It’s a new month, and the nights are starting to get lighter a little bit earlier. I’m sure we can all agree that this is a most welcome transition as we head towards Spring. Firstly, I should say hello and introduce myself: I’m Charlotte, your Showcase editor over the next few weeks.
February can be an exciting month; we leave January behind, a difficult month for those of us scrambling to make up for the huge expense of Christmas. It also marks the start of Chinese New Year, which in China is known as ‘Chunjie’, or Spring Festival. I would like to wish those of our readers who celebrate this occasion a very Happy New Year, or ‘Gong hei fat choy’ (in Cantonese).
While most people in the UK mark the start of Spring in March during the Spring Equinox, I think February is the perfect time to start thinking about all of the wonderful things we have to look forward to. As an artist inspired by nature, springtime provides me with a whole range of new colours that Winter sadly could not; wildlife creep to leave hibernation, and fresh flowers start to grow, trees begin to shoot new leaves and the weather becomes gloriously unpredictable.
Another artist inspired by nature is writer Shahema Tafader. Her poem, Stay, describes her stubborn perseverance when capturing the perfect photographic image of a doe, during the bitter, colder months.
By now, my hands are numb under my gloves. But still I stay, like a mountain. Or
perhaps like a child with Stockholm.
My raincoat has done well, but the parasitic dampness has infiltrated to disturb my
But I stay.
And I watch.
And I think. Because that never stops.
Clouds burst forth from my lips and icicles hang from my nostrils. Like a film rolling
in half-speed, I remove my hand from my camera and clench and unclench a fist. My right
hand remains on duty, the shutter under its command.
The sun joins me, but like the bars of a prison cell, the trees hold back its joy. But
still, in its warmth I see the first rustle of dead leaves.
The doe is here.
She wanders over to the base of the tree, and looks up. She is still. Aware. But does
not react when my shutter goes off. The fruit of months of conditioning.
Satisfied she won’t run, I stop shooting and wait for what I really want.
Her brown head lowers and her forelegs scrape the ground. And as the walls come
down, the prisoners find their way to the light. Their thirty minutes begin now.
© Shahema Tafader, 2021
Our next Showcase piece is from Tracey Iceton, taking us through the rapidly changing seasons, while the protagonist enjoys her own experience of a fast-changing relationship and the rush of excitement we all feel during those early months of a relationship. A heart-warming tale to get us into the spirit of St. Valentine’s Day!
Taken For A Ride
I fell in love with Dan instantly: the broad shoulders, the dark eyes, the glistening
chrome, the throaty rumble of his exhaust.
My mother wasn’t so keen. “It’s not safe,” she insisted.
“It’s not the bike you hate, it’s Dan,” I accused, grabbing my leather jacket
and rushing out into the delicate spring warmth, where my knight was waiting on his
My mother, trapped inside, watched helplessly as I swung my leg defiantly
over the seat and wrapped my arms around his leather-skinned back, pressing my
body against his.
Long summer days were spent in ecstatic flights of pleasure. We swept into
bends and launched down straights, flying through our dreams together. I wanted to
“Dan’s here,” my mother called up.
I pulled on an extra jumper and wrapped a scarf around my neck to keep back
the nibbling teeth of autumn.
When I went down, my mother was smiling. I opened the door and looked out.
Dan was there. Alone.
“I sold it,” he said, “and bought this.”
He held out a small red box. The diamond inside winked knowingly at me. I
shook my head. The ride was over.
© Tracey Iceton, 2021
The place we all share and call home, our planet Earth, is a place filled with thousands of unseen secret jewels. There’s so much of this world around us that, at times, it can be overwhelming to think each of us are actually just tiny beings, going through the process of existence. Tiny we may be, but we’re also intelligent, strong and resourceful; some say the most evolved beings on our earth. But what of the particles that make us and the place we inhabit? Our final writing for this week is a marvellously comical piece written by Jo Renton, from the perspective of… a Photon.
A Character In Search Of Its Rightful Place In The Story
Well, the greatest story of all says: Let there be light and there was light – right at the beginning of the first chapter, which is called Genesis, I believe. It’s all about me, Mr Photon, and I don’t even get a mention! Without me and my quadrillions of friends and relations making up 99.9 (plus a dozen more nines) of the matter or the universe there would be no light or heat. No nothing. There
would be no colours for humans to wax lyrical about; neither would they be able to acquire a holiday tan, get their broken bones X-rayed, heat up food in the microwave oven, or listen to the radio.
Not that they did much of that in Genesis, but I just thought I’d mention it.
I rather suspect the reason why I was not included is because I’m so fascinating. I would have immediately become the centre of attention and perhaps even supplanted the main character in the story, which is not really the point. But, honestly, I’m fantastic! Try to hold on to your sanity while I tell you a bit about myself. Entities like me, existing at the speed of light, experience everything
completely differently. The passage of time, for example, means absolutely nothing to us.
Once we’re born, mostly by splitting off as tiny energy particles from electrons (when they decide to change their orbit and cosy up a bit more to the nucleus in the centre of their atom), we shoot off at the highest speed that’s possible for anything to achieve: 300 thousand kilometres a second. And we don’t stop, until perhaps a trillion years later, when we’re eventually obliterated. We are a dieter’s dream. Lots of energy and exercise, and no weight at all.
Travelling at this speed means, like a certain Being mentioned in Genesis, that I can be everywhere in the universe at once and, if I had a brain, be aware of everything at once as well: past, present and future.
I know what you’re thinking. How can I be everywhere at once, when we all know that light from the furthest galaxies takes billions of years to reach the humans on earth? But, you see, that doesn’t apply if you’re the one actually travelling at the speed of light. I’ll try to explain.
Think of the shrill ambulance or fire-engine sirens of the 21st century. I’m sure you’ve noticed the sound is higher in pitch if the vehicle is moving towards you and lower once it has passed. In other words, the faster something is coming towards you, the more compressed things get ahead of you, making the siren sound higher. And, when you’re actually travelling at the speed of light, which I constantly do, everything is quite literally ahead of me and compressed to infinity; so becoming timeless and instantaneous.
Another of my favourite tricks is being a shape changer. When I travel, I find it more comfortable to be a wave, but sometimes I quite like to be thought of as a tiny, tiny point. This confuses scientists no end. I love confusing everybody. So don’t worry if you’re confused too. You’re not alone!
Perhaps if they had given me a proper write-up in Genesis, I might have tried to be more co-operative. But the way I’m feeling now, those two humans in the story, doing nothing but lazing around in the garden with no clothes on, can count themselves lucky I haven’t turned myself into a gamma ray and given them both radiation sickness.
© Jo Renton, 2021
If you’d like to see your writing appear in the Write On! Showcase, please submit your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to: pentoprint.org/get-involved/submit-to-write-on/
Write On! Audio Podcast Contributor Giveaway
Get involved with Write On! Audio. As a contributor, you could win A Writer’s Journal Workbook by Lucy van Smit. All Write On! Audio submissions (creative or opinion pieces up to six minutes, inspirational moments one to two mins – a short poem for example and why it inspires you – submitted before 20th February) will be considered eligible. The first two pieces chosen for broadcast will receive a book. Submit on: pentoprint.org/get-involved/submit-to-write-on/.
Visit anchor.fm/pentoprint to listen to the Write On! Podcast and get inspired.
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