The Assassin's Garden
The garden in front of her cabin was where Anne found peace. Tending to her marigolds and the mature pear tree gave a calm sense of purpose, as they bathed in the sun. Anne was once a force to be reckoned with, but now that she’s retired, she merely keeps to herself, hoping no one elicits her instincts. To put it plainly, Anne was once at the top of the food chain. She was the one who hunted because she knew there was never an opportunity to let her guard down.
Predator turned Prey
With the backdrop of songbirds and the sun rays painting the cabin a golden hue, Anne found peace. This was the first time in eight years Anne had taken time off work as her next assignment hadn’t been determined yet. The getaway wasn’t by choice, for if Anne had it her way, she’d have work piled up for months in advance. It was quite peculiar, that there was no work for her, but Anne didn’t mind as she forgot what it was like to live her life, not having to be on edge all the time.
Bread and Beurre
Having spent sleepless nights fixing the mistakes of his manager with no recognition, Shawn looked forward to celebrating the end of the work week. Originally craving a burger from a local mom and pop joint in the heart of downtown, his route carried him to a newly constructed restaurant.
Holding onto Memories
It’s been two whole decades and I still can’t get over how immense the barn doors are. I always watched dad open them early in the morning after being woken up by the rooster’s call. I wanted to say I helped, but really, I was just looking over the kitchen window as mom prepped us a quick meal. I wonder if they’re still taking care of the animals where they are. I can’t imagine dad enjoys paradise. His entire life revolved around work and if you took that away from him, he might as well be a walking corpse. And mom was never idle either. If she wasn’t running around managing everything, she’d be lounging in her chair with a heavy book or knitting us new clothes for the colder days. Both always had a cup of hot coffee in their hand, calling it their elixir of energy. I always wondered if they had an elixir of strength, or maybe a fireproof one. They could have escaped the fire, or maybe I should have slept in my room that night instead of being in the barn. Whimsical thoughts, I guess. Being in front of the barn now, and looking at the ruins of where our home was, its hard to believe I lived here and that animals roamed freely.
The Lost Art of Storytelling
Robotic vocals echo throughout the chambers. Eerie screeching, primal vocalisations the mechanical beasts resort to assert dominance over the organics. Although that seems to be pointless now. In search of immortality, smarter women and men than I sequenced 0s and 1s to transfer human consciousness into empty metal vessels. Many taking on humanistic forms, but there were a few that chose fantasy options. Metal beasts with upgraded attachments, and human models that could transform with a thought. Titanium lions that could fly, spiders that fired webs with lethal force, and humans that could summon wings from their backs or boosters from their soles were often visible from my caged window. Overlooking Times Square, there is a certain beauty at all the wildlife and foliage that covers the ashy Earth and towers made of metal, glass, and stone.
A Prayer to the Moon
Despite the phases of the moon, I always know its there. This provided a great deal of comfort as a child when both my parents were working. It made me understand that despite not physically being present or visible 24/7, they were always there watching over me ... the moon and my parents. Throughout the week, I’d see them at odd hours as they quickly grabbed a bite to eat or were finally able to rest after a rigorous workday. The weekends were full of adventures. Full of quality time. Full of wishes hoping the weekend wouldn’t come to an end. The weekend was also when my mom would get the chance to read a bedtime story for me.
Visualizing Innovation through Business and Education
Exploring creativity evoked a fear response for most of my life. It was too risky to explore passions or deviate from the normal expectations from a child of immigrant parents. A plan for success had been devised for me – finish my public education, pursue post-secondary education, and then enter the workforce. A pathway many cling onto without exploring their passions or what truly adds colour to their lives. A fear of failure is what motivated a lot of my actions, but once I experienced fear, repeatedly, I had to embrace that uncomfortable feeling.
Your Hogwarts Acceptance Letter Got Lost in the Mail
During the winter holidays one year, I learned that quite a few of my friends rewatch the Harry Potter series. This was an intentional act to take them back to their childhood when things were much simpler, and they experienced pure joy following the series. For many it was what made reading fun to them, and although it may not be their favourite book anymore, the characters, plot and inside jokes have become unforgettable trivia that they still reference to this day. Knowing that the following year, we would be turning 22, I decided that I would take this opportunity to finally read the entire series and present my best friend with their own Hogwarts acceptance letter. In the story, the letters were originally sent out to children when they turned 11, so it seemed quite fitting that there would have been an attempt at redelivery, when most of them were finishing up their post-secondary education. Some of my friends had even joked that they would have totally dropped their current studies to attend Hogwarts if given the chance, so I knew I was on the right track with this creative project. Although they would have been a mature student in age, their curiosity and love of magical things would make them fit right in. I was quite excited to have an art project to work on as and looking forward to witnessing the joy they would experience having a childhood dream fulfilled.
The Elusive Dragon
Instilling absolute fear and disgust, bugs are not what people gravitate towards when talking about the beauty of nature. However, for as long as I can remember, bugs have fascinated me. Their speed, their sounds, their colours – Incredibly frustrating to capture, but charming to observe. I spent my childhood summer days roaming the community garden studying all the critters I could find. Ants were everywhere, pouring out of the entrances they dug into the ground. Grasshoppers jumping great distances to show-off their powerful legs. It surprised me the first time I saw a grasshopper fly. I just found it so cool and unfair that not only did they have the ability to quickly jump but could also experience new heights flying short distances. Watching the bees travel from flower to flower was enchanting, but also scary because I wanted to avoid their stinger at all costs. The buzzing of flies and the chirps of crickets deafened my thoughts. And mosquitoes seemed to never leave me alone. The wilderness within that garden and any of the trails I explored showed me how diverse and colourful critters could be.
My Mother Taught Me How to Read ...
My mother taught me simply how to read the world. Whispers in the wind and screams from the sun went unheard to all except the perceptive ears of my mother, the perpetual listener. Forever focused on everything but herself, my mother embodies nature’s own parent; minding the precarious growth of the ignorant and naïve from behind a proverbial curtain of humility. Who was I, other than the bundle of cells my mother gave identity to with nothing but love and sacrifice? Who am I, other than the product of generations upon generations of mothers’ work concentrated into one selfish, easily-distracted, and technologically addled lump? In understanding my path ahead and recognizing my gifts of today, it is truly my mother who taught me to read the past.