknown, Ruchira’s earlier fiction novel released January 2016 hit # 1 as Hot New Release in Amazon India and #8 as a Best Seller. Again, she melds a multitude of cultural experiences into an enjoyable, world-perspective read.

It’s been a joy to watch her author career unfold. Today, Ruchira hosts at her blog Abracabadra, sharing the anthology she contributes to as a Rough Writer.

Next week, our tour wraps up at the Ranch.

Dreaming

Dreaming Carrot Ranch @Charli_MillsIt can be a relief to wake up and realize, it was only a dream. But what if we are always dreaming? Dreams are the veil between the conscious and subconscious. Perhaps daydreams are the bridge between possibility and practicality.

With dreaming, anything goes. Writers plunged into the prompt, one offered by Rough Writer and author, Ruchira Khanna.

June 22, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that involves a dream.

***

Beach Daydreaming by Susan Zutautas

I stare into space
Where no one knows, where I’ve gone

I like to hide in my mind
And daydream

Sometimes I think of younger years
Sometimes I think of my fears

My favorite dream is on a beach
Lying in the sun and sand
Feeling the heat beating down on me

I feel the sand between my toes
A gentle warm breeze goes by slow

Listening for the waves to crash
The warmth of the water hits my back

The sweet smell of salty sea water
Fills my nostrils and I smile

There’s nothing like an ocean dream

###

Deep Sleep by D. Avery

The stone dreamt of cold grinding ice and was not afraid; dreamt of twisting transforming heat and was not afraid; dreamt of the crushing weight of oceans, and was not afraid; dreamt of the acidic embrace of mosses and was not afraid. The stone dreamt it was asleep and dreaming that it was asleep and dreaming of timelessness and fearlessness. The stone dreamt that it was the Earth, that it was the universe, that it was a tossed pebble.

She awakened suddenly, slowly, acclimating herself to her limbs, her body, to the return from dreaming of being a stone.

###

A Writer’s Dream by Reena Saxena

The woman in black finally decided to reveal her identity. I watched with bated breath, as she lifted her veil, and then, I almost stopped breathing for a while. She was not strikingly beautiful, as I had expected, but was a relic of the past.

What had happened in her life, in the interim period? And why was she following me? It was scary, but these are the twists and turns of fate, that keep the story of life going.

I woke up drenched in sweat. Why don’t the characters of my novel leave me alone, when I sleep?

###

Lost in a Dream (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills

Young Sally stirred the bean pot and twittered about lace she’d seen in Beatrice. Sarah saw herself as if in a dream, a memory vividly sketched in mind but dormant for years.

“Beans look ready Miss Sarah?”

Her hands, no longer stiff and aged, trembled at what she knew came next. She heard herself repeat words from 70 years ago. “Check one.”

Sally blew on the wooden spoon, a lone pinto perched in thin liquid. Bread cooled next to churned butter and wild plum jam.

Sarah succumbed to the memory of the day. There never was a last supper.

###

But I Can Have a Dream, Too by Joe Owens

Erin studied Eric’s speech he had spent so many hours on, checking and rechecking it as her good friend requested.

“It’s great except for one thing. You can’t use the ‘I have a dream’ line at the beginning.”

“Why not?”

“There is a very famous speech with that line you don’t want to copy.”

“Doesn’t every speech reuse some words from another?” Eric asked.

“I suppose, but I think you should try again on your opening,” Erin said handing the papers back to Eric.

Two days later Eric began his speech like this: “Dreams are the mind cataloging memories!”

###

A Dream is Just a Dream by Anne Goodwin

“What does it mean, doctor?” She sat back, wide-eyed, expectant.

Flying cats, talking trains and flowers oozing blood. The ward staff called her an attention-seeking fantasist, but I gave her an hour a week of my full attention and she filled the space with her rambling dreams.

I didn’t want to disappoint her, but none of my interpretations had hit the spot. Sometimes a dream is just a dream. But only in their telling did she seem alive. “I wonder,” I faltered, “did you ever dream of writing a novel?”

She snatched a tissue. At last, we could begin.

###

Flash Fiction by Pensitivity

The organ blasted out ‘Here comes the bride’.

