Remembering the Moon

 

When I was little, I wanted to visit the moon.

My mother laughed. Not in that way the other mothers laughed at their kids. Their laughter sounded like chickadees or Christmas bells. And they looked at their sons and daughters, ruffling hair or kissing cheeks, as if to say, “Aren’t they cute?” My mother’s chuckling didn’t say, “Isn’t she cute?” It was a combination of dismissal and disappointment. I never knew how someone could make laughter sound so unpleasant.

My father explained the distance between the earth and the moon. He was “practical” and had no patience for dreamers. That is to say, he had no patience for me.

My grandparents said I was spoiled. Which had nothing to do with the moon, really, but they never missed a chance to say it.

My teacher smiled and told me about astronauts. Which is exactly the sort of person she was. I should have expected her to do something like that. Instead of asking more about traveling to the moon, I demanded to know why she was telling me this. Then I cried and asked if I could live with her and she got that look on her face like when she had to send someone to the principal’s office. She didn’t call on me for the rest of the year. I remember being young, wanting things I couldn’t have. I remember Ms. Haley. And I know she remembers me.

 

 

 

#BlogBattle is a monthly writing prompt for flash fiction/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey.

Join in. Write a story. Read the stories.

Prompt: Moon

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The Tent

 

Though officials took us in, their welcome was forced.

The meadow was dotted with makeshift dwellings which looked like heaven compared to what we’d endured to get here. Pa ruffled my hair, whispering that it was over. We were safe.

He was half right.

A woman with long, grey braids approached Pa, pointed to the edge of the meadow, patted his shoulder, and walked away. “What is it, Pa?” I followed his stare to a yellow tent.

“There’s not enough food here,” he pulled me close. “We’re in the lottery.”

”Are we staying in the yellow tent?”

“Let’s hope not.”

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

August 2, 2018 prompt: Yellow tent In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a yellow tent.

 

 

Fruit Salad & Flash Fiction

 

A few years ago, Charli Mills decided to run a flash fiction challenge. People turned up at Carrot Ranch to pen a few words from a prompt. Practicing their craft, exercising their writing muscles, or just having fun.

The responses each week ranged from silly to deadly but always entertained and always told a tale in 99 words.

She had a vision to turn these 99-word tales into a collection from an international community.

The diversity and creativity of participants brought both beauty and complexity. A lot of tweaking, thinking, changing, and rearranging went into this collection. As editor, I had the privilege of participating behind-the-scenes to help create a unified, organized anthology of vastly different pieces by many different writers, all with their own unique style and voice.

Somehow, somewhere in the process, we turned this lovely bunch of writers into a lovely bowl of fruit. Strawberries, bananas, blackberries, and blueberries. Pineapple, kiwi, grapes, and tangerines. (It was quite a mix.)

These tasty treats needed a cohesive element to hold them together. I thought of how sweetened gelatin could suspend within it all sorts of fruits. And that is how I originally presented the ‘blueprints’ for the book. “Hey, Charli. It’s like…erm…a Jello fruit salad. You know what I mean?”

This fruity analogy has stayed with me.

Have you ever made Jello fruit salad? You have to find the right mix of fruit. Then, examine each piece to find the perfect selection. After that, you wash it and trim it. Finally, you add the colored, sugar gelatin. Voilà. A scrumptious dessert.

We worked hard. And I’m proud to share the fruits (and Jello) of our labor with you.

With over 30 writers whipping up flash, short stories, and essays, The Congress of Rough Writers: Volume 1 is a cornucopia of delights.

 

Huge thank you to all the anthology authors. For being a part of the writing community that Charli created and, ultimately, part of this anthology. By lending your voices, sharing your experiences, and penning great fiction, you have all made this book what it is. Rock on, fellow Rough Writers.

 

 

Where you can buy the book: 🙂

Congress of Rough Writers

Amazon Global Link

 

Where you can write some flash: 🙂

Carrot Ranch

 

Featured On the Reef ~ Rough Writers Anthology

 

 

On the Reef is a series featuring fabulous indie authors from around the blogosphere and beyond. Titles, covers, and blurbs that catch my eye, new releases, great reads… Basically, authors I’d like to highlight and works I’d like to share with my fellow book-loving word nerds. Happy Reading!

 

Featured

 

The Congress of Rough Writers (Flash Fiction Anthology)

Volume 1

Witness great feats of literary art from daring writers around the world: stories crafted in 99 words.

