These are the kind of stories I love telling my daughter, Bishop. I want her to understand linearity and its purpose. So in the most basic of elements, the beginning and an end. Also, inserting subject matter that she is currently familiar with, like numbers, colours and fruits. Her stories lately start with, “One day!” as if she is saying ‘today’ with so much resolve, confidence and sobriety. She is not referring to daydreams in or of the future. It is a great mentality that I sometimes wonder (with my preposterous ability to downgrade), did she get that from me?
The answer is: Yes, she did.
Abstract – the / an / not / which village are you from
She bombed down the hill, biting her teeth into a teal blue apple. The shiny surface reflected confidence and her sobriety. She was going to win this game! But then suddenly, the mysterious sasquatch was coming. She could hear his roar and he zoomed through the trees landing victoriously onto a pile of soft snow. His green tuque made him look like a kiwi fruit. Bishop was suddenly starving, but there was no time to stop.
A team of yellow capricorns danced around the finish line, laughing and hiccuping at the sight before them. The orange judge was serious and studious. He seemed to bear more focus on his clipboard than on the race. Flipping her hair and toying with the pens behind her ears, another judge was vivacious and fixated. Her red dress was imprinted with marigold polka dots and it swayed in the warm breeze felt by all at Sunshine Village.
Village A is competitive. Always looking for the advantage. Has an alarming penchant for recognition, which bears a sense of positivity in their pursuits. Village A is not at first welcoming, but becomes comfortable if their surroundings seem to agree.
Suddenly, Chona came flying down the narrow corridor wearing a vintage, pink, one-piece snowsuit she found at Value Village precisely 10 years ago. There was no one behind her at this point, so she raised her arms proclaiming, “Funny. These bags seem heavier than they were yesterday. My stuff must have grown!” The clock was ticking down to the last few seconds, then a huge bell signalled the end of the race.
Village B is innovative. Always looking for the answer. Has an alarming penchant for reassurance, which bears a sense of positivity in their pursuits. Village B is not at first welcoming, but becomes comfortable if their surroundings seem to agree.
The champions switched outfits (because that’s what champs do when they win) and all stood boldly on the podium, waving arms, pleasing the crowds who came to watch them.
“Purple purple. The medals are purple! That is so cool!”
She lost him. She stopped as soon as she could to catch her breath. The platform was empty, save for one man, standing by himself wearing a low, soft felt hat with a curled brim and the crown creased lengthwise. He looked at her. Cheater. Quickly, she darted her eyes toward the staircase. She half expected him to come up, but he didn’t.
Instead he played chess and she was alone at last. Cherry slid down onto the cold, non-foliated metamorphic rock commonly used for sculpture and as a building material. Her hand searched for a mushy, ham and cheese sandwich. Eat? The odd man turned and walked toward her using a device consisting of a circular canopy of cloth on a folding metal frame supported by a metal rod. It was his first. She didn’t understand the significance of the red and white peppermint patty stripes though. A big chunk of sandwich wedged in her throat.
There is no resting place in Paradise, Chona. Just the constant chase of Dreams and Toys. Whatever then. I don’t need the job anyway. They need themselves and that will never change. I reached into the fridge, the bright neon light glaring in my face. What’s it going to be tonight? 3% milk bought one week ago, or taro cream buns from yesterday? Her black, acid wash cut-offs were riding up her legs, a product of skipping two workouts over the weekend he supposed. Cherry didn’t want any of it. She slammed the fridge door for Each Other and climbed onto the kitchen island marble.
Boom, boom, boom.
Silence filled the entire apartment.
Dang it, he’s here.
She didn’t even have time to prepare.
Some empty containers of Nanö fell onto the floor. Cherry didn’t wait. Nothing. Then, suddenly again –
She didn’t have time to leave.
Outside the window, the landscape was lavender purple.
The air inside her apartment was as cold as stone.
Cherry remembered the Toys in her closet. There was probably enough in there to pay him off. Jared didn’t take cheap toys as a barter. He was looking for some form of permanent reimbursement. She wanted to try to run away. Running to her room, she pulled her closet doors open and found him. A retro blue Ty bear stuffie, sewn together with black thread. His beady eyes were made of wind-blown agate, a mystical find these days in Chon.
Wasn’t it ridiculous to think gems held power these days? Jared was specifically looking to enhance his perception and analytical abilities. The agate eyes on Cherry’s Toy could heal the anger inside and create a sense of security and blankets, much needed bling required at Life Space.
