Sunday, April 26, 2020

BUBBLE WRAP



It’s the final day of New Zealand’s LEVEL 4 isolation LOCKDOWN…
After 33 days in this ‘LEVEL 4 bubble’, it’s almost time to ‘wrap it up’.
- our new level 3 bubble ‘the recovery room’, will finally give me the option to go back to the beach!
We will still practice social distancing as a nation.

“Activities must be safe” – I will make sure to keep 2 metres away
from anybody not in my level 3 bubble – I will stay ‘exclusive’!

As a writer and an artist, who has battled with social anxiety for quite some time, the beaches, parks, gardens, and stunning mountain of Taranaki have given me inspiration on a daily basis.
Over the years I have found that art as a therapy can be so valuable in navigating the path of anxiety. It has allowed me to express myself nonverbally, moving away from personal thoughts in order to see a more visual expression of any given situation. This act of creative expression connected me as an artist with my inner sense of vitality and replenished my soul. Even though I often preferred the safety of our home and my creative space, it has been important to spend that time in nature to re-energise. Just picking up rocks on the beach, finding that piece of driftwood or taking a photo of a sunrise above the cliffs of Taranaki made life a bit easier.

Throughout my life it has been my goal to publish my first novel, having been passionate about writing since I was quite young, creating my own comic book stories and capturing my inner thoughts through journal entries and other forms of art. I went from writing for school newspapers to ACTUAL newspapers, later on in life. One other thing that has always helped me throughout my life is creating doodles!




With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the restrictions on not being able to visit the local beaches and parks put a further strain on my mental health. It had been hard enough to build up my confidence towards releasing myfirst novel ‘Cul-de-Shock’ earlier in the 2020, but after receiving positive feedback and reviews, I decided to use this time during this lockdown more productively and get started on my second book in the Tarquin ‘SHOCK-trilogy’.  I can proudly say that my second novel is now in the editing stages, before being released soon on Amazon both in print and eBook format.

COVIDIOTIQ - DOWN UNDER LOCKDOWN:
Dealing with Anxiety in my 2020 bubble.



Alongside this novel, I decided to also write a poetry eBook "COVIDIOTIQ"; a selection of poems, plus three short stories, which I wrote during the lockdown as a way of coping with my feelings. I have dedicated it to all the people who stayed in their bubbles and saved their world and ours, as well as all the essential workers that worked tirelessly to keep us alive. It’s now available on Amazon to download. I have put it on at the lowest price they would allow, so it can be available to as many people as possible.

Here’s one of the poems from my latest eBook:


We are all in this together
No one less, or no one better
No one happier or sadder
Not much saner or any madder
All of us on an island, small
Only Together or, not at all

We are all whanau, friends or mates
No matter how entangled are our fates
How opposite some souls might seem
We're all part of the same team
So, as in sport, support your nation
While we slowly crawl from isolation.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

DON’T JUDGE...

I have covered book covers before ( Link to previous BLOQ) 
- but this year I have actually created quite a few book covers myself ...


Like the photographic poetry books; CAPITAL Q (poems about Wellington),POETREE (my poetry book about trees) and the FREE photo book (on ISSUU) about the 2019 A&P Show in Hawera.


Then - of course - (blowing my own trumpet)... there was the design for my own cover. It went through a few stages, but in the end I have chosen a collage of two photos I took. One of a tree (from our garden btw) and one of a road marking.  It's symbolic of the duality between trees and roads...  for me it's like the road to heaven, the 'road' to the Grand Old Dame, that Mickey D thought of as her own Cul-de-Sac...

It also represents the location where the 'Bowie Babies' had their first driving lesson and their first kill (oops, spoiler), shaping them into who they became.

Here is a peek at some of the earlier ideas for the book cover of 'CUL-DE-SHOCK'



eRiQ,
Author, Illustrator/Cartoonist,  Photographer, Blogger.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The 'WRITE' time ;)


It has been a bit quiet with no writing on my BloQ for a while.
That's because I have been busy… WRITING!
I always wanted to write a novel. In the past I have written short stories, articles, reviews (books, films, games) and many comic strips and cartoons. I have created text for websites, packaging, posters, flyers. Produced poems and wrote in my journal since 1980 (okay, there was a USA travel journal in 1977). I even wrote a whole screenplay for a movie as a teeanager. Writing has always been a passion and I enjoy playing with words. So, I decided it was time to write and publish my very first novel. 


Along the way, I also created some photo books and poetry bundles. A few of them have already made it online (Amazon and Issuu) alongside my novel; Cul-de-SHOCK.

It has been an exciting process, filled with weird coincidences and life imitating art.

I am very thankful to my dear wife, Debbie, who read each chapter as it was written and was instrumental in the editing of my book. After all, English is my second language,  so there were plenty of weird grammar issues to be solved.

