MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Love, Life and Loss

They say a cat has seven (or maybe nine) lives. I think mine had many more. But to me even those weren’t enough. Seventeen years together, she was more than the pet cat. She was my support, my pick-me-up when I was upset or depressed; she was the light in my darkness.  The one who talked to me when no one else would. My friend. My saviour. My soulmate. I love her more than life itself. We grew up together and honestly she taught me more than any person ever could. She taught me how to fight for what you want. How to insist if you know you’re right. How to dare and go further than anyone even thinks you can. How to love unconditionally. How to develop a sixth sense, the ability to perceive things without needing words to describe them. She taught me how to be a cat, and like the Aristocats say “Everybody wants to be a cat”.

She was the first one I looked for when I got up in the morning and the last before I went to bed at night. The one I sought when preparing meals and then during them. The one I wanted to see first when entering the house and last when I left. She was the main reason my house was a home. Because that was where my heart was.

Now I can’t say goodbye. I don’t want to. I know that she left peacefully and she lived her life to the fullest. But how do I go on without her?  Without the one that could sense my mood before I said anything. That could soothe me by just crawling up beside me. I don’t want it to be goodbye because I know I will see her again. She will forever be with me. I am certain of that. So I would settle for an au revoir. I already miss her so much. I hear the slightest noise and turn hoping to see her. The house seems so quiet and empty without her.

One thing is for sure though; nothing can erase the beautiful memories we have together. And I wouldn’t change any moment of having a pet in the house. Especially if it was the best pet in the world. Nothing can describe how wonderful it is to have a cat that greets you at the door, joins you when you sit for a meal, miaows at you through the phone or the webcam when you’re away and snuggles up with you in bed when you’re feeling lonely and upset. She got me through so many rough times that I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am. How honoured that I shared perhaps the most important and influential years of my life with her. And how blessed I feel for being part of her extraordinary life.

Cats are unique in that they are never owned by anyone. Rather they own you. Perhaps that is why now I feel so lost, as if my entire world has been shattered. And so terribly inconsolable. Everything reminds me of her. So how can I go on without her in my life?

Alfred Lord Tennyson had said that “’tis better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all”. I did not lose. That I know for certain. Neither of us did. Our lives were intertwined and enriched with each other. She will never be gone. Not from my heart or from my life. No. Because family is forever.

26 October 2012

 

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: On Bees and Efs

Also part of Daily Prompt: Something So Strong           

Also part of Daily Prompt: Born to Be With You

Can you read this?

Every writer should have an editor. And I am lucky to say that I too have my editor. A person who I can ask for advice and to whom I can look to for ideas. A person who will be honest about what they think and who will help me improve. A person who I value in every way. The relationship between a writer and an editor should be one of utmost respect and absolute communication, for both need each other in order to produce their best work and to thrive professionally. An editor becomes a writer’s best friend. The person to turn to at any time. The person who you end up calling in the middle of the night with the most frequent question an editor hears “can you read this?” – usually followed by a “please” or an “if you would be as kind” or something of the sort that would indicated courtesy – at least if you’re going to disturb them at the most unusual hours and all the time, you might as well be polite!

An editor becomes an essential tool to writers because, as it is not easy to write, it is not easy to edit either. Writers are often attached to their piece that they often cannot see what to leave out, change or rewrite. That is why editors are needed. They are the external eye, the one that will place all the pieces together. But that is why it is important to have an editor that can enter the writer’s mind at times. That can understand what you are writing and what you mean to say by it. That can even read between the lines and if needed above and beyond them! Jarod Kintz had said that “there are two types of people in this world: those who can edit, and those who can’t”. Editing isn’t an easy job. But with the right kind of collaboration and a descent raw material to start with, it can lead to an excellent result. I used to think writing was easy. But early in my years I found out that not everyone can do it. Indeed some things seem easy, because for us they feel natural. But perhaps that is why writing and editing, just like drawing and painting, are considered talents. Not everyone has them.

