Of The Muse In You: Dead End

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE: Online Strangers

becoming

The story so far:

I received an email  from a stranger I decided to reply it, after a google search check to verify if email address was implicated in any scams. Now I decided how I should proceed.

The popular opinion “investigate cautiously” as you wait to hear from her

 

Once upon a time I got an email from a princess, her father, a warlord had been executed by rebel forces, leaving her sole heiress to a vast fortune in blood diamonds and prime real estate, worth several hundred six figure digits. All she needed was someone to marry her, then to transfer ownership of the late warlord’s estate to husband, so that the government would be unable to forfeit the assets and fortune. If I married her, she would grant me a quarter of the wealth, which would still be in the six figure region too. The catch though was that I had to wire transfer her plane ticket money and my bank details so she could begin part of the transactions……

Sounds too good to be true right? Yeah, that’s what a typical email scam looks like, you get lured in with a promise for wealth, lottery or a lucrative business investment and then asked to advance cash for something or other suddenly bang all the money in your bank is gone…….

Constant Vigilance” I thought to myself, in the words of Mad Eye Moody teaching a class for Defence Against Dark Arts in the Harry Potter Books. “Well if I knew what to look out for I wouldn’t get scammed, right?”

I opened my Google to do a bit of internet research. It’s strange, how little we know of what happens to world around us, even though the information is right there, if you know where to look. Nya Chiuta’s hometown state was in the area were the nightmarish abductions where being done by the Boko Haram, I had seen it on the news, I might have even tweeted a solidarity message hashtagged #bringbackthegirls. But could a hashtag ever really bring back anyone?

Who or what was the Boko Haram anyway and why did they kidnap people? Well according to Google, they are The Islamic State in West Africa and have gone by various names most popular being Boko Haram, which loosely translates to “western education is forbidden”  or “western influence is a sin” or “Westernization is sacrilege”…..

As I was doing my research, I happened to stalk Nya’s Facebook profile again to check when she was last active and noticed a tagged post. She was tagged in a post where people we people were praying for her safe return………..

A ping indicating new email interrupted my research.

It was an email from the mailer daemon indicating that the email to Nya Chiuta had failed reason unavailable mail server.

Message not delivered

What happens Next?

  1. Dead End: The End
  2. Check Email address and try again
  3. Send Facebook message
  4. Check if Facebook profile has alternative contact number
  5. Go to Tagged Facebook post contact person who tagged her
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My Recommended Blog of the Day

To find yourself Quoted and Recommended.
Even I would want to read me after that, The Damascus Steel of Verbal Sword play!

Bitchin’ in the Kitchen

Carrying on my with my Blog of the day – which is actually my twice a week award, I’d like to introduce you to today’s recipient. This recognition is not something that requires the recipient to do anything.

Its an acknowledgement from me to you that’s a heartfelt and sincere appreciation of the entertainment, enlightenment and empathy I’ve come to expect.

It’s an introduction to others of a Blogger I hold in high esteem.

If anyone wants to reblog please feel free. My intention is to shout from the rooftops how much I love my recommendations!!

Today’s Blogger is a thought provoking and engaging storyteller/philosopher/lyricist. Lyricist may be a smidge of poetic licence on my part but when the words you read flow like a song – you’ll understand.

An intriguing raconteur I’m sure already be familiar with, Beaton of Becoming the Muse

My favourite quote from Beatons’s blog is…

View original post 123 more words

Of The Muse In You; Online Strangers

Welcome,  if you have been here before welcome back; for the benefit of those joining for the first time and those who don’t remember I am continuing where I left off…….

This is a writing project that I started and it somehow slipped my mind but  ITS BACK!!!!!!!

