Making a Difference ~~ by Sebnem Sanders

Making a Difference ~~ by Sebnem Sanders

In the wayward, icy wind, blowing the city fumes in all directions, Miss Plenty tucked in the errant locks that had escaped from her wool cap and pulled it tightly over her ears.  Warming her freezing hands, framed in fingerless gloves over the heat of the fire, she scrutinized Mr. Nothing. “I see a pensive look in your eyes. What’s up?”

“Sometimes, my thoughts drift to the past, but what’s done is done.”

“This is our reality. Your memories belong to a life that is no longer yours. Or one you left behind for your own reasons. No point in slipping back into something that’s gone.”

“I know. Still, acceptance or not being acceptable bugs me.”

“Acceptable, hmm,” she said, watching her warm breath turn into white vapour in the cold night air.

“I betcha,” she said, with a smile, “we can make a difference.”

“How so?” Mr. Nothing asked.  “The only difference we make is they run away from us as if we carry the plague.”

“Yup. But what if we meet them on their terms? Other than that stark discrepancy we conjure when we walk down the high-street.”

“You mean dress like them, and mingle with crowds without anyone noticing us?”

A mischievous spark gleaming in her eyes, she answered, “No. That would be against our philosophy and decision to live on the streets. Something more clever and subtle.”

“Hmm,” he said thinking. “By staying the same and beating them at their game?”

“You’re getting there,” she said, fumbling through the pockets of her over-sized, shabby coat. “You got a fag? I must have smoked the last one.”

“Yeah,” he said, digging beneath the layers of clothes on his slim torso to extract a crushed pack. “Here,” he took one out and stuck it in her mouth, then dipped a twig into the fire, lighting hers and one for himself.

“So, what’s the plan?”

“I’m thinking,” she said, as Wino approached the barrel, with a flask in his hand.

“Evening, guys. The nice lady at the bar gave me some mulled wine and magazines to read. Want some?”

“Why not,” Miss Plenty replied. “Keeps you warm. What did you do, sweep the shop front?”

“I carried some stuff for her.”

The temporary warming effect of the spiced drink invigorated their bodies, as the homeless settled into their corners, watching the lives of the homeful spread out on the pages of the glossy magazines. An article about a socialite triggered Plenty’s attention. A Costume Party Fundraiser, with a reward for the winner. Tickets $65. How to get the tickets … do I dare?

The following morning, Plenty ambled to the pay-phone and made a collect call to her best friend.

“Hi, Sandy, I need a favour.”

“Where are you? When will I see you?”

“Don’t know, yet. I’ll call you. Please do me favour, get me two tickets to the fundraiser…”

“Why? Are you into the benefit events?”

“Don’t ask questions, and please have them delivered to The Mayflower on West Street…”

“I’ll do anything for you. Just promise not to go AWOL too long. I miss you.”

“Promise. I miss you, too. Thanks.”

Two days later, Plenty picked up the envelope containing the tickets from the local bar.

Back at the homeless settlement beneath the bridge, she looked for Mr. Nothing. She spotted Wino, stretched out in his corner, fighting with a crossword puzzle.

“Good to see you sober for a change, Wino. Where’s Mr. Nothing?”

“Crosswords keep the mind active,” he said, with a big smile, exposing his missing teeth. “He wasn’t feeling well, maybe pissed out of his mind. I saw him going to the bushes down there.”

She found Nothing asleep behind a tree, by the embankment. His face appeared flushed. She put her hand on his forehead. It was burning. “Wake up, wake up. You’re going to get hypothermia here. You have a fever.”

Nothing opened his bloodshot eyes and moaned. “I don’t feel well. My tummy is churning.”

“What did you eat again? Didn’t I tell you not touch anything thrown in the garbage bin? Especially, after the last time.”

“It was only leftover pizza in a box.”

“You don’t know how long it’s been there, do you? Or whether it’s been contaminated. Get up, we’re going to the shelter for some soup.”

She dragged him along to the homeless shelter. After serving him a bowl of soup with a generous squeeze of lemon, she gave him a paracetamol tablet from the first aid cabinet and made him drink it with lots of water.

“For the next two days you’re having nothing but soup, and my mother’s remedy.”

“I didn’t know you had a mother.”

“Everyone has one. Hot lemon juice mixed with fresh mint is the best. You’d better get well soon. We’re going to a party.”

