June 11, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about exhaustion. Who is tired and why. This week’s prompt from Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch contained a surprise treat – like a Kinder chocolate egg for bloggers. Stretching the analogy beyond breaking point the surprise – a Versatile Blogger’s nomination with a twist (Charli is the ultimate 60’s girl at heart – she twists like there’s no tomorrow) – requires some thought and construction, namely to answer some questions. Which I will get onto. But not before a BIG THANK YOU.
You see this isn’t any old award to the novice blogger. Oh no. I’ve been inducted into the CONGRESS OF CARROT RANCH ROUGH WRITERS. This exclusive, dare I posit ‘unique’, gift – the Victor Ludorum of my blogosphere for sure – is given to some real talent. The sort of people ‘whose merest scribbles I am not worthy to try and emulate’ (to badly misquote the late great Douglas Adams and Deep Thought). But there I am, on Charli’s little list.
Touched, I am, guv’nor.
Charli asks me the following questions, to be mailed to her:
- When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
- When did you start your blog? (If you don’t have one, why not?)
- What are your blogging goals?
- Do you have a writing mentor and if so, how does that person guide you?
- What writer do you admire most and why?
- What is your primary writing goal and what are you doing to achieve it?
- Has writing flash fiction benefited you in any way?
I understand she wants the answers to reveal in her own time, but when they are I will link here for others to see them. I will, however, answer question 5 because I intend to cheat. Writers I admire and why. See, here’s the thing. I’ve admired lots of writers at different stages in my reading and writing development and they have all had a part to play in who I am now. So I think I need a generational list. Here goes:
- Hergé and Tintin because he started me off – still brilliant;
- Enid Blyton and the Famous Five because they were the first proper books I read – I don’t care that her writing was simplistic, her syntax chewed or her home life a mess;
- Tom Stoppard because he introduced me to reading and enjoying plays – I was a pretentious 18 year old;
- Rudyard Kipling for his epic and intense poetry that started a reading pleasure that continues to this day and Roger McGough because he did the same for spoken poetry – he and Brian Patten did a reading in Bristol in 1975 and I’ve loved performance poetry ever since;
- Dylan Thomas for making me understand that poetry can go anywhere and do anything – and for giving me the first lump-in-the-throat moment that I experienced from reading any form of literature – when I read Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night it made me confront the thought of my parents’ mortality for the first time;
- Wilkie Collins for awakening in me an understanding that a literature written a hundred years or more ago can be enjoyable – school nearly killed that for me but I was rescued (as in so many ways) by the Textiliste and her gentle promptings;
- Arthur C Clarke for starting a love of sci fi;
- Conan Doyle for ditto with detective fiction;
- William Boyd and Iain Banks for proving you can write in different ways, styles and genres and not compromise quality.
I’ve left out far too many but, thank you, ye gods of writing, for taking me this far.
And so to the prompt. For reasons I know not, the continuing plight of Peter and Milton, his dog, refuses to let me go so I give you another chapter in their saga:
The tears of gods
Mary rubbed her back. Packing her father’s belongings took forever.
‘Are you tired, Mum?’
Mary forced a smile. ‘Exhausted.’
‘Dad said you need rest.’
‘Maybe a walk. Later. When the rain stops.’
‘Does it rain in heaven, Mum?’
‘I don’t know.’ Was there heaven? She hoped so.
‘Will Grandpa Peter get wet?’
‘He wouldn’t mind.’
‘He’d use it to get out of chores and go fishing.’ She glanced up at the hunkering clouds. ‘Eh, Dad?’
Peter looked down and nodded. Too right. ‘Milton. There.’
The dog-cum-unicorn leapt in the water, horn to the fore, and speared the salmon.
Nice one! I can’t wait to see how everyone interprets this prompt. You managed to carry on with Peter’s story. Love little puppy helping him fish. (Also love the title.)
Funny… #5 is the one I was having most trouble with and wanted to skip. Great list.
Cheat Sarah (that’s my considered legal advice). You know it makes sense. Thank you for the comment
After mowing half the ranch today trying to keep the knapweed from blooming (and I refuse to use chemicals on it), I don’t think I can twist an inch! Geoff, you do mt proud to ride in your company (write in your company?) and I’m delighted as usual with the thoughts you share with us. At first I thought maybe we’d wrangle a story out of you that had to do with cricket, but I’m enjoying the path that Milton and Peter have set you upon. A dog-cum-unicorn would indeed be a useful fishing companion! I did not expect that!
Oh Charli, you have no idea of the Pandora’s box you might open if you encouraged me to write about cricket. I think I might have my membership of the Rough Writers suspended.
That was wonderful, touching and a great touch of happy-sad.
Thanks AJ. It’s odd how these story worms stay with you.
So quick off the mark! The pressure’s now on. And I’m still mopping my own weary brow instead of writing fiction of another. Memoir-me in disguise maybe this week..
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I totally agree being a member of the Congress of the Carrot Ranch Rough Writers is such an honour and I love the company within it. Like Sarah question 5 was the one I found most difficulty in answering – not because I didn’t know anyone but there are just so many great writers out there that to single out one was hard. You’ve dealt with it well and many of those you mentioned have certainly been on my reading list at different life stages. Tin tin didn’t make it to Australia until quite recently (if it did it passed me by) but Enid Blyton was definitely a must in my primary school days.
Glad master and dog are together with yet another little twist at the end.
Thanks for the comment Irene. Such a loss you didn’t get to enjoy Captain Haddock or the Thompson Twins
I’m looking forward to seeing what Charli does with the lists
It’ll be interesting getting to know each other a little better also.
It’s interesting you had Enid Blyton. My Australian exposure in the 60s and 70s covered Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, The Magic Boomerang and Flipper. Oh and cricket of course…. I knew someday I would visit and ee the Sydney Cricket ground and pay homage which I have done! The Gabba was pretty neat too!
Geoff, I love that Dylan Thomas poem too and I want to “Rage rage against the dying of the light”. Interesting that you think about it in relation to your parents. I have always thought about it for me! I also enjoyed the Famous Five and Secret Seven; but right now am enjoying your tale of Peter. I like the way you write about such a sensitive issue from different viewpoints. I haven’t started my answers for Charli, or even thought about them. I hope I don’t miss the muster!
The muster will wait!