The book, as I wrote it, seemed to live its own life …
The way it transformed from a simple idea of a killer who targets cul-de-sacs to the 300 page first adventure of Tarquin and Maddy. The music of David Bowie (one of my favourite artists) became the soundtrack of the story and parts of my own personal experiences were interwoven into this fictional novel of twisting Taranaki tales.

Throughout this venture, we still worked on our other projects and also managed to get out into nature to achieve a work/life balance. We also worked on the layout and cover design of our friend Justine's first novel, that Debbie was fortunate to edit as well. Which raised the question, why not start our own publishing company…  eQuBe Publishing. We designed the logo, got business cards printed, created a website - and if we weren't busy enough - let's add a free online local ART magazine into the mix. 



Introducing QUBE!
An exciting new project that will be showcasing
all the local Taranaki talent in a digital bi-monthly format.

These are some of the reasons why this BloQ hasn't been populated for a while.

Links:

Click here if you want to buy my books
Click here for your FREE copy of the QUBE magazine

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Happy Doodle Diary Anniversary Day


"Do you have hands? Excellent. That's a good start. Can you hold a pencil? Great. If you have a sketchbook, open it and start by making a line, a mark, wherever. Doodle. " - Chris Riddell

SONG OF THE BLOG:
"So darlin', Happy Anniversary
You've made my life for me
Once again, thanks for the memory
My darlin', Happy Anniversary."

- Roy Rogers

 


The 22nd of September...  a day after my birthday (gosh, am I really 52 already) seems to be the day for A LOT of things ... Car FREE day (OK, I won't be going anywhere today), Business Women's Day (congrats to all women in business), White Chocolate Day (not for me, I like mine DARK), Chainmail day (Will that be going well into the KNIGHT?), World Rhino Day (Some say they are just obese unicorns), Elephant Appreciation Day (not a lot of them around here), Ice Cream Cone Day (not for me today) and my two favourites of them all "Doodle Day" and "Dear Diary Day"!!!



DOODLE DAY:

I have been doodling since I could hold a pencil. Not so much on the wall, as some kids might - no, I was fortunate that my father supplied me with steady amounts of paper. At school I would always create elaborate doodles in my workbooks, which resulted in working for school newspapers, going to the Art Academy and eventually "doodling" for several newspapers and publications here in New Zealand. I still doodle - but theses days more on my digital tablet. Here are some examples:



DEAR DIARY DAY:
Keeping a journal started for me in 1977, in the form of a travel journal - but keeping a everyday one began in 1979.
Wow - I have been doing this for 40 years!!! - Even in my journals I used to doodle, whether it was a map of a house or room, just some silly doodle in the margin or a breakdown of the contents at the back of the journal.  Many volumes have been filled since. Here's an entry of SUNDAY 22 September 1985. I turned 18 years old that year. 



But who cares about all those silly made-up days (Hmm... Ice cream Cone day DOES sound tempting) - the real reason to celebrate today is because it is our Anniversary!!!
That's right - our marriage turned 18 years old today. On the 22nd of September 2001, Debra and I got married at the Windrest Cottage in Te Puke. 

Happy Anniversary, Babe!
You truly are my rock in this turbulent river and looking
in the crystal ball, I can see many more great years ahead !


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Happy "Collect Rocks Day"

“Polished round and smooth as marbles or lozenges of stone veined and striped. Black disclets and bits of polished quartz all bright from the mist off the river.”  
 -  Cormac McCarthy

BloQ LyriQs:
"I am a rock
, I am an island
And a rock feels no pain." 
- Simon and Garfunkel


Ever since I was a little Dutch boy I loved collecting rocks. If we would go places, if possible, I would build dams with stones and most likely bring back at least one piece of rock, a stone or a pebble... Over the years I have gathered quite a few. I still remember where some of them came from - a cool rock I got from my grandmother many years ago... an awesome crystal-like rock I brought back from America (1977).  Others have since become part of displays, like a western scene underneath our stairs or can be found in any other diorama involving movie and or Disney figurines around the house. 
 
 
 
Rocks are everywhere in and around our house... from my office desk, to hallway tables - even in the bathroom you will find an item of geology. From my trips to Canada as a kid, I remember my auntie having a rock tumbler. This would polish up most pebbles into the most amazing gems. I always wanted a rock tumbler, but never had the chance to get one. If there's anybody out there that will let me tumble some rocks - send me a message!




