MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the month “September, 2017”

The sound of rain on a tin roof

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©J Hardy Carroll

Since they moved, they hadn’t been to their old neighbourhood. It had already been three years. They found themselves on their old street by chance, having taken a wrong turn.

It was still there, only seeming abandoned.

Their old studio. The one where they first met and became intimate. Where they shared their dreams and learnt about one another.

The one where they would crawl into each other’s arms to sleep on nights when their lullaby was the patter of rain on the tin roof.

Some sounds will always be associated to certain memories no matter how much time passes.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

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The monster under the bed

https://pre00.deviantart.net/96eb/th/pre/f/2013/150/0/1/the_monster_under_my_bed__by_jcmaziu-d5oebc3.jpgShe was there ever since he was born. Omnipresent in every aspect of his life. She allowed him to think he was autonomous and independent, but she was always just a step away.

She lurked in the shadows and clung onto him. But he failed to see it.

He may have matured in many ways but there was one thing he refused to see. His partner found her ever-presence over-bearing. But, the latter did not seem to care. And he didn’t seem to mind.

He couldn’t see the monster under the bed.

But it haunted his partner’s dreams and there was nothing she could do about it. Because it was not her battle to fight.

She tried to make him see, but every time he woke up, the monster had found a different hiding place.

He told her she was insane and imagining things. Because he refused to see what was before his eyes.

He insisted there was nothing of the sort. That the monsters were only in her thoughts. But she knew better. She saw it even when he was not there. Because the monster had a way of being everywhere some way or another.

When it became too much too tolerate, she gave up trying. And she just left. Leaving him alone with the monster under the bed.

She left him only a note that read, “There’s a difference between somebody who wants you and somebody who would do anything to keep you. Because, in essence, all you really want is someone who would put you first at all times, and who would make you feel important no matter who or how many others are in the room. If you truly love someone, you will never let them go no matter how hard the situation is. You try to work things out. And you fight to do so”.

It was up to him to choose to react.

If each day was our last

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©MCD

“What would you do if it was your last day on Earth?”

Psychologists often use the question to calm you down. To make you realise what is truly worth your attention and the degree of stress you devote to an issue. It helps you prioritise your problems and makes you see how small most of them are. Because we aren’t going to live forever. But we should make every minute of that existence count.

So what would he do if it was his last day? Alfie let his eyes gaze beyond the horizon as he pondered this life-existence question.

For starters, he would want to spend this last day – and most of his days actually – with the people he loved. He wanted to be happy. To leave, remembering what that feels like. That irreplaceable sentiment of feeling your heart full of love, laughter and happiness. Of feeling complete and of having everyone you want to spend your life with right next to you.

Then, he would like to go on a road trip; to drive through a forest, to feel the breeze whistling through the leaves, to take a deep breath and feel his lungs fill up with oxygen. To feel that you are inhaling life.

And he would want the day to end at the beach. To listen to the waves slowly caressing the golden sand. To watch as the sun set into the ocean, painting the sky shades of yellow, orange and red.

He would want to live his last day as fully as possible. With no regrets. Nothing that would alter or in any way affect a good mood.

“You know, Alfie,” said his psychologist with a wisdom grin on his face, “you can fill your life with days and moments such as these you described. All you have to do is pretend every day would be your last. And you’ll cherish every single minute of the time that is given to you”.

Journalism Under Fire

https://static.kent.ac.uk/nexus/ems/116.jpgJournalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations”. George Orwell’s quote, today more than ever, remains relevant, at a time when media and control over them has become a highly controversial issue, mainly due to the ethics involved. Because, while journalism should, ideally, be objective and free of political affiliations, nowadays, the newsroom is dominated by the ominous shadow of advertising revenue. In a period when almost everything has been affected by the financial crisis, media – the people’s source of information – are searching for sources of income, while at the same time competing against social media and the plurality of free news.

How then can we distinguish the truth in what we read? And how can we dismiss ‘fake news’?

This was the topic of a very interesting discussion held in Athens in the context of the New York Times Athens Democracy Forum, hosted by the journalistic platforms Oikomedia and Hostwriter. The aim was to examine why Media have come under Suspicion and how journalism can regain public faith. Five guest speakers from international media participated: Serge Schmemann (New York Times), Philip Faigle (#D17, Zeit online), Simon Wilson (BBC Brussels), Prune Antoine (freelance journalist) and Tasos Telloglou (Skai TV/ Kathimerini).