What was I doing here?

This wasn’t what I wanted or needed.

The pews were full, of people I didn’t know.

Was I in the right place?

I walked alone up the aisle, no-one to give me away.

My groom had his back to me.

His stance was unfamiliar, strange to see a Morning Suit.

Oohs and aahs echoed all around me.

I looked down to see I was stark naked.

Exposed for the fraud I was perhaps?

The music stopped.

So did I.

He turned slowly.

A man without a face.

###

I Saw Her Again by Drew Sheldon

I ran into her the other day. She looked great. She got divorced and quit smoking a few years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her look so happy and healthy. We talked and laughed just like we used to all those years ago. No topic was off-limits. No joke was too tasteless. She was just as brilliant and funny as I remembered. Somehow I hadn’t realized how much I missed her. Suddenly it occurred to me in all the excitement I had forgotten to hug her. So I reached over to her…
And then I woke up.

###

Visitations by Sascha Darlington

I feel gentle fingertips caress my temple, wake to his brown eyes fastened on mine, concern etched in them. His breath, hot upon my cheek, once would have been enough.

“Are you getting up?” he asks, a whisper.

“I need a little more sleep,” I say. He nods, kisses my brow. I almost pull him to me, to have him close.

I’ve never told him that sometimes she appears in dreams and her laughter clutches me. I sleep hoping to dream of her.

I think I hear him say: “Please come back to me” before I slide into slumber.

###

El drac dels somnis by Jules Paige
(Janice vs Richard #11)

Clothed in a neat kimono type wrapper, Janice felt there was
nothing mundane about this dream. She’d been spirited off to
a tentative safe house. There was no going backwards as far
as escaping Richard was concerned. Even with attempting
La gaudiere for the man – there couldn’t be even a partial
reconciliation.

Warm air vented from the nostrils of the tree brown dragon
that nudged her, as she patted its’ spine. Janice wasn’t
opposed to staying in this dream and felt herself smile.

The Dragon’s eye swirled into a scenic window of greenery.
It was time to wake up.

###

Livin’ the Dream (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee

Becca pushes out of the consignment shop, not daring to breathe lest it tip the tears poised to fall. A year ago she had bliss. Now she’s selling what left she has of Richard.

That happy life, that wonderful man, it must have been a dream. She would never have been so careless as to lose him if it was real. She would have felt its fragility, would have known not to let him leave the house that day.

But why would anyone wake from a dream like that one, if dream it was?

Same result. Gone, either way.

###

Dream by Lady Lee Manila

I never believe in dreams
They were just for kids, it seems
Like one of their childish games
But you came and I’m in flames
I’m still smiling with that beam
When I sleep, I dream of you
In the blue sky and you flew
Searching and calling my name
– Believe in dreams
Now I believe in daydreams
Hoping you are my mainstream
And my heart you have inflamed
Dream to be with you I claim
With preference, my eyes gleam
– Believe in dreams
When I sleep, I dream of you
In the blue sky and flew

###

The Spider by Jeanne Lombardo

Rain-washed light filtering through the glass doors. The snug kitchen dawning with the day. The woman pondering her dream.

She’d been sitting in this kitchen. An egg, perfect in its pure, curved symmetry nestled in a china bowl before her.

She cracked it open. The yolk dazzled. But it was not a yolk. It was a magnificent spider, its body a glinting gold topaz.

In the waking world, she would have recoiled. She would have screamed.

But in the dream she watched, smiling.

Now it seemed a visitation, a hopeful omen, a sign. What did the jeweled spider portend?

###

Dreaming Well by D. Avery

“There’s people there now, but I’ll clean up after them, check on the well.”

Johanna couldn’t believe her fortune in finding a special remote location for her “gang” to base their retreat ride.

“I’ll take the tractor out there and brush-hog the meadow and grade the lane so you ladies can get in and set up your tents. My, having visitors does keep us young.”

“Okay”, smiled Joanna, reaching for her helmet, “We’ll all be back next weekend, it sounds great, like a dream come true.”

“Yes”, said the older woman, her eyes gleaming, “It’s a dream come true.”

