100 Words for 100th Day Flash Fiction Challenge – Greater than This

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(I so so love that gif!)

Hello everyone, that emergency hug is for any of you who need it. Things are heavy right now, even my diet feels that way (which means I feel that way). Every time I’m feeling this weight (not talking about the physical or the diet, that’s a different conversation that involves…you guessed it YOGA! LOL), something occurs that tells me to hold on and be strong.

My mother gave me this little statue some time ago. I apologize I do not have the artist’s name right now, but neither my mother nor I made it. That said I could have sworn I had her centered on that post and facing a different direction. I was in the bathroom and looked over to see her facing me right as I was feeling a little down. This stopped my thoughts. I was really sure this was not how I left her but whatever…it was perfect. This moment reminded me how I need to carry myself even amidst this struggle.

I have been learning a lot about the struggles of others as we all struggle together. It’s not that I didn’t know but I didn’t know how it feels to be so isolated and restricted. My significant other, among others, has been relaying to me that what we are all experiencing – this social distancing, being restricted from going and doing whatever we want – is what African-Americans and Native Americans, among others, have been living for a very long time. Think “whites only”.

For decades, African-Americans were not allowed to eat wherever they pleased. They couldn’t just visit the new restaurant in town because it sounded nice. A black man could not be seen with a white woman out on the town, enjoying themselves, never mind loving each other, without risking their lives. A black man could not look at a white woman without repercussions. If women were property, black women were less than that. Their work for the family and household, both their own and that of the slave master, was not respected nor noticed, never mind complemented or appreciated. Black people, families and individuals could not go about town as they pleased, smiling and waving at their neighbors – not their white neighbors – without fear or skepticism. White people forced social distancing on all the people of color. We were essentially, the virus, polluting the space we inhabited.

This discrimination has not ended. We are still witnessing the virus of hatred infect millions of people. We are still watching the virus of violence against “other” replicate again and again. Sadly, it is in some people’s DNA. Sadly, some people use their DNA to carry on the evil that is prejudice and racism. We have recently been told that the “other” communities are suffering even more from the virus as a result of decades of discrimination. Some go about like nothing bad is happening, while many suffer directly or indirectly. Sound familiar?

It sucks.

My parents always corrected us when we used that word: SUCKS. But I feel its crassness is necessary here because this sucks. And when I think about how this must feel for anyone or any people to have lived and live on a daily basis, their whole lives, my heart breaks. It is a shattering sensation. A feeling akin to breaking glass inside me. The pieces ricochet and as they do they cut everything around them. Inside I bleed for the inflicted pain.

But I am better for this.

I enter the room inside me and take in the wreckage. With my index finger I touch the blood on the walls. In its reflection I see not only my face as I am going through this trauma now but the faces of so many people I know not to even exist. I’m picking up the pieces of glass and they sparkle. Sparkles inspire me. They speak in a language that is light. They tell me to write. And so I do. I look ahead, searching for what has broken. What I find is that what’s broken was a barrier. On the other side of the barrier is more than me.

I welcome you to join me in this week’s flash fiction challenge. This challenge’s theme is barriers. Interpret it as you will but what you write must be 100 words, no more no less, to mark the 100th day of 2020. Here’s my piece.

more than me

I step forward. Suddenly there’s a wall. I look left, right, turn around. There was a wall here?

A whistle. I turn, there’s a man. He flickers, his brown skin deepens. His beard softens away. She smiles.

Another spark, her form shrinks. A small hand grabs mine. A jolt ruptures the shadows that blind me. We are living a shared experience.

Lightning, the form becomes three. They do not shun me. They bring me close. They sing:

Allow the song

of your soul

to rise above the pain

And bring you to your feet

For you are greater than this.

