MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “NaBloPoMo”

Silence in the Metro

303366_underground_-subway_-metro_-station_2048x1536_(www.GdeFon.ru)The sun had already slit under the horizon as Lisa entered the metro station. This was one of the recently renovated stations and its marble walls were still shining white. People were rushing to arrive at the platforms, perhaps even catch the metro that would swing by at that very moment, instead of having to wait that extra 3-4 minutes.

There was plenty of noise, both from the trains arriving and departing and from the people, young and old, speaking to each other, to their phones, to anyone in general.

Lisa got off five stops further down. It was a trip that lasted less than ten minutes. And it didn’t seem any longer.

But there was something strange in that very moment she set her foot off the metro wagon. As if there was an eerie atmosphere, sending chills down her spine and causing her to shiver. It felt as if the whole world around her was moving in slow motion. There were so many people on that platform, queuing at the escalator that would lead them up to the exit above and to the square outside. No-one would take the adjacent stairs. “Typical of how comfortable our lives have become,” thought Lisa, as she observed the people surrounding her. Students, teens, middle-aged, elderly, there were people of all ages, forms, sizes and styles. But there was one weird thing everyone had in common.

No-one was talking.

There was absolute silence in that underground metro station.

The only thing heard was the faint footsteps from women’s heels, if there were any. But there was no noise. Nothing like what she had left five stations earlier. It was as if everyone was expecting something to happen. Not something good. As if at any moment now you would expect a rifle to sound. Running. Voices. Screams. Something. Something that would indicate there was still life down there.

Lisa felt as if she was being watched. She could even see herself from the back, as though she was part of a film noir. And she was the one in the red dress. The one sticking out from the crowd. The one targeted.

The escalator ride to the top seemed to take longer than the metro ride to that station. But at last she arrived.

Noise returned to her ears. The corridors leading to the square outside were bustling with life, instantly crumpling all conspiracy theories that had formed in her head.

“There you are!” shouted Francine as she grabbed Lisa’s arm and gave her a hug. “Wanna go to those cafés on the hill for a drink?”

“Yes. Please. Let’s!” breathed Lisa as her heartbeat returned to its normal rhythms.

 

Also part of  Daily Prompt: Twilight Zone

Also part of Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion

Also part of Daily Prompt: Safety First

Also part of Daily Prompt: Close Call

Also part of NaBloPoMo (November 2013)

‘Déjà vu’s and crystal balls

cloudy-ball224 hours in a day sometimes do not seem enough. Apparently, the right division of the day is 8 hours work, 8 hours play, and 8 hours sleep. When the first two are sort of combined, i.e. you actually enjoy what you are doing as a job, then there is a bit of a muddle-up and you end up simply not having enough time to do all the things you want.

The day passes by really quickly, particularly if you’re running around trying to get things done, that you end up filling up your working place with post-its and lists of what needs to be done, other notes on what not to forget, meetings and even key words. It’s great getting to cross things off your list. But it is a bit of a problem when you cross off one thing and add another five onto another list.

I’ve also realized that no matter how many “déjà vu”s you may have, these don’t really help. Simply because even if you do feel that you’ve lived that specific moment before, it never enlightens you about what may happen next. No-one can foresee the future, no matter what they say. It is something that you are supposed to create on your own.

Life would be different if we all had a crystal ball into which we could look and prepare ourselves for the future, but then we wouldn’t have all the emotion, the rush and adventures in getting there…and where’s the fun in that?

Also part of NaBloPoMo (November 2013)

Also part of Daily Prompt: Twenty-Five Seven

A Journalist by any other name…

twitter-journalismThe other day, as I was blissfully walking across one of the city’s busiest shopping streets (no, I had not bought anything, strangely enough, and yes that does happen), I had an interesting encounter.

A young man was trying to promote a beauty salon and caught my attention with a joke. He asked me what I do. When I responded that (among others) I am a journalist, he frowned and said “well, I can understand the rest, but that, I am not so thrilled about”.

It got me thinking. Why do journalists have such a bad name? And since when? I grew up believing it was so cool to be a journalist, a reporter roaming the streets, cities and countries in search of news, and always being the first to find out exciting information.  It was an ideal job.

But now? Now, journalists are one of the most underpaid and overworked professions there are, with citizen journalists trying to steal the show, and all these social media attempting to take over traditional forms of information.

