On my return to WordPress, I was very disappointed to learn that the “daily prompt” no longer exist. In my amateur opinion everyone, even Steven King and Khalil Gibran needs a spark to get the creative juices flowing. They must, I’m sure, be able to find that spark in the little things every day – a walk in the park or a spilled cup of coffee might lead to a bestselling novel. This aspiring writer is not there yet. So, I rifled through the web in search of something similar and came across their 365 Days of Writing Prompts, which will have to do for now. Granted, I’m a day late, but here’s the one for yesterday:
Ripped from the headlines
Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.
The first headline that caught my eye on News24 was the news that Margaret is now divorced. For those of you who don’t know Margaret, here’s the long and short of it
Margaret, the farmer’s wife on a small town in the middle of nowhere decided to spice things up and delve into the world of sexting with her husband. The photo ended up going to her daughter’s hockey WhatsApp group and went viral from there.
What is not being said in this little story? Who’s to say her husband didn’t ask her for the picture? Who’s to say it wasn’t a regular thing between them? Who’s to say if it was not meant for someone other than her husband? Who’s to say…. Fact is, with it being a small town she was ridiculed and their entire family suffered as a result of one message. Strange thing then, that she decided to move to town while her (now ex-) husband stayed on the farm? It if was me, I would have high tailed out of there in the blink of an eye. So, what is not being said…
The story that developed in my head was a bit 50 Shade-ish (gasp), so I’ll rather not bore you with those details. It got me thinking, however, about everything that remains unsaid and how well we really know people.
I’ve often said that we only really know people as much as they allow us to know them. No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. The smiling, obedient wife might be the victim of abuse. The busy executive who is always away on business might be having an affair. The couple who’s always hosting and throwing lavish parties might be struggling financially. The cheery blond, who is always the life of the party looking for the next adventure, might be an extremely lonely, hurt and scared little girl with tons of issues. The quiet one in the corner with the “leave me alone” expression, might have more to say that anyone would ever know.
There’s a lot to be said for not being a “quiet” person. I would much rather sit back and listen and observe than make small talk. You learn so much about people if you just stop and listen – really listen.
The biggest communication flaw we have is that we hear to respond, we don’t really listen. If you stop and listen instead of just hearing, there is so much to be learned from every day conversations. People don’t realize how they allow little vulnerabilities shine through with things that they say, and when they do it is usually quickly fixed with a joke that leaves everyone roaring with laughter to distract from the truth that was spoken – the truth they don’t want people to know.
If I could have a super-power, it would be to be able to read people’s minds. Then I will really know what is being meant or what truth is hidden or what lie is being sold as gospel. The world has taught us to not verbalize what we really think or feel – we might get rejected, we might be misunderstood, our fears might scare people away, our dreams might be too big for them. So, we keep it to ourselves. We don’t share our innermost wishes and fears and hopes and dreams, because we don’t know how it will be received. And that is where things go wrong.
I could for instance say that I enjoyed my December home making so much that I don’t want to go back to work. My boss might read it and see that my commitment to work is waning, which is completely wrong.
If you can’t be totally truthful about what you feel and want and need – however messed up it might be (I take you back to Margaret and her husband now) – how can we ever have successful relationships? Perhaps Margaret and her husband found themselves in a slump in their marriage and instead of giving up on it, they read 50 Shades and decided to spice things up and work at their marriage. Granted, some people might say if that is the case they went about it the wrong way, but we will never know will we.
The thing is that our thoughts and needs and emotions can be scary. One of Robin Sharma’s tactics is “speak your truth even when it’s scary”. A lot can be achieved by doing just that if, and that’s a big IF, we don’t allow our fears to cloud our minds.
A friend recently suggested that we do a 100% truth evening. The thought of it was so uncomfortable that we decided not to follow through. Do we really want to know the absolute truth of what someone thinks about us and our ideas, would we be able to handle it?
If your “truth” is too much for someone to handle or if your “truth” is not what they want to hear or accept, is that person really the kind of person you need in your circle? I don’t know. Until I’ll do, I’ll continue to listen and share my truth here.