CRLC Challenge; Lifesavers

The “CRLC” in the headings for my responses to the Carrot Ranch prompts stands for Carrot Ranch Literary Community. The Carrot Ranch Literary Community is a place where people freely and safely practice literary art 99 words at a time, a place to learn and grow as a writer. This week we are challenged by the community’s leader, Charli Mills, to write about lifesavers, and though the Coast Guard and their predecessors were implicated, as ever, we go where the prompt leads.


Into the Storm

Through rain pelted windows Marlie’s tree fort hove into view. Marlie read, curled up with Daisy on the couch.

“Remember when she used to sail in weather like this, captaining a mighty ship?”

“Remember when she made Tommy walk the plank?”

“Do you miss Tommy, Liz?”

“For better or worse, I do. I miss our opportunity to give Tommy a respite from his family. The great unmasked… What’s Marlie researching now, Bill?”

“Lifesavers.”

“The candy? Or health care workers?”

“Life savers— nascent Coast Guard.”

Putting her book aside Marlie donned her foul weather gear. She had to go out.

###

“Who will rescue us, Bill?”

“What? Are we a wreck?” He crowded into the window seat. Beyond the steamy window, Marlie braved the high seas to pluck Destiny from the surf.

“Not us. Us. /U/ /S/. Of A?”

“Oh. Ship of fools. Headed for the rocks.”

“We’ve been commandeered by pirates, with a fool spinning the helm. I’m scared Bill.”

“Me too.”

“Oh! Marlie! You’ve returned.”

“Mom? Dad?”

“We’re huddled in our lifeboat, Marlie. Get in.”

Marli climbed in with her parents and assessed their circumstances. “It’s going to be rough. But we’ll make it. All storms peter out.”

CRLC Challenge: Spooky Tale

It’s another week another post another prompt from Carrot Ranch. The charge this time? In 99 words (no more, no less), write a spooky tale told around a campfire. It doesn’t have to include the campfire; it can be the tale. Go where the prompt leads!



Coming Full by D. Avery

“No! He didn’t go on the mountain!”

“Don’t think I didn’t try to stop him.”  The old man squinted through the plume of pipe smoke enshrouding his face. Fog engulfed the mountaintop.

“Not today! The moon is coming full.”

He pulled hard on his pipe. “I warned him.” Coals glowed round and red in the bowl. “Just laughed… always wanting to prove us wrong.”

“At least tell me he’s not planning on hunting it. Not today.”

“He wouldn’t listen.”

They heard one shot, far up the mountain. Then shrieking wind. He sighed, tamped cold gray ash from his pipe.

Boutique; #SixSentenceStory

What-You-Seek Boutique by D. Avery

Her mood overcast and as unsettled as the weather, she ventured in, smiling at the sign in spite of herself, wondering how she’d not noticed the little boutique before with it’s two bay windows either side of the door, each sparkling with kitschy knickknacks and tchotchke.

She drifted among the crowded aisles until stopping short at a shelf where she found, carefully arranged in chronological order, all of her pain; she picked up the most recent, turned it over in her hands and examined it, and as she did, the shelf was rearranged by category, the full collection of all her losses before her, some, despite being older, still more acute than the one she now held. She gathered the losses all up at once and wondered at the weight of them, then carefully put each loss back down on the shelf, now espying other pain; slights, disappointments, and regrets along with deep injustices she’d suffered.

She remained, looked at them all in turn until the shelf transformed again, until amongst those relics she also saw her joys; love and friendship among the losses; growth and wisdom, resolve and resilience among the hurts and injustice.

“Forgiveness; hope; looks like you found what you were seeking.” The wizened shopkeeper winked, and immediately she was back on the sun speckled street where she saw, as if for the first time, the long vacant shop with its splintered shutters like eyelids closed against the dusty windows and between them the faded sign, ‘What-You-Seek Boutique’, over the centered door.

The word prompt for Six Sentence Stories this week is “boutique”. All you have to do is include the word within six sentences that have some semblance of a story, or even a poem. Thank you to Denise at GirlieOntheEdge for hosting.

d’Verse Quadrille #114; Poetical Magnetism

De Jackson, aka WhimsyGizmo, is tending bar at the renown pub for poets. For today’s Quadrille she wants us to “get out your poetical science kit and play with magnets”. I have a playful poem but my real achievement is that I am experimenting with the new block editor with this post, something I have resisted up to now.


Needled

Tested metal—  this man was tin!

Unaligned, no lodestone within

No choice, no either ore

alloy, ally, I needed more

What’s the point, of what worth

if unable to find true north?

Lost my bearings with that man

steeled myself, gave him the can.


CRLC Challenge; Chores

square-template24Over at Carrot Ranch the weekly challenges continue, even though Charli Mills is up to her earlobes in MFA work and related happenings. The annual Rodeo, the Ranch writing contest, is also going on, until the end of the month supplanting the Tuesday columns and Monday’s Saddle Up Saloon feature. It sure is worth a visit to Carrot Ranch to read, write, and appreciate literary art.