“What party?”

“A costume party.”

“What? Are you mad?”

“I’m not. It’s a fundraiser with a reward.”

“Where do we find the costumes?”

“We won’t have to.”

Plenty kept an eye on Nothing for the next two days as he recovered.

They arrived at the venue of the Fundraiser and mixed with the crowds stepping out of their cars at the entrance.

“You’d better turn on your best accent, Nothing. I betcha, you’re some kind of academician with your knowledge of literature.”

“I’ll try,” he said, grinning.

The event was televised live by a local channel working with the charity website. The homeless couple was photographed at the entrance, along with the other guests in fancy costumes. Kings, queens, knights, Cinderella, Snow White, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Don Quixote, Long John Silver. Dracula, Superman, Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Deitrich, George Sand, Madonna, Rita Hayward, and many diverse characters and icons.

Awed by their sumptuous surroundings and the publicity involved, Plenty and Nothing tried hard not to look out of place. Once they settled into the ambiance, they scoffed as much as they could eat and drink from the buffet. They danced and chatted to the other guests.

A couple of hours into the event, the highlight of the evening came as the votes began to pour in. Plenty and Nothing watched themselves and the other contenders on the screen. The session closed down at the end of the hour.

A presenter mounted the stage to announce the top three winners: Brigitte Bardot 950 votes, Dracula 1240, The Homeless Couple 1350 votes.

Heads spinning, legs shaking, Plenty and Nothing made their way to the stage. Nothing took a deep breath and thanked the audience. He coughed and continued, “We won’t be able to accept the award because we didn’t make the effort to prepare our costumes. These are our regular clothes, second-hand gear from charity shops. We’re real homeless people.”

The presenter took the microphone, as a commotion rose from the audience. “I invite the Charity President, Mr. Smith, to the stage.”

Mr. Smith climbed up the steps and greeted the homeless couple. “There’s nothing I like better than genuine stuff. The cheque for $1000 is yours to do as you please. We’re happy with the results.”

Dodging their way through a sea of photographers, Plenty and Nothing managed to leave the venue. They ran down the streets, taking shortcuts via narrow alleys, between blocks to lose the press on their tail. They hid in a derelict building near the settlement and waited to make sure there were no reporters around.

Back under the bridge, they called the members of their clan to make a decision about the cheque.

“Cigarettes for everyone.”

“Wine for everyone.”

“Burgers and pizza for everyone.”

“Give it to the shelter for everyone.”

The shelter won, by the majority of votes. Plenty and Nothing, accompanied by Wino, as the witness, took the cheque to the manager of the Shelter from the Storm. “With our compliments.”

On the way back, Plenty nudged Nothing with her elbow. “See, we make a difference.”

This story first appeared in Ripples on the Pond, my debut anthology of flash fiction and short stories.

https://www.amazon.com/Ripples-Pond-Sebnem-Sanders-ebook/dp/B077XCK3SD/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1546758746&sr=1-1&keywords=ripples+on+the+pond


OMP Admin Note:

Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Currently, she lives on the eastern shores of the Southern Aegean where she dreams and writes Flash Fiction and Flash Poesy, as well as longer works of fiction. Her flash stories have been published on the Harper Collins Authonomy BlogThe DrabbleSick Lit Magazine, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, SpelkFiction, The Bosphorus Review of Books, Three Drops from the Cauldron, The Rye Whiskey Review, and CarpeArteJournal. She has a completed manuscript, The Child of Heaven and two works in progress, The Child of Passion and The Lost Child.  Her collection of short and flash fiction stories, Ripples on the Pond, was published in December 2017. Her stories have also appeared in two Anthologies: Paws and Claws and One Million Project, Thriller Anthology. More information can be found at her website where she publishes some of her work:

https://sebnemsanders.wordpress.com/

 

Ripples on the Pond

https://www.amazon.com/Ripples-Pond-Sebnem-Sanders-ebook/dp/B077XCK3SD/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1546758746&sr=1-1&keywords=ripples+on+the+pond

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17427985.Sebnem_E_Sanders

https://www.facebook.com/sebnem.sanders

https://Twitter.com/sebnemsanders
https://Instagram.com/sebnemsanders
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sebnem-sanders-b3593263/


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

 

 

 

 

Homelessness – Is It A Man-Made Disaster? ~~~ by Moinak Das

Homelessness – Is It A Man-Made Disaster?   ~~~  by Moinak Das

A couple of weeks back, I was traveling to Mumbai, a densely populated city on India’s west coast. It is the financial centre of the Indian subcontinent. It is a region, famous for its demographic diaspora.

