388451859_0d21008508.jpgCarrot Ranch February 15, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story on ice. It can be an event on ice, a game on ice or a drink on ice. Go where the prompt leads you. Respond by February 20, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 21). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

This follows “Ground Cover” from last week.

The previous summer she’d led him to Montreal after following him off the farm. Now the frozen river was breaking up, ice mosaics shifting, jostling, eager for spring.

He would continue west. Was she coming?

“No. I’m staying.”

She loved him. She loved the promise of the city more.

“Be careful.” He kissed her then walked away packing no more possessions than when they had first met.

                        There goes a beggar, naked

                        Except for his robes

                        Of Heaven and Earth

His oft quoted Kikaku.

What kind of a father might he have been, she wondered, stroking her swelling belly.



The Work of Memoir

The following is in response to Irene Water’s Times Past challenge. Read the rest of her post at Carrot Ranch for more discussion on memoir writing.

Alphabetical Order,                 D. Avery

I would have to go to school.
Because, while I knew some things, I did not know all things, and there they would teach me things.
I would learn to read and write.
Ok, so I went to kindergarten. No regrets. I met some good friends there. And I learned. I learned how easy it is to get in trouble with your good friends in kindergarten. And I learned to recite the alphabet. I learned it and then we just did it. Recite, recite, recite. Reading, I found out, was to wait until first grade. (The secret was, it was too late; I had accidentally figured reading out at home while looking at comic books. Shhh.) But by day it was that crazy disconnected string of letters that weren’t even categorized by their roles; their sounds and roles were still guarded secrets. We just learned to identify them by sight and their names. And that was fair, because not all my friends could read when they got home but at school we were all equal when it came to reciting the alphabet, though in fact Freddie could sing it more beautifully and faster than any of us. In another year, in first grade, it was less fair; he was still singing that song while the rest of us were all out of tune, scattering those letters and putting them into choppy combinations of sounds.
But what about writing? Well that was where we recited on paper, drawing the letters, making them ourselves. We had to do this silently; Miss Koring liked silence a lot. Freddie kept singing the alphabet, he got in trouble for that.
I figured out how to do this alphabet writing, and I did it just like Miss Koring showed us, one letter after another in that same order we sang them in. It was fun at first, mastering this skill, copying those letters onto the lined paper. We kept doing it. In the same order. In the same way. I started to get into trouble.
Ms. Koring did not like it when Bs had wings and antennae drawn on them. I made it through the Cs, and even capital D. But lower case Ds looked like the musical notes that Miss Thorpe taught us, Miss Thorpe who let me do the chickadee-dee-dee part of the music lesson because of my name. Miss Koring did not like it when my lower case Ds danced up and down the lined spaces like musical notes, like flitting chickadees. EEEEeeee. Flying flags flapping on the Fs got me in trouble again. GGGGgggg HHHHhhhh III (am being so good) iii JJJJ jjjj . Miss Koring came back by. Kicking Ks caused conflict. LLLLLlllll. Looking through the window I could see majestic mountains mounded with snow, but I got in trouble for my rendition of the letter M. I’ll be good. NOPQRS, S started the sound of my surname, but I slunk sorrowfully when scolded for my slithering script. And I should have known not to string taut telephone wires between my Ts, and to have just done them as I had been taught. Too late. UVW, whoa, here we go again, Ws, waves of Ws washing wildly across the lined paper. In trouble again; I couldn’t win. XYZ, Z end of the day, another day of school. I hadn’t learned much.
I would have to come back.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By Irene Waters

As you read this I will be sitting on the high seas, nearing the equator, out of range of the internet so I will start by apologising for what will seem my tardy response to any comments. Don’t worry I will get there and look forward to coming back to a conversation in full swing.

Initially, I was planning for this post to discuss what memoir is but decided that I have already written a post on the difference between memoir and fiction so instead I will direct you to that and write instead on the work of Memoir.

Have you ever thought about why you read memoir? Have you ever noticed that you read memoir differently to the way you read fiction? I know I do. I am supercritical with memoir if I find what is written to be unbelievable. If I discover after I have…

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Low Tones

Low tones softly

spoken almost hummed

hard to hear harder

to ask

to Speak Up play down

fears muttering or mumbling.

Might be mine ear stumbling

on muffled strings

of words that are strummed

words that maybe

sing possibly thrum muted

murmurings of love.



At dVerse, WhimsyGizmo would have us “Murmur something poetic in exactly 44 words, including some semblance of the word murmur. Get creative if you’d like, and have some fun with it, but please be sure some form the word “murmur” appears in your poem, and that your word count adds up to exactly 44, not including the title”. Click HERE to go there and see more poetry or to give it a try yourself.


I’ll never forget seeing acres and acres of burned forest. Some charred trunks still standing, silent memorials amidst a resounding choir of color, the purples and reds of riotous fireweed echoing brightly. There was a challenge for allegiance, a yearning for what had been and for what might be. The tree trunks intoned of past trauma as the fireweed sang the refrain of resilience. It was beautiful and it was ugly. It was awesome and it was eerie.

The vast sea of fireweed lapped at the shore of road that I stood on with my family. I wanted to wade out to a blackened tree trunk but was overwhelmed by the waves of color, by the surge tide of so many plants in the wake of fire. My father assured me that this flood would recede and that the forest would emerge again. I had to believe him, had to have faith that green trees would quiet the roar of color that stung my eyes.