Six-Foot Form, Hexameter with D. Avery

Good Thursday evening to you all. How’s your life going? Keeping yourself busy? I am, I am. Looking forward to getting some organization done both in house and in story! Now if I could find that three-hole punch gadget I have…

Yesterday I was browsing some other blogs and their posts. In doing so I came across a nice challenge over at ShiftNShake: Home Brewed Prose & Poetry by D. Avery. The post was from a week ago. The name of the post is “To Hex With It” with Kid and Pal, the fictional ranch hands. They’re quite a pair of characters, accents and all. Do check them out. In this post readers were invited to leave a “six-foot comment, that is twelve syllables”, thus an Iambic Hexameter (at least another commenter called it that 😉 ). Now I don’t deal in poetic forms, nothing against them I just don’t. In fact I’ve been more fiction these days than poetry but when I do write it’s always free form. That said, why wouldn’t I want to try this out, right? Here’s what I came up with:

All well here, ah well I still worry my fingers.

Worry my mind too, but spending time sending love.

Do I put on gloves, not at the keyboard my love.

To hold a pen the same, my mind is different.

At least I still have them both to have and to hold.

Have, hold, write, send prayers to all around the world.

🙂

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I read it back a few times, posted my comment, read it a few more times and thought, that’s not too shabby Elpy, not too shabby. D. Avery liked it enough to share it at the Carrot Ranch Dynamic Literary Community’s Saloon! Pretty cool eh? I’m digging doing challenges as it challenges me digging in me mind!! 😉

So it seems very appropriate that I go ahead and share this with my own audience, a little timely piece I’m proud of. She provided the form and I the feeling because that’s how I felt sitting at my computer surrounded by all this intensity of the current situation.

If you’re interested in reading some of my other shared works, namely flash fiction pieces written for challenges go HERE. Thank you. Bye for now!

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March 19 Flash Fiction Challenge from Carrot Ranch

Hey guys, how you holding up? Are you in a place that’s under some kind of stay at home order? Today I feel a little more anxious about things but still hopeful. When I first started this post the states of California and New York were announcing statewide lock-downs. Since then Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey plus five others and many cities are under similar executive orders. India, as a whole apparently, is also on lockdown. Still I pray and pray for relief, a slow in the spread of the virus. I pray for everyone the world over.

That said, I read a beautiful post by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch Dynamic Literary Community. She opens with evidence of a rabbit on her roof. I encourage you to read her post. Charli talks about our new reality and looking back on March 2020. How will you look back on March 2020? For some of you the change in reality came in February, maybe even January. We will all look back on this with 2020 hindsight. Oh my, how we did not know when this year started the irony of 2020.

In her post Charli shares their last day before the change as well as she and her husband coming down with symptoms. She shares with us their experience trying to get tested. Trying. Luckily it sounds like they’re getting better.

What I want to reflect on about her post is the topic of writing fiction. Many years ago I stopped reading fiction for about five years. I got it in my head that doing so was not important, not productive and well, kind of useless. It wasn’t a huge deal, it’s not like I was reading a lot of fiction anyways. No I just didn’t bother to read any novels. Done. I also thought that if I was going to be doing anything with fiction, it should be writing my own novel. Wrong. Writing is like any other profession, practice, craft, exercise, you have to study it. However, you don’t have to go to school to study writing, you can read books, novels and more. (By the way, I wound up screwing my head back on straight and have long been back to reading novels. 😉 )

Charli raised the point that fiction writers are practicing the truth, and I most certainly agree. We take concepts, ideas, ideals, subjects and explore them. We are like scientists of art exploring our subject under different conditions and constraints. We’re experimenting and testing our characters with magic or new worlds. We put pressure on our characters like life puts pressure on us. Have you seen the movie Contagion? That is fiction and yet, here we are. (WAIT I am NOT suggesting what happened in that story is going to happen to us, but in some ways and some places it has.) Think about the Jetsons and how crazy their technology seemed to us back in the 90s. And yet, I’m listening to the news right now on my Echo Show, having told Alexa to play CNN, having told Alexa to turn the volume to nine so I can hear it over the noise of the shower my birds are undergoing. I check my touch screen phone for 2pm news updates, a 14-day weather forecast, instant messages between family and friends, and I think about video chats. When today will I listen to my current audio book, the Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, on whatever device I choose? Art imitates life and sometimes I think life manifests from art.