Mumbai is also famous for its maze-like, super-cheap and robust railway connectivity. I remember I took a train from Kalyan to Bandra to visit a friend’s house. It was an hour-long journey. I wasn’t traveling alone. I was traveling with the friend himself. And we were discussing a lot of topics during the commute. One such topic was ‘homelessness’. Homelessness is the condition wherein people fail to arrange a safe, secure and stable habitat.

For a very long time, I have believed homelessness to be a manmade disaster. The reason was simple. In my opinion, anything naturally available and critically essential to human existence must be made into a basic human right. But, a quick google research tells me that is not the case with land! Internationally, no treaty or declaration specifically refers to a human right to the land.

Countering my left-wing socialist views, my friend argued with rationals. He made me calculate the total surface area of the land on earth. Using simple high school mathematics, a few basic calculations and a couple of obvious assumptions, I found this to be approximately 60,000,000 square miles. Of this, 33% is desert, 24% is mountainous and only the remaining is actually habitable. This leaves us with approximately 25,000,000 square miles of habitable land. Then I divided this by the approximate number of people living on earth. We found out that each person (irrespective of his or her age and gender) can have up to 2 acres of land to live on. Not to forget, this habitable land also includes the forests and therefore ain’t very beneficial. Now, if we also brought into consideration the land space required for farming, manufacturing and other essential constructions, we would be left with less than 1 acre of land per person. Also, every 3 seconds, a child is born and every 11 seconds a person dies. The ratio roughly turns out to be 4 to 1. With life expectancy increasing, the 11 seconds will rise and the 3 seconds will decline. “In other words, we have a severe land crisis bomb ticking on which is going to blast, if not now, very soon!” he concluded.

I did agree with his rationale to some extent. He had a valid point. But the socialist ‘me’ couldn’t settle with this. I argued for this unjust fallacy. When you think about it, the majority of our world works to pay their rent, or for a place to live in. But why? The land belonged to everyone equally in the beginning. It surely didn’t belong to the governments. And neither did it belong to any private entity. They didn’t create it. The land was created by nature, by God or whatever you’d like to call it. But somehow we have found the reasoning in being charged for what should be free unequivocally. We continue to be sheeple, thinking that money should be given in exchange for things that are rightfully free to all the living beings by default. And we have even developed rationales to justify this fallacy.

My friend cut me short again! “And where do you plan to build the factories? Where do the 6-lane highways lie? Where does your shopping mall stand? And where do we place this railway station?” my friend fired, pointing out of the window.

“And why do we need them? Why do we need shopping malls? Why do we need 6-lane highways? Can’t we live like people used to live in good old days? Can’t we have lived in our own parcel of lands and have grown just the amount of food we need to survive?” I argued back.

Bandra arrived pretty soon. And we had to get down. Of course, we didn’t talk on this anymore.

I don’t know who was right and who was not. But I still believe this thing. There doesn’t have to be homeless people, or people being evicted because the economy can’t sustain itself and provide jobs. There doesn’t have to be hungry people because the economy can’t produce enough.

However, as easy as they might seem, they are too idealistic to be followed in this pragmatic world. For that is why tough socialists have constantly failed and feeble capitalists have survived.


OMP Admin Note:  Moinak Das is an aspiring writer and an impromptu storyteller. A curious wanderer as he is, you can expect any genre in his writings. So enjoy reading and let the ink of imagination flow.

https://inkofimagination.wordpress.com/

One Million Project Fiction Anthology

One Million Project Fiction Anthology

The recent publication of the three-volume short story anthologies from the One Million Project was the culmination of over a year and a half of work and coordination of over one hundred writers, editors and publishing professionals. Each week, I will highlight each of the anthologies to give readers a taste of how fabulous these books are. PhotoFunia-1517878513(1)

This anthology contains a variety of fictional works, poetry and even a few non-fictional stories. Step back in time to 1746 with author Sheena Macleod’s Ghosts of Culloden a haunting tale of the last battle fought on Scottish soil. If you have ever considered your dog to be a member of the family, you will cry your heart out when you read Fluffy by Tyke Evenese. I love the poetry of James Cleveland Turner, a former CIA officer whose short story in rhymed verse is similar in style to the rhyming verses of Doctor Seuss.  Mother Hoodie will give you something you never felt when reading a Doctor Seuss story — goosebumps.