###

Dawn, Noon, Dusk by idyllsoftheking

When he wakes up, the red light of morning streaming through his window, his heart skips a beat. The sun? Natural sunlight! He rushes out of bed greet it.

When she logs in, she responds to emails in order of panic. No, she assures the recipients of her comforting lies. No, there is nothing to fear. It will hold. Their arcology is the best on Io.

When they crouch down, underneath the sparking and burning wreckage of their glass and plastic castle, they look at each other with undeniable hatred. His dream lives, hers died. Simple. She kills him.

###

Dream Crashers by Sascha Darlington

You can’t keep dead people and dead dogs out of your dreams. They think they have a right to be there in all of their once alive glory. They laugh and hug or pant and bark and wag their tails and make you believe during your REM state that they are totally alive. For blissful moments, you believe, like it was yesterday, but the sepia tones should be a giveaway. When your dog wiggles her rear end and skips, your chest tightens as consciousness fights for witness: this is a dream and when I wake up, I will cry.

###

Dream by FloridaBorne

“Mother? Where am I?”

“We’re having a nice hot cup of tea.”

She held her plain white porcelain mug with dainty fingers, and took a sip.

“Why are you wearing a white dress? You hate white.”

The scent of Earl Grey intermingled with six white fresh-cut roses from her garden. The sun began to drift down…down…down…fiery golds, orange and red becoming muted greys and green while we silently sipped tea together.

Darkness…bone chilling cold…legs pinned…arms pressed under tons of earthquake.

“Mama…I don’t want to die. Not like this!”

“Sleep my child,” Mother said. “Soon you will be coming home.”

###

Yet Another Day by Kittyverses

It was yet another day. After the death of her husband, their son decided to travel overseas to seek fortune, promising to return soon.

Days turning to months,months to years, all that she cherished of him were the weekly telephonic conversations.

It wasn’t that her son didn’t want to care of her but monetary circumstances prevented him from returning back.

There was a knock on the door, one fine day. Hurrying to open, standing in front of her was her son. Pinching herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming, she cried in joy, Son! My faith has won.

###

Dream by Kalpana Solsi

She lay supine on the hospital bed surviving on prayers of children and modern medicines.

She feels her soul separate from her mortal body as Chitragupt calls her name.

“Beware, thorns and stones that hurt you” he cautioned.

“I have experienced pains and downfalls”, she trailing him.

“Regrets?”

“None”, confidently.

“Wishes?”

“My Home needs a replacement to be run altruistically. The children would suffer”, she requests.

“Those orphans?”,

“They’re my children”, she emphasizes.

Doctors credit her recovery to a miracle.

“Was it a dream or trance?”

“Was it re-birth?”, questions a journo.

She nods, waves at the vanishing Chitragupt.

###

Lion Fish Vacuum by Anthony Amore

Robert follows the Lion Fish deeper into the reef, spear ready. An invasive species in the Keys, these are legal prey.

Within reach something yanks from behind, tugging; the mask falls from his face. Oxygen evaporates gulping water gasping.

He jolts awake. He’s never been diving in his life. He’s never been anywhere. HIs legs, his arms, they do not work. This was a scene from a cooking show that flickered last night and glowed deep into the vacuum of his hospital room.

Feeding him water from a straw, the night nurse says. “Sleep tight.” He will likely not.

###

Sharing Dream Time by Liz Husebye Hartmann

She rolls in flickering blue and white, darts between other bodies, slick and shining, touching but not colliding. Breaching, she leaps into the moon, heavy with promised bounty. She swallows silver light, joyfully sated as it fills her center.

Deep drumbeats increase in speed and volume, drawing near. Writhing and diving, she hides from grey and black shadows that slash and shred. In an eyeblink, Moon’s soft rays hang bloody between wicked spearhead teeth.

She wakes, wiping salt tears from her son’s eyes. Repeated night terrors; she no longer knows if he’s sharing her dream, or she’s sharing his.

###

The Dream Tweeter by Bill Engleson

“She’s finally asleep.”

“You sure? She fakes it sometimes.”

“I lingered awhile. Just watching…if she’s a faker, she’s damn good at it.”

