I wrote recently of a new creative avenue I’ve started wandering. These tentative inaugural steps undertaken in the pastime of primitive art. Etchings drawn to accompany a whimsical quip or social comment, not to exhibit any prowess with the pencil, of which I’d be the first to admit I’m not technically gifted.

Yesterday’s drawing was an unflattering pencil depiction of Star Trek characters Captain Kirk and Dr McCoy wearing face masks. Kirk asking McCoy (or Bones, as he was nicknamed) “So this is Planet COVID…… What do you make of it, Bones?” An enquiry the medical doctor responds to with his catchphrase “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it!”

Despite the crudeness of the doodle, I was pleased with my observation of the parallels with existence under coronaviruses grip and McCoy’s much used slogan. Like a satirical cartoonist, the effectiveness of the art is borne as much from the observational humour imparted, as opposed to any brilliance with pencil lead.

As the famous adage goes “You can take a brush to water, but a pencil must be lead!”…… Or, should that be “You can lead a horse to water, but a crayon must be wax!”….. I forget.

If truth be told, this doodling is gradually usurping penmanship as my main creative paramour. Of late the usual brio imparted by literary creativity has diminished a tad. My mind seeming more muddled, consequently crafting of the prose’s been more laboured.

I’m unsure if this episode has affected the finished narrative, but I’ve noticed the writing process being noticeably more onerous. My mind still sources many epiphanies, however, the time it takes to form an end product I’m happy enough to publish on website has augmented.

Drawing takes as long, but doesn’t hurt my head like it’s literary cousin has of late. For instance, I can etch and not be distracted by a background soundscape of music, or audiobook. When pursuing a lexicological path, yours truly needs total concentration…… As I wrote that previous sentence a neighbour started drilling in his garden!…. Fate has a wicked sense of humour!


The processes I follow for creating both pictures and paragraphs are identical. When embarking on the project I’ve no idea which topic will manifest. Once I do get that idea, though, GJ Strachan surfs the creative riff in search of a notion which’s entertaining and/or thought provoking.

There’s a certain thrill to that element of ignorance as to which epiphany is over the horizon. My fix manifesting when an idea makes me laugh out loud, or bears a poetic/profound quality, explodes from my neurological corridors.

Although the penmanship side has been more of a struggle of late, ordinarily creative jamming is tremendous fun. Unlike any paid role I’ve ever undertaken, there’s something tangible to look at the end of my labour.

When looking at the 42 books containing my words, it brings a level of pride and self-esteem I thought I’d never attain when laid in a metaphorical gutter with severe depression’s foot on my neck.

Incidentally, while penning this narrative, the publisher/printer of the aforementioned books messaged me with the following link.

Gary Strachan and his 42 blooks!!

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