Whenever we go for walks along the beach at Ohawe, there's often at least a couple of rocks that find their way back home in my pocket. I always believe they talk to me - they have a story to tell, the ones that stand out - which makes me, I guess, the rock-whisperer. Rocks do have stories to tell - some rough, some smooth - some round, some rectangular. Showing the scars of their journey through time...  One thing I LOVE doing, is stacking them, at the beach I often create little carefully balanced rock towers - or cairns, as they are called. I take a few photos of them and leave them to the elements. Sometimes, after returning from a walk, the stack still stands strongly in defiance... other times the wind has swept them over, having rolled towards their next resting place. Maybe someone else will pick them up and throws them in the water (flat ones are great for skipping), or maybe some kid is turning one into a pet-rock.


 

I wonder what will happen to my rock collection when I pass on to the next phase of my spiritual journey. Will someone keep them and cherish them, like I did - or will they be scattered somewhere for others to find. Or just end up in a skip of rubbish...


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Happy Letter Writing Day


“The proper definition of a man is: an animal that writes letters.”- Lewis Carroll

Song of the blog:
"Wait, oh yes wait a minute Mister postman
Wait, wait Mister postman - Mister postman look and see
Is there a letter in your bag for me
I been waiting a long long time."

- Diana Ross
 


Today isn't just the first day of September, my birth-month - it's also kinda the start of Spring here in New Zealand - plus we have our father's day on this Sunday and to top it all of it is International Letter Writing day... Do people still write letters and if at all, would they still be writing them by hand or is are they just typed on the computer and printed out. Have emails and social media hacked so deep into the art of creating letters it's come to the point of extinction. 

I remember one of the first letters I ever wrote back when I was nine years old. It was sent to the EPPO magazine, my favourite Dutch comic magazine back in the 70s and 80s. I believe I wrote several letters and it was always exciting to get a reply, in those days done by old fashioned typewriter. Around that time I started reading Stephen King I even wrote him a letter and got a cool little reply back in the early 80s. It was also the time I had made a friend during a primary school trip and wrote letters with him for many years. Mid 80's my letter writing got even more elaborate. I still have quite a collection of letters I wrote to and from friends in Holland. The other day I got a nice message from one of my friends, she had found a box with old letters from me and send me a photo of the envelopes (her address has been obscured for privacy reasons).




Creating different envelopes became a real a real art for me back in the 80s. I would like to think that most of these little pieces of mail-art are still kept by friends in a box in their spare room or attic. I've got photo-copies of some of my creations, but it would be nice to see photos / scans of any of these little 80s treasures. With my friend Joris there were crazy mail-war battles where we created the most outrageous postal pieces of madness. One time he send me a wallpaper sized letter, that actually lived on my wall for quite a while.

Once I emigrated to New Zealand, for the first few years (before the internet took off) there were still a lot of letters to several friends - like the amazing correspondence with my fellow KABK student and artist Pepijn - but overall the level of letter writing soon started to die a slow death. These days, people share their life on social media. Photos of holidays, their family etc. But, it's not the same as the old letter in the mail. The excitement of a cool arty envelope. something you can touch - and look back at decades later. Maybe with people coming back from digital to vinyl and people giving up Netflix for books, the old retro letter writing will return to replace its digital email cousin.

SAFE the letters - write me a one today! 
Send me a cool envelope or home-made postcard:
eRiQ, PO Box 18038,
Merrilands, New Plymouth 4360
New Zealand


Friday, August 9, 2019

Happy Vlogging Day!


"Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." - Andy Warhol

Song of the Blog:
"You're gonna be famous, you want to go far
Name up in lights, everybody knows who you are
On with the show."

- Chicago



According to daysoftheyear.com, one of the best ways to celebrate this "holiday" is by uploading a simple video of yourself to your favorite social media website and use the hashtag #VlogginDay as a way to let everyone know it’s time to vlog. Funnily, the other day today to celebrate is LAZY DAY.  So, I combined the two - because I was lazy, I took a 2009 slide-show from TEN years ago and submitted it for my 10th Vlogust entry. They also mentioned how "You can also use this day to listen to your favorite vloggers and hear their stories."



A few vloggers we watch quite often are:
The Crosbys ( A wonderful family with three cute kids, one of them Claire is a singer)
Justin Scarred ( I met him back in 2008 at Disneyland, love his style of vlogging)
Disdutch (Dutch vloggers, Hous and Mike take us on our Disney and Dutch adventures)


Those are some of the channels that bring us joy on a regular basis. We also watch most of Russel Brand and a variety of uplifting videos mostly during breakfast or lunch. Personally I do watch a few comic book related channels as well. Like Michael Minneboo and the Stripvlogger (both Dutch by the way).



Since the first of August I decided to take on the challenge of VLOGUST - not to get a lot of views or to become famous. More as a challenge, to find ways to create fun little videos under 5 minutes that showcase some of the things I like. Just a fun way to familiarize myself with the software and see what can be done without having to sit in front of a camera and talk. I am not a talker.  I have 14 subscribers, probably best friends and family, so that's my audience. I hope they get some enjoyment out of them, I know I do.