Graphic: Nova Clark / The Ebbtide
“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
— Erin Morgenstern
The Ebbtide would like to express our appreciation to all of those who participated in our writing competition. Thank you for sharing your words; we know that it takes courage.
We received an overwhelming amount of entries and are happy to announce that it was too difficult to choose just three. Congratulations to our four winners:
We asked you to write about what brings you “light in the darkness,” and this is what you had to say:
“The Little Things”
The tiny specks of color in their eyes,
The bass and background sounds in a song,
Starlight on a cloudy night,
How someone looks when they think nobody can see them,
The mannerisms of a stranger,
Subtle facial expressions which last a second,
The underlying flavors in food,
Little lights in a sleeping city,
Flowers growing through cracks in the pavement,
The mixed colour palette in a piece of art,
The melody of someone’s voice,
How softly someone says your name,
The scent of fresh linen,
Watching milk swirl into coffee,
The gentle hum of an engine,
Squinting to see the wisps of clouds on a sunny day,
Photo albums underneath a blanket of dust,
Antique stores on weekdays,
The pops and crackles of an old vinyl record,
Warm breath on frosted windows
“The Museum of Familiars”
The walls of my house became a prison
My fear kept me from opening the lock,
To be outside again remained afar,
Forced to cast out loved ones to stay alive,
When many have insisted to be seen,
Ravens grew weary of his longer scythe.
Everyday I find more about inside,
Details I never once thought of before,
Forgotten treasures once collecting dust,
Now brought back to life with my memory,
Trinkets like mine carry no such value,
But to me who knew how to find its gold.
Two large bins filled with broken lego sets,
I shoveled my hands until I found friends,
Six shuffled decks, four chips, and a large shoe,
I played against myself to win and lose,
Two cats and a flock of healthy chickens,
These creatures are what my dog likes to herd.
Sometimes when I cook I get visitors,
Their chirps let me know they like the nectar,
Other times I craft potions for practice,
Shaking drinks with my steel, modern caldron,
But most times I love to sing to myself,
The silence makes my loneliness louder.
Everything has changed for the bitter new,
Shaking hands will not ever be the same,
Most people are so scared to get too close,
Learning how to walk like an introvert,
We make strong bridges without any fuss,
Now torn apart as the ticking slows down.
No matter how long I wait for the key,
For the world to finally be unleashed,
I know that the glum will fade very soon,
Because after we stay so patiently,
The things we take for granted will be there,
And the torment… Will turn into relief.
in early morning
a laptop beams blue in the darkness.
sounds of rapid page flipping and student frustration
are drowned out by the sounds of a sleepy cat
toes tapping across a hardwood floor
slowing finding its way
with a meowing Marco-Polo game
to find its human
to jump on a lap
to stretch slowly
to purr loudly
to calm a human heartbeat
to take a moment together to watch a rising sun.
“The Light the Future Brings”
“Live in the present.” That’s the advice many people have to offer when confronted with trying times. They believe the guidance of the four words will lead to a meaningful life. However, contrary to this well-known saying, I choose not to do so sometimes. When times get rough or the present isn’t something you long to be a part of, what can you do? You can’t force yourself to enjoy something just for the idea that it will result in a well-lived life. Accepting that the present isn’t always a gift and trusting that better days are yet to come is the real key to getting through the trials and tribulations of life. I find solace in thinking about the future and having hope for a better one. Although some may see this approach to be a pessimistic one, I think escape from reality is good at moderate amounts. Thinking about what can be is what builds ambition in me. Thinking about what I can achieve in the future when I’m going to be better equipped makes me want to do better today.
Being a girl from Jakarta, Indonesia made me dread my life at times. I want to be a professional dancer. A creator. You can only go so far pursuing such a career in a city that glamorises mundane career paths and isn’t very well-known to the rest of the world. Everyday when I was stuck between the four walls of a classroom with only 15 other classmates, in a tiny school where everyone knew each other, I felt very restricted. Everyday was the same and the environment I was in encouraged students’ full attention to be on academics and academics only. Soon enough, my passion for dance had to take a back seat while I focused on my school work and had virtually no social life. I was itching to get out but I knew that I couldn’t change my reality at the time. Envisioning the multiple possibilities of what my future was going to look like got me out of the hole I felt stuck in. The future lights a fire in me that helps me appreciate what I have now and assures me that I am going to become the person I’ve always wanted to be.
Want to read more? We’ll be sharing some of our other favorite submissions on Facebook and Instagram.