I can promise you that One Million Project Fiction Anthology has more than its share of stories that will transport you back centuries in time or maybe just to your childhood. Stories that will make you feel sadness and loss, the tender emotion of new love, or have you laughing at the banter between characters.  This collection of stories brings writers from around the globe who provide the reader with an escape from the daily grind.

The beauty of these publications is two-fold — entertainment for the reader who will be helping to provide funding for Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS Homeless Programs through their purchase.

Cancer Research UK provides research which assists researchers, physicians, and medical centers around the world.  EMMAUS Homeless Programs can be found worldwide with over 330 centers that assist the homeless through job training and assistance to find jobs and places to live.

The One Million Project’s mission is to raise One Million Pounds for charity.  All proceeds from the sales of the anthologies (minus publication/shipping and handling fees) will be donated to the aforementioned charities.


The OMP acknowledges the following contributors who donated their stories and their talents to this project.

Authors: Tom Walburn, Lavinia Leigh, James Cleveland Turner, David Butterworth, Melissa Volker, Jason Greenfield, Sheena Macleod, Patsy Jawo, Riya Bhattacharya, Tyke Evenese, Debra Goelz, Art Dunham, Dawn Barton, Darcy Lundeen, Meixia, Sue Hart, James Loughlin, Michael Walsh, D. J. Meyers, T. E. Bradford, C.L. Henderson, Kate McGinn, Nicole Bea, Steven J. Clark, Christine Larsen, Lorraine Reed, Andrew R. Nixon, Paul Westley, Zoe Mitchell, Nancy PS Hopp, JJ Kendrick, Emma L. Thomson, Michele Potter, Jason Cook, Diane Dickson, Lindsey-Jane Doley, Michelle Kidd, Geraldine Renton, George A. McLendon,  and Suzanne Milne

Compiling Editor: Jason GreenfieldIMG_6873

OMP: Fiction Editors: Sue Hart & K.V. Wilson

Main Cover Designs: D.J. Meyers

Main Cover Logo Design: Claudia Murray

Formatting and Image Editing: Declan Conner

Publisher: OMP Publishing with assistance from Kate Anderson & Dark Ink Press


myBook.to/Fiction

myBook.to/Thriller

myBook.to/Fantasy


OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who blogs on a regular basis about various causes and issues.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers. The first two books in her Clare Thibodeaux Series–EXODUS and WINTER’S ICY CARESS are available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1473258208&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1473258097&sr=1-2-ent

@katemcginn6

 

One Million Project’s Fantasy Anthology

One Million Project’s Fantasy Anthology

The recent publication of the three-volume short story anthologies from the One Million Project was the culmination of over a year and a half of work and coordination of over one hundred writers, editors and publishing professionals. Each week, I will highlight each of the anthologies to give readers a taste of how fabulous these books are.

Our Fantasy volume presents a variety of genres including Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and PhotoFunia-1517875727 (1)Supernatural Fantasy.  Each story is of differing lengths and some authors have contributed multiple mini-stories so there are more than forty stories in this volume.

Find out what happens to Rachel when her long-time boyfriend leaves her for another man in S. Cinders’ story, Dragon or escape into a tale about what happens when the gods and goddesses create mischief in The Perfect Tree by Sarah A. Wilson.  Have you ever gazed in the mirror and questioned your life choices? Raymond St. Elmo will amuse your inner child with his Sci-Fi tale, The Girl Running Deep in the Sea of Glass.  Ready for some romance? Then you will love North Star by Gabriela Cabezut. Her story will have you wishing on a star hoping you will find your own naked man on a hilltop in Colorado!

 

I can promise you that One Million Project Fantasy Anthology has more than its share of stories of myth, fantastical creatures and the unexplainable.  Bringing writers from around the globe who present the reader with stories that provide the escape from reality every lover of the Supernatural, Fantasy and Science Fiction relish.

The beauty of these publications is two-fold — entertainment for the reader who will be helping to provide funding for Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS Homeless Programs through their purchase.

