MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “February, 2016”

The curse of a leap year

29_02_2016 Google DoodleThere is this question that will often set your mind in motion: “what would you do if you had an extra day to live?”

Every four years, we get that extra day. An additional 24 hours to do pretty much anything we want to do.

So, how do you spend it?

Do you stay in bed a little longer? Do you try to get more work done? Do you enjoy more time with friends? Do you exercise? Do you laugh more?

Do you experience what that extra day is there for? To realise how lucky you are to have survived so far and to be strong and healthy enough to continue even further? To be able to surround yourself with people you love, doing what you enjoy, and relishing every single moment?

Some say a leap year with that strange extra day is a curse because it is so rare. But, like everything in life, it’s all a matter of perspective.

And however you spend your day(s) is also a matter of choice.

Just remember that whatever you choose to do, do it with all your heart.

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The Archer

https://lh5.ggpht.com/l9mykkNXAk5GQA2yRa3ml5CrenDBghDsjINP5cjEvy0WuPFIb4oJ7ZB1w9MLURSBp-hk=w300The bowstring tore his cheek as the arrow flung to hit the hanging branch. He was trying to outrun the voices behind him, and every few paces he would turn and try to find deterrents to block their way. It was already getting dark and it was easier now to get lost in the woods. That served to his advantage. No-one knew the forest as well as he did. It was his home.

They called him The Archer. All they really knew about him was that whatever he stole, he would replace with something else. So, for example, if he stole a loaf of bread the one day, the next he would repay with a couple of fresh apples. He didn’t want to be considered a thief after all. And he always signed his name with a capital “A”.

But no-one had ever seen him. Despite the fact that he moved among them daily.

His mother was an Amazon, tamed by a Lord. Their marriage was a demonstration of how powerful love could be. But also of how profound. For when she got sick, he drunk his fortune away, and with it his son’s future. The boy was soon orphaned and left to fight for his own survival. All he knew how to do was use a bow better than anyone. He was very young when he was forced to discover the world, and the people of the village looked upon him with a mix of pity and fear. They would give him chores and various errands to run if they had any, but the pay was minimum, if at all, and the boy could not survive on that alone.

No-one seemed to care how he managed or where he lived. That was private business, or what they described as “personal issues”.

So the boy often disappeared as quickly and as easily as he appeared.

But no-one ever associated him with The Archer. He had become a legend, a sort of myth that made the forest and the nearby village an attraction. He became the terrifying story parents threatened their children with to make them behave. He had become a ghost despite still being alive.

He carved his own bows and arrows, made his own home, and by now knew all the places food could be found in plenty. He lived poorly but managed to gain all the necessities life handed abundantly and was satisfied with how well he fared. What he hated was the look in the villagers’ eyes. As The Archer phantom, he saw fear, prejudice, and loathing. So many negative feelings for a being they hardly knew. And as the boy, their eyes reflected sorrow, shame and sometimes compassion. But that is not what he wanted. All he desired was some kindness, someone to invite him into their home and share a warm meal with him. The boy, just like The Archer, simply wanted to be accepted. But in his own eyes, that was the most difficult feat of all.

Something about food

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/sites/default/files/recipe_images/recipe-image-legacy-id--1273545_8.jpgFrancine was not a particularly chubby little girl. She was actually not chubby at all. You might even say she was underweight for her age and height. But she loved to eat. She enjoyed every food she tasted. She said that if you couldn’t relish in the feast of flavours that awakened your taste buds, then you might as well not be eating at all.

Francine knew not only how to eat well, but also how to cook it too. She delighted in experimenting with new ingredients, with the most unexpected combinations, and cooking up new recipes that she could then present and amaze her guests. It was something different and certainly something remarkable.

Her favourite of all, however, was dessert. She knew well that people always wanted something sweet after any dish and acknowledged the importance of serving a dessert that melted in your mouth, arousing your senses.

And the best ingredient of all to do this was, of course, chocolate.

That is what she was melting to pour on top of the new vanilla and nut cake she had just made the day the doorbell rang.

She turned off the stove and took off her apron, as she opened the door.

He was standing there like a deity, unaware of how his eyes glistened as they reflected the sunlight from the open balcony door behind her.

Hi,” he said, staring at her, mesmerized.

He was a delivery man who had just brought Francine the new cooker her godmother had sent her from Australia.