Journalists have gained a bad name. Why? Because there are so many bad ‘journalists’ out there, that it makes the rest (of us) look bad too.

Everyone suddenly thinks they can be a writer, a journalist, a reporter. Because it is easy to just sit and write whatever comes to mind. But not everyone can express this adequately. And this is something few realize. A journalist is more than a writer and a storyteller. It is a person who searches after news, who can sense what is newsworthy, worthy of reporting; who can understand what the public is concerned about, and who can express it in such a way that every citizen/reader can understand what it is s/he is saying. It is about being concise, comprehensive and to the point. It is about being able to challenge the status quo when necessary, prompt change, and above all make the reader think.

In today’s digital and socially interconnected world, real journalism has lost its meaning. Instead it has become what Frank Zappa called “rock journalism” and most of it “is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read”. And media today have become associated with this bad journalism.

Trying to stand out of the crowd in this storm isn’t easy. But they say that s/he who perseveres wins, and what is more, there is always the faith that a good journalist will never get lost. At least in a world where people still strive for perfection, quality journalism will remain a necessity always searched for…

Also part of NaBloPoMo (November 2013)

Also part of Daily Prompt: Teach Your (Bloggers) Well

Indebted to the future

DSC05826“We live in a Europe of mistrust”. This is what European Parliament (EP) President Martin Schulz stated yesterday Monday 4 November speaking at a very interesting conference in Athens. Organised by the EP Information Offices in Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain – the countries worst hit by the crisis and forced to implement austerity measures – the first of its kind international conference entitled “South for Growth” aims to address the challenges and prospects faced by the countries on the south of the European map in managing the crisis.

In a densely packed room at the Athens Concert Hall, keynote speaker Schulz uttered “it is time to come to an end with the rhetoric of crisis and start a new debate – the rhetoric of hope”. He outlined four proposals which he said are the key points in forging a strategy that will help the south exit the crisis.

Calling on personal experiences, Schulz stated that during the post-WWII period governments asked parents to make sacrifices, with the promise that this would bring a better future for their children.
“These promises were kept,” he said, noting that his generation lived a better life with unprecedented opportunities. “Europe was a promise”. But now, how can we ask parents to make all the more sacrifices, when their children are unemployed, desperate and have lost hope in their future? It is for this reason, Schulz said that youth unemployment must be the first step in promoting growth.

In a passionate and dynamic speech, the EP president stressed that it is unacceptable that the European Central Bank (ECB) maintains interest rates at such a low  figure (0.5%), but Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) do not have access to liquidity. This money is not injected into the real economy, he said, and for this we need a strategy to overcome the credit crunch and help realize the SMEs’ projects. This in turn, he added, will help with employment opportunities.

“We are not bold enough,” he stated. “Let’s dare more, be more imaginative, let’s seize the potential of the resources and geostrategy of the Mediterranean”. Greater economic cooperation in this region will lead to a stronger south and as a result to a more powerful Union.

But “for all these proposals to be realized we need to regain confidence between north and south, between citizens, politics and institutions”. Using the word “trust” over ten times, Schulz was striving to pass the message that without the trust of its people in the EU and the principles of the EU forefathers, the EU structure cannot move forward.

Himself a probable candidate for the post of European Commission President, Schulz delivered a speech that by far responded to the expectations of all those people from all over Europe, mainly young, who filled the room for this conference. It is unknown as to whether the EU officials’ persistence on immediate actions that deliver results is actually due to the campaigning that has already begun ahead of the 2014 EU elections. Because it is widely acknowledged that to stay on board, you need to have achievements to show in your favour.

“The trust of citizens cannot be gained by speeches. It can only be gained when we deliver solutions,” said Schulz with MEP Thodoros Skylakakis (ALDE) adding that “we are just talking heads…we do not realize the extent of the problems, and for that citizens don’t listen to us”.

We live in a Europe of mistrust and of debt. And as EP Vice President Anni Podimata said, “we are indebted”. Not only because of the money we owe, but because of the hope and future we promised to provide to the next generation.

 

Also part of NaBloPoMo (November 2013)

The feeling of freedom

5272593-a-small-rabbit-in-a-field-of-grassShe was excited. It was her first day free! Free at last! Her heart was pounding, and the adrenaline rush was causing her vision to blur. She was ready. She had been for so long. It was all she could look forward to. And now…Now the time had finally arrived!