Nonetheless, editors have perhaps one of the most criticized jobs. For intruding into the author’s mind, meddling with their thoughts, their creativity, their ideas. And interfering with a product that is simply not their own. But like Henry James said, “in art, economy is always beauty” and in these fast-paced times it seems valid that less is indeed more. I believe a good editor reveals himself from the relationship maintained with the author and the understanding that ensues from this. Like the saying ‘behind every great man is a strong woman’, well, I think this is also true for writing: behind every great author is a really good editor. Even though the latter is left in the shadows. At least they can have the appreciation of being acknowledged once in a while. And I doubt if there is any author who has not learnt at least something constructive from their editor and vice versa.

[An editor] Rides the whirlwind and directs the storm – Joseph Addison

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Second Opinion

Just Sayin’…

Sometimes everybody needs a bit of inspiration to keep going, not to give up, to do something different for a change. Quotes and sayings from various people, be they famous or unknown, may always serve this purpose. You will always find something spectacular, something motivating, in something well said. As eloquent, as funny, as ironic as it may be, sayings will offer an inspiration. This is what my two pages, up there on the right, are for. Quotes and The Pen and The Sword offer a collection of quotes that will spark a desire to do something out of the ordinary, or even at least to think a little more openly. All you have to do is click here: https://mcswhispers.wordpress.com/quotes/ and here: https://mcswhispers.wordpress.com/the-pen-and-the-sword/ and free your mind!

A prophecy to die for

About two months. Yes, that’s right. It could be the title of (yet another) end-of-the-world movie. Because according to the Maya predictions the end of the world is nigh, on 21 December 2012. Looking at the world in its current situation, it is likely. Not in a physical-disaster-all-around-buildings-crashing-down-things-on-fire kind of sense. But in the more “normal” social sense. Like a sort of end of society. A turn of leaf on the current state of the world. In the 1990s Francis Fukuyama wrote about The End of History,arguing that the advent of Western Liberal democracy may signal the end point of humanity’s sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government. Obviously, he was wrong. In 2012, democracy and Western government have retreated far back with a socio-economic impact as unprecedented as ever before in the 21st century. When Mediterranean countries are on the brink of bankruptcy, central Europeans are opposing aid to the rest, and eastern Europeans have gained a bad name as imposing migrants and imposter asylum seekers, then it is clearly the case that something has gone really wrong. When in 2012, instead of prosperity and the hovering cars depicted in the 1980s movies, all we have is countries striving to avoid default, the Arab Spring turning into a ruthless Middle East bloodshed, and even the strongest economies facing disarray and uncertainty. The Middle-Ages seem to have returned. But this time they have brought along the worst traits of human nature. Selfishness, greediness, insensitivity, immorality, irresponsibility, disrespect and audaciousness. That is what society seems to breed. The law of the jungle reapplies and people are putting their own interests above anyone else’s. In an impoverished society, where the rule of law is ignored, there is nothing to stop people from stealing from each other, from killing and injuring in order to do so, from eradicating anything and everything that forms the very foundations of a sane society in order to get their own way. When extremism resurfaces and people can actually understand why and justify it, then all there is to say is that those Mayas really knew what they were saying…

So many of those movies depicting a post-apocalyptic world have one thing in common: the fact that the end of the world does not happen due to an external cause, but because of the people themselves. It is the very people themselves, us, who are causing this self-destruction. They are the ones abolishing law and order and justice. They are the ones allowing society to become what it has – ruthless, self-rewarding, corrupt and with no values whatsoever. When even supranational institutions, set up for the very purpose of avoiding national self-interests, prove  that they too are not immune from corruption, it seems that people are right to be cynical and pessimistic. Very little does change in the end. And it seems that those who can change things, or at least who have the power to, are simply perpetuating a system that is degraded at its core. And the few that maintain hope and sum up the courage to fight the system and try to make a change are soon drowned and defeated. One swallow alone, does not a summer make.

It is important not to lose hope. That is certain. But how can you maintain optimism when this is the situation that prevails in the world today? Things need to change. Radically for that matter. And the old, out-dated ruling elite needs to step aside for younger – not necessarily in age terms – more open-minded brains to take over. In order to create a world like the one we hoped for when we were growing up. That allowed you to dream and to hope and to know that if you worked hard enough you could accomplish all that you want.

