Thinking with your own ink – and baby dragons

Well, 2017 has been a rocky one so far.  Over a few short months I have been quite literally hands-on performing an autopsy on our pet horse (my first and hopefully only time), seen the last of my side of the family leave town, started psychoactive drugs for paralysing nerve pain that I then found was being caused by (only) an abscessed wisdom tooth for the last 9 months, been in a car crash that ended in a write-off for our car and nearly a fight in the street in front of my family, and been in the thick of it for a very, very public emergency at work while my boss has been talking since February about disestablishing my job.  And that’s only the highlights.

So I’m making pictures of cartoon dragons and having a damn good time doing it.


Picture is courtesy of my 7yo’s artistry (the one on the left hand side).  Yes, my 3d rendering and design is laughable from a technical pov, but I have only been learning Blender for a couple of weeks.  And I’m happy to post this embarrassing pic because at this stage of “the curse of 2017” I just don’t care anymore.  As I tell my daughter, “no you’re not bad at this, you’re just a beginner”.

Some soul searching and the imminent threat of redundancy or demotion made me think I need more “hard skills”.  You know, the ones people list as “Essential” in a job advert.  So instead of mainlining podcasts and tv streaming, my entertainment lately has been beginner C#, Unity 3D, Blender and Ruby on Rails videos.  My driving CDs are Maori language tests and I am reading back-to-back books on local NZ history.

In difficult times we find significance in everything.  We find intention in the inanimate and symbolism in the most mundane.  I am a rabid atheist but yes, I do sometimes talk to “the universe”.  And it’s all just a channel, isn’t it.  Whether we are talking in person, or on a blog, or via a picture, or a traditional song, or via a computer language.  Or a personal notebook.  Or a private moment in the car when nobody except yourself, the dashboard and “the universe” can hear what you really, truly think.

So what’s the point?  It’s to get what’s “in here” “out there” with as little static/noise along the way.  If you’re reading this I’m sure you’re an introvert like me (just a lucky guess!) and yes we find it a bit more un-natural but that’s just practice borne of preference vs necessity.  Put me in front of a meeting room with 100 people and I’m happy to talk for hours, put me in a party in front of four people and I would rather jump out the window.

And put me in front of a keyboard and I can write forever.  My boss (the one above) hates my long emails.

So my challenge is about working on the channel.  How do you want to communicate but currently can’t?  What’s the barrier?  Cultural or computer language?  Typing speed?  Confidence in ‘small talk’? Embarrassment at your artistic talent?

You’re not bad at this.  You’re unpracticed.  So practice.

I had some shocking job interviews this year.  Because I’m unpracticed.  I have been blindsided by the personal politics at work, because I am not used to thinking that way.  So I am going to practice where I need to practice.  I am going to change or move on where I need to change or move on.  I would love to be able to communicate via a quirky mobile app or sing a Maori waiata and I don’t care if people think that’s a bit weird just because I don’t have a drop of Maori blood in me.

Because if I want to post a crappy picture of a cartoon dragon on a tiny post in this big, wide electronic ocean, I bloody well will.


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