“She tell you the story?”

“Story…?”

“That thingee she’s been rambling on about…the dream tweeter, the goblin who steals dreams and then tweets them to God knows where.”

“Yeah, she mentioned him. It?”

“It about covers it. I think she’s been watching too much television…especially cable news. She doesn’t even know what a tweet is.”

“Who does. I mean, what’s the actual point of twitter.”

“Well, by some measure, its purpose is to keep the President sedated.”

###

Dumbfounded by Michael

I was watching TV when a boy from the school over the road set himself up on my veranda. He thought my place was his study centre. I told him to leave. I thought of child protection and all that involved.

Then there was a noise in my kitchen. Around my kitchen table eating my food were a heap of Year 9 students. I rang the school and the Principal came over. He thought it a great joke. He shuffled them out explaining in the kindest terms it was time to go back to class.

I woke up! Dumbfounded!

###

Off with the Fairies by Norah Colvin

Each year the school reports told the same story:

He’s off with the fairies.

Poor concentration.

Needs to pay more attention.

Daydreamer.

Doesn’t listen in class.

Must try harder.

Needs a better grasp on reality.

Will never amount to anything.

Meanwhile, he filled oodles of notebooks with doodles and stories.

When school was done he closed the book on their chapter, and created his own reality with a best-selling fantasy series, making more from the movie rights than all his teachers combined.

Why couldn’t they see beneath the negativity of their comments to read the prediction in their words?

###

Writing about The Island before Writing about The Island by Elliott Lyngreen

The outfield was a road; curved. Another couple formed an unoccupied lot, an island which resembled a baseball diamond..

Frontyards were HOMERUN territory.

Relays came from manicured gardens, yard niches, overwhelmed ivy, realms in two-story architecture; swiftly from Murphy, swung to Fearns, divided down to Harold at the sidewalk crosshairs—pitcher’s mound—to goofy Darryl – who tags Stewart with a catcher’s mit.

Bicycles.

We knew John Zaciejewski’s garage code; for more gloves, bats, balls…; and his pool.

Dreams never stood a chance for the Major Leagues.

Yet immersed….from wonderous transition, to awake neck hairs softly tingled.

Formed as literature.

###

I May Be A Dreamer by Geoff Le Pard

Rupert steepled his fingers. ‘My dreams? Goodness.’

Penny sat at her uncle’s feet, rocking her baby sister.

Mary shared a grin with her half-brother. ‘Mine were cliched. Ballerina, show jumper.’

Penny waited. Finally, Rupert said, ‘I didn’t know it then, but finding you. A family.’

‘You had your mum.’

‘Oh and I was happy but now, well, it’s better.’

Penny frowned. ‘Does that count as a dream? I mean, looking back?’

‘A retrospective dream? What do you think Mary?’

‘Why not? Especially if it comes true.’

Penny smiled. ‘We’ll make it a thing. Our thing.’

‘Yes, a family thing.’

###

Family Resignation by Diana Nagai

The summer sunset held my gaze as I pulled the blanket tighter. My aunt, who had raised me, sat close.

“Are you happy?” she broke the silence.

“I achieved the life I wanted.”

“When did you stop dreaming?”

I tensed at the implication. “Did I? I hadn’t realized.”

“I’ve always been proud of you, you know that. But, you could have been so much more.”

Her words stung. I was happy with who I became. And I still dream, everyday, that my parents hadn’t gotten into the car that fatal night. But out loud, “Yes, auntie.”

###

Flash Fiction by Carrie Gilliland Sandstrom

I sit in my arm chair like a cat, curled up in the sun. My book lays open but its words cannot capture my attention today. I am pulled under, into a dreamy state by warmth and comfort. I like to play there while the light dances on my eyelids giving my world an orange-red glow. I dream of sandy beaches, cool crystal blue water and a tanned lifeguard named Rico.

“Mom?”

Rico walks over to me, eyes inviting and warm.

“MOM!”

I ease my eyes open to address my interruption, “Yes?”

“I can’t find my other frog slipper.”

