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Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

May 18: Flash Fiction Challenge

The newest challenge issued by Carrot Ranch – write 99 words about or displaying wisdom. The head Buckaroo, Charli Mills, shared some big news. She has an approaching birthday, and http://carrotranch.com has been nominated for a Bloggers Bash Award. Great nominations! Vote, if you’re inclined.

Carrot Ranch Communications

May 18 Flash Fiction Challenge Carrot Ranch @Charli_MillsJulia McCanles, the wizened old woman in the photo, grew so old as to regenerate new teeth. We know this miracle of age through a quirky newspaper report. Perhaps she lost molars and made room for impacted wisdom teeth. Maybe she really did grow new ones, though unlikely. Her shawl is clustered with crocheted pompoms, which says she had the wisdom to not give a wit what she wore, but dressed as she pleased regardless of teeth.

When I am old and gray, I, too will wear crocheted pompoms. Not purple, though. Turquoise.

Like all of us on the journey of life, I hope to indeed grow wise, gray and toothful. I’m making good headway, turning half a century old on Sunday, May 21. It finally sounds like I’ve achieved a dignified age, one that makes others pause. 50 sounds serious.

A few years ago I lied a few years…

View original post 1,908 more words

Old Skills

Charli Mills and https://carrotranch.com issued another writing challenge.

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a wise story. It can be about wisdom, expressing wisdom or advice for turning 50! It can be a wise-cracking story, too. Go where wisdom leads you. Respond by May 23, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published May 24). All writers are welcome!

Carrot Ranch encourages its contributors. I’ve “met” some amazing people there. I do hope my fellow writers will stop by and give the challenges a try. I enjoy the resulting stories and hope you will, too.

Follows is an imagined bit of bitter-sweet.

singer sewing-machine

Old Skills

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Aunt Amaryllis gripped the table. Veins rose from translucent skin, yet her voice remained sure. “Remember, control the material.”

Kirsten fed silk into the machine, but it snagged.

Aunt Amaryllis’ perfume accompanied her nearness. “Slow and steady. Even pressure on the foot. Gentle guidance here.” The cloth flowed with her direction, stitches marching along the seam. She handed Kirsten a seam ripper. “This tool’s your friend.”

Kirsten groaned but removed the snag. She pressed and sewed.

Aunt Amaryllis smiled at the complete the garment. “What a fine wedding gown!”

“I wish you’d be there.”

Aunt Amaryllis dabbed Kirsten’s tears. “I will, in spirit.”

Blue Ribbon

The 99 word challenge issued by Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com inspired a second trading story.

David attended the same riding school as my daughter, though in a class for older kids. The kids aged out as they reached adulthood, so during David and his friend Jenny’s last year, the competition was a bit stiff, though for some, competition’s not as important as friendship.

Blue Ribbon

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

blue-ribbon[1]

Carla felt honored to judge the annual Riding for the Handicapped competition. She marked the scores on her clip board. The announcer began with the honorable mentions and proceeded to the overall winner, David. Volunteers pinned the blue ribbon to his riding habit. He clapped along with the audience.

Jenny, the rider to David’s left, pulled her yellow second-place from her chest and sobbed.

David reached over. “What’s wrong?”

“I wanted the blue.”

David patted her arm. “We’ll trade.”

Carla interceded. “No, David, you won. That’s yours.”
“I know, but it is making her sad. Besides, I like yellow.”

Sick Day Sacrifice

Charli Mills and the good folks at https://carrotranch.com challenged all interested to write a 99 word story about trading. Follows is my offering. Best of all, it is loosely based on a true situation. (I was proud of my son.) What do you think?

pokemon_cards

Sick Day Sacrifice

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Matthew protested when his mom said, “No school. You’re sick.”

“But Nate’s bringing his cards today so we can trade.”

“You’ll trade when you’re better. Rest.”

Later, Mom brought the phone. “Are you feeling up to talking with Nate?”

Matthew grabbed the phone. “’sup, Nate?”

A strange silence, then, “They took ‘em.”

“Who took what?”

“My cards. Kids took all ‘sept 8.”

“Didja tell teacher?”

“What good’d that do?”

Matthew ignored his shaky legs and burning throat. He’d never had 800 cards like Nate, but he could sure share what he had with his best friend. No trades needed.

 

Consuming Compassion

Charli Mills and the good folks at https://carrotranch.com asked for 99 word stories about comfort food. Here’s my yummy take on the matter. What do you think?

Consuming Compassion                                                                                                                       Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Janie Higgins rarely got sick, yet Wednesday she woke from feverish dreams, shivering in the summer heat. She rolled into a ball and groaned.

Her mother nestled her beneath Great-Grandma Leslie’s quilt. “You’re not going to camp today, young lady.”