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During this time of isolation and orders to stay at home we artists have a lot we can do. If you don’t have a current WIP, maybe now is the time to start one. If you do, push yourself to make progress, I know I’m going to. And as much as all of this is inconvenient at best, scary to say the least, and life-threatening at its worst, we can pull stories from it. We can safely take bits of terror or large chunks of hope and build stories. We can stamp this history into our archives, portfolios and futures. Use your feelings, the things your reading, the world outside and create something. Express yourself. (Quick example: my father sent me audio of him scatting (from the context of jazz) with some music in the background, including some drumming I believe to be his own. Time well used pops!) Of course we will never forget these times, but thankfully we still have some power to shape the future both as we stay home and stay safe and as we put our art to work.

Without further ado, here is Charli’s 99-word flash fiction challenge from March 19:

In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a rabbit on the roof. Or many rabbits. Why are they there? Explain the unexpected, go into any genre. Go where the prompt leads!

https://carrotranch.com/2020/03/19/march-19-flash-fiction-challenge-3/

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Alice and Janice Save the World

Alice sat atop the roof waiting for Janice. This wasn’t like her. Alice squeezed tight against the gable.

There came a high shriek. She twisted her ear listening. She heard the call and hopped out.

Janice landed next to her.

“I’m sorry Alice. You alright?”

“I am. You?”

“Yes.”

“Should I worry?”

“No. It seems we’ve started a movement. Others want to know how we, prey and predator, have forged an alliance. They want to help. This is how we will prosper in these times now that humans have turned their backs on the world.”

“Well done my friend.”

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Thanks for coming by and reading my post. If you want to read more of my flash fiction please visit my page Flash Fiction and Short Fiction. I’m trying to make more of a habit of doing the Carrot Ranch challenge as well as posting a flash fiction challenge of my own. You’ll find stories I’ve done for both at the above link. And once again, I really encourage you to visit the Carrot Ranch Dynamic Literary Community.

If you like what you read don’t forget to hit the like button and maybe even subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m posting. In addition to flash fiction I like to post about books I’m reading, read, plan to read (TBR additions, lots of wishful thinking there), writing stuff, and some rants from time to time. Hopefully I’ll have some updates or at least things to tell you about my debut novel soon. 🙂

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge – Tapping

Please visit Carrot Ranch Literary Community and read Charli Mills’ beautiful post about the tap-tapping of spring coming forth in the Keweenaw Bay. It’s a beautiful lesson in gratitude even in precarious times. It’s true, that even as this pandemic crashes against us in waves of fear, spring is coming and it’s still beautiful.

My sister shared a post on social media in which the author of the post instructs us to go outside and breathe, plant your feet on the Earth. Ironically before I plunged into the rabbit hole that social media often is, I pet my dog and welcomed my birds to the new day. In doing so I thought about the fact that they – for the most part because no doubt they sense a shift in energy – aren’t aware of this pandemic. They don’t know and aren’t worried about its spread or how best they can practice social-distancing. This made me think about the world outside, nature. Nature always keeps going. It just keeps doing its thing.

Spring will not be cancelled. The birds will not stop singing. The flowers will not remain underground. The trees continue their energetic push to grow buds, flowers, seeds, and leaves. The wildness around us keeps on being wild. As I think about this, what my sister shared, and Charli Mills’ post and her friend in hospice making plans to see fireworks on the 4th of July, I think about keeping on. I think about how Charli’s right, there’s hope in plans. I will still make plans. I will breathe and take in the sun. I will plant my feet and salute the sun.

And I will try my hand at Carrot Ranch’s 99-word flash fiction challenge this week.

