Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Illustration Friday: Climbing

He was a secret agent working undercover in The Organisation - doing his best to rise to the top of the ladder and find out who was really in charge. They called him The Climbing Plant.
Not as marvelous as my first try but this is an original concept so perhaps that gives me a few points. I couldn't get the pots to look right and the background was done as an afterthought...I wonder if that really matters. I like the final product well enough regardless.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Weakly, Weekly Writing

I spend so much of my time writing that I rarely think about it any more. But it has come to my attention that the only time I ever write fiction is during NaNoWriMo or Script Frenzy. There was a time when writing fiction was my mainstay and I enjoyed it considerably. I miss it.

I miss writing silly titbits that have no redeeming quality then moving to something that is mentally and emotionally engaging. I like short stories but the best way to enjoy one is to write one and I haven't done that in a long time.

I guess real life has shown me.

But I am not willing to let go so easily. I have every intention of getting back my creative writing mojo and that's why I came up with a challenge for myself. I will write fiction amounting to 2,000 words or more every week. It simply means I will write several pieces that add up to the total word count or one long piece. I figured 2,000 words is a nice round figure. By the end of the year I will have over 100,000 words and if there are any themes I can compile a few sizeable anthologies.

I made this pact with myself before I decided I was going to do Illustration Friday but I guess it works out perfectly. My writing and drawing have always been in direct competition and my writing beats the crap out of my art every time. This will be a good time to get my art to develop some muscles while trying to harmonise the two processes. If I can write every week, then do a pic/illustration too, I will finally begin to live the creative life I really want. I am looking forward to that.

That I have successfully kept up with the last three weeks is extremely reassuring. At least if I write weakly it means I can get the whole job done without breaking anything.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

That Small Village...

Obama's inauguration speech sent shivers down my spine.

It was powerful, poised and perfectly executed. Yet it didn't contain much of the cushy sweetness I had expected; the grandeur that inaugural speeches have contained in the past. It was about what is real in the world today and more so in America. He inspired. He spoke with his heart and his mind...and maybe a touch of soul. He didn't seem to care that he what he was saying might not be popular or pleasant.

The most amazing thing is it seemed to be written, not only for the American people, but for the rest of the world.

As a Kenyan, I have seen and heard my country men talk of President Obama as though he was ours; as though Kenya was the 51st state of America. I have heard a few others measure their words with hope and understand that in the end he must serve the interests of his country before he serves ours. I have heard some dismiss him as 'Yet another American' distant and different.

But Kenya is a republic and we are in dire need of real leadership. With the failure of our president and his government; the people, desperate for someone to believe in, have picked the son of a Luo man and an American woman. The 'most powerful man in the world' is our role model, our hero, our leader; more because we cannot look at each other and find the same sense of pride. We have been betrayed by our leaders, our family and friends and ourselves. But the achievement of President Obama has given many hope.

It is not a false hope. To hear him say "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work..." Might be a call for his people, but it is a call to us all; perhaps Kenyans more than most.

To hear him declare, "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government." Is probably a dig at a country mired in so much corruption we would not be able to raise our heads in public if we could master the shame.

We are a country with bad habits. Habits that need to be broken. There are those waiting on a hand out from America. They are waiting for this son of Kogelo to make a difference where they themselves are unable or unwilling to make a change. They are hoping for a miracle because it is the only way they see a future. They claim Obama, forgetting that their claim to fame is an absentee father. They claim him, forgetting that it is our willingness to bury our head in the sand and let the leaders we do have rob us blind.

President Obama called to his countrymen - to the world - to be the best they can be. I am going to do my best to be just that. We have been challenged and it is up to every person to take up that challenge. If we do, then perhaps the hope that President Obama can change the world will not be an empty one. But it will only be because we each did our part.

Is it strange that the inaugural speech felt like it was directed at me? I think not.

There goes that shiver again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Illustration Friday: Pale

I've always been a fan of Illustration Friday. I'd go over to the main page, look at what other people were doing then sigh and find something else to do. I don't know if it was this particular topic or if it was something inside me that just clicked (like finally starting my blog) but I drew this picture.

It's a reproduction from an art book Learn Pencil Shading: Landscapes and Objects 1. I've had it for years and always looked at the pictures, occasionally done one or two then put it safely back on my book shelf'; until Illustration Friday gave me the topic PALE and the chance to step out and go crazy.

So here it is.


There is no alternative to starting.

However, I've been planning to 'start' for years. Finally, the unexpected happened and I was forced to make a stand. This is it. I am starting my blog. I am probably going to suck at it. (I don't really care - but then again I do otherwise I wouldn't mention it.)

So it begins...