Cancer Research UK provides research which assists researchers, physicians, and medical centers around the world.  EMMAUS Homeless Programs can be found worldwide with over 330 centers that assist the homeless through job training and assistance to find jobs and places to live.

The One Million Project’s mission is to raise One Million Pounds for charity.  All proceeds from the sales of the anthologies (minus publication/shipping and handling fees) will be donated to the aforementioned charities.


The OMP acknowledges the following contributors who donated their stories and their talents to this project.

Authors: S. Cinders, Xanxa Symanah, Jason Greenfield, L.L. Montez, Adrian Hilder, J.M. McNeely, Chie Hatsume Pamyu, Mark Gardner, Staci Hudson, Sarah A. Wilson, Winter Silverberry, Anna Quin, A.L. Peevey, L. Fergus, Sharon Rhoades, Meg MacDonald, Mark Huntley-James, David Michael Williams, Kristen Jacques, Leigh W. Stuart, Betsey McQueen, Mel El, Susan K. Saltos, Owen Rothberg, Steven J. Pemberton, Raymond St. Elmo, Gabriela Cabequt, Sue Baron, Melissa Volker, David McKeown, Diane Dickson, Scott Butcher, Richard Ashcraft, Oliver Pratt, Vered Ehsani, Dawn Elize, Seb Jenkins, Subrata Saha and Rebecca Weiger.

Compiling Editor: Jason Greenfield41vj1XSGPNL

OMP: Fantasy Project Manager: Linn Neilson

OMP: Fantasy Editor: Sharon Rhoades

Main Cover Designs: D.J. Meyers

Main Cover Logo Design: Claudia Murray

Formatting and Image Editing: Declan Conner

Publisher: OMP Publishing with assistance from Kate Anderson & Dark Ink Press


myBook.to/Fantasy

myBook.to/Fiction

myBook.to/Thriller


OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who blogs on a regular basis about various causes and issues.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers. The first two books in her Clare Thibodeaux Series–EXODUS and WINTER’S ICY CARESS are available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1473258208&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1473258097&sr=1-2-ent

@katemcginn6

 

One Million Project Thriller Anthology

One Million Project Thriller Anthology

The recent publication of the three-volume short story anthologies from the One Million Project was the culmination of over a year and a half of work and coordination of over PhotoFunia-1517878748one hundred writers, editors and publishing professionals. Each week, I will highlight each of the anthologies to give readers a taste of how fabulous these books are.

The OMP Thriller volume presents a variety of different genres including Horror, Thriller, Mystery, and Crime.  Alice in a Clockwork Wonderland in Brian Bogart’s story, Tocsin, or an up-and-coming author finding love and struggling to write her next book in Darly Jamison’s Writer’s Block which will provide mystery and excitement.

Award-winning author Wendy H. Jones’ short story, DI Shona McKenzie’s Guide to Bumping off Your Boss, features the main character in her police procedural series set in Dundee, Scotland — D.I. Shona McKenzie Mysteries.

I love to read a chilling tale that causes goosebumps to rise on my arms, and One Million Project Thriller Anthology will not disappoint. The beauty of these publications is two-fold — entertainment for the reader who will be helping to provide funding for Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS Homeless Programs through their purchase.

Cancer Research UK provides research which assists researchers, physicians, and medical centers around the world.  EMMAUS Homeless Programs can be found worldwide with over 330 centers that assist the homeless through job training and assistance to find jobs and places to live.

The One Million Project’s mission is to raise One Million Pounds for charity.  All proceeds from the sales of the anthologies (minus publication/shipping and handling fees) will be donated to the aforementioned charities.


The OMP acknowledges the following contributors who donated their stories and their talents to this project.

Authors: Dan Pullen, John Dodd, Mike Cooley, Brian Bogart, Joe Stanley, D. J. Doyle, M. W. Johnston, Karin Davies, Greg Meritt, Oznonymous, Soleil Daniels, Wendy Cole, Sherry Logsdon, Barbara Galvin, Paul Skelton, John A. Riley, Amy M. Zahray, Alicia Britton, Darly Jamison, Jenni Clarke, Jada Trainor, Ruby Julian, Carolyn Hill, Rosie Dean, Lauren O’Neill, Susan O’Reilly, Sebnem E. Sanders, Moinak Das, Akje Majdanek, J. Robin Whitley, Seb Jenkins, Paul Glanville, Alex Nderitu, Terry Odell, Declan Conner, John Nedwill, Jason Greenfield, Ann Brady, Elizabeth A. Rochel and Wendy H. Jones.