“Cherry!!!” Jared started, “Open the frigging door! NOW!” She grabbed Blueberry, stuffing it into her shirt, which had a hidden metric built-in. The bear quickly disappeared and she yanked the entranceway agape.
“Where is it?!?” Jared stumbled inside, her apartment was already in shreds. Cherry had old jars of Dream everywhere. But they were empty too. Users. “How fast can you put together a cheat sheet?” Jared stopped and looked at Cherry. They both began to laugh hysterically. She blinked her eyes. One by one, the jars started to break up into small parts, a result of impact and decay. She checked out the window. The purple haze was gone and replaced with a mauve checkerboard.
In the next moment memory, everything sat still and Jared was suddenly a statue, his eyes staring blankly at Cherry’s gaze. It was only going to last another 30 minutes, she thought. She moved taking a short time – the journey was going to be fast and furious. She ran back to her window and stuck her head outside. It was wet and sticky and humid. Further out she could see the retro blue Ty melding into life. Tiny pink flecks, stars, were also starting to become actual fact.
That was on her right brain. Her left was angry, used and taken for granted. She didn’t know how to fix him. It was probably going to be impossible. So why not just skip living and buy some cigarettes?
I’m so tired, Daisy thought. You’re always tired, retorted Cherry. She was just sitting there, twiddling her thumbs, looking at her green shoes. She turned her head right, was there something there? She suddenly felt uncomfortable. Someone was watching them. They didn’t know who.
It’s time to pack, dear. The routine was the same every June. Alice from Wonderland would arrive to take Daisy home. Daisy couldn’t do it without help. It was a sad time for her. She was remembering the death of her mom, those last few cigarettes she had outside with her dad, in the snow. She was really angry Being because of Ben. He ruined her life, led her astray. She was an addict when she was with him.
Forget thinking about it, darling. Alice stroked Cherry’s hair, handing her a cheese and ham biscuit. This is ridiculous. I’m practically choking on this bread, it’s getting lodged in my throat! I can’t take it anymore! By then, their tears were flowing, ruining everything including a pink dress and a gigantic muumuu.
All of the pupils present today were busy writing down their answers. Not me. I’m just going to sit it. Read his brain. Oh shit, he’s looking. The girls looked away, frantically grabbing their miniature Navajo backpacks, matching, gifts from the Philippines and their Auntie Stella.
Daisy? Can you contribute something to this discussion we’re having? Her teacher was frustrated, but tried his best to be kind and patient. Daisy twitched her mouth. No, I don’t think I can. They could feel every single eye in the room blink. Then, 999,999 heads turned to look at her. What were they expecting? She wasn’t going to put on a show. And especially not in this muumuu. Do you have anything to say, young miss? Neither had enough bitcoins to argue. Clearing her throat, Miss Daisy stood up. Cherry budged in front, knocking her sister to the floor. I bought these with my own cash! Dreams, actually. It was Toys clearly. Can any one of you in the room debate that? We highly think naught. And with haste, they flipped their skirts and left the room.
Flying through the wind, Cherry grabbed her big sister’s hand. They were going to be just fine.
We do what we do! Well, I do anyway…
I sometimes find myself questioning my work. Like, is it too complicated for the average reader? Does it come off as fluffy or at the opposite end of the spectrum, dense? And when my mind enters ‘the complex’, I literally have to stop what I’m thinking and revert to self-talk. I used to avoid self-talk for fear that it gave others the impression that I was crazy (my mouth moves when I’m thinking too hard), but now I use it as a gentle form of therapy, to get me back on track to believing in myself. That’s why today, when I came across the word consonance, I felt blessed and it quickly resonated with my current circumstance. Anyway, here’s a bit on consonance as it relates to working and the whole job interview process thingamajigger.
Scott Olster, Ideas Editor at LinkedIn, wrote a brief article around “the idea of business trends, perspectives, and hot topics you need to know to work smarter”. He says –
Success can easily end up feeling hollow when it’s defined and measured by other people’s standards. For our work to have lasting personal value, author Laura Gassner Otting writes that we need to focus on developing what she refers to as consonance.
Laura is a writer for Harvard Business Review and she defines consonance as –
“Consonance is not just purpose writ large (and lofty). It’s your purpose, freely and clearly defined by you, and put into action through awareness of and alignment with your life’s plan. Consonance is when what you do matches who you are (or who you want to be).”
