Wednesday, April 11, 2018

He Called Her At Midnight

There it was. The invite. A chance to step into his world again. She had kept it at the back of her mind that they would cross paths, but, never thought of the manner in which it would happen. Not this way, anyway.
Alexandra took stock of her surroundings with a cursory glance at the design she was currently working on. She had done good by herself. It had been hard, but, in the five years of their separation; she had chased the career she'd desired and went on to become the most sought after graphic design artists in New York. Everything around her gave her a sense of pride and fulfilment she'd never expected to have without him by her side. It meant that much more that she had succeeded on her own.
"Alexandra?" are you still there?"
Max's voice brought her back from her little reverie. He needed an answer and she needed to see him again, if only to see how he was holding up.
"Yes. I can come over, just not tonight. I'm under a tight deadline and I can't interrupt the creative process at this moment. Can you give me two days from now?", she asked?
"It'd mean a lot to me if you could make it tonight, please. Think about it."
With that entreaty, Max hang up.
Alexandra listened to the incessant beep of the dial tone for awhile longer before she finally took the phone from her ear and looked at it in disbelief. It was so like Max to ask for something monumental and act like it wasn't a big deal. If he could be so nonchalant about it, so could she.
After hanging up, she made her way to the mantle holding all the accolades she had received in the five years. Fine things. Appreciation for jobs well done and trophies from the Women's entrepreneurial groups on which she was a Board member. Encompassing all the trophies was the wall on which hang a few pictorial prints of her work. She unerringly reached for the largest print on the wall and took it back with her to the work table.
"Beauty in Ugly". The one design that held more of a personal meaning to her than the rest of her designs. Its title and frame held secrets only she was aware of and never shared with anyone. Beauty in Ugly was a result of an onslaught of despondency and despair, on a night she never thought she'd be able to get through without him. The fateful day she broke up with Max, she had acted so cool and stoic in his presence yet her heart was breaking into pieces. Her staidness only got her far enough from his presence before the shattered pieces of her heart pricked through the façade.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Love OR Life?

No filter or filter?

Four months down the road; and I am just getting the opportunity to share with you my 'happy new year' design. although, it was completed in March.

March. Quite the despondent month for me. A lingering feeling leftover from February. Between the end of February and beginning of March, I had the strongest urge to write, to the extent that I carried my journal wit me to work for a fortnight.
Two weeks of just opening and leafing through the pages without an entry. Two weeks of going through past entries in search of inspiration. Two weeks of staring at the numbers: 2018, that I had written a few weeks into January, to mark the year and subsequent entries that would follow. Two weeks of nothingness but the numbers 2018... 2018... 2018...
I, then stopped carrying my journal with me to work.

He Called Her At Midnight. Earlier in the weeks of March, I went through the last entry to the short story I was trying my hand at... He Called Her At Midnight, to gather more ideas on where I should take the story. As the ideas emerged and were quickly noted, I felt the need to transfer the noted to he pages of my Journal because that was where the story originated from.

2018. As I was going through my Journal, I hesitated on the page with 2018 on it. I looked at the dullness of the numbers and decided to give them a bit of shading for, I had left them as an outline at the beginning. In the process of shading; I mulled over my mental resolutions and wondered if any would come to pass.
'Would this look pretty if I added an I? How about this 2? Does it look like an L? Do I want it to be Love for Life or Love or Life? Which one is better? Life or Love first? Should I add an R to the 0 or make it For? It seems lengthy. Better an R at the end to make or.
Something is missing. Can the word happy fit at the top of the page? How will I draw it in? Won't I spoil the design? Let me put it next to the 2 and make sure it forms the H without losing the number.'
As questions plagued the mind; the fingers flew over the page, in an attempt to answer them while bringing the ideas to life.
In that moment; my first design for 2018 was borne and the installment to my story quietly forgotten. I blue inked the additions before settling on color. Seeing that it was my first design of the year, I went on a coloring spree and don't regret the decision for it the color added a bit of cheer to it. So much so that it leaves a smile on my face whenever I look at it.

It might be a little late to wish y'all a happy new year but it's not too late to ask God to make it better, if not the best, for all of you. :) I have shared the completed design with a few touch-ups for pomp. You can follow up on my creative work and process on Instagram at ShanahOduty  and Facebook as ShanahOffDuty.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Media Relations

