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Special Collection Flash Fiction Challenge

When I was twenty, a group leader at a retreat asked me, what are your goals in five years? One year? Thirty days? Then he asked, what would you do if you had five years to live? One year? Thirty days? What I wrote down were two different lists. I never forgot the lesson that day. Now, if you asked me, I’d respond with one list. Death is not easy for any of us to contemplate, and yet we will all die. We must live as if we know that because this life, people, and love are so precious.

To me, Carrot Ranch is the ranch I always dreamed of having. Sure, I thought there would be more horses and cattle, but I’m happier with writers and readers. The greater writing community is a colorful bazaar full of wonders and books and writers swilling ink. The branches of smaller and intersecting communities provide shade on our path and a place to gather and be. This literary community fills my creative well and my heart.

So, when I heard the news that one of our familiar pens and watering holes was grappling with the age-old challenge of dying, I felt stilled and sad. But then, hope rose on the wings of what it means to live and connect with one another. I’m in awe of the compassion of this collective of writers, of the bravery to step up and declare what matters when many would shy away. I’m humbled by how quickly his community responded.

Our dear friend, mentor, and prolific writer, Sue Vincent is facing lung cancer. If you don’t already follow Sue, you can do so here and learn of her story first-hand. Unlike me thirty-some years ago, Sue doesn’t have to reconcile her lists. She does what she loves, and finds it an honor to prompt the stories of others. In her, I find a kindred spirit, a lifelong learner and lover of people. Sue Vincent is a force of good in this world and proof positive that stories matter.

And you are all a part of that force for good, too. Whether you write horror, humor, or hefty words, you do good to share your stories, to use your voice, and to connect with others different from you. Writers are the bridges of cultures, the harbingers of better days, and the ambassadors of truth through fiction (and BOTS). You also care deeply for one another.

On Monday, Carrot Ranch will launch an event to celebrate Sue Vincent and her writing. There will be a “99” writing contest from February 1-19 with a suggested donation that goes directly to Sue. We want to make it a big deal beyond our trees of the writing woods, therefore it carries a $100 grand prize. There will also be a parade of sorts, a chance to gather together with Sue to share and reblog her posts in February. Be sure to tune in Monday for the full announcement. I’m so proud of all who have arranged this event, and volunteered to help. I’m proud of all of you whom I know will push this out far and wide to celebrate one of our own beloved writers.

February is going to be different at Carrot Ranch. Don’t let it throw you. I’ll be cloistered away, working on my thesis submission. I’m grateful to the community for carrying on.

Here’s a schedule for you so you know what to expect:

  • January 28 Special Collection Challenge to Honor the work of Sue Vincent
  • February 1-19: Sue Vincent Classic Rodeo Contest and Parade of Reblogs (announced Monday, February 1 at CarrotRanch.com/blog)
  • February 3 No Collection
  • February 4 Special Host: D. Avery
  • February 10 Special Host Collection
  • February 11 Sue Vincent Reblog Parade (no challenge)
  • February 17 Special Sue V Collection posted
  • February 18 Special Host: D. Avery
  • February 19 Contest ends
  • February 23 Special Host Collection
  • February 24 Regular Challenges Resumes
  • March 22 Winner and Runners Up Announced

You might say, February will be special. Please join in because this is about all of us and our legacy as writers.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi

This 99-word story prompt will be posted and presented to Sue Vincent on February 17. If you want to be included in this special collection, respond through the form.

January 28, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about life as a river of consciousness. Think about the possibilities of the prompt. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 11, 2021. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Life as a River of Consciousness

She stood on a rounded rock in the middle of the river, contemplating her next jump. Summer saw the flow subside from its earlier spring torrents. She noticed how the river had changed from last season, and the one before. Her life seemed perpetual as the water. She longed for stillness, awareness, so she didn’t hop to the next exposed rock. Instead, she stood in the river of consciousness, allowing life to flow through her until a dandelion seed tickled her nose and she sneezed. Her small droplets became part of the waterway, her one life one with all.

🥕🥕🥕