March 12, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes tapping. You can play with the sound, make it an action, or create something unexpected. Tap a story and go where the prompt leads!

https://carrotranch.com/2020/03/13/march-12-flash-fiction-challenge-2/

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Get Out of My Head

There was tapping around my house. I could not find it. Upstairs, downstairs, I looked in every room.

“What the hell!” One more sign I did not have control of my life. I collapsed in bed. There was movement behind the blinds. Tap-tap-tap.

I jumped up and twirled the wand, opening the blinds. Away went the red bird. It was vibrant, not the drab of winter. The sun glowed on my face. Green points poked up through the dirt. Birds whistled around my yard.

“Oh Little Cardinal, thank you for enlightening me with your tap-tap-tap.”

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Thanks for reading! If you’d like to participate in the Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s flash fiction challenge please click on the link at the top of this post. Inspired by Carrot Ranch to do more flash fiction work myself I’ve also started doing a weekly flash fiction challenge. Please click HERE to read what I’ve been working on. My challenges can be done at any time.

As always Thank You Carrot Ranch for sharing your great post and really cool challenge!

Mental Wellness and 71-Word Challenge

Hello everyone, how are you? I hope you and your loved ones are well and safe. Things are kind of scary right now for us all. My state just announced their first case of COVID-19 and it makes me want to bury my head in the sand. But freaking out isn’t going to do me any good. I think this is a good time to reach out (by phone or internet, not physically!) to people you know around the (your) nation and world, especially those in heavily affected areas, to see how they are. I did this the other night, messaging family members whose contacts I have. I know some people might think me awfully dramatic (guilty as charged) but my spirit compelled me! I have family in Washington and when I thought about them I wondered how they were, so I asked.

I think it’s especially important to reach out to the people you know who are at higher risk for contracting the virus as well as people you know who have mental illness. I suffer from anxiety and I have a particularly difficult time worrying about matters of health. Some people call me a hypochondriac. Based on the definition, “a person who is abnormally anxious about their health”, I most certainly am. I’m not proud of this fact and I know it’s irrational but when my mind gets to whirring those thoughts around about what these constant headaches, chest pains, sparkles in my vision are it is extremely difficult to just shut them off. My best bet is to ask myself some questions:

  • Is this an emergency, as in I need urgent care? If not then,
  • Is there anything I can and should do about this now? In other words, if my doctor’s office is open, can I schedule an appointment? If not, then calm down, leave it alone, call when you can.
  • Can I simply monitor this myself, thereby taking a strong stand as my own advocate?

If an appointment is necessary and scheduled, then I need to distract my thoughts away from the worry while I wait for my the day. This all seems pretty common sense but it can be really stressful. What’s my point? During this pandemic people like myself are probably experiencing even more than our usual every day anxiety. It wouldn’t hurt to check in with a text or e-mail or phone call and see how people are doing. I’m alright. I’m keeping myself up to date with the latest news. I’m washing my hands when available to me and using hand sanitizer or wipes when I can’t wash. I cancelled travel plans and plan to avoid people as best I can. This means my trip to the store yesterday afternoon will turn into late night or early morning trips to avoid large crowds, all the while being safe about my surroundings. I’ll gather some food supplies to avoid having to go out more and be prepared should I need to hunker down. I am not freaking out, I’m being cautious. Freaking out would disable me, making me more dysfunctional than not. I’ll also see what I can do to get another month of medications. I have extra pet food as well.

We all have to do what we can to stay healthy and keep those around us healthy. Not all my worries are irrational or extra but staying healthy means I also have to look out for my mental health. Keep exercising, continue yoga, and probably make some time to meditate or whatever to calm my mind. Let’s all make sure to remember it’s important we care for our mental health as well.