The prevailing view, shared by many journalists and citizens alike, is that the observation of how real life unfolds is absent from many media reports today, mainly because of the rising trend of ‘opinionated journalism’. This trends sees the inclusion of a commentary, with the reporter him/herself often expressing a view on the story reported. But that is not what the role of the journalist is supposed to be, nor what the point of journalism is. It is supposed to be about the clear, undeterred, fair and objective presentation of facts that have been thoroughly researched and presented as is. Journalism is the means to make heard as many voices involved in a story as possible, and to cause, through that, the audience’s critical thought, so that citizens themselves may launch a public debate on the matter. In an era of rapid technological evolution, media outlets are perfectly positioned to become platforms promoting such active public discussion.

Instead, citizens increasingly turn against media, viewing them with suspicion and distrust and accusing them of transmitting ‘fake news’ and siding with any one political group. As such, it is not strange that, especially in Greece, citizens do not trust the media, and in fact increasingly tend to avoid the news. The 2017 annual Digital News Report by the Reuters Institute for Journalism revealed that Greeks have the lowest rate globally in trusting media with only 23% (compared to, for example, 62% recorded in Finland, the highest rate). Greece is also the only country in the world that believes social media do a better job in separating fact from fiction than traditional news media (28% vs 19%). In addition, over half the respondents (57%) in Greece and Turkey are avoiding the news, compared with fewer than one in ten in Japan (6%). One of the main reasons for this ‘media avoidance’ may very well be all the ‘negative’ news constantly broadcast, regarding the economy, politics, corruption, accidents, war, bloody conflicts and terrorism attacks around the world. News that not only contribute to increasing fear and agony for a future that is already blurred, but also result in further dampening an already low morale and bad psychological state. Consequently, people prefer not to know, endorsing that ‘ignorance is bliss’.

But in all this, how much are the journalists themselves to blame? Are they not asking the right questions? Are they presenting news out of context, indeed causing misinformation? Is the need for higher revenue placing at risk not only the independence of the organism but also its credibility as a source of objective and truthful facts? Press freedom is not only about the pluralism of views, but also about their presentation as facts, without editorialisation.

Journalism should be about opening questions not answering them. The journalist’s view has no place in the story they are reporting.

Today’s need to ‘sell more copies’ and ‘record more online views’ has irreparably also affected the quality of journalism. We need to go back to basics, to remember that in order for a fact to be reported correctly, you need to experience and (re)search it as best as possible to make it easier for the reader to comprehend. And most of all, to realise that people want to read about things that concern their lives and that affect them.

There will always be a need for stories. This was broadly acknowledged at the discussion. The main issue, however, is that journalists should never stop striving for their fundamental element: objectivity. And to step away from the uniformity and unanimity that so often characterises news stories today. After all, the mind opens up when it tries to do, see and think something differently. Otherwise, it is not even worth it.

The shape of love

hearty-bread

©Kelvin M. Knight

“Do you know how the heart symbol came to be?”  Her grandfather saw her gazing mesmerized at the unexpected shape on the sliced bread.

“There’s the belief that this drawing we use to symbolize love and all its associates is in reality two human hearts fused together as one”.

She looked at him, her eyes suddenly sparkling.

“Is that the reason we are constantly searching for our other half? To feel whole?”

“It may very well be”, he replied.

His wife came into the room. It didn’t matter how old they were, he still beamed every time he saw her.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

When things go wrong

cat-tigerThings are bound to get rough. It’s a fact of life. Nothing is perfect all the time. There comes a moment when things will go wrong. And sometimes, too many things go wrong for too long. But like Charles R. Swindoll said, “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it”.

There are days when you won’t want to get out of bed, out of fear that something (even more) terrible will happen. Days when you’re overcome by negative thoughts, when you’re convinced that someone cast a spell on you – the neighbour, the person who competes with you for a parking spot, those others who are always jealous of you but hypocritically act as if they’re happy for you. And somehow, your mood drops, you don’t feel like doing anything, seeing anyone or even getting out of the house. Because you know that when one thing goes wrong, a whole lot of others will follow. And they usually do. Something breaks that you can’t fix; your computer gives up on you; you lose your lucky charm that you’ve had for years.

They say there is a reason things happen. You just never find out what it is.