###

Family Sacrifice by Kerry E.B. Black

The sight paralyzed Ward, a vestige of a nightmare brought to reality. They walked from the fog, cloaked figures wearing crosses that swung with each step. Faces once familiar contorted with fervor and undeterred purpose.

Ward backed to his door, certain they would rip through their clothing to reveal their natures. Wolves, hungry for a kill, anxious to devour the weakest of the pack. Instead of howling, the lead man presented official documents to Ward. “We’ve come for the woman named Nina. Relinquish her, and there will be no trouble.”

Nina. His secret sister. Sacrifice for his family’s safety.

###

The Anthem by Allison Maruska

I approach the lone microphone on the 50-yard line. Stadium lights shine down, obscuring the thousands of spectators. I clasp my shaking hands in front of me.

“Singing our National Anthem tonight is Cassandra Jenson, senior at Ridgefield High School.” The announcer’s voice echoes off the stands. “Please stand.”

Silence fills the stadium, and I take a breath, remembering my starting pitch. “Oh say—”

“Cassie!” Jordan shakes my arm, pulling me from my daydream. “I got it! I’m singing the anthem!”

“Oh.” I smile, covering my disappointment. We both knew only one singer would get the job. “Congratulations!”

###

Dreams Come True by Susan Zutautas

Meg was having a hard time finding a new job. She’d been on countless interviews and was starting to wonder if she’d ever find a job. Exhausted from travelling all over the city, she flopped down on her bed in tears. As she drifted into a deep sleep she was thinking the move to this new city might have been a bad idea.

That night her deceased mother came to her in a dream and told her everything was going to be okay.

Meg was woken by the phone. She was offered a position and could she start immediately.

###

Transmission to Transition by D. Avery

“Kid, you gotta grin a mile long on that face a yours.”

“‘Less I’m dreamin’, Shorty’s back!”

“Yep, I saw. She brought us flowers from the prairie, by gosh.”

“She’s been on walkabout.”

“Walkabout? You been talkin’ with Aussie?”

“Well, it has been kind of a vision quest for Shorty, ain’t it?”

“I reckon so. She’s been runnin’ down a dream alright.”

“Well now what?”

“There’s work involved in a dream coming true, Kid.”

“I know. What can we do to help?”

“Shorty will keep us posted. In the mean time, dream along.”

“Dreamin’ big as a prairie sky!”

###

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Platform: Branding Yourself as a Writer

Article by Ruchira Khanna, a member of the Congress of Rough Writers.

<< ♦ >>

Branding!

It’s everywhere.

Rolex, Nestle, Audi, Coach, Tommy Filger, Hanes, Revlon, Prada, Bentley, GE, Kenmore, Maytag, Toyota, Mercedes, and the list goes on…

In fact, companies decide on a product, a brand logo and then go on about manufacturing their product. Such is the importance of a name and logo.

As a manufacturer, a brand is a window for him to peep outside and get noticed by consumers as he advertises his product on his website or a social media outlet, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Branding just doesn’t happen; it has to be thought about and well planned since ultimately that’s how the consumers will picture you.

Some useful advantages for having a brand are:

  • It helps give you a platform for ease, reliability and a recognition of what you stand for once you vouch for it, with ardor and passion.
  • Branding can put you in the limelight by setting you apart from the crowd that has that same product. You are given a stage where you can continue to exhibit your passion to thousands or millions of like-minded people who agree with the formation of your goods created.
  • Your brand once showcased well, can bring like-minded people together who would love to use your product, thus broadening your consumership.
  • Depending on your brand and the inspiration it can draw to your buyers. It can help motivate them and assist them to reach out high goals in their lives via the incentive of your A-rated product.
  • If your brand has been able to create a good and loyal consumership, chances are they will recommend your work to others while you just continue to be in the production line.
  • A strong brand will give a vision to the users on what to expect while easing the stress of the brand owner as he/she has been able to reproduce it with each production.
  • If you stick to your brand. If you are loyal to your brand, chances are your consumers will also be loyal to you!
  • This is your brand and your promise that you keep production after production. Thus, keeping your promise to your customers.
  • Creating a brand not only helps create loyal consumers, but also helps the producer to stay focused on his/her goal of creating best product to sustain the reputation of the brand name.
  • Once your feet are soaked in your brand, it will help you connect with your consumers on all levels as they have gotten used to using your name.