In case you’re wondering, and in case it would help to share, here’s an example of a mild hypochondriac panic attack:

Almost two weeks ago (maybe?) I was at a big box grocery store. It was really busy. We didn’t have any cases in my state yet so I was less nervous but still concerned. As I made my way to the dairy section to get some cottage cheese I noticed a woman cough into a tissue balled up in her hand (not covering her mouth with it or her hand, but balled up uselessly in the middle of her hand). She was with another woman by the yogurt. Instantly my heart rate increased. I thought oh my God why is she in the store! Okay, calm down, she might have allergies or some kind of breathing or lung matter. Maybe she’s not sick.

Regardless, I decided I’d leave my cart where I was at and quickly walk over to the cottage cheese, grab a container and hustle back to my cart. That’s what I did. Then as I turned around I saw them walking towards me. Heart rate, up, more. Oh God, oh God, oh God she’s coughing! Hold my breath, hold my breath. Do you know how difficult it is to hold your breath while you’re anxious? I went back to my cart holding my breath until I couldn’t and was far enough away to believe I was safe. But the fear did not leave me. The incident did not leave me.

I bought my groceries and left the store. I used my sanitizer then just sat in my car replaying the situation over and over. Little evil butterflies flew rampantly in my gut. I decided then that what I should have done was walked in the opposite direction and went all the way around the next aisle to get back to my cart. Over and over I thought this. I pictured myself doing it. I imagined how I wouldn’t have come close to them had I done that. I worried that I had made a critical mistake. Then I thought, no you just should have ditched the cottage cheese all together as soon as you saw that woman cough. She probably doesn’t have the coronavirus but what if! All the way home I thought about this. At home I thought about it. And still I remember it. That incident for me was distressing to say the least. Once it was over, I then also had to imagine what if I were to contract it and then visit my elderly aunt?

I’m sharing this to give you a snap shot. Like I said, I’m fine but having anxiety means I’m a greater risk to mishandle real fear and make things more difficult than I need to. So maybe see how the people you know are doing (not in person), you never know when your compassion could help ease another person’s soul.

With that I’m going to issue a 71-Word writing prompt challenge. The theme is looking passed fear.

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What should I do?

“You know what this means don’t you?”

I stared.

“Transformation. Metamorphosis. Change! You could be change.”

“But… what if -“

“You can’t hide forever. Your wings will show them there is hope in our future. When you finally fly you will be filled with their magic and it will fill your voice. Your voice must be heard.”

I flexed my double set of wings. They shivered. The thin butterfly wings changed colors.

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There you have it, my 71-word flash fiction piece. I encourage you to participate and try your hand at flash fiction, no more no less than 71 words. Post your story in the comments or a link to your page with your story. Please link back to me here. If you’re interested in my other flash fiction challenges as well as those I participated in over at Carrot Ranch, please follow the links below. Carrot Ranch Literary Community run by Charli Mills is who I have to thank for my doing these flash fiction challenges. I’m so grateful for the inspiration provided thanks to her 99-word challenges. This is a great thing for my writing practice.

Carrot Ranch 99-word writing challenge:

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67-Word Writing Prompt

Hey guys how ya been? Sorry it took me so long to post again, I mean it feels like a long time. That’s life though right? Right. Okay today I will be short and sweet. By my calculations it’s the 67th day of the year. Tomorrow begins Daylight savings, 2am tomorrow. Should we start a betting pool of how long it’ll take before we scrap this concept? More and more I hear people asking the question: why? I’ve been wondering that my whole life, even as I’ve heard it explained again and again it never clicks. It’s weird, we’ll see. But daylight will be our theme today. However you translate that in your story go with it.

Write 67 words, no more no less, using the theme, topic, idea, whatever of daylight. Please title your piece. Post it in the comments below or post the link to your post (if applicable) and be sure to post back here on your site. Below my piece I’ve included some links to my other word challenges as well as my entries for Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch word challenges. It’s thanks to Carrot Ranch – A Dynamic Literary Community that I do these challenges. I keep trying to get back to hers then miss the mark. But check her out, it’s a great community.

