Still jumping down rabbit holes

My podcast, Down the Rabbit Hole, went sideways when I got busy. I’m streamlining things, changing tactic, and relaunching in September. I have some surprises up my sleeve including an interview for Gaming & Tech week (week three) and will be fielding others so look for updates! xo

I had no idea.

I have 1,182 subscribers to this blog.

::blink blink:: Um. Well, hello there!

::Kermit flail::

Call it me being naive, but I literally had no idea. I rarely get comments, I attribute that to too-busy schedules and “skimming”, but my site stats didn’t even know. One of my plugins apparently did, though. Wow. Um. Yay! So nice to be heard by all of you. Thank you so much for being here, it means a great deal to me. I do this for you.

Lift As You Climb

My intent has always been toward sharing not selling. I’m not big on sell sell sell on my social media and agree with licensing agent Lilla Rogers, “People buy your joy.”. However, I believe in supporting the tools that have supported me and I just posted a new affiliate link for Scrivener to the site. In the process of adding the new widget to my site, I added the blog subscription one as well to keep people notified when I post in case they aren’t on Facebook or other social mediums. When I did, the stats came up.

Supporting Good Things in the World

I’ve always said that one of my biggest missions in this life was to put more beauty out into the world my daughter is growing up in. That all our children are growing up in. It matters. Their generation is going to have to deal with and clean up our messes, so I make it a point to support good people, good companies, good products.

This is something I’ve passed on to my daughter as well. We’ve had discussions on why you shouldn’t wear brands whose missions don’t align with your beliefs, that researching things is important, and that how you present yourself is important. I’m not talking about impressing people, I’m talking about representing your true self for your own benefit.

First, this isn’t a paid ad. I really do love Scrivener. When my husband got stuck on his first novel, Remnant, I bought him a copy and he finished his book in two weeks. I use it for everything from blog posts to formulating short stories, to organizing my research and writing novels. Scrivener has been essential for me to stay focused and I am constantly sending people over to them.

Second, I really do hate selling stuff. ha I do shows to interact with people, to learn what’s people like, to meet the people who follow my work – apparently more than 1,182 of you, still digesting – and if I make sales in the process, I consider it bonus.

What’s of “Value”

Most of my life I’ve had a love-hate relationship with money. I think we all do. It’s a necessary evil since the world doesn’t work on barter, but people value their worth by it which simply isn’t true. My worth or value isn’t based on the money I have or can make, not even by what I can do for others since I can’t always. My worth and value are measured by how I treat people.

Live kindness, Practice gratitude.

Thank you for being here. Thank you if you are one of those 1,182 people subscribed to this blog by email. Thank you if you follow me on Patreon, with or without a pledge.

You mean a lot to me.

“What we leave behind is not what is engraved on stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

– Pericles

In My Element

Water came up this morning as Temperance. Being able to channel water is to adapt and move with the terrain while carving your own path through it slowly. Water means my teaching style today is about listening, taking things slowly to uncover the student’s personality so that I can best reach them. It’s about gentleness, not necessarily plowing through with my normal level of weird.

My online class starts today and I’ll pull three cards, one for each class. Just things to think about, as I don’t use the cards for divination but as prompts.

My second class, the Hermit appears. This, again, guides me to be myself and to listen for cues from my student. Being in familiar territory, my footing on the path is easy if I stick to my course outline and focus on my goals for the class.

The last class of the day, my third class, is lively and concerned with intellectual pursuits. I’ll have two classes under my belt for the day, so this will help me “stand my ground” and maintain the illusion of control. ha Water still the underlying theme, it’s ok for me to let a little of my “muchness” show and step up my game.

Using another deck, I’ll pull one final card for myself.

My Wolf totem knew I needed her. Pack Alpha.

My intent to pull one card for the day, became my favorite deck’s action to show me two. My totems don’t generally play around.

Starting this morning in meditation was a good move on my part. The unstruck sound of the Golden Egg. “No rushing, pushing, or grasping.” I know this speaks to my anxieties about my third class, which is double the size of my other two. It also reminds me that time can be adapted if I need to tutor outside of class, that I’m in “control”, and to be open to responses.

My Alpha needs to be gentle today, but firm.

Wolf has stood by my side all my life. She is inked on my back and lives across my heart. She reminds me with a gentle fanged mouth over my hand that I have a good support group, and to follow and stay strong in my natural, intuitive flow. “Embrace all, exclude none.” Tolerance will burn off my nervous energy and control is fluid.

Mouse poked her head in to remind me to stay organized, that this was a meaningful project, and that the nervous is ok.

Overall, listening to my intuition and my students, being true to myself and my curriculum, and remembering that I’m in control and can adapt as I need to are my lessons for today. Fear of the unknown, as it’s the first time teaching on this platform, is normal. I’m excited for the possibilities and I’m looking forward to meeting my students. We will have four classes together over this week and next.

Deep breath. Coffee. Move forward.

Week 1: “Breathe”

Breathing has been a process today. Three meetings, staying off social to stay focused to get things done on current projects. Today was video editing, mostly as part of the last workaround I’ll need to do for Patreon, though not mine this time.

