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IMPACT

PHOTOGRAPHY AND TEXT BY DEREK CLARK

My family has been cruising for a long time. By that I mean we have been luckier than most when it comes to tragedy and drama (maybe a little of the latter now and then). So it’s always been at the back of my mind that every good run must come to an end someday. That day came on the 17th of November when I was sitting in a coffee shop with my two photographer friends.

My phone rang and I checked the screen and saw it was my dad, so I answered it straight away. He told me that he had bad news about my sister. Bad news on this occasion was an understatement. He said that she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Time slowed, my heart rate rose and I felt everything from my shoulders to my stomach go into free-fall. Nothing can prepare you for a kick like this. I knew Joyce had been taking seizures lately and had been getting tests done, but I never thought for a minute that it would be anything serious. Not this. Not my family. Not my sister. But cruising was over. Time caught up, the red button had been pressed and the missiles had not only flown, but found their target and hit with full force. IMPACT.

Within days she was under a surgeons knife, in the form of a four hour operation to perform a biopsy, resulting in the picture you see above. The size of the scar and the metal staples that hold it together have taken something that wasn’t visible, but lurking beneath the surface, and brought it out into the open. All of this shit and I haven’t heard a single complaint. She takes it on the chin and moves on.

It’s too dangerous to try to remove the tumour, but the results from the biopsy say that the size of it can be reduced. So weeks or months of Radio and Chemotherapy are stretched out in front of her. I always think this time of year is all about looking back at what you have done and planning ahead for the year to come. But at least for now, the future isn’t what it used to be.

So right now it feels as though there is nothing much to celebrate. But. Celebrate courage. Celebrate modern medicine. Celebrate the man that dedicates his life to Neurology. Celebrate a country with a health service that treats everyone equally, not just the ones with medical insurance. But also celebrate the little girl in the old black and white photo with faded handwriting on the back. Because she shouldn't have to go through this! And lastly, celebrate the parents, who in their 70's and 80's are still looking after that little girl.

horizons

White Sands, New Mexico, USA

By Charlene Winfred

Reflecting on the different edges of the world, all of the metaphors that come to me are an echo: boundaries, fences, walls. Go forth and conquer, but leave the strangers where you found them. The horizon as a line in the texture of numerous such edges, fruitful and varied, is hidden.

It has been three years since I've started returning to the mother country regularly. This time, I find myself appreciating subtleties that were lost to me before. Finding hope in small corners, against the onslaught that usually drives me to despair and a whole lot of anger. I am learning to listen, and finally understanding what I cannot yet hear. In doing so, shrugging off my own yoke.

Third time's the lucky charm

Long may we seek to broaden our horizons, and discover all the remarkable things that lie between ourselves and eternity.

To Be Free Is To Have No Fear

To Be Free Is To Have No Fear

I'm as bad as anyone else, really.

I spend too much of my time trying to improve things, to make something better, or to upgrade - whatever the 'thing' is, there's a new one, and it looks better than whatever I've got. And this time of year just amplifies that feeling, many times over. Every second email shouts 'New! Shiny! Buy!'

But when you look around - really look - it's hard to miss the fact that actually, there are much bigger problems to solve in the world than the tiny incremental improvements I could make to my own life…

What We Love

By Patrick La Roque

The year of Trump and Kander's visual riposte, inescapable. The year of my mom's slow and painful passing. The year of Tokyo and Cologne and Brussels. The year of old and new friends. The year of Bowie and Cohen and Brubeck and Prince and Glenn...newsreels and soundtracks grinding to a halt in fits and starts and bitter scratches. 2016 has been a year of paradoxes: taketh, giveth, taketh away again.

Well, fucketh.

Below are the ones that matter, the things that bring me joy, the big and the small. As we wind down the year I'm standing defiant, right here, my feet firmly planted on these quaking grounds. I'm looking tomorrow square in its face, ready to begin anew. Ready to fight 'til my fists turn bloody and my legs give way.

What we love is all we have.
What we love is the ultimate celebration.

Moments of Cheer

By Kevin Mullins

As we come to the end of a very busy year for myself, both personally and professionally, I'm drawn back to a single day in March.

I'm not a gambling person, but once a year I head to the Cheltenham Festival or racing.  I'm always drawn to those that seem to have so much resting on a four legged beast as it rumbles over the turf.

It's been a year of turmoil for many, with huge choices being made in the political world, and for me, personally and professionally.

But one thing will always make me smile.....and that is other people smiling.

Keep smiling folks, and have a very wonderful end to 2016 and a most prosperous 2017.

Lose Yourself

 Spectators at Orange Stage at Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark on June 30, 2016

By Flemming Bo Jensen

In that moment,
Everything feels right.
We are all in this together.
Celebrate the music.
Dance your cares away.
Worry's for another day. 
Music is the answer.
To your problems
Keep on moving
Then you can solve them.
Music sounds better with you!

(Credits/inspiration: Human Traffic, Eminem, Fraggle Rock, Danny Tenaglia, Stardust and others I may have forgotten) 

8XDEC16


OUR PERSONAL CHOICES THIS MONTH