When the Rodeo came to town, Rough Writers from around the world answered the call. You came, you sat in the saddle, you rode the bull, and you joined the parade.
Most important, you were inspired by our wonderful friend, Sue Vincent. Sue has been battling terminal cancer, and we’re thrilled that she is around to see the winners (though I admit I cheated and let her know the top winner a little early). Participants were allowed and encouraged to donate to help Sue and her family, but we believe the photo she provided as the prompt was worthy of any prize.
Her photo prompted 63 wonderful 99 word stories and 99 syllable poems; if the average picture is worth 1,000 words, then we can be certain her prompt is way above average!
Jude and Aishwarya collaborated on a garland cinquain! This was a fun and creative exercise. The history of Renga poetry was a collaborative effort as well. Check out Jude’s post. He’s looking for collaborators!
S. S. at Mindfills created a Badger Hexastitch that I thought was excellent. Notice how the word before repeats. I feel the repetition leaves you with the feeling of “past and present,” but with deeper meaning.
Zander created a spectacular tanka trio. This is a must read filled with hidden meanings and innuendo.
Aishwarya from Kitty’s Verses created a six stanza tanka chain. She split the first three stanzas to discuss the past and the last three to describe the present.
I’ve been meaning to share with you, the breathtaking poem written by Amanda Gorman, for the Biden/Harris inauguration. She is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, as well as an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where she studied Sociology. She has written for the New York Times and has three books forthcoming with Penguin Random House. (theAmandaGorman.com)
Poetry is everywhere! Embrace it, and Write it!
“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
For Biden/Harris Inauguration 1/20/2021
When day comes we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade,
The loss we carry a sea we must wade.
We have braved the belly of the beast.
We have learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
And the norms and notions of what just is isn’t always justice.
And yet, the dawn is hours before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we have weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country in a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves
And raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president,
Only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine
But that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose,
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know to put our future first
We must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried that we will forever be tied together.
Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid.
If we are to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lighten in the blade,
But in all of the bridges we have made.
That is the promise to glade, the hill be climbed.
If only we dare it because being American is more than a pride we inherit.
It is the past we step into and how we repair it.
We have seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
It can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith we trust.
For while we had our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption. We feared it at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour,
But within it, we found the power to author a new chapter.
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So, while once we asked how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe,
Now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be.
A country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.
We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation,
Because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might and might with the right,
Then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind the country better than the one we were left,
With every breath in my bronze-pounded chest,
We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake rimmed cities of midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation
And every corner called our country.
Our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid.
A new dawn looms as we free it,
For there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it,
Don’t forget to join us for a special rodeo event to honor one of our own poets, Sue Vincent. Be sure to check out carrotranch.com today for a chance to win $100.00 and one of Sue’s books!
No fee necessary to enter, but this is a fundraiser, so we kindly ask for a suggested donation of $5 per entry (no more than two entries allowed per writer). The contest will close at midnight on Friday, February 19th, 2021. Winning entries will be announced and read at CarrotRanch.com/blog on March 22, 2021. Top entries published at Carrot Ranch. We will not accept entries previously published (even if published on your own blog), so keep them tucked away for now.
Who’s ready to join the rodeo? All you have to do is to Write ONE original folk tale or fable in 99 words. Exactly 99 words (not including title and byline). Read the rest of Kerry Black’s post! It’s time to get your rodeo on!
This year, spin a yarn as long as the Rio Grande (in 99 words, that is) to be a contender in a Western-themed Folk Tale or Fable event of the Carrot Ranch Writing Rodeo!
Yours truly is the leader for this event, so saddle up, round ‘em up, and write those words for a shot at winning a $25 Amazon Gift Card and your work immortalized at https://CarrotRanch.com/
How do you participate?
SIMPLE! Write ONE original folk tale or fable in 99 words. Exactly 99 words (not including title and byline) *Don’t publish the piece anywhere until after the contest is completed (The end of November, 2020) because we want the blind judging to be fair and uninfluenced.
Is there an entry fee? NO, Cowfolk! No Entry Fee!
Can I enter more than one story? No, one only. Sorry.
Charli Mills from Carrot Ranch supplies this week’s flash fiction challenge, along with the low-down on the rodeo and what you can expect from the contests! NO FEES and $25 prizes for the winner! Have a read! Giddy UP!
The first full moon of the month rises — the Harvest Moon. Yet my garden joyfully continues to bloom with French marigolds, zinnias, snapdragons, and a fall profusion of nasturtium. My tea rose put out one more scarlet red bloom, and my delphinium surprised me with a third unfolding of purple flowers! My sweet william gave a half-hearted go at it, too, and my peony bushes turned russet like the maple trees. Two lemon queens out of nine yet stand, dropping their heads downward. I can’t seem to eat enough rosemary, picking its freshness in the crisp air daily.