How it works: I am developing this story and you can be part of the journey, at the end of the post you get to help me decide how the story proceeds next.

becoming

The story so far: Which you can read by clicking  here: The message in a bottle

I received an email from a stranger on the internet, as I was about to delete I took a chance and decided to read it instead. The popular choice  from the readers (thanking everyone who voted) was:

Google the sender and email address to check if they not listed under any scam artists

Another ABBA track played on the radio, I sang along to it as I used the Google search bar to find my mysterious messager. I found it ironic how I called myself old soul, yet embraced technology as if I had born with my umbilical cord plugged into the internet. I laughed at the silly metaphors I made up by myself. Well, I was an old soul, call me old fashioned even but I loved letters too bad people didn’t write letters any more, only this instant messaging and social whats what media.

According to Google search results Nya Chiuta’s email was not associated with any known scams and had a FaceBook profile which was hardly used except for posts from friends wishing her happy birthday. “Well,” I thought to myself might as well as reply her email, “Who knows it could be just like pen pal except that emails took far much less time and you didn’t have to rush to the gate every time the postman passed hoping he had brought something for you, anything other than bills…….”

I opened my email tab and begun to type:

Dear Nya

I hope this email finds you well. I must confess your email had me worried and intrigued. If all you need is a friend though I can’t promise you much, I will listen.

Yours sincerely

T’Cha

I couldn’t help smiling at the way I signed my name, I guess the Black Panther craze had got to me too. I clicked send and watched as the email zipped away and into the information super highway………

Switching again to Nya’s Facebook profile because I had excellent research skills as I liked to refer to them; as opposed to stalker tendencies as my friends teasingly called them. Something about her profile had been bugging me, her location, it was a place in Nigeria, I suddenly remembered, a place I had recently heard in the news, where those girls had been kidnapped………..

What if….. but nah, but what if….. could it be just a coincidence?

What do I do?

  1. Wait for her reply and then ask her
  2. Pretend I know nothing and if she replies I’ll let her tell me if anything is wrong
  3. Don’t get involved, ignore any incoming emails
  4. Stalk her Facebook further, find her most frequent interactions see if there is anything to be found.
  5. send another email, ask point blank where she is and her intentions

Of Wandering Minds

#VSS very short story

Wednesdays are short story days. I’ll pick a tweet from  my twitter #VSS archive and expand on it…

The house was silent, in the way a vacant house was empty. My footsteps echoed long and loud as if someone else walked beside me in the empty corridors and I felt like a trespasser intruding on the silence. The movers had finished and all the furniture was on its way to my new home. I was simply doing a final check to see if anything had been left behind.

Looking at the floor you could tell where the furniture had been, spots that didn’t quite shine as the rest of the floor, pale spots where the floor polish never reached. Even on the walls, if you looked carefully, you could see where picture frames had hung and one was still there. Of course someone had forgot to take down the one in the living room.

beaton Family portrait

Our family portrait hung above the mantle. The five of us smiling, a Kodak moment frozen in time. Was that the last time we had all been together, maybe, maybe not but it was definitely the last we had all had posed for a family portrait. Too bad we had not done this more often.

Standing on the tips of my toes I could reach the portrait but could not quite get it to unhook from the wall, I wished I was a little bit taller. Looking around for something to give me a boost I found a broken stool with three legs instead of four, which was probably why it had been left behind too.

I balanced on it precariously, unbidden images flashed in my mind; me falling, breaking limbs, picture frame shattering, glass shards embedding deep and warm liquid pouring out and then, and then coldness; followed by unending darkness. I retrieved the picture with no mishaps except a slight shortness of breath and sweaty palms shakimg ever so little…….

Talk about an overactive imagination I thought to myself as I wiped beads of sweat from my brow. There was nowhere to sit so I rested on the wall and slid to the floor, knees tucked to my chest cradling the family portrait, I could see my faint reflection in it its glass. Earlier I had called for a taxi to pick me and I still had close to an hour to go; I had nothing but time on my hands. Time and a couple of sandwiches, crumbs fell to the floor as I unwrapped the foil, remembering I hadn’t had breakfast, moving is such a stressful business………

I felt movement along my leg and casually flicked away the annoying insect, then I felt another and another and another. That’s when I looked down and saw them. Looking at me with more than an insect awareness, ignoring the crumbs on the ground. Seemed as if they were gauging my weight, checking to see, if they could drag me underground, to their lair, as they would the discarded food crumbs. They were all around me, the ants, standing there, in a coordinated formation, almost military…….

troop of ants

The word troop came to mind.