Aha! The importance of branding.

It helps differentiate the goods and services from other sellers while clearly delivering the message while confirming your credibility thus, creating user loyalty over time as your solid brand is motivating buyers to purchase the product.

This same fundamental applies to a serious writer who wants to succeed: branding himself to get recognition and be able to eventually sell books.

A writer has to analyze his write-ups and the subjects he is passionate to write about. He has to ponder over the kind of stories he likes to tell, narrate or serve to his readers. Eventually, that will help him attract the kind of readers that love to read such topics.

Typically genre comes first, and branding follows that. The brand has to exist within the genre the writer pens his words.

Some examples could be: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a writer of a fictional genre, but it revolves around detective/mystery. He gave birth to Sherlock Holmes in his write ups that are still looked upon. Could brand this author as a “The detective writer.”

Nora Roberts published her first book in 1981, and since then she has not turned back. Thanks to her 594K followers she has been nicknamed by The New Yorker as, ” America’s favorite novelist.”

Although she would be branded under, “The romance writer.”

As a writer/author decides upon the theme of his book before penning it down. Have a certain topic in mind prior to penciling it down. Frame your characters and plot if planning to write fiction or a subject relevant to the theme if working on non-fiction. Climb the ladder gradually of plotting and scheming as you cling onto the topic of the book. Towards the end when you have published that work, you will be representing that particular brand.

For instance: “The ——– writer.”

The dash could fill in romantic, mysterious, inspirational, dramatic, comic, lover of life, etc.

After branding yourself; making your own website and showcase your brand by publicizing over the media.

“The adventurous writer” will be easily remembered and when searched upon, like-minded readers will be able to connect the dots via the author/writer’s website, and that would result in clicks on your book links, and voila! you have readers craving for that brand by following it with as much passion as you the writer continues to pen down words fervently.

Once a name has been established thanks to the various social media outlets, with a respectable number of readership; the chances are that along with the readers, a literary agent, and a reputed publishing house could also get drawn to your charismatic brand name.

Aha! The journey that unfolds when a writer decides upon a particular brand name! No doubt there is sweat, dedication, passion and lots of marketing involved from the writer/author.

But, in the end, it is all worth it!

***

Ruchira Khanna is just another soul trying to make a difference in this lifetime by juggling between her passion and responsibilities. A Biochemist turned Writer who draws inspiration from various sources and tries to pen them down to create awareness within her and the society. She’s the author of Choices, Voyagers into the Unknown, and a children’s book, The Mystery of the Missing Iguana. Ruchira has published her latest fiction-drama novel titled, Breathing Two Worlds available on amazon world-wide.

Author Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

<<♦>>

Platform is a series that discusses the balance between craft and creation. It’s a writer’s sum total of visibility comprised of branding, community, credibility and target audience. An author markets product (books, blog, podcasts, workshops) from a platform. This series offers tips from experienced authors, publishers and marketers specific to all writers interested in building a platform and selling books and related products. If you have an article to share with the community of writers at Carrot Ranch, pitch to Charli Mills, Lead Buckaroo, at wordsforpeople@gmail.com.

February 11: Flash Fiction Challenge

February 11An engine lurches and mutters to a halt. It’s so dark outside, the night is like obsidian, but I see dim headlights and a bobbing flashlight as a man tries to open the hood to the engine of his logging truck. The Hub puts on shoes and a jacket to go outside and help a stranger broke down in the night.

My friend is a retired Navy photographer. She tells people she had it easy. “Not like you,” she says to the Army soldier seated in front of her. He’s completed two tours of duty in Iraq and is reluctant to admit he has trouble sleeping. My friend pokes acupuncture needles in both his ears to reduce “stress.” No one mentions the P-word that can mar a soldier’s career. Yet the auricular acupuncture offered regularly, helps. My friend volunteers every other Wednesday at Fort Snelling and has not missed a day in seven years.

