Mistakes can lead to new discoveries (take the famous example of the stationery cupboard staple, the Post-It note!) So, my first drawing for #TheRealArtOfRunning (see A Runner’s Coat of Arms) actually took a first incarnation of sketchings of ideas as they came along, starting from the top of the longer side of a sheet of A4.
The slogan “Runner’s Creed: Whatever happens, don’t stop!” had the same origins as described in A Runner’s Coat of Arms.
I then pictured events unfolding in a race. There’s the huddling at the start line, represented by running bibs clumped together.
I am represented by “Me”, Bib number A123 (matching the digitally-sketched bib on the left side of the blog’s background), and my partners-in-crime at the start line would be “Them”. It wasn’t meant to symbolise “Me against Them” (nor is the prominence of “Me” meant to signify that I was at the front of the pack!), but it was just simply Me, with my own goals, whatever they may be, in the centre of my mind’s eye; and Them, other personalities (represented by different fonts), each with their own goals; all of us pondering how our individual journeys will unfold upon the sounding of the air-horn.
The race starts, and everyone disperses according to their own pace, in their own thoughts.
What might come as a challenge en route to enlightenment and personal achievement?
Inclement weather. Especially in the tropics – one could battle humidity, high temperatures and scorching heat, torrential rain, thunderstorms – perhaps all within the same race if one is lucky.
What happens mid-race? Probably mostly a lot of silent cursing… well, I sketched out the U-rated ones. “Think of Breakfast” is a favourite. “Panas giler” is a colloquially-spelt Malay expression conveying, with endearing brevity, the sentiment “It’s as hot as hell!” (panas: hot, gil(a): crazy).
On a whim, I added an image of a shrivelled-up “Me” bib falling from the sky into the chaos of the aches and groans. I added a large cup of water, supposedly representing balm to the torrents of rain and sweat. I drew some balloons, representing the festive atmosphere from amongst the spectators that are a great pick-me-up.
Then I realised that I was not really getting anywhere. It was way too random. I decided to ditch the drawing. I picked up a fresh sheet of A4 to work on something else instead (the something else eventually became A Runner’s Coat of Arms.)
The next morning, the surge of endorphins from publishing A Runner’s Coat of Arms spurred me to think up further ideas for more drawings.
That was when I caught sight of my toddler’s Mother’s Day card from arts-and-crafts at daycare, hanging in the corner of the living room. Why, my ditched drawing of random raceday thoughts could be recycled into something else. I just needed a good ol’ pair of scissors, glue, and some coloured paper!
Feeling like a children’s TV series host, I cut up yesterday’s drawing into its component pieces. I cut holes in the suns for ‘light’ to ‘shine’ though. I alternated jagged edges with rounded edges, depending on whether it was around clouds, or lightning, or sunlight. My “Runner’s Creed” ribbon would, of course, be the finish line!
I arranged the cut pieces onto a sheet of coloured paper, feeling rather pleased with myself (not unlike a children’s TV series host).
Something was missing, and I quickly figured out what it was. I drew the quintessential Malaysian post-race celebratory essentials – a cup of ice-cold Milo, and an open packet of nasi lemak. Now all I needed was some glue.
Voila! This is Malaysian Raceday!