That was the day her life changed. And it was not just because of the better quality food…

Searching for fairness in an unjust world

http://copywritercollective.com/howtobeacopywriter/wp-content/uploads/Accountant-Cartoon-728x520.jpgIt is not often that I write a personal account of something. I prefer to see things from the perspective of a journalist or writer – as an outsider, viewing the world from all possible angles. But there are some things that strike you hard, right in the centre. Because you can relate to them more than anything. And sometimes you have to speak up in the hope that someone will listen and things will change.

My attention yesterday was directed at an article that said pretty much everything I have in my mind. Martin Conterez at The Hungry Dog’s Lair wrote an open letter to Huffington Post stating in essence that it is high time that writers are paid for the work they do.

I agree. The work you do should be compensated for. It’s nice to be acknowledged in every way and form. The satisfaction you receive through someone’s expression of gratification is priceless, as is the the much-desired (and needed) exposure by a renowned source. Yet, none of these enables you to survive a month of obligations, expenses and bills. You still need a monetary recompensation of the work you do. Because what you offer is in fact original content. That content that all publications are looking for. But that very “content has to come from somewhere. It has to be created, and creation takes work. It takes passion. It takes blood, sweat, and tears. It takes desire, drive, devotion, dedication, and deference. All of that comes at a cost. A cost to the livelihood of the person creating it. A cost that should be compensated for.”

Martin says it very well. Because although it may take you a few minutes to read something we’ve written, for us “it takes hours, days, sometimes weeks to create a great piece. To make content the world is willing to consume ends up consuming those who create it. And that’s just one piece, that doesn’t take into consideration the years we pour into our craft to become good enough to be featured on a site” with global reach and money. The truth is, such publications do have money, often unduly collected through exploitation and unpaid labour.

The paradox of it all is that, as writers and journalists, we are still eager to write for anyone willing to publish our pieces, usually dubbing this “voluntary contribution” because it is better to be exposed either way in the hope that someone will finally discover you and offer you a worthwhile compensation. Hiding away without any demonstration of what you can do will lead to nowhere.

That, however, does not negate the fact that people need to get financial compensation for whatever they offer. They spend time, energy and focus on something that others will profit from. Isn’t it fair that they too earn their rightful share from that?

Look for the colour

https://img0.etsystatic.com/049/0/5129215/il_340x270.678059928_i1fk.jpgIt was a grey wall at the depths of a dead-end street. You could easily ignore it unless you knew it was there. That is what he did until now. He actually passed by it every day to work and never realized it was there. On it, were white scribblings that made it appear like just another groggy wall in a decadent neighbourhood. He didn’t know what it was that made him go through the alley and take a closer look that day. Some things just happen, without us every finding out why. But he was glad he did.

The wall was filled with inspirations, exhortations, just about anything that restored hope and optimism in a monotonous and otherwise mundane world.

In the end, all we have left is who we are. How we’ve lived. And what we’ve accomplished. In this brief passage through life, we should strive to do the most of what we can and be the best we can be. Sooner or later we’ll realise that what matters most is filling every moment you have with the satisfaction that you’ve done all you could to live a life in full.

Pain is good. It gives you scars and shows you have lived. You have survived. And are stronger.”

Love deeply in all its forms, even if you don’t receive back as much as you give.”

Living with regrets won’t do.”

Do things because you want to, not only because you have to.

Whatever you do, try to be happy”.

There were little prompts, all written in white, yet added so much colour on that otherwise unsightly wall.

It is only when we truly look, that we can actually see.

Evading time

hourglass @SandraCrookShe looked at the hourglass and could feel her panic turn into a cold stream of sweat running down her spine.

Stress would always get to her head. And stomach.

But time was something against she could never fight and win. Most of the time.

She couldn’t delay it anymore. He had to find out now. Later would be too…late.

She took a deep breath and began marching like a soldier into battle.

But the minute she extended her first step, a strong hand grabbed her shoulder and held her back.

He appeared right now.

Time had just run out.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers and Daily Prompt: Evasive Action

The first rays

https://art-holst.com.ua/img/gallery/51/thumbs/thumb_l_9010.jpgAs the first ray of sunlight fell on her sheets that morning, Élodie knew she didn’t want to get up. She didn’t want to spend yet another day single and alone. And frankly she was somewhat disgusted at how a single day could be so commercialized – as if love was not something that should be felt or displayed every day.

But when Yuki, her Yorkshire puppy jumped on her bed, with eyes sparkling, nose dripping and tail wagging, Élodie knew that all that mattered was the people you shared your life with, no matter if they weren’t there every second of it.

She got up with Yuki hopping around her feet.

