Wednesday, November 24, 2021

KNOW WHEN TO HOLD 'EM: When to drop an idea or to start again.


Fly on the wall? In the writing room with the Brother's Grimm. All those years of research and then having to look at it all and put it into a body of work that has stood the test of time. Now it's my turn and I had to do something today, that I am getting tired of doing... Scrapping work that no longer matches the research. Ahhhhhh!


The next thing you know, you're going through the five stages of grief with your written pages.

Denial. "No! No! Not today!"

Anger. "Pleeese don't tell me that I spent all that damn time with this sheeeet! F dat!"

Bargaining. "I can make this work! It's not all down the drain! Surely I can use this paragraph somewhere else."

Depression. "I'm never going to finish this. Looks like I'll die with the music still inside me."

Acceptance. "Look, gul, you've chosen to do this. Future you is never going to forgive you for giving up and you know what a pill you can be."  

So, I add my complaint to the mountain of others when I say... "Writing is hard, yo!"

The concept is easy enough;

1. Get an idea. (I have tons of those!)

2. Vomit on the page. Forget about editing and get it all down. (This is my Achilles' heel. I keep editing or checking research)

3. Re-read and craft sentences.

4. Re-read and Edit.

Getting it all down it a more difficult than it sounds in my current project. There are 16 stories and just when I think that the tales are solid, WHAM! A YouTube video goes... SIKE! However, I am happy to report that I've got the outline... this time. No, really... It's ALL WORKED OUT! Umm, at least, I think so.

Friday, September 24, 2021

DAP my knife

Finally I have worked out the whole story inspired by my homeland, Trinidad and Tobago. Now the hard work begins.  This is going to be a lot of drawing. Don’t be surprised to see more portraits on this blog. I’ve got to keep my ‘knife’ sharp.




I was taught how to stitch in secondary school, aka, high school and despite the love I had for it, I never focused on it as a craft. Flash forward several (several) years later, I developed an interest in YouTuber, Li Ziqi's embroidery a year ago during the height of the pandemic. It reminded me of the calm and joy I felt when I stitched fabric. As for embroidery, I had not created a piece in over 19 years. The last pieces I created were little embroidered purses using the fabric of my wedding dress. Only one person has that gift today and that knowledge has inspired another project which is due to begin in December. 

Today's offering was inspired by Li Ziqi and I hope I have inspired you to craft your art journey.  

Friday, August 27, 2021

DAP: Haunted by the past


This is the back of my first calendar. I'm thinking of doing this again. Maybe in December. Any takers? Hit up my inbox.

So… I have a secret. Weirdness happens to me, well, a lot. Mr. Cheese calls me his psychic kitty and asks me to use the force when he wants to find a parking space. I’d like to believe my weirdness can be coincidence or just science that hasn’t been explained as yet. #NeutrinosY’all 

OK; onto the weirdness. 

If my sleep gets interrupted for… whatever reason, it takes a while before I go back into REM sleep. These strange dreams never seem to match what is going on in my current life. When that happens, I wake with a headache and a desperate need to remember the dream. In two hours, or so, I forget most of the details. Cheese and I are fond of reading dreams but these strange blips usually stomp us. These kinds of dreams invade my mind once or twice a year. 

I love dreaming. It gives me most of my story ideas and these strange blips have inspired another book idea. That makes 28 in total. *Sigh* I’m writing – I promise! 

It takes me at least 15 mins to write as much detail as I can remember and then I go hunting online. Sometimes I get whole names and even songs. Then I go scare the Cheese with my findings. Usually it ends when I laugh it off, saying something like – If this is dead people connecting with me, then why don’t they send me what I what… lotto numbers. LOL!

Today’s dream, however, scared me so much that I had to tell y’all about it.

I don’t remember much about how it started, but I remember the ending.

Mahershala Ali was wearing a blue civil war uniform and was trekking through an orchard with another solider. I could see through Mahershala’s eyes as I tried to reassure the guy that we were OK to walk through that land because I used to work there. My reasoning didn’t comfort him. We were interrupted by a well-dressed white dude who was apologizing for not coming with us. Mahershala walks closer to him, caresses his face and leans in for a kiss. Then, as in a movie, there is a black to close-up transition and Mahershala is now actress Amandla Stenberg. Yikes!

Amandla was broadly smiling and hugging his guy. She’s short, so her face was pressed up against his chest. I don’t remember what she said. I just thought that she looked like a cutie puppy in the uniform.