Having had breathing issues in the past – a misdiagnosed pulmonary embolism for a year and a half – I am grateful and humbled by every breath I’m gifted. When I’m stressed, I actually find myself holding my breath, so I try to be mindful of the simple in and out.

Between now and next Thursday, post your interpretation of the word “Breathe” in whatever manner or medium you are inspired to use. I’ll be posting mine tomorrow. Hashtag it #positivityplague so we can connect and others can join in.

Thank you for being here, looking forward to seeing the power of Breathe through your eyes!

Guidelines for #ThePowerofaWord project can be found here:

The Power of a Word

Welcome to 2019! This is the first year that I’ve not had a problem remembering to write the new year vs the old. I’m not completely shocked, though, as 2018 was such an “interesting” year.

Last September, I launched my Patreon. I dove in headfirst. Womaned-up and filmed a quick video outside Third Street Cafe in Lexington, traffic noise and all, and have been so blessed. One of my first endeavors was Coffee & Journal, a series letting my followers in behind the scenes of my morning journaling routine.

Hit a few hurdles, but kept moving forward. I learned to compose music on the Launchpad app, eventually acquired new tech with the help of my patrons, and streamlined my mornings. There are 24 videos currently, that I will eventually add to, but I’m shifting things back to my personal process for now till I’ve got the editing software for my desktop PC. I’ll continue to post photos on my Instagram.

Starting today, I will be posting a word of positivity here every Friday. I’m doing it here so anyone can participate without having to signup on Patreon. Playing along is a very simple way to express your own style of creativity. 

On Patreon, every Saturday, I will post my own exploration of the weekly word. It could be photos or a video, a journal page, a zine, whatever I’m inspired to do.

Am I shooting myself in the foot by not running it on Patreon? But you could bring more people to your Patreon, maybe they’ll donate…that’s not why I’m doing this. 

I’m doing this for her.

The world my daughter is growing up in, about to turn 18 in, scares the crap out of me. It’s my job and legacy to help add more beauty to her world, spread love like a plague, and teach her kindness and compassion by supportping and encouraging the good people who are lost in it.

There’s only two rules:

1. Whatever you create has to include that week’s word. It can be any medium. Sculpt, dad, sew, carve, paint, draw, arrange, animate, scribble, journal, cook, bake…

2. Whatever you create has to be put out into the world for someone else to find and pass on or keep, whether it is the creation itself or an image of it.

To my followers:

I hope that you will lead the charge in spreading a little more positive energy in your part of the world. It might not seem like much, but to someone else it might be a well-timed miracle. It means there’s one more person in the world that actually cares.

For example…Write the word on a leaf or a bunch of leaves and scatter them around. Write the word on a post-it note and leave it in a public place. Make art cards or tiny canvases with little notes saying “Find Me Keep Me” and that week’s word. Write it in the sand, paint it on a rock, make it out of leaves and twigs in the middle of the woods. Write it, carve it, or paint it and leave it in a Geocache. Bake cookies or a cake and write it on top. Whatever it takes (legally) to leave your mark.

When you post photos, please tag it with #positivityplague (without the year as I want this to be ongoing). Share photos in the comments, share the link when I post it, tag me so I can show her we are powerful and can change the world with one little ripple at a time.

Thank you, as always, for being here and joining me on this path of creative joy.

Let the downloads begin!

Welcome to December, can you believe it’s only four weeks till Christmas? I’m ready for it, bring it on…well, maybe. ha Thank you for being here, this is my favorite part!

One of my old digital advent ads.

I’ve been doing my Digital Advent for several years now here on my site. I love sharing my work with you, especially interactive pieces that you can make your own. This year, since my focus has shifted to Patreon, there is a SECOND set of downloads that are only for my Patreon patrons.

Every morning (today was a fluke) I’ll be posting two downloads – one free one here to continue my tradition, and one on Patreon for patrons only.

The free ones will be simple things like paper chain and ornaments. My patron-only ones, however, will be something really special. Both sets are made with love and gratitude, and are designed just for you.

If you haven’t already, please hit Follow over on my Patreon to make sure that you don’t miss out. As always, thank you! xo


So I wrote a book.

Let me back up a little.

I’ve written several books. Six children’s books, two novels (well three technically, though that one is half finished) and I’m about to launch another in the next few days. Where are they? Oh, yea. Unpublished.

This year’s theme has been “Shine” for me for a reason. It’s been time to put my foot down, put my big girl pants on, and woman-up to getting my books out into the world. I’ve been hiding, in a way, but not for the reasons you think.

I’ve never been afraid of moving forward, except when it drew what I considered too much attention to myself. Dealing with permanent health issues that changed, sometimes drastically, how people would interact with me (Watch Shallow Hal and you’ll get the hint.) I became more comfortable leading from the shadows unless I was in a life-is-too-damn-short mood (in which case all bets are off and look out ‘cuz here I come). I started pushing past that fear a couple of years ago, emerging from the safe anonymity of being behind a computer and not face-to-face with onlookers. I took over the Kentucky Browncoats the week before we moved here, and I forced myself into public speaking in front of an audience, however brief and infrequent. It was, I felt, a necessary baby step in my own personal evolution.