 

#Flashfiction

Of Left, Right And Wrong

GUEST POST: Raquel

Left Or Right

As a child, growing up was awesome experience. I was the second child and first daughter of a family of seven children, two boys and five girls. We girls in the middle the first and last born being boys.

Let me write about one unique memory which is still part of me. I am, rather I was a left handed child, I say so because I use my right hand now. To best describe it I am now ambidextrous. No; that doesn’t describe me well neither . Let me describe it further; there are things I do only with my left and there are things l can do with my right only and there are things I use both comfortably. I write with my right hand for I was forced to learn to write with my right and I wash with my left hand, for sweeping I can use both hands .

Being the first female child in the family meant I was my mum’s first student in “home affairs”. She taught me the ways of being a woman, especially when it came to domestic chores.

In the African setting where I come from, the left hand has some taboo functions. You can’t use your left hand to give or take anything from anyone, not even someone you are senior to and worse if it’s an elder. My mum did her best to correct me to the point I got confused. She would say “with that your left hand” using my local dialect and in defence, I tell her “…. it’s my right hand mum“.

Okay this is what I did after failing to identify which was my right hand. If l wanted to do anything, I first watched whoever is around me and I see what hand that person is using. I would then, in my mind’s eye, while still sitting where I was, move myself and turn to the position the person was and try to pick out which is my right hand. That was my means of escape and it really did help me. I failed several times, because if I was seated facing the person and tried to use the hand I saw the person using it would be the opposite hand. Getting directions to go anywhere was a tough one for me but I learnt to use makers.

I was always last to finish any task it was really awkward for me, at a point I became an introvert and then I discovered books. There no one judged me or corrected me, I could flow however I wanted without pressure. It was my place of escape and joy.
I believe my mum somehow gave up, but because the job had to be done, she only made her usual comment and she let me be.”Ka maskar ragai ni“, meaning that left hand. Funny people do at times complain even when it is my right.

Rachel copy

Bio:

*Rachel is a Church girl, a wife and a mother of three. A graduate of Mass-Communication. She calls herself a washer woman as she is into laundry and dry-cleaning business. A Nigerian from the Northeast state of Borno but lives in Abuja. She loves her mum. She loves reading and would love to write more if her muse would keep musing her.

She loves to be addressed with her pen name Raquel.
.

Of Mainstream Media: is it dying?

Is Mainstream Media dying…. And did The New Media deal it a mortal blow?

Is Journalism dying, killed by social media
“The Medium has compromised The Media”

A sound-bite from Takura Zhangazha whilst speaking on the role The Media on the upcoming Zimbabwean Presidential elections and part of an analysis of previous 2013 elections, at a Medial Alliance of Zimbabwe conference; where it was noted there has been a marked increase in social media usage and citizen journalism. He defined The Medium as being tools, technology; the internet social media……..

Well one cannot lay blame on tools, they say “guns don’t kill people…. ” (but then who ever came up with that phrase was from a time before anyone ever imagined someone would invent drones and weaponise them or the strides in Artificial Intelligence; before the future spelt out in Hollywood movies was even remotely possible, the machines rise…. but I digress)

Corrupted Media

The DNA of The New Media

Mainstream media has had gaps in its coverage, marginalising some aspects in favour of profitable stories, political mileage and sometimes simply some sort of principle and code. These gaps have been filled by new media; which allows for diverse practitioners to exploit the ease at which information spreads, (going viral), abiding by almost no code, ungoverned and ungovernable, algorithms defining trending topics; requiring little or no verification; mostly for the likes; shares retweets, the real time interaction and the entertainment value…

Social Media can break the news before almost any media house, first with the news, because anyone anywhere with a smartphone and an internet connection is a pseudo-journalist…

When traditional media houses try to out-compete new media, they wind up losing their journalistic integrity, (and their credibility). Is it a surprise no one takes mainstream media seriously anymore, not pointing any fingers, but when a head of state takes to social medal  to label a media house as fake news………

If traditional media houses treat new media and online content creation as their “unscrupulous” competition whom they need to fight for their place in the sun then …… mainstream media will die.