When I woke, my head was splitting. I kept thinking that it was a silly idea that a black woman would be brave enough to dress as a man in the civil war era. Why would she do that? Then the answer came. It was a ghost of a thought; freedom. Soldiers were paid. Money meant freedom. So I stepped over to the computer to look her up. I typed… black woman who dressed as a man in civil war.

A photo of Cathay Williams popped up and my breath was trapped in my throat. She was short and resembled Amandla Stenberg.

Here’s the kicker… I was born in Trinidad and Cathay Williams died in Trinidad… Colorado.

Yikes, y’all! 

Yup, weirdness. Anywhoo… Check out some of my practice sketches as I work on my new book with my little beanie girl. I’m hoping to be finished by November. Hmm, maybe just in time for all souls day, tee hee.

Here is the info I found on Cathay:

Cathay Williams was born to an enslaved mother and a free father in Independence, Missouri in 1844.  During her adolescence, she worked as a house slave on the Johnson plantation on the outskirts of Jefferson City, Missouri. In 1861, Union forces occupied Jefferson City during the early stages of the Civil War. At this time, captured slaves were officially designated as contraband and were forced to serve in military support roles such as cooks, laundresses, or nurses. Before her voluntary enlistment, at just 17 years old, Williams served as an Army cook and a washerwoman. In this role she accompanied the infantry all over the country. Williams served under the service of General Philip Sheridan and witnessed the Red River Campaign and the Battle of Pea Ridge.

Despite the prohibition against women serving in the military, Williams enlisted in the U.S. Regular Army under the false name of "William Cathay" on November 15, 1866. She enlisted for a three-year engagement, passing herself off as a man. Williams was assigned to the 38th U.S. Infantry Regiment after she passed the cursory medical examination. Though this exam should have outed her as a woman, the Army did not require full medical exams at this time.

Shortly after her enlistment, she contracted smallpox and was hospitalized. Williams rejoined her unit in New Mexico. There, possibly due to the effects of smallpox, the heat, or the years of marching, her body began to show signs of strain. Due to her frequent hospitalization, the post surgeon finally discovered she was a woman and informed the post commander. She was honorably discharged by her commanding officer, Captain Charles E. Clarke on October 14, 1868. Though her disability discharge meant the end of her tenure with the Army, her adventure continued. She signed up with an emerging all-black regiment that would eventually become part of the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.

Following her discharge, Williams went on to work as a cook at Fort Union, New Mexico (now Fort Union National Monument) and later moved to Pueblo, Colorado. Though she married, it ended badly after her husband stole her money and a team of horses. Williams had him arrested and then moved to Trinidad, Colorado, where she worked as a seamstress. It was during this time that her story first became public. A reporter from St. Louis heard rumors of a female African-American who had served in the army and came to interview her. Her life and military service narrative was published in the St. Louis Daily Times on January 2, 1876.

Around 1889 or 1890, Williams entered a local hospital and applied for a disability pension based on her military service. Though there was a precedent for granting pension to female soldiers, (Deborah Sampson,  Anna Maria Lane and Molly Williams disguised themselves as men in the Revolutionary War), Williams request was denied. In September 1893, a doctor examined Williams. She suffered from neuralgia and diabetes, and had all her toes amputated and walked with a crutch. The doctor decided that she did not qualify for disability payments. The exact date of her death is unknown, but it is believed she died shortly after she was denied.


Saturday, February 20, 2021

DAP's on a Roll!


Ideas come to me easily. It is within the development stage where I find a challenge. Luckily, the world has YouTube. I’ve had a steadfast feast of information from world building to character development. And just when you think you’ve learned enough to get moving… tons more tumbles into your path. I am, however, having fun.

My fairytale book is moving along nicely. So far, I have a total of 16 verbal stories (2 of which will become separate books) just ready to be written down. Yesterday I read to my daughter the first draft of the first story – mostly to get a reaction. I struck gold! The Bean heard these stories all year and I was worried that she would get fed-up and walk out of the room. After all, she is notorious for things like that, but… Huzzah! She kept listening and wanted to know what happens next. She had useful questions and suggestions. The Bean remembered the characters from the other stories and I was thrilled that she could make the connections for each story.

Pride is real people and I’m full of it. The Bean’s interest was the very thing I needed to keep prodding on. I usually have an inner cheerleader for that but she was on vacation. My little beanie is now my biggest fan and I’m grateful to her.

In addition to the story, I am working on an illustration style for the book. I have been practicing a style which uses Zen doodles. I plan on using a model next time but I like the oversized eyes in this piece. I don’t think I will go with the big eyes for the book but I like it in this practice illustration. What do you think?