Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Lilly Kane Lives

I am imagining a world in which Lilly Kane, self-celebrated daughter of a magnate, and best friend to Veronica Mars, was never murdered. How differently would life have been for Veronica Mars, her fellow plebes and the notoriously filthy rich 09ers?
Lilly Kane’s murder set off a chain reaction of catastrophic events that destabilised the status quo in Veronica’s hometown — Neptune. The entire social eco system of Neptune was disrupted. In much the same way that biological food chains are hurt when one animal species ceases to exist. Lilly was almost at the top of the food chain, but she also had ties with men who socially were at the bottom and even men who deserved to be at the bottom of the heap [namely her murderer].
Perhaps, if Lilly had lived we could imagine that the world would have been a happier place. For Lilly’s then impressionable best friend, Veronica, in this blue-sky pseudo reality so many terrible things might have been prevented including being drugged and raped. Her first sexual encounter would not have been a painfully public joke, in which everyone else knows the details except herself — “You want to know how I lost my virginity? So do I”. As it stood she had no recollection of her first time, except for the morning after feeling of ‘knowing’ that it happened. Ironically Veronica was slanderously labelled a slut, by the very teenagers who themselves engaged in casual sex. This being just one painful reminder out of many that a different set of rules applied to the 09ers. Lilly herself was a promiscuous 09er, but you don’t hear anyone speaking derogatively of her.
The first guy to totally eclipse Veronica’s heart, Duncan Kane, is the brother of Lilly Kane. Since their break up came before Lilly’s murder her death cannot be attributed to their changed relationship status, except as a further alienation. Truthfully their break up was a manipulation of Duncan’s mum Celeste Kane. According to Lilly “She'd [Celeste] hate anyone she thought that Duncan might love as much as her.” Herein lies a conundrum — Celeste would prefer Duncan to not be dating Veronica, mostly because it is a reminder that her own husband used to date and continues to have an on again, off again affair with Lianne Mars [Veronica’s mum]. To break up her son’s teen romance, Celeste tells him that Veronica is his half-sister. Whether this is fact or not, Celeste has a choice of either accepting Veronica as her son’s girlfriend, or as her husband’s illegitimate daughter. She couldn’t control her husband’s adultery, but she can control her son’s life. With or without Lilly, Celeste’s skies can never be blue.
Then we have the Echolls’ family, whom gave new meaning to functioning dysfunction. The very lives of this family swung precariously in the balance over the thin Lilly lives-Lilly murdered line. If Lilly had lived her on again-off again boyfriend, Logan Echolls, would have discovered that she was having an affair with his dad, Aaron. Rather than mourning the loss of Lilly, he would have been angry with her and broken up with her for good, and being the horn dog that he is would have quickly moved on to the next pretty young thing. Logan’s dad, Aaron probably would not have survived the ice pick stabbing — courtesy of one of his many disgruntled ex-lovers. Had his life ended there, his wife, Lynne, I would like to think that she would have more will power to live her life to the fullest. But the reality was Lynne had turned into an alcoholic, pill popping trophy wife [very 50s minus the housework] was almost at her wits end in knowledge of Aaron’s philandering and abusive tendencies. But if his life had ended at Christmas then that could have been her reprieve from a vapid marriage.
Even considering all of the negative karma following Lilly’s murder, I would still suggest that the world is a better place with a hardened Veronica Mars. Is that a terrible thing to say? Let’s face it. Yes, her death was heart breaking and violent. And yet through this dreadful event Veronica develops into a capable and incredibly resourceful young woman. ‘What doesn’t kill can only make you stronger’ is a powerfully evocative expression, which rings true in Veronica’s life. Yes, her BFF was murdered. Yes, her mum did a runner. Yes, she lost her social status at school, no longer accepted by either socio-demographic [the poor and the wealthy]. Yes, her more than capable father was removed from his position as sheriff. Yes, she was drugged and raped. Yes, she developed a suspicious nature and in turn learnt to tell lies, even to those she loved. And somehow without all these changes in her life Veronica would have continued being a typically sweet, naive teenage wallflower who thought her high school years were an absolute blast. Would this soft shelled Veronica have stood up to school bullies? Would she have foiled the insidious plans of Neptune’s masterminds? The answer is heck no.
Neptune’s very own smart quipped Nancy Drew pulled back the town’s band aid and for better or worse showed us that the well to do 09ers were no better than the people who waited on them. A lawless place like Neptune needs hardened heroes like Veronica. And like a tragic hero of mythology the new Veronica had to crawl through fire. To quote the promotional Conan by-line, she was ‘born on the battlefield’.
Lilly recognised that the shy Veronica Mars was an undeveloped work in progress, as noted when discussing prom dresses in the good old days, “You are not a yellow cotton dress… You are strapless red satin”. For Veronica to become the rocker chic what she was always meant to be, Lilly had to die. For when she was murdered Veronica took on the best qualities of Lilly – her love of adventure and not being afraid to break a few rules. So although Lilly was murdered it can be believed that she lives on in Veronica.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Word in a Jar

    Are you struggling with writer's block? Are the kids crying ‘I'm bored’? Has the whole power grid gone out preventing the use of the Playstation? We'll then I've got a solution for you.
  1. Grab an empty jar and an old newspaper [or magazine] ready for the recycle heap.
  2. Cut out random words from the newspaper and place these into the jar [ie. umbrella, cat, moon, boy, et cetera]. Fill up the jar till about half way.
  3. Close the jar and shake it up.
  4. Open the jar and randomly pull out three or four words.
  5. You will then write a short story, incorporating the words that you have removed from the jar.
    If you are more of an illustrator, than a writer, this activity can quite easily still apply. Simply include the worded things into an illustration.
    You can turn this activity into a competition for kids. Simply set a fifteen minute time limit to write the story. At the end the kids get to share with each other the story they have written.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Flower Necklace

Wearable Art
I have another quick rainy day project for the kids — it is a flower necklace.

What do you need to make this necklace?
  • scissors
  • embroidery needle
  • knitting yarn
  • 6 drink straws
  • scrap fabric
  • flower pattern

Bits and Pieces
To make the necklace:

  1. Cut the straws into smaller pieces, averaging 4 smaller pieces per straw.
  2. Draw out a basic flower pattern and trace outline many times over on to colourful scrap fabric. Cut out the fabric pieces.
  3. Thread the yarn onto the needle.
  4. Begin feeding the straws and fabric flowers onto the needle/yarn. [The pattern I followed was ‘two straws-one flower’ et cetera.]
  5. Make the necklace any length you wish. [I of course only used 12 flowers, which was more than sufficient for this project.]
  6.  Tie together the two ends of the yarn with a double knot and you have a finished necklace.

The Necklace

Monday, 1 August 2011

Amusing Moose

My latest “Be Your Own Muse” artwork is now available at Red Bubble in a variety of mediums from greeting card to canvas. To find out more simply visit

Be Your Own Muse