I don’t know about you but for me, it’s been one of those weeks when you’re suddenly imposed with a lot on your mind. The confusing sunny days, I suspect, have something to do with it. Should you sit and have your coffee inside or outside? Shall I wear a scarf or not? Why aren’t there any lemons on the lemon trees to quench my thirst?

But eventually I realised what it was; I needed to get over my whims. And consequently I found a single word that held all the ingredients I sought of: decadence.

Because aside from a nice ring, decadence has such a profound and individual meaning for most of us, no? Does it remind you of extravagance? Luxury, self-indulgence, excess, decay? In general terms it also suggests that one’s sense of moral is in decline.

And although it was a group of French poets and painters that embraced the term in the late 1800s under what were predominantly negative connotations, there’s also optimism to be found.

If a pâtissier was to refer to one of his culinary delights as a chocolate decadence for instance, there’s a guilty pleasure to be embraced there, and that’s the point.

There’s something soothing about stripping down any form of feeling/ awareness or circumstance only to seek the pleasure that may fruit from it.

It’s when you loose control of the path you’re laying out for yourself that you’re most vulnerable. And once the decadence begins, the fun lies within the very guilty pleasures you want to explore.

As irreversible as life is, so are the memories you make. And so, as I charge forward to make ends meet, I aim to sprinkle my whims with elements of decadence, with a little bit of out of the ordinary, just to confirm that, however bumpy the road may be, there’s always an element of fantasy to be had, and savoured.

*Published in The Cyprus Weekly Newspaper, January 2014

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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London

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