So I got bored the other night and wrote a book. Quite literally.

This year I put my novel, Stalemate, into the critique process. I am still a few weeks off of getting advanced reader copies (ARCs) out to a small list of people, and have revisions to finish, but I’ve been anxious to start. So I didn’t decided one night, when I found myself with a little downtime, to write a book dummy.

Book dummies are paper book mockups, kind of like zines. I made up a few dummies last month in order to have some on-hand for projects. Restless one evening, I picked one up and literally wrote “What happens when I’m bored” on the cover and it just snowballed from there. When I was finished about 20 minutes later, I realized I had to make it. The message was one I’d been repeating to people for years. So I jumped on the iPad Pro, grabbed my Pencil, and opened a new project in Procreate. I wrote it all by hand, threw in a couple drawings, then headed to bed. The next morning I jumped on my desktop and compiled it all into a book template, uploaded it, created a cover, and viola! Book. Technically my second book – I’m revising the other one, so technically two more books in a few days – but it got me over the hump and out in the open again when I’d started to crawl back under my rock.

And that is what the book is about, just starting. Just doing one thing, one step to move forward, it doesn’t have to be a big one. But it just might be all it takes to bring down the wall and shine.

Music is breath

Music has always been the one constant in my life. It has been the soundtrack to my joys, my fears, comforted me in every emotion, and spoken my words when I could not. I am always seeking out new music and am so overjoyed when I find something new. Playing for Change isn’t new to me, I have been following them since they started on their Songs Around the World journey and what they bring together never ceases to amaze me.

Most people don’t know this about me, but I grew up with my mother’s love of Africa. (photo: My mother with us at Animal Kingdom dancing to live African music two days before she had surgery.) African culture, art, pattern. I think it is why I am so drawn to black and white, high contrast art, pattern, and texture. It is where my love of elephants comes from as well.

It may also have influenced that I have the heart and hands of a drummer. Though not what I would consider well, I played doumbek, djembe, and other hand drums for years. I cannot imagine my life without music, sound, rhythm, beat, percussion, the sounds of feet dancing in dirt, the sounds of nature’s heartbeat on the wind. Music of all varieties speaks to me and influences my creative force daily.

Africa has been speaking to me lately. Elephant keeps popping up as well as tribal patterns. (photo: a lovely gift from a watercolor artist I met recently, check her out here) It keeps me focused on my own personal strength and power as an individual, reminds me of my connection to the Sacred Feminine, and that with that power comes a duty to be compassionate. Compassion has also come up in that I recently reworked my logo. Moon Rabbit is compassion in Japanese culture.

A while ago, in response to some very disturbing discussions in the news about hunting elephants, I created this paper doll in protest. You can download a copy and print it out (I use 110# cardstock) for personal use! Feel free to share it*, just make sure to link to this blog post and not the PDF. Enjoy!

*All downloads are protected under copyright and are not to be duplicated in whole or in part without written permission from Renmeleon aka Ana Maria Selvaggio. If you share it, please link to my  and not to the PDF. Thank you!

If you are a teacher and would like a custom doll for your classroom, please contact me. I’d love to make something for you!

Of Squirrels and Type

Diggory made the trip with us.

One of my favorite sounds in the world is that of a typewriter. There’s something primal to the creative soul about the sound of a key striking paper, leaving an impression behind, and that metallic clinking. Tap tap tap tap tink tap tink tap.

My daughter and I spent our Sunday evening at a Type-In hosted by Bryan Sherwood, aka the Kentucky Typer, at A Cup of Common Wealth in Lexington; check out their fun little Pay It Foward, you can even buy me a drink online! There were typewriters everywhere (read heaven), people swapping them across tables and making the rounds to try other models out. We took two of mine, both gifted – a small, blue Royal and my Underwood Leader.

I was gifted a little Easter egg about my Underwood: The H key was backwards, apparently a rare thing, and I was told to leave it that way. The color was also discussed, as that particular shade or patina was unusual. I felt like a proud mother, though I already was with my 15-year old sharing my love of these wonderful machines.

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An IBM Selectric sat at the end of our (door made into a) table with a typewritten note in the top (above). I hadn’t realized that model had originated in Lexington, and it made me feel even happier that we’d moved up to Kentucky. My mother had worked on one of these machines back when I was in high school, and I remembered the gentle whirring. My daughter turned it on and swooned, continuing the time honored tradition of laying your head on the keyboard to listen to its gentle hum.

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Overall the event was a big success and I think thy got double the turnout they were thinking they we going to get. The woman next to us, Anne, was actually from Winter Park, FL, my old stomping grounds growing up. We got to meet with a couple people I knew from Instagram, one even recognized my name which was a nice surprise.

@TypewriterRevolution on Instagram was there with a binder full of his lovely ETCetera publication (that I am now hooked on).  As soon as I am able, I’ll be picking up a signed copy of his  book, it looks fabulous.

I also discovered the Typosphere, so if you don’t hear from me for a while, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole…

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