If this is the Harvest Moon, then time to dig the last of the carrots, potatoes and claim my squash.
Further up Quincy Hill from Roberts Street, the copper-bearing ridge that forms the spine of the Keweenaw Peninsula has experienced harder frosts. At the kids’ homestead, they harvested 250 pounds or…
This anthology and compilation is for everyone wherever you live in the world. We are all experiencing the impact of COVID19 and lockdown. As writers, bloggers and creatives we express our thoughts and opinions in writing: in heartfelt poetry, pieces on isolation and the impact of COVID19 and the ‘new normal.’ There are twenty-eight talented contributors, including the creative NHS Mask Making Fundraising Team of Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago Val. The contributors come from as far afield as Australia, Canada, USA and Zimbabwe, or closer to my current home in England – in Ireland, Scotland and Italy.
It is as Willow Willers, a contributor said, ‘A piece of living history.’
This extraordinary and unexpected time period will be shared with future generations one day.
Compiling and editing this anthology has given me a purpose over the period of Lockdown and for that I am grateful.
It is an anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, poetry and flash fiction set during extraordinary times. This Is Lockdown is written from many perspectives, including a writer’s perspective highlighting the day-to-day life and struggles experienced during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse into the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I discuss the handling of the pandemic and my opinion about what might happen next. In the final part of the book I share my latest short story: a YA romance set post lockdown along with poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.
“When people look back on the events of 2020, books like this will assume a great importance. They will remind us of all the little things that we took for granted and were suddenly gone.”
“MJ Mallon begins this heartening book with a stunning foreword to mark the times that are sure to become part of a testament of our times in history on the 2020 global pandemic Covid19 that has rocked our collective world.”
“I was fortunate to have an opportunity to read an early copy of this book and was delighted to see the author putting this collection out into the world. A highly recommended read that I imagine readers of the future looking to”’
“’It’s a privilege to be a small part of this book as one of the ‘isolation writers.’ It feels like contributing to a little piece of history for the future. Fascinating to read all the thoughts and musings and feel that none of us were ever really alone.”
The full list of contributors: Richard Dee, (Sci Fi , Steampunk, Amateur Detective author,) Catherine Fearns, (Amazon Bestselling Author of Police Procedural/Mysteries and Music Journalist,) Lynn Fraser, (Author,) Jackie Carreira, (Writer, musician, designer and aspiring philosopher,) Willow Willers, (Poet and Writer,) Sharon Marchisello, (Murder Mystery, Financial non-fiction author,) Fi Phillips ,(Author, Copy Editor,) Jeannie Wycherley, (Dark stories, Suspense, Horror,) Chantelle Atkins, (Urban Fiction, Teen/YA,) Tracie Barton-Barrett, (Speaker/Author,) Peter Taylor-Gooby, (Crime, Love Stories, Political Fiction,) Ritu Bhathal, (Chick Lit, Romance, Poet,) Alice May , (Author, Artist and Speaker,) Miriam Owen, (Blogger, Doctoral Researcher,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (Huge supporter of indie community/Blogger/Author) D G Kaye, (Memoirist/NonFiction,) Adele Marie Park, (Fantasy, Horror, Urban fantasy,) Marian Wood, (Blogger, Poet and Writer.) Samantha Murdoch, (Writer, Blogger,) Beaton Mabaso (Blogger, African storyteller,) Frank Prem (Poet, Author) Anne Goodwin (Author, Book Blogger) Sherri Matthews (Writer, Photographer, Blogger,) Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val – Community Masks for The NHS .
M J Mallon has outdone herself by writing a memoir of her time in lockdown in England while the Covid-19 Virus held the rest of the world hostage (and still does). Partially written in the form of a diary and called the “COVID 19 diaries,” Mallon shares the daily activities of her family during the crises. She doesn’t sugarcoat their concern for the safety of their family—she tells it like it is.
In a historical context, Mallon also shares the U. K. numbers of those infected and those who have succumbed to this terrible disease, along with a few political opinions of her own. There is a poignancy to her words that touches us all no matter where we live, as we stand united in fear against a little-understood disease.
“We are all in this together,” truly becomes the mantra for the collection as the book expands to include an extraordinary collection of writers from the author’s writing community, who also share how the virus changed their lives. The honesty and sincerity of these authors deeply touched me. I connected to their experiences because as an empathic writer, I shared many of the same feelings, doubts, and concerns.
The second half of the collection features short stories, flash fiction and poetry written by the author during this troublesome time.