The Shimmer

They would shimmer. I didn’t dare step out and be seen. First a watcher would see me. They know the shimmer. Next, a call will go out to sentinels who notify the alphas. By then the watcher will see my second set. I don’t know what happens then.

But I would love to step into the rising light and stretch my wings, let them finish their growth.

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Alright, your turn! In case you’re wondering or it matters, I do my flash fiction piece (the above) on the fly. I don’t write it in advance. This is all on the fly. But have at it!

Below are the links to my other flash fiction pieces. You might notice that my own prompt responses (as in not my pieces for Carrot Ranch) are related…

My Flash Fiction Pieces

My Carrot Ranch Challenge Responses

I hope you’re all well and in a safe place. May we keep on in good humor and faith even in these trying times.

60-Word Writing Prompt

Today is the last day of February and the 60th day of the year (by my count 😉 ). March brings with it so many possibilities as well as responsibilities that winter simply does not. Maybe I won’t be mowing the lawn in March but outside jobs are that much more in your face. It’s the possibilities that are exciting. Outdoor activities, not just jobs, will slowly but surely become available. What I especially love are the birds, their voices and songs, their migrations, and their overall presence. Add to that we’ll soon have flowers poking their little way through the cold soil to greet the sun with the rest of us. I do love spring.

As the weather warms that also usually means I won’t be reading as much and yet, audio books are helping to change that. Besides, I would really love to get some sun, which goes hand in hand with reading. Even more than sun and birds, flowers and warmth a new season alerts me to just where my novel is and isn’t. Where it is is a little stuck, which means it isn’t finished. But okay, I see that and I will act on that.

I’ve had some really great brainstorming sessions as of late. As well I’ve had a few tiny breakthroughs in terms of character and plot details. So far in my progress I’ve only really had to kill one of my darlings, that weren’t already dead. 😉 It wasn’t all that difficult for me. However what I discovered recently is that I have a character I’ve long considered bad, but now the waters are muddying. In other cases a bad character simply became good. In this case however I cannot undo what they’ve done. So it’s not that I’m struggling with having to kill a darling it’s more so the balance or rather juggle of roles this character takes on. In real life we aren’t always good or bad. We’re usually a mix of the two. Even then good people go bad and vice versa.

At first I thought that maybe I would need to change something, maybe this character isn’t all that bad. It would be much easier to know how to judge them than balance their bad against their good throughout the story. Then what? But I recognized my error; in writing as in many arts and things we do in life, the simplest answer isn’t always the best answer. I’ve read/listened to many stories with gray characters. It didn’t stress me out or frustrate me, it was kind of refreshing. It was more like real life, more dynamic. I know that this will not be easy but I’m not trying to write an easy story. Instead I will embrace this new direction as I am spring and all that comes with it.

The theme for today’s 60-Word Writing Prompt Challenge is new. I’m going to keep it just that simple, go with it where you may just make sure it’s in 60 words, no more no less. Please title your tale, post it in the comments or a link to your page with a subsequent link back here to me.

Feel free to revisit my other flash fiction prompts as well as the pieces I wrote for The Carrot Ranch’s Writing Prompt Challenges. You’ll find links to all of these at the end of this post.

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Things Discovered, Things New

It wasn’t a surprise my wings were feathered, but an interesting development. The composition of your wings is an indicator of your position, at least in part.

Feathers meant watchers, messengers, spies, and hunters to name the basics. I could live with that. But I was shocked to find I had a second set of wings. They were not feathered.

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Voila! Your turn. 😀

For more of my Writing Prompt challenges follow the links below:

The following links are the pieces I wrote for The Carrot Ranch’s 99-Word Writing Prompt Challenge. She writes some really great posts I highly recommend you check them out, especially if you’re a writer. The Carrot Ranch is a dynamic literary community for sure!