Jane whispered a protest, but her mother stroked her sweaty hair and hummed her to sleep.

When Jane woke, her mother presented a tray with creamed eggs on toast and steaming, honey-laden tea. She propped Jane up on pillows and read poetry to her.

“Yum, Mom.” One of six children, Jane consumed her mother’s attention and compassion with appreciation.

creamed eggs on toast with tea

Liebster Awards

To my great surprise, I was nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely Ronel Jance Van Vuuren at  https://ronelthemythmaker.wordpress.com.

liebsterawards

 Thank you so much, Ronel! I’m honored.

The rules are as follows:

–Say thank you to the person who has nominated you for the award.
– Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you.
– Nominate people (comment on their blog to let them know).
– Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions

Here are Ronel’s 11 questions:

  1. Pantser or Planner: do you plan your projects or do you just go by ear?  I do a lot of mental planning and always know the ending before I begin. I’m usually a bit sketchy on the details in the middle, but I try to be certain they all add to the point of the story. So, I’m neither a true planner, nor am I in fact a pantser. Instead, I’m a hybrid of the two.
  2. Red or Green: in new situations do you jump in all fired up or do you watch and listen?  I am a watcher and listener.
  3. Short Stories or Novels: which do you write and why?  I have written both, but I have more confidence in my short stories. Thus, I’ve done little with the novels, of which there are three.
  4. To NaNoWriMo or not to NaNoWriMo: will you write a complete first draft this November or not? Explain. I’ve participated in the NaNoWriMo. I completed a novel. However, I don’t know if I need another doorstop littering my little house. Haha! I will eventually edit the completed manuscripts and ask for Beta Readers. Anyone interested in helping a writer? Until I polish the existing pieces, I don’t imagine I’ll write anything longer than shorts.
  5. Give away your writing for free: do you publish short stories about your novels on writing platforms like Wattpad to generate more readers? Whether you do or don’t, explain your reasoning. I have not used Wattpad. Perhaps I should look into it. You’re giving me so much to think about.
  6. Writing competitions: do you enter them or do you shun them? Why? I have entered some writing competitions, even earned honorable mentions on a couple, but I don’t pay to enter.
  7. Social Media: Google+ or Twitter? Which one do you prefer and why? Twitter is great fun and I’ve made some really fabulous contacts through it. https://twitter.com/BlackKerryblick
  8. Slow blogging (once or twice a week) or daily blogging: which one appeals to you most and why? I guess I slow blog, with the exception of the A-Z Challenge. The A-Z Challenge asks bloggers to pick a theme which can be represented by the alphabet and post daily, save Sundays. I’ve participated for three years. Otherwise, I enjoy answering Charli Mills’ weekly prompts at https://carrotranch.com/
  9. Fantasy (and other genres like it) or Realism: write it, read it and what appeals to you in it? I read almost everything. As a result, I write an eclectic mix of stories.
  10. If you could only eat one type of food for every meal forever, what would it be and why? I suppose it would have to be stir fry, because stir fry contains a lovely blend of the food groups. Although, if I could have a side of truly fresh fruit as a side, I’d be a happy person!
  11. Oliver Queen from Smallville (first guy in green below) or Oliver Queen from Arrow (second guy in green below): who would you rather have guarding your city? Why? green-arrow-vs-smallvilleAlthough he’s a bit more angsty, I think Stephen Amell’s portrayal of the character feels more “real.” He on the right has a compelling backstory and is a hero despite a lack of obvious “super powers.” However, the Smallville Oliver Queen has the advantage of a close friendship with Clark Kent and Lois Lane, so I guess I’d go with him.

 

I now have 11 nominees listed below, and I look forward to their answers to the 11 questions I’ve included in the end.

Staci Troilo at https://stacitroilo.wordpress.com/

Reena at https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/

Joe at https://joeowensblog.wordpress.com

Gillyflower at https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/51234206

Rainne at https://rainne15.wordpress.com/about/comment-page-1/#comment-1725

J at https://jmountswritteninblood.com/

Reena at https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com

Sarah at https://thesarahdoughty.wordpress.com

Crow at https://wordsandfeathers.com

 

  1. How much time a day do you spend writing?
  2. What are your greatest influences?
  3. What is your favorite color and why?
  4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you visit? Live?
  5. Plan a dinner party with anyone, living or dead. Who highlights your guest list?
  6. What’s your favorite scent and why?
  7. What size is your family? Do you have many siblings?
  8. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
  9. Do you have a cause you’d fight and go to jail for?
  10. Ever think of running for political office?
  11. What is your favorite social media platform and why?