Seeing the positive amidst the clouds

In “The Sound of Music” Julie Andrews as Maria sang about all the things that make her smile. In the 21st century it seems that there are a lot more things that bring us down instead. It is so easy to allow yourself to slip into despair and sulk about everything that is going wrong. How things don’t seem to be going your way and how luck is avoiding your door. Depression settles in and then all you’re left with is a warm blanket, and despite the two thumbs, if they’re not pointing up, then Linus’ theory of happiness being a thumb and a warm blanket won’t work.

There is a saying, that when it rains it pours. Similar to what the Ancient Greeks said that from one bad thing, a thousand follow. But that should not be a reason to dampen your spirits and erase your smile. Someone recently told me that a smile is wealth. And it is true, that no matter what the other person is feeling, being greeted by a smile certainly makes their day a bit brighter. Dark clouds appear some time around the year. It is unavoidable. It is the simple nature of things. But even when it is raining, pouring even, that is not a reason to barricade yourself indoors waiting for it all to go away. People are stronger than they think. And their strength is mostly demonstrated in the hardest of times. When that is all you’ve got. But not giving up, not surrendering to the clouds, not succumbing to the depression, is a sign of strength in itself. And to continue with the sayings: the night is darkest just before dawn but every cloud has a silver lining. You just have to be able to live through each situation and be willing to look hard enough to find the positive in every moment. In the end, you may even find the pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow!

It is hard to keep a smile on your face at all times. Hiding from others your emotional baggage and masking your misery. But it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown, so why not conserve the energy and utilize it in doing something you like and makes you happy?

If things do happen for a reason, then that should always be to make us stronger, better prepared for the hardships, and more aware at the fragility of it all. So like the sun rising and disbursing the clouds, we too must retain our positive attitudes that will help light our way to achieving our goals. Even Gene Kelly was Singing in the Rain and he never caught pneumonia, so why should we? 🙂

Batman should not be the only one fighting crime

There are some things you can never understand for yourself if you don’t experience them. However good or bad they may be, there are just some things you cannot fully realize unless you actually live them. The bad ones are the worse. They are experiences you never want to relive. Especially if they involve the very violation of your life. The disruption of your own personal space and living environment. And most of all the robbing of your very feeling of security. I really cannot understand what leads people to break into another person’s home and steal. However desperate a person is, resorting to such immoral measures is unethical to say the least, and just downright mean! It is disrespectful of other people’s property, of their personal space, and of their very lives. And experiencing such a thing is like leaving a scar that would take what it seems like forever to heal. If at all.

They say time heals all wounds. But for some it takes more than that. In order to restore the feeling of being safe in your own home. A privilege and a right that some – unmentionable characterization –beings stole. They not only violated a living space, but a breathing space too. The one that makes you feel secure, almost untouchable, in your own home. If material goods can always be replaced, how do you replace emotions? How do you drown out the overwhelming fear that has taken over you? How do you reinstate the feeling of protection when all you see running through your mind is that first scene you encountered on entering the violated space? When all you see running through your head is uncontrollable crime and mayhem? And how do you stop it all? Police say robberies and burglaries are occurring more often than ever now. That it is becoming a serious problem. And as usual everyone is blaming it on the global economic crisis. That it is pushing more and more people to the brink of poverty and that desperate times call for desperate measures. There are millions of people barely scraping a living. If all of them were to break loose and run around rampant in the city, can you imagine what would happen? When all that prevails is lawlessness transforming society into a gang of bandits, then it is more than obvious that something has gone terribly wrong. Batman should not have to be the only one fighting crime, for crime does exist outside Gotham too. So where are the State and the Authorities in all of this? That are supposed to protect their citizens at all costs? That are supposed to provide the safety and security that people long for when living in a contemporary democracy? When they vow to abide to the rule of law and order? When all they do is talk about how citizens’ rights will be protected and criminals will be brought to justice? So where are they? And why is all this talk never leading anywhere? People want to see results, not everlasting electoral campaigns.

