February 20, 2010

Keeping it tidy.

Frankly, the drawing has nothing to do with what's on my mind. I just drew this big, old crab for my 6 year old niece to send to her in reply to the pretty card she sent me showing off her new talent in writing in cursive. 

Drawing, writing and reading are my methods to not have to think about the sorry state of affairs in which we find ourselves. During the week, it is part of my job; in the weekend I force myself to find ways to distract my mind for else one might lose it and that would be very untidy.

There has been a little bubble of an idea floating peacefully along in the back of my mind for many years. Never really acted upon. Never used for any purpose. Sometimes surfacing, often not.
Last weekend, when not even drawing could still my restlessness, I suddenly sat down and wrote the outline of a story and since then I have been collecting facts to which I can attach my fantasy and a new diversion was created.

Main character: Sophia Mumms, adventurous, young traveler of limited means in a post-WWII world, embarks on a journey that takes her to Mali and beyond.

Now I had to discover how she would travel (cargo ship), what she would eat; where she would sleep; who she would meet and most importantly what would she find herself in the middle of (murder and theft)? A story needs excitement, an intricate plot, subplots and some romance. So I have found myself looking for answers to many the questions I have. Although I have traveled extensively in Africa, my interest has always been East Africa, and now I am discovering the West through names like Dakar, Djenne, and Timbuktu; people like the Dogons, Fulani and Tuaregs, and a 2,500 mile river, plied by river boats and pirogues, forming the back-bone of the first part of the story. 

In my travels on the web, I stumbled on Sophia herself. I found this marvelous blog by Sophia, Djenne Djenno. This is not my Sophia, but a modern day artist, and life adventurer who runs a hotel in Djenne, Mali. There are such amazing people to be discovered, that one hardly need write fiction. Reading her enjoyable and interesting blog I am strongly reminded of Isak Dinesen and her time in Africa.
listening to: Miriam Makeba - Africa, Nawang Kheechog - Rhythms of Peace, Joe Cocker - Ultimate Collection.

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