Flash fiction is a literary prompt, form, and tool that unites writers in word play. This creative craft hones a writer’s skills to write tight stories and explore longer works. It’s literary art in thoughtful bites, and the collective stories in this anthology provide an entertaining read for busy modern readers.

Writers approach the prompts for their 99-word flash with creative diversity. Each of the twelve chapters in Part One features quick, thought-provoking flash fiction. Later sections include responses to a new flash fiction prompt, extended stories from the original 99-word format, and essays from memoir writers working in flash fiction. A final section includes tips on how to use flash fiction in classrooms, book clubs, and writers groups.

CarrotRanch.com is an online literary community where writers can practice craft the way musicians jam. Vol. 1 includes the earliest writings by these global literary artists at Carrot Ranch. Just as Buffalo Bill Cody once showcased the world’s most daring riding, this anthology highlights the best literary feats from The Congress of Rough Writers.

 

You can get your copy here: 🙂

Congress of Rough Writers

Amazon Global Link

 

Contributing Authors:

Charli Mills (Series Editor)

Sarah Brentyn (Editor) *

The Congress of the Rough Writers (contributors):

Anthony Amore, Georgia Bell, Sacha Black, Norah Colvin, Pete Fanning, C. Jai Ferry, Rebecca Glaessner, Anne Goodwin, Luccia Gray, Urszula Humienik, Ruchira Khanna, Larry LaForge, Geoff Le Pard, Jeanne Belisle Lombardo, Sherri Matthews, Allison Mills, Paula Moyer, JulesPaige, Amber Prince, Lisa Reiter, Ann Edall-Robson, Christina Rose, Roger Shipp, Kate Spencer, Sarah Unsicker, Irene Waters, Sarrah J.Woods, Susan Zutautas

 

* As editor of this anthology, I had the privilege of working with these amazing writers and helping shape this collection. 🙂


Enlightened #WritePhoto

 

 

I was alone.

My boots clicked on the stones. Ahead of me, a shape blurred and shifted. Behind me, another. But I didn’t look at either now. It wouldn’t change anything. They would still be there and I would still be alone.

The arch at the end of the walkway glowed with the promise of knowledge.

I wanted to run to it. I wanted to run from it.

With each step, I grew more uncertain. My thoughts a whirlpool.

Curious. Apathetic. Eager. Detached. Anxious. Calm.

Petrified.

I stopped. My body fought to escape its skin, pushing, pulling, stretching. Trapped, it grabbed my mind, twirling it like cotton candy, and tucked the feathered bits into a crevice I couldn’t access.

I straightened. Continued walking. Reached the arch directly after my first shadow and slightly before my second shadow.

We were alone.

And we were ready to step into the light.

 

 

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

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Turning comments off as I won’t be available to approve or reply. Just wanted to write a little something for Sue’s wonderful writephoto prompt. It’s been too long. 💕 Be well, my friends. 

 

Chaos in Black & White

 

We talk, words spinning around each other like flurries caught in a gust of wind.

Eventually, our thoughts drift down and settle on the ground in a blanket of confusion.

With an incredible vocal range, we sing a song of misunderstanding. High notes, encapsulated in love, float through the air. Low notes, heavy with meaning, cling to our faces and hair. They are a jumble of uncertainty.

His world, in black and white, frustrates me.

My world, in greens, yellows, and blues, frustrates him.

We never tried to understand.

Now we do.

Only to discover we are mutually colorblind.

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

February 1, 2018 prompt: Black and White In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features something black and white.

 

 

Choosing #WritePhoto

 

 

There was a prophecy.

I didn’t believe it.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to or that it was, necessarily, bad, I just didn’t hold with such nonsense. Someone foretold something about someone at some time. Vague, much?

Also, these things always seem to be in riddles. They can never come right out and tell a person that he will die next Thursday or he will inherit ten goats from a long-lost uncle, named Fred, in three years.

Anyway, I heard the prophecy, as one often does, from a seer over a cup of tea that tasted like a mixture of cinnamon, dirt, and confusion.

I was a chosen one.

I scoffed.

Or someone near me. (Near me in bloodline or proximity?) One who would do great and terrible things. (Well, shit, were they great or terrible?) And I, or the person of undisclosed closeness to me, would know the prophecy was to come about on the eve of the day of his birth (now she’s precise) 15 years after the death of a loved one.

Well.

Fascinating stuff, eh?