Compiling Editor: Jason GreenfieldPhotoFunia-1517879511(1)

OMP: Thriller Project Manager: Soleil Daniels

OMP: Thriller Editors: Sue Baron & Soleil Daniels

Main Cover Designs: D.J. Meyers

Main Cover Logo Design: Claudia Murray

Formatting and Image Editing: Declan Conner

Publisher: OMP Publishing with assistance from Kate Anderson & Dark Ink Press


myBook.to/Thriller

myBook.to/Fantasy

myBook.to/Fiction


OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who blogs on a regular basis about various causes and issues.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers. The first two books in her Clare Thibodeaux Series–EXODUS and WINTER’S ICY CARESS are available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1473258208&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1473258097&sr=1-2-ent

@katemcginn6

 

The Cultural Bridge

The following  idea is developed after a lot of research and consultation with a lot of people. The idea written below is not solely a product of my imagination. I must agree, Sharon Rhoads has helped me change my views comepletely. With this, I extend my gratitude towards her and give her the credits she deserves.

img_1838

Culture is the part and parcel of human society. It is a prism of realities. In simpler words, culture is just like our mother tongue. Just as we start learning our language even before we understand its importance and use, we start learning our culture way before we are even aware of what it is.

Culture seeps into us, through the bedtime stories that we read, or the music that we listen. It also gets into us subtly through the religious traditions, holidays, celebrations, and the works of literature and mythology.

Strangely enough, culture still remains one the most misunderstood concepts in the world of humanities.

People, since ages, have misunderstood the meaning of the term, ‘culture’. Culture is how you live and who you are, not where you live. For instance, fishermen have a “culture”. People who live in homeless camps and shelters have a “culture”. People who are very wealthy have a “culture”. The people of a certain culture will understand each other and the life they live, but outsiders will not. Every one of us has our own “culture” that has nothing to do with where we live and still everything to do with who we are.

Nations these days rarely contain a single “culture” within their borders. When we talk about “culture” we need to be clear about its meaning. When we use that word, we are not referring to different countries. We are, in fact, referring to the differences in how we see the world, how we see ourselves, how we see others and how we live our lives. Did you know that deaf people have a “culture”? Or for that matter, circus performers have a “culture”. Even the surfers have a “culture”. And all these “cultures” separate people from each other because they don’t understand the other “cultures” around them.

But ‘culture’ hasn’t always remained a favourable influence.

A lot of times, in fact, it has worked against us. It made us look down at others as ‘different’. It acted as a wall, more than the link it was supposed to be. It stood for ages, dividing us on the basis of our differences. These are quite evident from the outright wars that had been waged between the east and the west, the Arabs and the Non-Arabs, the blacks and the whites and so on.

The internet, television and movies today, show us all the other parts of the world. But, they seldom help us understand the people who have different “cultures”. How well do you understand the “culture” of the deaf? They have their own language and a set of social expectations.

These are the walls that need to be knocked down!

In order to further this, One Million Project, OMP came up with this idea; the idea of knocking down the Cultural Walls and converting them into Cultural Bridges. So here we are, starting another wonderful project where we would like to have writers, artists, musicians and others share something about their culture on this online platform. Let our audience know about a different culture every few days, not through the humdrum routine textbooks they’d pick up in their high schools or libraries, but through the real stories about the real human experience.

Because sometimes we need more than an anthropologist or a sociologist to teach us culture. We need each other!

Moinak Das
(with special thanks to Sharon Rhoads)

The Cultural Bridge

For more information on the project, please visit us on The Cultural Bridge and tell us how you feel about it. We are currently in our initiation stage. So if something doesn't work for you, don't hesitate to comment there. Thank you.

 

Revisions and Insanity

Revisions and Insanity

I discovered late yesterday I would have to post a blog on the One Million Project website.  I’m not usually so scatter-brained about deadlines, but I have a deadline of my own at the moment.  I’m in the Revision stage of my latest book; so needless to say, I’m going insane a little more each day.

