Setting the Tone

I’m working on Stalemate again. Val and I have been meeting with two close friends for a critique group every couple of weeks and we have been breaking it down, chapter by chapter. It has taken on a life of its own and I am very grateful for the feedback. It has also been a small thrill as a writer to see them interested and on the edge of their seats ever so slightly meeting after meeting.

One of the most emotional scenes in the book just came to life for me. I found the scene’s soundtrack and it transformed everything, as music often does. To say Ludovico Einaudi was one of my muses would not be an understatement…

I put the headset on my husband’s ears and asked him to read the scene. Part way through he put his hand over his mouth, moved, eyes tearing.

This is what I wanted. This is how I wanted the reader to feel. I’m happy.

Defining Passion

I’ve been watching a free series that has been offered by the ever fabulous and thought-provoking Michael Hyatt on platform tweaking. Even if you are pro, I recommend taking a look at the series. He posed a question at the end of the first video that was a lot harder to answer than I had expected or should have been.

What Are You Passionate About?

Once people find out that I have created my own career path and work from home, it is not uncommon for me to get into a discussion with them about how they are not happy with where they are and what they would really like to be doing. In every conversation so far, there has been one common theme: Their goals don’t match the end result of the path they want to be on. The question that I pose to them is this:

If there were no limits to money or location, what is the one thing that you could spend the rest of your life doing and be happy?

Most of us have a difficult time seeing past roadblocks and ruts we have fallen into, the thought of having that kind of control, so it takes a minute to recover before we can even begin to answer that. There have only been a couple of people that I’ve spoken to that know exactly what they want and have a clear focus. Michael’s question put me on the spot as well and I had to answer this for myself.

My end goal: To be able to travel with my family, write, create, and teach while experiencing the world through art, food, creative and cultural interaction as we share the expanding of our own eco-centric views of the world.

Spelling this out, I see a definite need for some self-alignment within my own path. We live a creative life but, while we have traveled a little more this year than most, my husband is still trapped in a 9-to-5 job that doesn’t align with his own desires. As his wife and best friend, I want a lot better for him and for us as a family.

Moving Forward

What am I passionate about? This was my turn, and it wasn’t easy.

I am passionate about a number of things, which is good and bad. In the past I would head in several directions, keeping my interests separate instead of integrating them. I thought that keeping them compartmentalized would help me to stay organized. It did for a bit, but if I hit a bump with one or, with my health more often, it would throw everything off. From there I overlapped my projects in an effort to go in one main direction. Progress. Finally, I cleared my plate and started getting more focused on what I wanted. I stopped taking clients and dug into my own projects that had been neglected for so long. I’m much happier now and have made great advances, but I am still whittling away at what we don’t need in our lives in order to focus on the more meaningful.

Finding balance when you work from home is a unique challenge, but it’s doable with a direction and a plan.

Getting with the program

My new sunshiney writing spot.
It’s been my goal for a long-time to blog more. Setting down ideas, sharing the projects of myself and others, making my writing more of a daily practice again. Life tends to sideswipe me, though, and I get distracted. Not hard when you are ADD and self-managing. It’s time to give it a try again, though.

The goal is to blog Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; not only here but on Art for Cures, ArtfulLE, and Kraft Paper Muse. Why so many?

Different crowds, different subjects. 

Art for Cures has gone through the fire and back. Rebuilding slowly from the ashes, it’s going to take a while to recover from my previous mistakes. I know the group has great purpose and potential, though, so I am not yet ready to let it die while there is still interest. The local interest that we have gathered over the years will start meeting once a month at the local library. I am looking forward to an influx of new artists into the group, hoping it will rejuvenate our veteran members, and it give me a chance to be more hands on with everyone.

ArtfulLE is a more personal project for me. I wanted to focus solely on my wellness journey without bogging down my main blog. I had posted a few times, not thinking anyone was even reading it, then someone in New Zealand (!!) posted a comment thanking me and letting me know they had shared the post on Facebook. Next thing I knew, I had a following.

Kraft Paper Muse is a culmination of my loves of publishing, tech, and art. The hardest to keep up with by far, solo, the Muse has high and lofty dreams of what it wants to become when it grows up. Being able to see your work in print, even digitally, and offer that opportunity to others is a thrill to say the least. It requires a discipline that I am having to relearn, though, as well as some major ADD management.