I had questions. She refused to answer them. Said she wouldn’t even if she could. Which led to more questions (which she wouldn’t or couldn’t answer). Ah, such fun we had that day.

As I recall, I left before the tea got cold but not before she grabbed my wrist, imploring me to take this seriously, and telling me to watch for the day the world turned blue.

Delightful tea notwithstanding, I left in a hurry.

And, of course, I saw the blue of twilight (not altogether unusual) as I wrapped my son’s birthday gift. He would be turning 15. Still, I dismissed the old seer’s words as coincidence until he peeked his head in the room and gazed out the window. “Whatever you’re wrapping, I don’t want it. I want this,” he tossed a photo of my late wife in my lap. “It’s been 15 years. Time we bring Mum back, eh, Dad?”

 

 

Happy New Year!

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

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Self Care

 

She looked in the mirror at the woman she swore she would never become.

A soft, almost-youthful face with fine lines.

A handful of grey hairs hiding beneath dark blonde strands.

A pudgy middle pushing the waistband of her favorite pair of jeans.

The image irritated her. Angered her.

How had she become this…thing? This wife of a man who created her with perfectly weaved words of manipulation and cruelty then cheated on her for becoming his creation.

Time for some self-care.

She grabbed the prescription bottle, smiling for the first time in months, and dumped her husband’s heart medication.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

November 30, 2017 prompt: Self Care In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes self care.

 

 

Direction #WritePhoto

 

 

“No, no. That’s east. I’m sure of it.” Angela looked back at the three strangers she’d managed to pick up along her travels.

The tall, ginger-haired boy tilted his head. “I think that’s west.”

“North,” the little girl toddled up next to him. “South!”

Ginger-hair sidestepped the girl, giving Angela a look. “Why did we bring her?”

Skinny girl punched his arm, “Shit, she’s a baby. We couldn’t leave her. What’s wrong with you?”

Ginger-hair rubbed his arm then shrugged, “Kids are sticky and loud.”

“Okay,” Angela took a breath, blowing it out loudly. “Enough. We go that way. With the little girl.”

“Which way?” Skinny girl asked. “You’re flailing your arms around and expecting us to know what you mean. Also, let’s not forget we don’t know where the hell we’re going and no one agrees on…anything, actually. And can we give the girl a name at least?”

“Toward the sunrise,” Angela said.

“Sunset,” Ginger-hair corrected.

“Dammit!” Skinny girl flung her hand at the nearby house, “I’ll say it again. It’s right there. A house. Signs of life. Possible help. No-brainer. And, fine, I’ll give her a name. She’s…Pam.”

Now-Pam yelled, “Pam!” Skinny girl smirked. Ginger-hair did not. Angela opened her mouth to argue and Now-Pam lowered her voice, “no house.”

“It’s right there, squirt,” Skinny girl pointed. “See?”

“See?” Now-Pam poked her stubby finger to the branches seemingly growing out of the roof.

“Huh,” Ginger-hair said. “I don’t remember that tree being there.”

Angela backed away, “It wasn’t.”

“No tree,” Now-Pam said. “Bad house. Run.”

 

 

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

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Rubbing Salt in the Wound #WritePhoto

 

 

“There used to be water here,” he pointed to the cliff. “Up to the standing stones.”

She nudged some loose debris with her foot. “This is cool, isn’t it? And, no, there wasn’t. Water, I mean.”

“How do you know?” He asked.

“I don’t,” she shrugged. “I just figured if it was you saying it, it must not be true.”

“Well, there was water here,” he insisted. “And it had salt in it.”

She laughed, “Salt? Okay, yeah, whatever.”

“Stop kicking that stuff. It was part of the water. Still is.”

“What’s wrong with you that you’ve got to make stuff up all the time?” She glared at him. “Water that had salt inside of it? You’re crazy, you know that?”

“I don’t know why I bother. Let’s go.”

She crouched and studied the debris. “I want to stay here and check this out.”

He grabbed her arm. “Don’t. Touch. That.”

“Why? Will the little, dried-up, old dirt eat me for lunch?” She yanked her arm from his grip and reached out.

“With salt,” he mumbled. The seaweed shot up and snaked around her body, thin tentacles covering her mouth and dragging her under the ground.

 

 

Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain, my friends. 🎃💀

 

My attempt at #writephoto, a weekly writing prompt for poetry/flash/short stories hosted by Sue Vincent

 

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