In the years to come, I hope the author’s story, “Stay at Home,” serves as a testament to the unusual times we lived through. The story carries a “family-trigger warning” as it portrays one man’s struggle to survive the virus. Its truth is as haunting as the rest of the book.
*I follow the Amazon Rating System*
About the Author
I am a diverse author who blogs at: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, poetry, photography, and alternative therapies. My favourite genres to write are: Fantasy YA, Paranormal, Ghost and Horror Stories and I love writing various forms of poetry and micro poetry – haiku and Tanka and flash fiction.
I am proud to be included in the best-selling horror anthology Nightmareland which received best seller status with best-selling author Dan Alatorre at the helm.
I write collaborative articles celebrating the spiritual realm and love of nature and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to m parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald.
As a teenager, I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six-foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters.
When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.
I am a member of two professional writing bodies: the Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators – SCBWI and Cambridge Writers.
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The August 13, 2020, Carrot Ranch Literary Community Flash Fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a first flight. It can be anything or anyone that flies. What is significant about the first? Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by August 25, 2020.
The wings were brand new. The two small buds on her back had blossomed into full-fledged wings covered with white feathers. She stretched these new extensions as far as she could, flexing the newly formed muscles taut.
She was sure that they made these new appendages for flying. How long had she wished to fly free like the eagle and the hawk?
She sniffed the air and pawed the ground. From a canter to a dead run, she was ready to spread her wings. At the cliff, the ground fell away, and she flew. It was unicorn’s first flight.
The July 30, 2020, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase “her crowning glory.” (Thanks to Anne Goodwin for the prompt idea.) It can be in the traditional sense of a woman’s hair or applied to any idea of a best attribute. What happens if you play with the meaning or gender? Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by August 4, 2020.
The Queen of Winter
The wind howled like a banshee as the first storm of the season battered the cottage. Niall settled into his chair for the night.
Wild dreams tortured his thoughts. The image of the Cailleach Béara bloomed in his mind. Each year the old crone brought winter’s fury. When she appeared, stones flew from her apron and landed upon the ground. These stones, her crowning glory, grew into rock formations or mountains.
The next morning Niall’s home perched on the cliffs above the sea. Nearby, a large rock resembled the ancient Cailleach’s face. There she remains to the present day.
One of my favorite writing challenges is found at Carrot Ranch.com. Charlie Mills, the lead Buckaroo, shares a weekly challenge by providing a prompt. The Rules are listed in the link below:
A Weekly Flash Fiction Challenge is posted every Thursday. Responses are due by the following Tuesday. Respond by comment or link. On the following Wednesday, Carrot Ranch publishes a compilation o…
This is the first time in many months I’ve had the time to take part. Since the first draft of my poetry book is with my content editor, I have the chance to spread my wings. It feels like I’m coming home to family.
The flash fiction challengeJuly 23, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to show what it is to protect nature around us. It can be set in any era or told in any genre. You can fictionalize a true story or completely make it up. Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by July 28, 2020.
Prayer to the Nature Spirits
Tara heaved the last rock into place. Twelve stones twisted in a spiral around the ancient Rowan tree.
“What does the tree mean, Nanna?”
“The tree symbolizes the nature spirits, Maeve. It’s roots sink into the earth, past the Ancestors to the water below while its branches touch the sky, to reach the Shining Ones. We live in the middle realm between the Ancestors below and the realm of the Shining One’s above. It’s up to us to give offerings and thanks, and to protect the land.”
The two knelt down in the earth and said a silent prayer.
The Carrot Ranch February 20, 2020, flash fiction 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 situation take place, and who else might be involved? Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by February 25, 2020.
Jimmy gathered his belongings. “Now, remember Rainbow, stay hidden,” he whispered to the calico cat hunched inside his backpack. “Mrs. Walters will never miss you for one night.”
Rainbow purred as the boy pushed through the main doors of the library. He ran toward home.
“Grammy, you awake? I’ve got a surprise for you.” Jimmy slipped through the door and opened the backpack. An orange streak of fur darted down the hallway.
Grammy lay in her bed cuddling the cat. “Thank you, Jimmy. After today’s chemo, seeing Rainbow again is what I needed. Thank you for bringing him home.”
The February 13, 2020, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a sugar report. Use its original meaning of a letter from a sweetheart to a soldier or invent a new use for it. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by February 18, 2020.
It’s been a difficult month. I’ve fought temptation the best I could, to no avail. My sugar report for this month is a bust. I couldn’t fight the temptations. I gave in to my demons.
My weight loss journey has been fraught with many ups and downs. One day, I meet my goal without breaking a sweat. The next day after a three-mile ramble, I’m starving and willing to eat every carb in the house. And, I do.
Some battles just aren’t worth the fight. My mom said for special occasions, just go ahead and just eat the cake!