As always, thank you so much for visiting and sharing. I do encourage healthy discussion. If you like what you’ve seen follow me to stay tuned in to what’s going on here. This week I’ll share another flash fiction piece for Carrot Ranch’s latest challenge as well as new additions to my TBR for January and February. That last one might come in the form of two posts, we’ll see.

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Carrot Ranch: Feb 20 Flash Fiction Challenge

I just have to say I really enjoy Charli’s posts. As she works up to the flash fiction challenge details in her post this week, she first shares how her thesis is coming along, the plot and plot outline she’s working on. This comes at a great time for me as I am a pantser at heart but have learned over the last few years that I really need to be a plantser, a mix of both plotter and person who writes by the seat of their pants. I can not survive on pantsing alone. Her words are like an arrow with a message to the center of my story board: plot & plot outline you do need.

Thanks Charli!

More on this later, but for now let’s take on this challenge!

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February 20, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a library cat named Rainbow who escapes. Use this situation to write what happens next. Where does this e=situation take place, and who else might be involved? Go where the prompt leads!

https://carrotranch.com/2020/02/21/february-20-flash-fiction-challenge/

The Meeting

Rainbow waited behind the statue of the library’s patron by the door. She hoped Ms. Margaret would not see her tail and know.

When it opened she slipped out the door. The patron spun around alarmed but Rainbow was out and running down the sidewalk.

Two blocks away Rainbow stopped. She looked up and down the street. Then up the building next to her. A small red sweater in a window flapped in the wind. The door read “Phyllis’ Place”.

She waited for that door to open then bolted inside. The woman looked up from the desk and smiled.

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There you have it!

Writing prompts and flash fiction are amazing tools for a writer. I have undoubtedly overlooked these practices in my own writing. Brevity is not my strong point. Therefore it is in my best interest to write more with less. It’s so interesting to learn just how much you can cut without taking away from the story. At first I didn’t know what to write. But when the idea came to me there was a lot behind it. I just started writing. I had 163 words when I stopped. This was the most I’d over-wrote for one of the Carrot Ranch challenges so far (I’ll post links to my previous efforts as well as my new flash fiction challenges).

Having counted 64 words over I thought oh dear how am I going to cut this? In truth, I really enjoyed that part of the exercise because it taught me. If I were to write the story in more detail I would expand on what I have above however it’s not necessary. More so than not, my situational storytelling about Rainbow above conveys just what I need and want it to. It was cool cutting four or five words here, accepting that they really weren’t important. Or turning three words into one.

I keep coming back to the same conclusion: writing flash fiction is really good for me.

I posted the link to Carrot Ranch’s flash fiction challenge above but I’ll go ahead and post her main URL here as well. I encourage all writers especially to visit her page/blog.

The following links are to my entries for a few of Charli’s flash fiction challenges:

The links below are my own flash fiction prompts and works. I started doing this several weeks ago and will continue. You are welcome to join.

Thank you Charli for your inspiration, teaching, and motivation, and thank you readers for visiting and hopefully joining both challenges!

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56-Word Writing Prompt Challenge

Well hello all you fine people out there, happy Tuesday. The last week and a half has just flown by. Friday turned into Tuesday and so has my 56-word writing prompt. At this rate you’ll get two writing prompt challenges this week, or maybe I should be saying at this rate I’ll see you next Friday! Lol, stay tuned to find out. 😉

Okay let’s get to it. So I’ve joined the writing community in doing writing prompts, at least I’m trying. 😀 I’ve also joined by doing a prompt myself. This week, as the previous two – 38-Word flash fiction & 47-word – is based on number of words and a theme I choose. Write your flash fiction piece with 56 words no more, no less because by my math 😉 it’s the 56th day of the year. Post your piece or a link to your piece in the comments below and post a link back to this post should that apply to you. Also, please title your piece and if you decide not to write flash fiction, note that as well.