This week the prompt is to, “in 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about chores. It doesn’t have to be a western ranch chore; it can be any routine task. Go where the prompt leads!” I treaded word water for three 99 word essays before being led to a flash featuring that farm family and another unrelated totally fictitious take apropos of nothing.  

Chores

I, and my brothers, always had chores. Aside from some gender discrepancies, typical for the times, I don’t resent having had chores; in fact appreciate the experiences and learning that came from them. When I was a teacher I often asked students and parents about chores at home. Repetitive tasks, such as setting the table, support number sense. As parental scaffolds fall away a child learns independence and problem solving skills in the endeavor to complete a chore. Balanced with play, meaningful chores provide a child a sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction of being a contributing family member.

How chores are perceived by a child, and by adults, depends on how they are presented; attitude and mindset matter. The first definition of chore is a routine task; routine, necessary tasks are not necessarily unpleasant. Shouldn’t there be joy and satisfaction in completing a necessary task? And can’t one bring joy to that task? That’d be a fine thing to model for a child. Chores can be a shared time of skill teaching, of story telling, of instilling habits of stewardship and responsibility. Let a child grow into what they are capable of and don’t forget to play.

Do what you love, love what you do. Because I am able to pretty much do things when I want to not when I have to, I have no chores. I get done what needs to get done without stress. In fact routine tasks reduce stress; so-called chores can be a relaxing time of contemplation and mindful mindlessness, often serving to unblock some other stoppage. Unforced, tasks go more smoothly and successfully; what seems a chore one day eventually becomes another day’s pleasant project, the delay often necessary subconscious problem solving. To master your tasks, don’t be a taskmaster.

###

Lost in Translation  

“I learned a new word at school today.”

Hope’s dad continued scooping beans with his bread. “In the classroom or on the playground?”

“Playground.”

He held his bread and looked up. “What word?”

“It started with a /c/ I think. Melinda made it seem like a bad word.” Hope continued while her parents exchanged glances. “It has to do with doing things you don’t want to do, and not getting to do fun things. Chores! That’s the word.”

“But Hope, you tend the chickens, and the garden; help us both out around the farm.”

“That’s fun! Mommy, what’s allowance?”

###

Tales Out of School

She loved the pedagogy, the art and science of teaching children, of engaging all learners. When she taught she learned, delving deeply into the topic when developing units of study. She led her students by following their lead. She relished helping her students make connections and demonstrate their learning creatively.

Then came the canned curriculum, the boxed units.

“This will be easier for all teachers.”

Easier isn’t better. Let me do it my way, she said.

“Curriculum delivery should all be the same. You can do your thing as long as you follow the program.”

Teaching became a chore.

rwr-1

CRLC Challenge; Kid Gloves

Unquenched     by D. Avery

More than thirst might make his voice crack. He left them in the dugout without speaking. Carrying the shovel, work gloves feathering out of his back pocket, he hoped he appeared confident to his family.
He arrived at the spring, the once muddy surface now flaked, dried and split like old leather. He methodically pulled his gloves on, grasped the shovel and bent to his work, one scoop at a time. Each thrust of the blade was a prayer, each going unanswered until finally he stopped.
Under a blistering blue sky he held his head in his gloved hands.

square-template21The October 8, 2020, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes kid gloves. A prop in the hands of a character should further the story. Why the gloves? Who is that in the photo, and did he steal Kids’ gloves (of the Kid and Pal duo)? Consider different uses of the phrase, too. Go where the prompt leads!                                                                    

CRLC Challenge; Dusty Trails

square-template18There’s so much going on at Carrot Ranch! Despite Rodeo contests running all month, the regular weekly challenges continue as well. This week the Carrot Ranch prompt is to: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that happens on the dusty trail. It can take place anywhere. Who is your character, where are they going, and why? Bonus points if they meet up with Kid and Pal from D. Avery’s Ranch Yarns and Saddle Up Saloon (they hit the trail so TUFF could take over the saloon). Go where the prompt leads!” Despite the western leanings of the prompt I was led back to The Fold. But if you look carefully you might see Pal and Kid!

Star Dust    by D. Avery

“It’s my magical palace, Mommy!”

Taking her mother’s hand Hope twirled and danced in the hayloft until they both fell back into a pile of loose hay, laughing. Dusty trails of chaff sparkled in the shafts of sunlight.

“Stars!” her mother exclaimed.

“Make a wish, Mommy.”

“Does wishing work with this kind of star?”

“Yup. Mine came true.”

“What did you wish for?”

But Hope only grew quiet and snuggled closer to her mother, who stared up into the glittering dust. “I’m so sorry, kid,” she whispered. “But I’m here now, I promise.” Then she wished upon a star.

Weekend Writing Prompt #177 – Heather

Every Saturday a Weekend Writing Prompt, but every time the word and word count a surprise. This week? “heather”, 27. The following are my 27 words. Go to Sammi’s site for the link and to see others takes on the prompt.

It was meant to be. Her name Heather, his Heath. They met, fell for each other, were inseparable. They avowed undying love for one another forever moor.

Sammi Cox

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Heather

Challenge

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total –…

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