I hired a dynamic young woman to take over the education and outreach at my organization. At her first community outreach meeting, which she would take over eventually, she listens to a donation request made by the friend of a woman who is pregnant and battling breast cancer. “Please, can the co-op help her buy some healthy food.” I look over at my new hire and know I made the right choice. Tears stream down her face as she nods, yes.

Online, I follow a local social media group for news on jobs or postings for trades. A woman posts the comment, “I have a question please. Am I the only one on these Facebook sites that finds it offensive when people sadly have a tragedy in their lives.” I want  to answer, I hope you are the only one! How can another person’s tragedy be offensive? Why is it, not all people can feel compassion.

What is compassion?

Although my handy-dandy (American) dictionary defines compassion as “sorrow for the sufferings or trouble of another or others” it also defines pity with the same phrase. However, the important differentiation is that compassion is  “accompanied by an urge to help” whereas pity “sometimes connotes slight contempt because the object is regarded as weak or inferior.”

To me, the woman with the question felt pity for “people [who] sadly have tragedy” because she felt contempt for how they asked for help or handled their donations. A person in need is not an inferior human. Even a person who makes mistakes or misjudgements or lacks compassion (like this woman with a question) is not inferior.

Compassion is kind. It is merciful. It is loving. It is not withheld for the privileged few. It can even extend to horses and peat moss and all of life.

Rough Writers, Norah Colvin and Anne Goodwin, introduce us to two words that extend from compassion. Weltschmerz: “world pain” or the grief we feel at how the world keeps falling short of our expectations.   Meliorism: having a belief that the world can be improved by the actions of humans. Anne sums up the interaction of the two words:

“Both are useful: weltschmerz enabling us to care enough about what’s wrong and meliorism driving us to try to do something about it.”

That is what compassion looks like in action. Yet, another compassionate action is taking hold — #1000Speak. It is a call for 1000 voices blogging for compassion on February 20. When I think of compassionate bloggers, I think of another Rough Writer, Ruchira Khanna who writes an inspirational blog with daily mantras at Abracabadra. Imagine a concerted effort by bloggers in one day to write with words that make a difference in the lives of others!

This is what it looks like in a video created by Tamara Woods who encourages us to “break the internet with compassion”:

So this week we will tackle stories that reveal compassion. In addition to our compilation, I will link to it in my own #1000Speak post on February 20. When spreading your own stories or posts, use the hashtag for greater visibility.

February 11, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that demonstrates compassion. You can explore weltschmerz (enabling us to care enough about what’s wrong) and meliorism (driving us to try to do something about it) if you want to explore those specific terms. Consider posting on February 20, too.

Respond by February 17, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

Her Worth by Charli Mills

The old mare hung her head low, lips quivered above grass-forsaken dirt, ribs protruded beneath a swayed back. She was broken.

“How much you want for her,” asked the Fed Ex driver.

A lean cowboy scrawled his signature for his box. “That nag?”

“That our wine?” A beautiful woman stepped out onto the deck.

The cowboy winked at the Fed Ex man. “There’s a beauty worth buying.”

“Can’t afford that one. How much for the horse?”

He knew his boss would ask how a starving mare got into the back of his van, but already her ears had perked.

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Ranch-keeping for Rough Writers: I’m working on how to communicate my ideas for the collaboration. Bear with me as I seek my words. And, I can use an Amazon widget for the bookstore, but it’s an affiliate thing so I’m trying to verify that I would be helping you in book sales, not robbing you! That would be embarrassing to this buckaroo. But I like the idea of populating the page with the ability to purchase the books rather than link to Amazon. Is there anyone with a preference or who is not selling on Amazon?

Look for my first Rodeo post tomorrow! I purchased a real bull-riding photo (as if that’s going to help my cause for publication). Of course, I still believe in me lucky charms if you care to step over Elmira Pond Spotter and take a peek at my peat.

Why I Write

The Writer's LifeI write, therefore I am.

It seems easy to answer when writing feels akin to drawing breath. But it’s as complicated as trying to explain how the lungs function. Writer, Robin Flanigan, invited me to ponder this question in a blog hop that considers the reasons why we write.