Heal Me

Charli Mills and her Carrot Ranchers are at it again, this time challenging everyone to write a 99 word story including oil.

April 27: Flash Fiction Challenge

 

Heal Me

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Lily rubbed her hands together, warming the oil before smoothing it across her husband’s shoulders. With clever circles, her fingers eased stored tensions. He sighed. She kissed his ear and continued her ministrations. Spearmint and eucalyptus opened her sinuses. With closed eyes, she felt along taut muscles to the source of his discomfort. The feel of him imprinted upon her fingertips.

He twisted in the chair and folded her in an embrace. “How’d you do that?”

She blinked as though awakening from a trance. “Do what?”

His warmth radiated from him, and he breathed into her lips. “Heal me.”

Shoulder Massage

Z is for Zinnia

AtoZParticipant2017

Z is for Zinnia

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Zinnia belongs to the daisy family. The annual is named in honor of 18th century German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn. The flower attracts hummingbirds and defends against whiteflies, making it a companion plant for crops. Spa products sometimes contain zinnia.

Zinnia is the flower of thoughtfulness and friendship. A gift of a bouquet of mixed zinnia means thoughts of an absent friend, while individual colors are assigned individual meanings, according to the language of flowers. A scarlet zinnia symbolizes constancy, a yellow zinnia means daily remembrance, and a white zinnia represents goodness.

To many Southwestern Native American tribes, zinnia flowers and leaves serve as ritual herbs and medicine. It is one of the sacred plants of the Navajo tribe, and to the Pueblos, zinnia’s a symbol of wisdom and fed to children to inspire intellect. Their blooms create bright dyes and paints.

The name Zinnia has grown in popularity since the late 1960’s, and it has made appearance in many literary works. Zinnia Wormwood is the backward-thinking mother from “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. Jayne Castle released a “St. Helen’s” book titled “Zinnia” with a lead named Zinnia Sprint. Cicely Mary Barker’s “Zinnia’s Magical Adventure” follows the adventures of an inquisitive flower fairy, and Monica Wellington’s “Zinnia’s Flower Garden” presents a girl’s desire to create a perfect garden. Danielle Davis has a middle grade fiction book titled “Zinnia and the Bees” slated to be published in August, 2017.

Zinnia is a plucky flower prolific in Mexico. However, it has a wandering spirit, establishing itself throughout the southwestern US and South America. In early 2016, NASA announced the blooming of a zinnia on the International Space Station, which was the first flower to grow in outer space.

zinnia

Y is for Yarrow

AtoZParticipant2017

Y is for Yarrow

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Yarrow, was once used to cure everything from hair loss prevention and toothache reliever and blood stancher to snakebite cure and cold medicine. The often-invasive perennial blooms from May through June and sometimes again until autumn. It is used in food or tea, especially during the 17th century. During the middle ages in Europe, yarrow was an ingredient on gruit, a beer flavoring. Even today, the leaves and flowers of yarrow are used to make some liquors and bitters.

When planted in a garden, yarrow repels some insects and attracts good ones such as ladybugs. Yarrow repels insects when applied to the skin and clothing. Carrying yarrow granted bravery, reversed negativity, and protects from harm and hexes. Throwing yarrow flowers across a threshold protects a house from evil.

It is a symbol of good luck in China where the plant is used during divination. Rubbing a yarrow leaf against the eyelids was believed to grant “second sight.” Native North Americans used the plant medicinally. Hanging a bundle of dried yarrow over a bridal bed ensured lasting love. The Anglo-Saxons of the early middle ages wore yarrow amulets to protect against blindness, robbers, and dog attacks. It was tied to an infant’s cradle to protect against changelings and witches. Sleeping atop yarrow sachets caused dreams of true love. Yarrow is an ingredient in incense for divination and love spells.

It is called plumajillo (Spanish for little feather) in New Mexico and Colorado. It is also called gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, sanguinary, seven-year’s-love, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand seal. The genus name Achillea reportedly honors the ancient Greek hero Achilles who carried the plant to treat his army’s wounds.

In 1989, Ace Books published Charles de Lint’s urban fantasy novel called “Yarrow” wherein a fantasy writer visits a magic world in her dreams, but a supernatural predator seeks to feed on her imaginings and destroy the magical world.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow included the plant in his “Hiawatha’s Lamentation,” as did Sir Walter Scott in his “The Lady of the Lake.” William Wordsworth wrote the poems “Yarrow Visited” and “Yarrow Unvisited.” Walter Elliot wrote “A Song for Yarrow,” which includes the lines, “An ancient minstrel, so they tell, did sing the song of yarrow well. Faint echoes of his songs yet last to tell the tale of yarrow’s past.”

Yarrow-Milfoil-Achillea-Millefolium-238

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