Renmeleon, up until now, has been the catchall. A conglomeration of random tidbits and the odd afterthought or soapbox. My goals with this site are to bring it back to its originally intended purpose: My freelance work, sharing what I’ve learned over the years, what inspires me, and forming a jumping off point for all of my other projects. I’m very eclectic in my interests and hope to share that diversity here.

Overall

All-in-all, the purpose of all of this is to get me writing again on a daily basis, get me “arting” again, and get myself back on a schedule of management (not as easy). I’m using my Monday, Wednesday, Friday as my “public” writing days (blogging) and my Tuesdays and Thursdays for project days. As I did today, I spent the morning hand-writing my posts in a spiral bound notebook, 11 pages for today’s, then transcribed them in the evening after I’ve had the day to reflect on all of it.

We’ll see how long I can pull it off. /fingerscrossed See you in two days!

Let the wordiness begin!

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter,
so I wrote a long one instead.”
– Mark Twain

Well, it’s that time of year again. No, it’s after Halloween and Christmas, thankfully, is still a few weeks away. Nope, it’s write-till-you-drop month. That’s right, it’s November – National Novel Writing Month AND National Blog Post Month.

But I Already Have Too Much To Do

Any serious writer knows that you have to make writing a daily practice. Daily. I cannot stress that enough. Writing requires effort, and good writing even more so.

I write all the time. Cheap, quad notebooks and my black, fine point .5mm gel pens are always with me. I make lists, doodle, jot down notes for story ideas, and sometimes pen a few serious pages of plot. But even I get caught up in the day-to-day and have to remind myself to get a word down at times.

Day One is my eight-ball in the corner pocket. I schedule it to pop up around lunchtime and make myself write a few words, even if it is crap, just to make it a habit. I don’t allow myself to skip or dismiss it, which takes discipline, even as simple as that sounds.

Connect With Me

http://nanowrimo.org/en/participants/renmeleon

Also, if you are a Full Sail University student, drop me a note as I am looking into setting up a virtual classroom writers group if there is enough interest.

 

Squirrel

The Three Dollar Squirrel, a monthly zine by writers for writers on the act, art, and process of writing will be getting a facelift and relaunching August 2012. Posing one question per month, the Squirrel will be offering participants the chance to tell the story of their own process as insight and encouragement to other writers. Participants get exposure and the opportunity to network with their readers. All participants receive a free PDF copy of the issue they are in.

JOIN THE ANNOUNCEMENT LIST

You can also follow Diggory, our mascot, on Twitter here.

DEADLINES

Each issue of the Three Dollar Squirrel is available for viewing online through Issuu, an e-zine publishing platform. Due to the economy and printing expenses, the zine will not be available for print though a yearly book is under consideration.

Deadlines are the same every month:
The question for the month is posted on the 1st.
Reminders are sent out on the 10th and 15th.
Submissions are due by the 25th.
The zine publishes on the 1st of the month.

HOW TO USE THE ANNOUNCEMENT LIST

Join the list to receive the monthly topic as well as automated reminders. You will email your response to the publisher by the deadline. (instructions below) This is an announcement list only.

GUIDELINES | EMAILING SUBMISSIONS

All answers to monthly questions should be emailed to ria.selvaggio at gmail dot com. By submitting your replies, you grant Three Dollar Squirrel the right to publish your submission in the monthly zine as well as any promotional uses and books.

When emailing your submissions, you will need to include your full name or the name you want to appear in the zine (pseudonyms are acceptable), as well as up to three links for publication under your submission.

Links can be your personal site, your blog, social network (Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc) and/or a site where your writing is. We prefer not to censor so please avoid using profanity.

The word count is 60 – 800 words.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Pen in hand,
Ria :)

The 2009 Calendars are here!

The first of the 2009 Calendars, in this case a small preview of my book The Painted Hand: An Artful Life in Paint and Paper, is up for grabs on Lulu. A collection of some of your favorite collage pieces as well as a few snippets of creative writing will keep you company for 12 months throughout the coming year. Come take a look!

Catch up, breathe deeply

After what seems like forever, I am finally getting caught up. Most of last year was spent with one or all of us bed or house ridden, one passing it on to the other as is the way of things in homes with children. There have been a lot of people disappointed in me, a lot of people who knew me and understood, and still more who have been supportive beyond the call of friendship. I think all of us have dealt with snowballs at least once in our lives and but this one created an avalanche. I’ve not given up though and things are getting better each day. I am moving forward.