Today, I’m dogged by details. After last week’s post, When the Wolves Give Chase, I’m tempted to say, I’m wolfed. A project that I’ve been working on with a client since April has been tricky at best. Why? Because it’s greatly detailed, thus requires spot-on accuracy and involves multiple interested parties.

And not the kind of parties that are fun.

I’m talking about a financial manager, board directors, a general manager, a marketing manager and her team of communicators. Then there’s the contractors I work with–the designer, the writers, the printer, the digital team. The first thing I crafted for this project was the timeline: who–>does what–>by when.

The first thing that failed? Yes, the timeline. Interested parties began citing their vacations and I re-invented a new timeline, adapting it to who was going to be gone when. Second timeline has worked.

Today was the accumulation of all the details, ready to pass on to the designer. We had a few major glitches gracefully resolved by key parties (toot horns and toss confetti) and are on track as of 45 minutes ago. Whew…

So why do I mention this under the title of why I write? Because one answer is communication. I write to communicate. While projects are challenging and miscommunications frustrating, ultimately it is the challenge of communicating that is exciting, connecting and fulfilling.

But it’s not the reason I ever bought my first notebook and started to write about Silver Chalmers and why her English father returned to England after managing the Silver City mines in California from 1856 to 1864. That I started to write because I wanted to know why the real “Lord” Chalmers (as he was called in my home-county of Alpine) built such a fancy mansion way up in the granitic mountains of the Sierra Nevadas for a wife he left. The old-timers told me she rode to meet the stage every week, awaiting his return until she was committed to the insane asylum in Carson City, Nevada.

I write because I love history’s mysteries, I love a good story and I love to be a part of the unraveling. Later I discovered what many writers do–that if you write into a story it will push back into you with ideas you didn’t know you had. At a writer’s retreat at a Franciscan Center I learned that this was writing into truth. I write because it feels like a brave thing to do.

Yet, there are some things I don’t write about. Some truths are too dark, too painful and I decided long ago that they would not rule over me. I was brave in leaving, of getting out of a bad situation and I’m not going back there with my writing. My writing belongs to me, not them, and I will use it for my own purposes.

I write to communicate, to understand behavior through history, to tell stories, to push into the truth of who I am at the core. I am not my past. I am not my age, my reflection in a mirror; I am not my car, my clothes my stuff. I am a writer. And every day I write myself anew.

Tag–you are it: I’m passing the baton from Robin Flanigan on to Ruchira Khanna, Ellen Muholland and Lori Schafer. These three woman have boldly pressed into their own writing and have authored books. I hope that this blog hop is a chance for them to tell you why they write and also about why they wrote their books.

Carry on, writers!

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Ruchira Khanna is just another soul trying to make a difference in this lifetime by juggling between my passion and responsibilities.

A Biochemist turned Writer who draws inspiration from various sources and tries to pen them down to create awareness within her and the society. Recently published a novel, which peeps into every one’s daily life named, “Choices”  She is working on a children’s book, which should be out this year.

A Reiki Master in her spare time where she passes out information about channeling universal energy and conducts sessions.

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Ellen Plotkin Mulholland grew up in San Bernardino, California. After earning her degree in Journalism and English Literature at the University of Southern California, she moved to London. There she wrote her first novel, bagged beans, stood in the snow for a bus, and watched the trees change colors in fall. Today she teaches academic strategies to struggling adolescents while marveling in the exploits of her own kids. She is the author of “This Girl Climbs Trees,” a first person narrative following one teen’s quest for life’s answers, and “Birds on a Wire,” a coming out of age tale. She is nearly finished with her third YA that focusses on a young girl’s obsessions and her fight to find her place in this world.

“Why I Write” by Ellen Mulholland

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Loris Schafer is a writer of serious prose and humorous erotica and romance. More than thirty of her short stories, flash fiction, and essays have appeared in a variety of print and online publications, and her first novel, a work of women’s fiction entitled My Life with Michael: A Story of Sex and Beer for the Middle-Aged, will be released in 2015. Also forthcoming in 2015 is her second novel Just the Three of Us: An Erotic Romantic Comedy for the Commitment-Challenged. On the more serious side, her memoir, On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness, will be published in October 2014.

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