Disabled People’s Organizations have held a series of trainings in media relations for both Civil Society Organizations and Journalists, to try and fill the chasm created by the Media in its inability to air human interest disability related stories. If aired; these stories usually come with victimization and helplessness overtones which are rarely the case for most Persons with Disabilities.
Civil society organizations should take interest and build lasting relationships with both media houses and journalists. This should come through various interactions both professionally and outside of work as they get to acquaint themselves with each other and their work. The comfortable and easy relationship will make it possible to give disability related stories coverage based on facts and experience instead of assumptions.
Provision of information prior to the event is very important for maximum coverage and it can be done through a press release. Although some may argue that a press release is devoid of flesh for a news story, others say it acts as a cause for investigation leading to a newsworthy story. The issuance of a press-release covers the therefore to misrepresentation Civil Societies and Persons with Disabilities face when it comes to print media.
Niche journalists well versed on disability and the language will go a long way in the coverage of disability related stories. Civil Societies working with Persons with Disabilities need to look out for editors and journalists who are knowledgeable on disability and build their capacities further, and involve them at disability related events so they can be the agents of change in the media for Persons with Disabilities.
When it comes to interviews; Civil Society Organizations need to be as open as possible with journalists albeit within limits. Giving the journalist a lot of room for questions and conversation invariably leads to misquotation in the media yet it was information provided by the interviewee. Civil Society Organizations and Persons with Disabilities should try not to deviate from the topic in an attempt to be as informative as possible during interviews at events for better coverage and representation.
Journalists believe that the real stories worthy of front page coverage are the ones coming from the grass-roots, in the districts of operation for Disabled People’s Organizations. They therefore wish to be requested for coverage during field work activities so they can get firsthand information and experience on the work done by Disabled People’s Organizations and Persons with Disabilities towards the improvement of their livelihoods.

Use of alternative media to put across issues of Persons with Disabilities should not be ignored. Social media has become such a powerful tool in communication that journalists are looking to it now as a news source. The use of social media gives the user full control over the content and tone they wish to use when delivering stories pertaining to Disability and Persons with Disabilities.

Friday, December 1, 2017


There are moments when he looks at her,
Seeking the love that shone brilliantly with each gaze.
Searching for the little smile that crossed her lips with each interaction between them.
Aching for the acts of affection that were given so lavishly but went unappreciated.

There are moments when he looks at her,
With bated breath and a frightfully hopeful gaze.
Looking for the love that he thought was infinitely his,
From eyes clouded by his disappointments,
And a heart forever broken by them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Her Mother

Her Mother.
Her strength,
Her courage,

The adoration she basks in with each success,
The source of pride in her uncompromising values,
The beacon of hope in an uncertain future,
The unwavering faith behind her pursuit of happiness,
The will behind her indomitable persona,

Her courage,
Her strength,
Her Mother.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

He Called Her At Midnight

"Alexandra. I hope I didn't wake you", he said.
"No. I am up finalizing a design."
She heard him draw a deep albeit shaky breath. Like he was mentally bracing himself for what he was about to say. Hearing him do so put her on edge. The call itself had thrown her mind and emotions off kilter. To hear him do so before revealing his reasons for the late night phone call didn't bode well.
"Max... What's wrong?"
"Alexandra... She... I need you..."
Max was never a stutterer. If anything; he was the one person you could rest assured would find the right words, no matter the situation. His incoherent reply meant the situation was a lot worse than she could imagine.
"What is it?", she asked. "Tell it to me at once because you're scaring me."
With that; her thoughts raced over every possible situation that could get him to act this way. Try as she may; she couldn't find a plausible reason that would explain his current behavior. She was about to prod him for an explanation when his hushed words cut off her thoughts.
"Tessa died." He whispered over the phone. "She must have slipped out of the apartment while I was in the shower."
His change in tone denoted the gravity of the situation. A situation, it seemed, he couldn't bring himself to accept. Every word out of him came in slow, shaky tones that brooked no interruption.
Tears rushed to her eyes as she tried to stifle a sob while listening to the gory details. Marc- his next door neighbour, had found the little dog whimpering and covered in blood on the way back from his late night jog. He'd immediately scooped it up and rushed to Max's apartment after recognising her spotted tail.
Alexandra could only imagine what this loss would do to him. Tessa was his world. The last tangible link to a past he refused to let go of. The one thing he swore was the only good thing out of it. Knowing how much Tessa meant to him made her glad for the fact that they were able to share her last moments together - in the safe haven of his arms where she had known so much love and comfort.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Your Face On Mine

I don't know how to kiss.
But, I do know,
I want to feel your face on mine.
To look into your deep-set eyes,
Until all I see is my reflection.
Rub the tip of my nose with yours,
And prolong the anticipation.
To feel you draw breath,
As you prepare to drink in my taste.
Watch my hands,
As they wind themselves around your neck.
Pulling you closer,
Into our embrace.
While we slowly kindle,
The fire that sizzles between us.

I don't know how to kiss.
But, I do know,
I want to feel your face on mine.


He Called Her At Midnight

There it was. The invite. A chance to step into his world again. She had kept it at the back of her mind that they would cross paths...