Back in the truck I stared out the window for miles at this powerfully incongruous scene. Later the visual memory would appear unbidden, and whisper a reminder of the immeasurable capacities of the human spirit.


One part of C.Jai Ferry’s challenge for her continuing twitter tutelage is to  write a 200-word story (give or take on the words) incorporating the theme of congruency. See more at Carrot Ranch  and #twitterflash.


Ground Cover

All landscapes and their flora are the story they tell. No matter what has transpired, plants arrive as angels, filling a niche, fulfilling a need. You can study it as pioneering species and plant succession, but better yet as an interdependent community, an ecosystem always striving towards health and wholeness. Farmers and gardeners should follow the lead of nature in their human endeavors. Wes Jackson comes to mind for his work at The Land Institute where he promotes perennial polyculture to make agriculture more sustainable and more ecologically healthy.february-8-flash-fiction-challenge.png  Plants speak for the soil, which sustains the plants, which sustain the soil, which sustains the plants that also sustain us; we might want to pay attention to the stories a landscape is telling.

That’s a rant that hopefully didn’t send you away from my 99 word flash prompted by Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch this week.

Ground Cover

Though she didn’t know him, she climbed the granite boulder underneath the craggy maple and sat with him looking over the hayfield.

A beautiful quilt he said, the red and orange paintbrush, the blue chicory. She loved how he spoke, but bluntly informed him those were weeds that covered poor soil. Then she blushed; the weeds exposed her family’s poverty, her father’s laziness and ineptitude. This field should be green, not the colors of scars and bruises.

She noted his backpack and tightly rolled sleeping bag. “Don’t go yet”, she instructed him. “I need to get a few things.”


Carrot Ranch February 8, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes fireweed. You can use it as the plant, a flower, a metaphor or as the name of someone or something. Go where the prompt leads. Burn bright when you write. Respond by February 13, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 14). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!rwr-1.png

The Congress of Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 or Flash Fiction: My (Small) Part In Its The Journey. #Carrotranch #congressofroughwriters #anthology

What a long strange trip it’s been. The book is out!


In my fourth ever post I tried my hand at flash fiction for the first time. This…


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

99 words, inspired by Charli Mills over at her Carrot Ranch. When I look at it, I’m struck by the following:

  • there’s poo
  • there’s a certain attempt at humour
  • ditto cuteness
  • but it’s…

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Black & White

He was a good bicyclist, skillful and considerate, always riding to the right of the white line. He used lights and always wore reflective clothing, making himself visible to drivers.

They say he was a good man, teaching children to ride, fixing their bikes.

His road bike was the green of a sent text message. The truck was gray, they think.

They found his bike tangled on the yellow line. His white helmet had somehow come off, somehow whole and spinning, spinning, on the silent black tar of the highway. They marked the spot with a white ghost bike.


This is my second take for the February 1, 2018, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features something black and white. It could be a nun in a zebra monster truck, a rigid way of thinking, a bird in a tuxedo — be imaginative and go where the prompt leads. Respond by February 6 , 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 7). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Mother Church

th.jpegFor the Carrot Ranch prompt this week I add on to an earlier story, Nashville Dreams.   In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features something black and white. It could be a nun in a zebra monster truck, a rigid way of thinking, a bird in a tuxedo — be imaginative and go where the prompt leads. Respond by February 6 , to be included in the compilation. All writers are welcome!

Mother Church

Outside the Ryman, hoping for coffee, I watch an agitated couple; seeing me, they hand me a ticket, say ‘enjoy the tour’, disappear up the street.

I’m happy to go inside, warm, with clean bathrooms. Not how I dreamed it, but I’m going to the Mother Church.

For hours I sit in the pews, awestruck. Memories and magic spirit the altar of the Grand Ole Opry stage. Tourists come and go but I remain, unmoving. I am moved. I am restored.

I leave, hopeful again. Looking up I see, high above this haunted town, a bald eagle, searching, soaring.


Even Hugh Heffner had a robe, Earnest realized, but all he had was not-so-whitey-not-so-tighties, and those not within reach.

There were many reasons why the undressing was not strongly imprinted on the template of Earnest’s memory; beer, darkness, and excitement had all conspired to make the undressing a manageable, if not memorable, experience, but now Earnest felt trapped in his own bed, retreating under the covers. Marge was still at his side, and he was uncertain when it might be okay to recover his clothes, and uncomfortable at the prospect of being out of them in front of her.

And then Marge just rolled out on the other side of the bed, and, without a stitch, started backtracking, picking up shirts and pants and even boots, gathering up each piece of their clothing until she stood beside the bed, stood before Earnest, holding their clothes, outer and under together, and asked if he supposed it was time to get dressed, maybe go pick up her Craftsman rolling tool chest now.

And Earnest, new as he was to having a woman in his room, in his life, Earnest recognized that with her question she was telling him, through her initiative with the clothes gathering she was in fact telling him, that it was time to get dressed and go get her tools.

And Earnest, new as he was to all of this, and in spite of the fact that he knew what she expected him to say, he looked at this naked woman holding his clothes with her clothes and he said that no, it wasn’t time, her Craftsman rolling tool chest could wait, that getting dressed might take a while.



Earnest and Marge, the morning after. A Six Sentence Story for Zoe at Recording Life Under the Radar, prompt word this week; “Dress”. Earnest Biggs first showed up in Big Break and Marge arrived in Ripped,. They got together in Tuff Love and more so in Trailing. And now, due to popular demanding Jules, find them all together on their own page.