As I enter the interview zone, I will remember consonance as another word that will help me stay on track. Thank you for the opportunity, now I have something to say – always remember, the value of the job is to you (Gassner Otting).
Do you relate to this? What is the interview process like for you? Easy? Intense? How do you prepare?
Using simple applications to turn out wicked images is fun. Sort of like the gamification of graphic design (what blogging is like to me). Gaming is portable these days, right? Here’s an interesting article on the history of gaming, maybe you can check for me!
Back to the matter at hand…
Here are 3 versions of an image I developed for a post (Start). I’ll try to share my process with you (unedited) about how it came together in a time frame of about 15 minutes.
Step 1 – Select a major topic from blog content. (the plague)
Step 2 – Decide if primary message will focus on an image or text. (text)
Step 3 – Decide on a colour palette. (complementary colours blue and orange)
Step 4 – For this image, I decided on text, so the next step was to figure out wording. Wording should be based on the blog’s content, and is usually more effective if it provides the viewer with a direct parallel or bold contrast to the primary message. (the plague)
Step 5 – Pair text with secondary element – image or text. For example, the post’s title is ‘Start’, so I looked for an image of a ‘start button’. (image)
Step 6 – Publish the featured image. Go back to the website to see if it’s effective. In most cases, the image will be cropped, so you may have to edit to ensure the desired elements you want to showcase show up in the frame. (edit to fix)
Step 7 – For this image, I didn’t like the way it was cropped. So, I asked myself – to add or remove? In this case, I decided to add another element in the centre area where visual weight was lacking. (edit for composition)
Step 8 – Again, return to your website and check to see if the image is effective. Still in this case, there was a lack of balance in the top left side corner. I decided to add a pop of colour to provide an additional element of contrast. (edit for graphic design elements)
Step 9 – Check the image on your website. If it works, you will be aesthetically pleased with its presentation or you have found a balance between image – text – colour. (satisfaction)
Step 10 – Double-check to see if there were any cropping issues, spelling or grammar mistakes. Ensure each element of the design is balanced and harmonious. And, you’re finished! (completion)
What’s your graphic design process like? Do you create your own images for your blog? If you could write 10 steps to finalizing an image for a post, what would it entail?
The train made its usual stop at Chon. Chon was the last remaining urban centre, where transforming humans dabbled in post-consumerist delights like colourful French macarons and antique Balenciaga dad pants. It was a place for fun and rest.
Daisy sat up. She was awake for the last little while, finishing her sandwich and still wondering about Mr. Beaver in the hat. He was gone, probably somewhere between Life Space and Elevententeen. She was happy to be at Chon. She wondered if her best friend from Calgary was there. It was Linz, she worked for WestJet, a now defunct flight carrier that was sold off to Indigo, a distributor of Paradise Colours. Really, the world was so different now. The practice of social media marketing was a language in and of itself. Depending on one’s digital cognition, it could provide sustenance to an audience or increase the relativity of binary disease. After all this time, survival of the fittest was still the game. Humans didn’t want to be sick. They didn’t want to be dead or alive. They wanted to be living, breathing real air and doing regular chores.
As she stepped off the bus (she’s been off the train for A Day now), Daisy headed to the Nike outlet, so she could change her clothes into something more beguiling. Her mind thought of lime green, neon orange polka dots and always-always white eyelet lace. Daisy picked something out. While waiting, she made her third eye blind to prevent identity thieves from crushing her steez, then headed to the wall of bags to pick something out to put it all in.
Afterwards, she stopped at Yoga Passage. It was that time of day again to reset and recharge. Yoga was literally a moment to decompress. Everything left your body as your soul lay suspended in a hue of neon pink. Rearranging locations and transformations, so you could see properly. Daisy practiced yoga once, when she was young and did not finish her teacher training practice. Alice from Wonderland stopped a sour pursuit of a man named Justin Patterson, as he would have led her to full-fledged inebriation. The relationship was stopped by a major car alternative.
Lying in Savasana, Daisy fondled her mat, remembering that life filled with creativity and ideas can shut places to smithereens. She closed her lids and drifted off into space. She could see letter z’s italicized, drifting into time followed by baby emoji apples and puffy digital rainbows. It was the stuff of her man-made dreams. Visions, they come in Elevententeen.
Do you see orange or blue?