The herald

The logic makes sense; but in this age of The Internet Of Things, where even your fridge can go online; this is how you lose a battle with new media. You leave a space and someone or something will take your place; like a game musical chairs when the music stops, you find your seat has been taken……. You are Out.

online piracy

Piracy/plagiarism is a real problem and another challenge all together. I have Google searched and found snippets of my words unattributed to me, it hurts…. I mean if you ask me nicely I would let you, so long as you referenced back to me, is that too much to ask for? When a solution comes do let me know.

Traditional media houses need to adapt and embrace more of the new media; define new guidelines and core values with regards to interacting with social media instead of treating it as an amusing spectacle like children running around in adults clothes pretending to be journalists; useful only to get hits and views. It is an instrument a powerful one, capable of transforming the world as we know it, but a tool’s is utility just like any weapon is dependent on its wielder.

Evian babies wearing oversized clothes

RESPECT

The main problem with social media is “the proliferation of fake news” a phrase I have heard over and over again. But it’s mostly a matter of user education, people must need to learn a culture of not spreading unverified information or at least questioning and cross-checking facts. Sometimes even a quick Google Search could prove to you that a celebrity is not dead or how today is a not a unique day whose star alignment will not happen again in the next 456321 million years…..

Maybe that’s what mainstream media has to do; apply expert skill-set to interpret trends, analysing stories and issues raised in new media packaging them in the way they should be, debunking fake news and harnessing the potential reach of online influencers; reviewing new media the way it already reviews traditional publishing houses. On social media everyone to a degree is a social commentator or analyst adding their two cents to the narrative and with elections coming up, that space is going to be real chaotic  real fast in a way that could change electoral process dynamics.

If I owned a media house…………….

~B

 

Photo Credit: Evian Water Babies Digital Agency Network

 

Of Coffee, Mothering Sundays, Blogging Awards and Fans

If you were having coffee with I would greet you and ask if for a second you thought it was Mother’s day and you were wondering if your calendar is broken? Well it’s not Mother’s day its Mothering Sunday (falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent) Its celebrated almost exactly like mother’s day except that its origins are steeped in religion. On this day a very long time ago folk used to return to their mother church; the church where they got baptised and later it become the day people let their housekeepers go to church and then eventually turned into a day celebrating motherhood … Happy Mothering Day to all the mothers, you are forces of nature!!!

If you were having coffee I would tell I attended an Influencer’s Cocktail event which was also an awards ceremony for Zimbabwean  content creators Zim blogging awards. The event and the awards were created to bring recognition to bloggers and also try to engage brands and corporates to make use of the services of bloggers and their online influence in a mutually beneficial relationship.

zim blog awards

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that awards are always tricky things especially inaugural awards. I felt they put too much value on the influence aspect and more a popularity contest than properly doing tribute to online content creators; with a flawed voting system allowing people to vote unlimited times, I was tempted to also vote for myself multiple times. But hey we gotta start somewhere; call it a learning curve and hopefully next time they will be bigger and better……..

If you were having coffee with me; I would tell you that the best part of the day was meeting people who would recognise you from your blog; to meet real people not your family and friends who actually read your blog and love your blog, the feeling is priceless, for a second you feel like you famous. The highlight of the day was when I met someone who had also been at the International Women day event I wrote about HERE in my previous post, telling me how they appreciate and I quote “men who love women” and thanked me for the support…. Little things like that, that’s what keep me going. If you are out there reading this Thank YOU.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell that suddenly I’m feeling festive Lets Do The March Blog Party whoop whoop: I’ll share some of my favourite posts from my favourite female bloggers because #PressForProgress go show them some love and in the comments below share a link to a post of yours you want read don’t forget to read posts from others and when you comment on a post you found from my blog sign off by saying With Compliments From The Muse so one can tell from whence they found your blog post. That’s pretty neat right? I promise to try to read every post you guys share…