I think it’s appropriate to give you, the reader, a bit of history about the revision process and moi.  With my first full-length book, I approached the revision and editing process without a plan or a clue, if I’m being frank.  Yeah, I read different articles about various steps other writers had used during the final revisions and edits.  I chose to go my own way, and I was so very wrong.  I had several beta readers helping me by pointing out punctuation and spelling errors, sentence structure, point-of-view issues, and other helpful suggestions.  I appreciated their help so very much.  They were not the issue.

I ran the book through the Grammarly program, and I even purchased the updated version of the application.  It gave me several suggestions and caught some items I’d overlooked.  It proved to be a wise decision, in light of my special talent for creating sentences akin to a freshly made pot of alphabet soup.

Last but not the least of my revisionist plans, I sat down and read my book out loud to get a feel for the sentence flow and spot any errors which had remained hidden from the multiple orbs perusing the pages.  This was sound advice I’d read on someone’s blog, and it is effective for someone without a mix of youthful daydreaming and the memory problems of advancing age.   I would have such good intentions, and before I realized it, I was vacuuming the rug, messing around with widgets on my website or shopping online.

Authors will tell you they are often their own worst critics.  It’s true.  Once I start reading what I’ve written, I will dutifully begin revising sentences.  Not one or two, but every single one will be cut, put back together and ripped apart again.  After a few glasses of wine mingled with my wretched tears, I begin to start calling friends to inform them that my writing is “pure ___.”  Fill in whatever word seems fitting.

I keep re-reading the same chapters and the changes continue.  After two weeks, I find I’m still on the first paragraph of my book (a slight exaggeration for dramatic purposes).  I have chapters which include the same character’s name twelve-hundred times in a fifteen-hundred-word count chapter.  Another of my special talents, it seems.

So, here I am a year later in the throes of revising/editing my second book.  Please wish me well.  This could well be my last blog post, because I need to re-write every sentence about forty times.

If you’ve read this far, I hope you understand much of what I’ve written is satire, but with satire comes a basic truth about my own foibles and shortcomings.  Every book will have some errors, and I’ve yet to read one without something my third-grade teacher would have marked with a red checkmark.  The moral of my tale is simply to avoid losing the creative essence of the story as you look for the imperfections.

My job is done.  I must get back to my revisions before the men in white suits bring my straight jacket.


OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers. Her full-length book EXODUS is also available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1473258208&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1473258097&sr=1-2-ent

Twitter: @katemcginn6

https://www.katemcginn.com/

Finding Talents!

“Grandpa! Can I ask you something?” The boy asked as he rested his head on the old man’s lap.

“Umm-hmm. Go ahead, son.” The old man ruffled his hands through the boy’s dishevelled hair.

“Miss May was telling me that everyone has a special talent.”

“Yes, she was right!”

“But how do I find my talents. I have spent twenty-three years of my life. But still, I haven’t figured out the purpose of my existence and the value of my presence! Leave alone ‘talents’. Sometimes I feel, I am not talented at all.”

“Hahaha! Well, that is not true, child” Grandpa replied.

“Then how do I find my talents? Martha is an excellent singer. Toby plays wonderful football. Lira is good at drawing. Ron is good in studies. And I am good at nothing! For the past couple of years, I have only been failing. I have failed in my exams. I have failed to qualify for the school football team. I have failed to make my parents proud. I have failed at everything I have touched.” A drop of tear rolled down his eyes as his voice trembled.

“Trust me, son. You are talented indeed. If you ever have the feeling that you are not talented enough, it isn’t your fault, child. It is the system that is faulty. It is the world which lacks eyes to recognise your talent. You may, in fact, be possessing a rather unusual talent. The talents that your friends possess are actually common talents. Like being good at sports or studies or being good at a particular art. The talents that do not get recognised are patience, thoughtfulness, optimism, the desire to succeed or rebuttal to defeat, will power and so on. If you observe, these are the same set of skills that are otherwise ‘taught’ to some people through ‘self-help books’ or the ‘lifestyle coaches’, but then there are few people like you who possess these naturally. And the worst part is that these kinds of talents do not have a conventional stage for display. For Lira, the drawing paper is her stage for display. For Toby, the football ground is his stage for display. But for you, my son, there are no stages for display and hence medium of expression.”

“So will I never get to show my talent? Will no one ever know that I am talented?” The boy looked up, a little relaxed.