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This Week’s theme

This week I’d like to reflect on blessings, gratitude, appreciation, and the like. This includes talents that your life has bestowed on you, help or gifts people have given/offered/provided you, good luck you’ve experienced, good people or animals you know, all of it. I’m talking about any and everything you are grateful for, big small, few or many.

Time out, time out.

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Some days, weeks, months, even years are just hard. You might not feel inclined to stop and count your blessings. Things might be so hard for you at that or this time that it just makes you sick to hear people say count your blessings. You might be feeling like your glass is half-empty. And if that’s the case, I’m sorry, I’m genuinely sorry. I do know how that feels. Maybe I don’t know exactly how you’re feeling, or what you’re going through but I have compassion for you and the very fact that you’re struggling.

If you or someone you know needs help please scroll down for a short list of websites and phone numbers you may contact for assistance. Skip the exercise and reach out. You don’t have to be alone in this.

56-Word Writing Prompt Challenge – Gratitude

Please try, just a quick second, try and do this exercise with me and with us. Challenge yourself to find even the silliest thing. The smallest things really can be the best. I have had some really sad days and then I see a joyful thing that reminds me of my deceased brother. Of course the fact that he’s been gone over eight years is horribly sad but a good memory of him is just that and it makes me smile. Through my tears, I think, at least I knew you at all. And sometimes it feels like he’s saying hey, I’m here. I always say, thanks bro.

So let’s do this together, whether your day sucks or not, whether it’s the best time of your life or the worst. Take a deep breath and find the thing in your life that you’re glad is there, be it a memory, a gift, a book, your car, your apartment, the lady at the gas station who knows your name, the sun, a blooming plant, a singing bird, a purring cat, catching the bus when you thought you’d missed it, or a laugh or smile you weren’t expecting. They all count.

Use that thing to craft a 56-word short story. In your title please refer back to the thing you’re happy about or grateful for that has inspired your story, specifically, literally, metaphorically, however. Look in or around for a sneak peek. 🙂

Being Seen and Seeing

I reached one hand through. The warmth spread across my bleeding hand. Still in the tunnel yet here is the hope I needed. Today I saw light, and touched it.

As I’ve traveled below the war outside and through one inside, I’ve changed. The stretch before me should give me time to finish growing my wings.

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There you go, 56 words! I’m grateful for letting my struggles be known and for the help that has been provided and offered me. I’m grateful for being seen. I’m grateful for having some tools, any really, to carve out a brighter future. I don’t know just what that looks like but I know there’s light and I’m going to embrace it.

If you’re struggling please seek help, be it through a help line of sorts, a group, a friend, family member, doctor, professional, whatever, please know it’s there. Take a deep breath and reach out for help. You have that courage inside you, even if it’s tucked away at the bottom of your old toy chest of childhood, call it forward. Embrace it. Ask for help. Ask for help like poking air holes in the tunnel that may surround you. Keep looking until the light you need shines down. Use even a little bit of that hope to hold you a float, it’s worth it. That light may be light, or a beautiful sound or sensation or voice. Don’t give up. Don’t always doubt yourself. Don’t over think taking a second to say for this I am grateful. Fill your heart up. Breathe. Try on a tiny tiny smile at the corners of your mouth. It might be hard or feel stupid, just try it for a quick second. How was that?

Keep scrolling for a list of websites and hotlines you can use. Keep looking. Keep trying. Stay breathing. Share your story.

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SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

Top Helpline Resources from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – 800-950-NAMI or Text “NAMI” to 741741

https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-HelpLine/Top-HelpLine-Resources

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects callers to trained crisis counselors (800-273-8255)

The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 crisis intervention, safety planning and information on domestic violence (800-799-7233)

HelpWhenYouNeedIt.Org over 350,000 lisitng for social services, mental health, substance use, legal and financial assistance.

The above is not a comprehensive or even exhaustive list but I wanted to provide you some places to start should you need it. One step forward. Be proud of yourself that you took a step at all.

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