Be Humble Not Timid – Tapiwanashe

The introvert’s holiday survival guide – Quarter wife

Untitled 27/2 – Beauty’s daughter

IWD – life with Dimples

Why are women more tolerant than men – Faith

God Bless The Woman – Joseyphina

learning to love myself – Mable

Embarking on a journey of self love – Makaitah Rouge

Writing Recipe – Floating

on behaving beautifully – The Britchy One

~B

Of Picture It: International Women’s Day

Happy Women’s Day

Every day is woman’s day on this space of mine especially this month of March. I pledge to #PressForProgress and Forge positive visibility of women

#PressForProgress

#PressForProgress

Yesterday I had the honour of being on the set of Picture It with Sibs Jolie hosting a special International  Women’s Day edition.

International women's day Picture it with SIbs

Picture It with Sibs

The panel was made up of remarkable women; who leave unique footprints in the space around them:

Candice Mwakalyelye, radio personality and newscaster

Candice Mwakalyelye

Candice

Pastor Catherine Magadzire Pastor and business woman

pastor catherine

Pastor Catherine Magadzire

Rachel Adams Life Coach, Leadership Developer and also a Breath Practitioner in training

Rachel Adams

Rachel Adams

I promised myself that I would play my part, even if my part is to be a fly on the wall; to observe and write down; to amplify voices in the way a writer can. I sat amidst a handful of other men in a roomful of women and I will confess though I didn’t know what to expect, but I did wonder if this is how women felt all the time, like must you ask for permission to simply be yourself, to be where you are, to belong, to be part of………….

At the rate we are moving; according to various studies; the gender gap will be closed in over 170 years. 170 years that’s how long it will take unless some serious changes happen to the way we have been taught to think and act.

gender equality

Candice mentioned that the world was never ready for the force that is women. (Well the world better start shaping up and taking notice stop being stifling) Candice said that before you hold yourself back from doing something ask yourself “whats the worst that could happen?” You could fail and  if you fail you learn, that’s experience; its also ok to be scared…..

You must constantly open yourself to new experience, learn and teach what you learn!

One of Candice’s goals is to make at least one person smile every day, she says for her it makes her that even if just for a little bit she has made that person feel better…………………….

Pastor Catherine Magadzire spoke on how we are all wonderfully and fearfully made creations. She said that we do not need to ask for permission to shine or to be the best of version of yourself. Pastor Magadzire is a pastor not because he her husband is one; her husband is titled pastor by marriage to her.

If a woman can make a home, can she not also run a business successfully??

Rachel Adams introduced herself as being from a small town and as with most small towns the dreams there are small. She still maintained that you should dare to be anything you want, to light that candle and courageously take your place in the world, and breathe properly while you are at it, you just might be surprised what a breathing exercise each morning could do for the quality of your life…..

Rachel made a thought provoking remark about how its not all about man holding back women but  that women should start fully being themselves; to stop thinking of themselves as just women but as human beings to proudly and unapologetically be who they should be….

We need to start having Courageous Conversations; saying what needs to be said and living with the consequences

Rachel shared a quote by Arundathi Roy:

“Another world is not only possible,

She is not only on her way .

On a quite day,

I can hear her breathing”

 

~B

Ps At the end of the day what I took home is that if we strive to be the best human beings we could be and helped others to be their best selves, as a candle lights another, maybe gender parity could be achieved tomorrow….

Of Coffee, Women And Progress

If you were having coffee with me; I would greet you as a stranger who suddenly realises that amongst other strangers we are kindred spirits you and I. How alike yet totally unalike we are; which is probably why I enjoy our little visits. Please do feel at home, grab a cup of coffee or juice or whatever rocks your boat (……water, that’s what rocks boats)

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that its March, but of course you know this. I don’t know if its International Woman’s Month but I do know International Woman’s Day is on the 8th of March and in the USA, UK and Australia they  celebrate women’ s history month in march and Canada observes it in October. This March it might as well as be Women’s Month on over here; as I will be using this space to celebrate womanhood.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you how I shall endeavour to bring the female narrative to my blog, featuring guest articles from ordinary women and the extraordinary things they do disguised as ordinary; book reviews, author interviews and other things I’ll just make up as I go along. Maybe I shall write a story from the female perspective I don’t think I have ever tried that…..