“Well, that is not true again. It may be that your innate talent may be situation specific. There are people who do not handle failure well; these days little kids are committing suicide over trivial issues. There are people who do not even know how to get back up after falling. But if you have that talent called ‘perseverance’ then you are one of those rare kids who knows how to get back up again even after falling a thousand times. Your talents actually help you to live your life. Just ask yourself this one question. ‘Would that seemingly talented Martha be able to live your life? Would that seemingly strong Toby be able to keep on facing failure like you?’ and I am sure; the answer would always be ‘NO’.”

 

@moinakdas

http://inkofimagination.wordpress.com

An Exam Called Life

THE LAST EXAM

Up until my high school days, I hated almost all my exams. I hated the competitive ones and I hated the non-competitive ones. I hated them just religiously, without any discrimination. And I hated them because I thought exams were a discrete hammering on a child’s natural intellect. But as the numbers on my age changed, so did my views and beliefs.

Surprisingly over the last three years at college, after sailing through a university level of education and a gruelling series of examinations, almost on my own, I have understood one simple thing; exams are more than just a reality check. Exams are actually the stimulants that trigger your intellect and enhance your ability to cope with the real world. It helps you deal with the insane amounts of difficulties that you face ahead in your life.

My under-graduation is nearing an end. Only a few of months have passed since I have last written an exam and I am anxiously waiting for my results. I don’t even know if I will pass, but trust me, I don’t hate exams as much as I did some years ago, (though I am still not too fond of them).
A clichéd saying in my country goes; “An engineer might not have studied for an entire year, but s/he will still be a master of his subject on the night before an exam!” And I am proud to certify the above statement to the fullest of my beliefs.

It was a rainy night in the serene town of Vellore as monsoons had just touched upon the sea shores in the southern parts of India. I had just one exam left and it was the most difficult one. And I remember calling upon every friend of mine over the phone, inquiring about their progress with the syllabus and irritating them over and over again. I knew I was being moronic but trust me, this is the only anti-depressant available to a student at such a strenuous time. If friends are behind you in the race to complete the syllabus, you man, are safe!
But, I was lagging behind!
I instantly realised that I have to spend another sleepless night or I might completely screw up in the exam the next morning.
I wanted to cry over my fate.
I wanted to go and kill those teachers.
I wanted to run far away.
I wished I had studied this before.

But amid all of this, a strange realisation took place in me.

I curated a bunch of previous year exam question papers. I called up a few (trustworthy) friends and inquired from them about the important questions that the teacher might have unwantedly spelt out in the last few classes.
Having gathered all these things, I started to prepare, ‘just to pass’.
And I kept on studying, desperate not to fall asleep at any cost.
But life happens.

I woke up at eight in the morning, cursing myself, and found my books lying on the floor while my pen and notebooks were pressed under me. I got up with a jolt and hurriedly began revising all that I had studied the night before and eventually went to write the exam, leaving the burden of my fate on the shoulders of the almighty (though I was not a believer of god back then, hardships and struggles can always do the impossible, they say!).
I came out of the hall, thirty minutes before the exam was actually over and surprisingly I was unimaginably optimistic about the exam. I didn’t know whether I did well or not but I knew one thing. I did my best. I gave in more than I actually could.

It is today that I suddenly realise that exams are an exact analogy of life, scaled down to a hundred and eighty minutes (or however long an exam is). Whatever I did for that exam that day was actually a teaching in disguise. It was a lesson of what I should do again in the future if I faced something deadly in my life.

THE BEAUTIFUL ANALOGY

For anything deadly that might collide head on with me in my life ahead, I should trust my past experiences (curate a bunch of previous year exam question papers).

Then I should call my friends for help or pray to god for the right direction (inquired from them about the important questions that the teacher might have unwantedly spelt out in the last few classes).

My priority should always be to just ‘survive’, (start to prepare ‘just to pass’).

And the last thing I should do is to leave the result in the God’s will (write the exam, leaving the burden of my fate on the shoulders of the almighty).

I am sure I will come out as optimistic as I did in my exam that day.

So you see? Exams are much like those vaccines that we used to get injected with in our childhood. We all know that vaccines of a particular disease are nothing but the disease itself. But this disease instead of harming you actually sets up a system of immunity within your body. It helps your body fight against the real disease which you might face someday.
Actually, exams are just an emergency algorithm to life’s problems.