It wasn’t about the candy and flowers that day. Because she had a great time anyway. With friends. People she could share the thoughts in her head with; the things that troubled her the most. People she could be weird and silly with and not care. Love would come and find her either way. She didn’t have to go looking for it.

For now, she felt happy. And she believed more than anything that the dreams your heart makes, your mind cannot follow. Because, sometimes, your dreams are too big to utter. And a love that completes you, will always be one of them. But that doesn’t mean you should make it your life’s purpose.

Yuki knew that too.

That’s why she pushed Giacomo in her path, that next day in the park, when she ran off and began skipping around him – a tall, elegant man who was soaking up sun on a bright afternoon. And that is usually how the best relationships begin – out of a simple coincidence, when you least expect them.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: First Light

Talk, speak, utter, shout

http://cliparts.co/cliparts/pTo/jr6/pTojr6pTE.jpgEvery person, when given the chance, wants to take the time to express themselves. Aaron knew that well. An introvert by nature, all he really longed for was someone who would understand him by the few words he said.

Like everyone from time to time, he too felt the need to speak, to shout, even scream at times. But it was rarely that he found the chance to actually truly talk.

Once made to feel comfortable, however, he would speak more often, open up a bit more and begin to share all those thoughts that so frequently hovered inside his mind.

It is always easy to talk about others, down to them, or simply to them. But it is more difficult to actually talk with them. That is where communication comes in. And that is the reason Aaron never really liked talking. It just seemed too hard.

But when he met Denise everything suddenly changed.

He found himself waiting anxiously for the time they would sit down for a chat. One that would forcefully end three hours later because either of them remembered they had an appointment, or work, or something they (hesitantly) had to do. They would talk about anything and everything at the same time. Expressing their deepest feelings, their reflections, their regrets, and their dreams. They didn’t need to ask each other questions; it just happened naturally. And they felt comfortable doing it because they trusted each other completely and knew that criticism had no room among them.

You can tell a lot about a person by the things they’re willing to express about themselves, and what they desire to know about you. But most of all you can understand that person even more by the depth of the words they are willing to fire your way.

An innate curiosity

http://previews.123rf.com/images/brux/brux1301/brux130100030/17503613-illustration-curious-owl-with-a-magnifying-glass-Stock-Vector-cartoon.jpgRobert took out his notebook and began to scribble frantically. It would have seemed absolutely normal for the journalist he was, had he not been in the middle of a queue in a supermarket. Across him a middle-aged man who had just finished paying for his groceries was looking for his wife who had re-entered the aisles in search of an item they had obviously forgotten. But that was not what was worth noting. The man stood boldly at the till and yelled out her name. His wife was called Nora. Once he had no response, he asked the security guard roaming the general area, where his wife was. The guard looked up in awe, as if someone had awoken him from a deep sleep by pinching his arm. “Who is your wife?” he asked. The episode continued for a few more minutes, until the wife finally appeared without holding anything and asked her husband in the most natural of tones, “did you find it?” He hadn’t moved all this time.

Robert was smiling as he was noting it all down. It was the perfect story for his next novel.

He usually found these sporadic gems in the most common places. In markets, in buses, in coffee shops, even just during a stroll around his block.

It is amazing how much you can find by simply observing and listening to people.

Robert had an innate curiosity. It was characteristic of his profession, but it was something that to him came natural. He always wanted to learn more and constantly urged himself to discover something further than what was handed to him. That, he believed, was the only way he would mature as a person and expand his knowledge.

It’s good to wonder about the world. It opens your eyes and ears and takes you to places you would never have otherwise encountered.

The view from the other side

the other sideIt is an undoubted fact that wherever you stand, you will only see one side of everything. You won’t really know what is on the other side unless you try to gain a different perspective. Unless you open your mind, lessen your pride and accept to view something different.

A pauper will never know what it is like to live in riches, until s/he steps into a mansion, has every need catered to, and is relieved of every worry. Similarly, the so-called upper class will never fully comprehend what life is like for the less prosperous, the less fortunate, who need to work long days to earn their living, and sometimes even that may not be enough.

There are things that no matter how hard you try, reality always exceeds your imagination.

Jack Canfield had said “Everything you want is on the other side of fear”. But in order to get rid of that fear, you need to be able to open your mind and your soul to whatever may come. To be ready to accept that whatever you find on the other side will be something you are capable of handling and accepting no matter what.

To be able to step onto the other side, you need to already be comfortable in yours, and curious enough to learn what else is out there.

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