Indeed it appears that at times like this the fragility of the human spirit reveals itself. But this should also be an opportunity to rise up stronger from the ashes. Like a phoenix does. Rise up bolder and stronger. For the real strength of a person is in getting up every time s/he falls. And fighting in order to maintain at least the remnants of a civilization that existing before the savagery of violation broke free. When principles, values, morals and respect were more than just words.

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”       – Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Intense!

Willpower is not an energy drink

In a period where all you hear is “no” and all you get is rejection letters, how do you find the motivation not to give up? With the highest youth unemployment recorded in decades, how do you convince young disheartened spirits that the best is yet to come and that their future lies ahead, when even that now seems so bleak? When at the most creative period of their lives, all they can do is watch idly as it passes by and disappointment settles even deeper. If like the Ancient Greeks said “the beginning is half of everything”, how do you get a chance at even starting something when the perpetuating contradiction reigns: you can’t get a job if you’re not experienced, and you can’t gain experience because you’re not given a job.

Motivation is key to success. To prevent your morale from sinking into gloom and despair. To convince yourself that there is  always light at the end of the tunnel. And that you will eventually take your first step that will lead you closer to achieving your goals.

Motivation can be found in a variety of places. From the wise words of a friend, to the courage demonstrated by another; from the moral of a book, a quote of an inspiring intellectual, to simply the galvanizing of the willpower within to just not give up. As humans we are the source of so much energy. All we need to do is harness it for the right purpose.

Strength lies in having the power to continue despite rejection, defeat, failure. A Chinese proverb says “fall down seven times, stand up eight”. Strength is inextricably linked to motivation and finding ways to engage yourself in opportunities that will demonstrate and even enhance your skills, is a clever way of both keeping yourself active and of setting up the right conditions. The right opportunity will come when the time is ripe.

All you have to do is look ahead and don’t despair.

Good things may come to those who wait, but they come faster to those who make an effort.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Pep Rally

 

The thrill of a good scare

Ever wonder why some things are like a car accident – you know it’s awful but you just can’t look away? From horrific car/plane/train crashes to collapsing buildings, devastating explosions, bombing attacks to disastrous hurricanes, people are captivated by such images of disasters. So much that when it appears before you, you just cannot look away. Researchers believe that this is based on the innate curiosity of human beings. But also the fact that we are drawn to doom and horror – you know it is horrible and don’t want to look, but somehow you can’t turn away. Whether we admit it or not, humans are inexplicably fascinated by tragedy, by the morbid, the unreal so-to-speak. It is the reason why even children enjoy Halloween so much, dressing up in gory costumes as blood-sucking vampires and murdered victims with an axe on their head and blood dripping down their forehead. Graphic and ghastly as these images may be, people love a good scare. It is why thrillers and horror movies become instant box office successes. And why the most popular theme park attractions are the haunted houses and the ghost rides.

So why do people actually enjoy being scared? Investigators say it’s because of the adrenaline rush that results in a euphoric sense of relief at the end of the terror. The hormonal reaction in response to a threat or crisis is that very action that motivates us to “like to be scared”. It is the “flight or fight” syndrome of primitive times that still applies to the animal kingdom. At the moment we feel threatened, we have increased strength, power, heightened senses and intuition. (Just like Spiderman – but not all the time). But if the brain knows there is no risk of really being harmed, it experiences this adrenaline rush as enjoyable. For that, some people crave to be frightened. To feel the chill down your spine, the nail-biting horror, the cold sweat. Simply for the rush and the relief at the end. For the fun of it all.

Similarly, people may strive to see a car wreck simply for the need to feel the risk of an actual car crash, of living the excitement as if it was actually you there, but without the actual danger. It’s as if you are living that very rush – dangerous rush – through someone else. It is the insatiable need to expose yourself to sensations that are different from the routine. Diverse from the security of everyday life.

Scary has various connotations, however. Talent shows presenting dancers who are as graceless as a wooden stick, and singers as toneless as a shrieking cat, can all be deemed scary in a sense. But still you somehow cannot look away. Perhaps it is the pleasure of making fun at others who are daring to do something unabashed, even though they are terrible at it. Or perhaps it is the very insatiable thirst to satisfy our curiosity. A curiosity, that as Steven Wright said, “killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect”.

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