She had been a prisoner for so long…behind those bars. Being controlled in every way. On when to eat, sleep, and…well, you know…

It was just terrible. Nerve racking. Oppressive. Dull. And even claustrophobic at times – especially when thunder and lightning were the evening spectacle. She felt so alone in there. With nowhere to go.

Then, she would evoke her imaginative friend Clara and they would chat for hours until sunrise, when sunshine would take over the sky from the reigns of the angry night. She would tell Clara how she felt, stifled and distressed. But at times, even Clara wouldn’t understand her. She would say she was a drama-queen. Or that she was pedantic and couldn’t squeeze the juice out of the lemons life had handed her. But as much as Zuzu looked, she couldn’t find any lemons.

Yet, today the day had finally come! The sun was shining and a cool breeze had stated its presence through the crack by the door. It was a perfect day. And Tom and Jenny thought so too. Zuzu could see they were just as excited as she was. The picnic basket was all set, and they were finally out the door. She was one step closer to freedom.

Ten minutes later. They were there. In that amazing green field of so many munchies! The local park seemed like heaven to Zuzu. She was finally left out of her cage with a warning not to go too far.  She hopped out, shook off the cage air from her fur, waggled her little furry tail, pointed up her big ears and with her tiny nose wiggling faster than ever, began to hop rapidly through the grass.

Also part of Trifecta Writing Challenge to include the third definition of the word PEDANTIC (adjective) –  : unimaginative, pedestrian

Also part of Daily Prompt: The Cat Says Meow– Write a story about yourself from the perspective of an object, thing, animal, or another person.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Perspective

A vampire in the fridge

Candle bookIt was night. Darkness had spread its grasp as the wind was howling through the cracks in the window sills. Jane was sitting on the couch, curled up under a blanket reading a book about vampires. The theme seemed to be in fashion lately, so she thought she might as well give it a try.

There was a full moon that night. The mist had stretched its claws over the forest and you could barely see further than two metres ahead. Lilly was scared but at the same time excited. She was sure he would come. She hoped he would. And she was waiting for him. Her bedroom window had been left open on purpose. The curtain was dancing with the breeze. She was on the second floor but that was not a problem for him. Vampires could jump to extraordinary heights and had inexplicable strength and stamina. But he was late. He promised he would be there 20 minutes ago. It was not like him to be late. Suddenly, everything turned dark. A power cut in the area? Or was the evil vampire clan back? Lilly felt cold sweat running down her spine. What could she do? She heard a noise from the kitchen. Was someone in there? How did they get in? Only her window was open. She took the flashlight from her drawer and tiptoed down the stairs to see. She was terrified but had to check. There was no evidence of any intrusion. Until she reached the kitchen…There was a broken plate on the floor and she had to tread carefully to avoid cutting her feet on the pieces. And the fridge door was half-open…but the light wasn’t on… That’s weird, she thought, as she approached with a trembling hand…

Chaf! The lights went off and Jane was left in complete darkness. Let alone the curiosity of what was in the fridge, she now had to face a black out.  Damn it, she thought, and I don’t even know if I have a torch, never mind where I keep it! She got up, feeling her way to the chest of drawers behind the couch where she was certain she had candles and matches. She lit one up and was making her way back to the couch, when she heard something crashing in the kitchen. She froze immediately. For a minute she stood petrified. The book wasn’t coming to life, was it? She wasn’t expecting anyone, let alone a vampire. She cautiously moved with only the flicker of a candle to guide her. On entering the kitchen she detected pieces of broken glass on the floor. And the window was half open. What’s going on?! That book was just a silly tale! But just to be sure she opened the fridge as carefully as she could – the light was on, and there was nothing bizarre in there, well, nothing that shouldn’t be there. She turned to face the window when a cold breeze rushed in and blew out the candle. Standing alone and frightened in the dark, she shared Lilly’s anguish. And then…

Then she felt something soft and furry rubbing up against her feet. She screamed and jumped up and down and almost stepped on it. “MIAAAAOGGRRRR”. It was only Missy. Where had she been all this time, anyway? Power was back and she could finally resolve the mystery: the wind blew open the window which apparently had not been sealed properly, and the cat, scared as it was, rushed over the sink and threw down a glass. That was all. No vampires. No unexpected visitors. Now back to the previous story…or should she?

Also part of Daily Prompt: Fright Night

Also part of NaBloPoMo (November 2013)

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