But what you need to force yourself to do is to abandon the negative thoughts. Being negative attracts negativity. And in the same sense, being positive will turn things around. Try to smile and the sun will shine a little brighter. But most of all, surround yourself people who offer more than sympathy. People who will embrace you, look out for you and persuade you that there are things in life worth being grateful for. And if something goes wrong now, it’s because something even better is on its way.

You just have to believe.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Sympathy

A road to a different view

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©Danny Bowman

They told him the difficult, winding roads, the ones less travelled are the ones that would lead him to the most beautiful destinations. To places he had never seen before, never even imagined. He decided to take the risk because he wanted some peace of mind.

It was cloudy, perhaps even preparing for rain. And the gravel was rough; he could feel his car panting. But he was determined to go on.

He could see it up ahead. Tranquility was expecting him.

It was as if an entire mountain was waiting for his arrival to show him a different perspective.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The world in her eyes

https://i.pinimg.com/236x/6a/5b/1f/6a5b1f5af2932b3ae2d9af3ddb9034e4--contactlens-blue-eyes.jpgThe greatest love poems are written in dark nights of silver moons glistening on shattered adolescent hearts. Out of the strongest pain come the most genuine and powerful truths.

That’s what she was reading before she came to meet you. It was what made her tears start streaming again. She was trying. Trying to go on but not wanting to without you.

You could see it in her eyes, the pupils rippling like broken glass. She avoided looking at you because it hurt too much and she didn’t want to let you see the darkness that had overtaken her soul. She didn’t want you to see that, when you left, you drained her of the life you had imbued her with. Yet, she still loved you. She wanted to tell you how much she missed you. You know you felt the same. But for some reason you were both too selfish to admit to what you truly felt.

She had vowed to herself she would melt that wall of ice you had raised around you. She was certain you were meant to be together. You had been through so much. Everyone expected you would end up together. Forever. That’s the way it should go. Instead, while everyone was taking steps forwards, you were making them backwards. Out of miscommunications and bad judgements.

She wanted the world and, in her eyes, that was you.

She still wants that. She may no longer think of you as the super-hero she pictured you would be, but she still hopes deep down you are the tramp-turned-prince she dreams of. She still wants you. But you’re too stubborn to let her in. You know that she fits so perfectly like no other in your arms. In your mind. And in your heart. Every second you let pass without telling her that you’re not thinking of her or lying that it is not true, you plunge the dagger deeper inside. Because she has realised that it is those that can cause you the greatest happiness that ultimately will cause your deepest pain.

What a heart sounds like from the inside

http://mosafernameh.com/UploadImage/lz6.jpgShe is the one who knows you better than you (admit you) know yourself. She has learnt to do so ever since you arrived. To interpret what your every frown, tear, smile means. She is the one who stays awake so you can sleep. Who goes over and beyond her abilities at times, simply to please you. Who places you above all else, even herself. She is the one who carries you inside for three quarters of a year and then outside for a lifetime. Who holds you up and teaches you how to survive, although you can’t imagine doing it without her. Who watches you often prioritise your father who may love you equally as much but did not go through the same to bring you into the world. She is the one who will help you even when you don’t ask or when you think you can manage on your own. Who always knows what to say and is somehow always right even if you don’t realise it at the time and acknowledge it in retrospect. Who no matter how much you scream at, yell at or push away, always comes back because she doesn’t know how not to. Who shows you you are never alone because her love is unconditional and endless. Who hurts twice as much when she sees you suffering and is unable to do something to relieve your pain. Who can feel you just as you can feel her too. She is the one who personifies what Mother Theresa had once said, that “in this life we can not do great things; but we can do small things with great love”. Who makes sacrifices for you but speaks nothing of them. Who you hold as a model of strength, kindness, elegance and grace. Whose shoes you tried to fill ever since you learnt how to walk on your own. Who makes you feel (helpless) like a child again when you acknowledge how much you miss her, regardless of how independent and strong you (think you) are. Who, no matter how old you are, will always be the one you call to at any time for whatever reason and she will always respond. Whose hug and smile makes every problem disappear. Who you love to surprise and shower with gifts because you know she would do the same and more for you. She is the one who is not appreciated enough but never stops caring or trying any less.

A mother’s love is the most powerful cure in the world and the greatest gift we receive. It is priceless.

Tell her you love her. It is not said often enough. Remember you’re the only one who knows what her heart sounds like from the inside.

 

* Mummy, I love you.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Priceless

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