Tag Archives: Featured

Free Ukraine

I grew up not really knowing what it means to stand in the face of something that you have no choice but to fight. I could almost always pick my battles.

I’ve certainly been angry about things that have happened to me. I’ve stood my ground when I felt I had to. I’ve spoken up about things that have gone too far. I’ve even given up, retreated, saved my energy for more important fights. Or given up in the face of something that I knew I could never win against.

It was always my own interest or someone close to me that motivated my actions. But I’ve never had to stand when every fibre of my being down to my bones told me that my death would be the likely outcome. Like walking out into the street spreading my arms wide and being shot dead by an invading soldier. Was I spreading my arms in supplication to God, in my own weakness, or in welcome of a peaceful solution? The Russian soldiers in Ukraine don’t seem to care one way or the other.

Soldiers of course know this feeling well. Some felt called to the profession whether or not they learned the hard way what it was all about. Others were forced into it for other reasons. My father was in the US Army but I was never called, internally or externally, to being a soldier. I have no disrespect for those in the military, I’m simply expressing how my life went another direction.

Recently I saw a photograph of a young and beautiful Ukrainian woman, seemingly not much more than a teenager, with her entire life still ahead of her. I’m an Artist so my eyes started analysing the picture and I was confused about what she was carrying on her back. After a few seconds I realized she had a machine gun of some kind slung over her shoulder, carrying it like a backpack or purse. The juxtaposition was bizarre and jarring.

There are many places on our planet that unfortunately have military conflict ongoing. We see it reported in the news almost every day. But the conflict in Ukraine, it’s obviously a war and a savage one, has managed to bring these conflicts right to our doorsteps. Certainly the European Union has seen that. Everyone is amazed at the outright cruelty and destruction that has come from what we thought was a modern country, Russia.

I see a difference between what was in that photo and what we here in the USA think of when it comes to gun ownership. Seeing that photo of the woman with her gun slung over the shoulder now made perfect sense to me and I realized that she had every right to it.

Of course I stand with the people of Ukraine, if in nothing more than my words written here. I hope that this young woman lives a long and happy life in a free Ukraine.

Late Night Revamp

It’s after 3:40 am and I’ve been working for a number of hours to restart this website. I’m currently using WordPress and some of it takes getting used to. I’ve also updated my companion website for my artwork at robertkfoster.com to include my recent forays into digital art using Procreate. The two sites, one for art and one for writing, are planned to be my main focus going forward. There is a lot of art and some writing that still sits on my computer that I hope to add to the sites over the coming days, weeks, and months. I’ll be adding web links over time for some of the places on the Internet that inspire me for both writing and art.

A Journal Has Always Been With Me

I’ve had a journal of one sort or another since I was a teenager, or possibly earlier. Being male, but having three sisters, I quickly learned that it was not a manly thing to have a “diary” so gradually it became my “journal.” I no longer have my early attempts at journaling but I do remember having one with an actual lock on it with a wrap around strap. Not manly at all. As far as I can remember most of my early writings were simply descriptions of what I had done that day.

My early interest in journals stemmed in part from books I read like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and others whose titles I’ve forgotten, where finding clues about some childhood mystery was the focus of the story. Writing things down in a notebook, like a junior reporter, and keeping track of clues figured prominently in many of these stories. The need for keeping a record of things happening in a person’s life became something important to me. Somehow one’s life can seem a little more interesting than it actually is when you take the time to write about it.

For me, I have always been an avid reader of books of all kinds. After being taught penmanship and writing in my various schools while growing up, and having read many books, it seemed only natural that I should also try and write myself. Early in junior high school I was even able to take a course in using the typewriter — the olde fashioned kind with ink ribbons and paper. Unfortunately that’s a clue to my age. Little did I know that one day my skill and knowledge of the typewriter would be so important in the new, digital age. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer and yet I have always written.

My journaling has been an on-again-off-again sort of thing over the years but I always seem to gravitate back to it. At times it is my therapy session, or a descriptive itinerary of an important trip that I want to remember, or a way to rant about things that I can’t talk to others about, or simply a way to talk a lot, through writing, without boring somebody else silly. And a journal was always a place to simply experiment with writing itself. Run on sentences, garbled sentences, quick attempts at poetry, you can write it all in your diary without worrying about the end result.

In my current life I have three types of journals; a pocket journal, a full size journal that goes back and forth between electronic and paper, and a sketchbook for my artwork. Sometimes they meld together and overlap but I find that paper quality and paper size are the important factors. I need a small pocket journal, roughly 3 inches by 5 inches like a Moleskine or similar, that is easy to carry so I can always have something with me to make quick notes in or even quick sketches. I need a larger journal for longhand writing when I need to write something long like a journal entry. And I need a sketchbook with unlined paper that can handle pen, pencil, markers, or water color paint. So I end up needing different volumes for different purposes.

In future I plan to post here in the blog more about the journaling, sketching, and writing life as well as any other topics that may be of interest to you, dear readers. If you have any topics or ideas to suggest please contact us through this website.

Thanks, and Happy Journaling!