If you were having coffee with me I would tell I #PressForProgress

Press for progress

I will #PressForProgressTo kick start my March Goals, if you were having coffee with me I would tell you I had the privilege of attending Batsirai Chigama’s Gather The Children Book launch at  Alliance Français Harare.

gather the children book launch

gather the children Batsirai Chigama

Gather The Children is a self-published poetry anthology drawing inspiration mostly from her experiences and the prevailing socio-political climate.  During a live onstage interview she revealed delaying the book launch in October last year, fearing what could happen, how her book would be received but after a while you run out of metaphors to hide your anger behind, to break the silence…….

“……Silence was taught to our mothers

We rejected it at birth”

–excerpt from Daughters of Fire a poem from Gather The Children

Batsirai Chigama is a spoken word artist with years of stage experience and you can feel the vibe in her poetry. The poems in her book are meant to be spoken out aloud.

A selected few of the poems were performed during the launch alongside backing vocals and sound effects from Mangoma Percussion group. It was breathtaking; I wish you had been there, I wish I had a camera but then again maybe not; I was so busy being in the moment I would have probably forgot to press record….

 

The stage set was simply art; a bowl with candles burning, a vanity case full of old bearer cheque notes, a table hanging from the ceiling and a basket with a bow on the handle full of her books. Ah yes and there was a soul warming performance by Hope Masike.

 

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if you know what separates animals from angels? Its Art!!

~B

 

PS even Johnnie Walker is celebrating women this month cheers:

Jane Walker

 

Photo Credit: Batsirai Chigama 

Hope Masike

Johnnie Walker

Becoming the muse #PressForProgress

Of Moonlit Letters To A Muse

My Dearest Mable

Today is neither your birthday nor the anniversary of the first letter you wrote me on your blog almost a year ago. I remember each word almost like I just read it before I started writing you this letter…………..

dear Beaton letter

Ok, ok, I confess, I just finished rereading it again, for the zillionth time……….

I have always started to write a reply back each time and have gone as far as:

Dear Mable

And I then I fail to come up with words that would be a reply worthy of the honour you did me.

letter from mable

letter from Mable

Today however, I will sit here and I will write.

Today is not a holiday neither is it your birthday, it’s not even a full moon night, this February did not have a single full moon although January had two including a lunar eclipse. Imagine I am writing this on a full moon, as I imagine you reading this beneath the moonlit night sky.

You make me smile, you make laugh and most of all you just might be as crazy as you think I am.

That sounds like something I ciuld have whispered to you, in my past life, you might have been my favourite wife, or the lady who danced to all my songs and finished the sentences to all my stories made them right…

The universe might have conspired to place time and distance between us but across various timelines and multitudes of possibilities we would always find each other.

I love the sun

But I dream of The Moon,

All that The Sun gives away

The moon takes,

Sunlight by day

Moonnlight by night

Fulfilling the promises

Let The Be Light……..

Imagine this were a moonlit night and I whispered these words into the breeze, beneath the moon’s milky twilight, petals in the wind dancing with their beloved, as the moonbeam strikes a chord on the window seal.

On nights such as these I stare out of the window to see the moon of my dreams and picture myself howling at it, like a mythical being as I imagine you looking at the same moon and thinking of me too.

The same moon that shines in my sky watches over you too, wherever so you may be, its as if I too will be there by your side. Even when the sun itself is shining we will always have the moon, it may not be as big nor as bright but it is way more magical……

Moon howling

The Full-moon Poet

Today is not a holiday, neither is it your holiday but I thought to not let it pass without me immortalizing you in the only way I know how

All My Love

~B