LITTLE BITS OF WISDOM
A few of the many things I have picked up along the way, that I try to instill in my daughter, have been active in my life lately…

  • You should always be “straight up” with people. Be honest. Whether they will understand or not, your conscience is clear and you’ve done the right thing.
  • Pick your battles. Do what you can to the best of your ability and honor others as well as yourself. Help as much as you can but know when to say no.
  • If it is worthwhile dream, don’t give up.
  • When everything is a priority remember that family comes first. When it is hard to label what is the top priority in a pile of pressing deadlines, always pick the one that will give you the most trouble.
  • Breathe. There is always time to take a moment, close your eyes, and just breathe.

COMPLETELY ENTHRALLED

I own an HP laptop and frequently receives updates from HP including their Personal Again campaign that features some incredibly well-done and creatively inspiring videos. Recently I found Paulo Coehlo’s The Experimental Witch competition that led me, breadcrumbs in hand, to his Alchemist site on HP.

The guitar music that plays on the site has me completely in thrall. I am hooked on it, sometimes leaving the browser window up in the background to listen to it while I write or work. I don’t know that he will actually see it, but I sent him an email on his MySpace requesting the name of the piece or the guitarist and thanking him for his contributions to the creative community. Admittedly I do not own personal copies of his books yet but hope to soon. His stories are wonderfully rich and I look forward to reading more.

PUBLISHED RECENTLY

I have been so busy on this end that I’ve not had the chance to tell you all about some wonderful things that happened recently!

100 Days of Monsters. My family and I found Daily Monster, Stefan Bucher’s absolutely addictive video blog, and have been glued to it ever since. We crank the volume up so we can enjoy the sounds of his pens as they glide quickly across the paper. It is fascinating to watch what each seed of ink will become, even he doesn’t know till he does it which makes for a wonderful mystery. Stefan asked people to post little stories about his monsters, what we thought they were doing, who they were, and the madness began. Everyone got involved and the stories rolled in. Incredibly funny stories, emotional stories, off the wall weirdness, and all of them great fun to read. Well, he made a book with a DVD. All of his videos for the first 100 monsters and then some are included. And two of my stories made it into the book. So pick up a copy and read about “Reggie” and “Herman”, monsters 91 and 95. They will be very happy that you did. And if you do, please post a reply here and tell me what you think. I hope you like them both.

Thank you Stefan for your inspiration and your kindness!

Never Forgotten. I am a member of the ZNE network and was able to contribute to a book project for one of its members who recently lost her mother. I encourage everyone to take a look at the book and purchase one for yourself or for a loved one who may need some support or encouragement. I do not received any kind of compensation and am even purchasing my own copy so this is not a sales pitch. My piece is Essence & Longing and is included under the “Healing: The Beauty of the Soul” section in the book. If you do buy a copy, remember to post here and tell me what you think.

BACK IN SCHOOL

Started back to college week before last, totally online, and love it. Wish I could have done it sooner. They have the same accreditation as the local university but without worrying about scheduling, gas prices, or the wear and tear on my vehicle. Val has been in since August, he’s on the Dean’s list, (WOOT You go baby!) and I should be there soon as well. I am working on my BFA in Visual Communications with a specialization in Digital Design which, mostly, is the degree for what I have already been doing for the last 22 years. I have been wanting to finish school though, needed the piece of paper, and wanted to get all of the new software so here I am. I really enjoy the interface, the structure, the whole layout of AIU. And, yes, it takes a lot of discipline. But I will have my degree in 13 months, not four years, and there is something incredibly motivating about that. When I graduate in July of next year, if not sooner, I will be working on my Masters in Education there or finding a school where I can complete my Architectural Design degree. Yup, there is the secret to my handwriting, I was an Architectural Design major previously.

TED TALKS

“Who is this Ted person anyway…” you say? Don’t worry, I said that too. During my Visual Literacy class I was linked to a TED Talk by John Maeda. An incredibly brilliant, very funny man. Maeda spoke of simplicity, applying it to design and everyday life which is something I think we all need to look at. If you get a chance to watch the video, do, it is well worth the time. I have also found the TED Talks to be a fantastic resource. I think one of my favorites so far though has to be J.J.Abrams talking about the “mystery box” and writing.

A NEW SITE FOR ART FOR CURES

Art for Cures has been in need of a site for a while and, though I had started building one, my life and health conspired to keep me from it. After seeing a few site on the Ning network, seeing the resources available and the network’s framework, I decided to build us a home there. Art for Cures is now part of the Ning network and we already have several members there. Looking forward to posting the auctions in the next week and moving forward!

SCRIBBLES, DOODLES, AND SQUIBBLES

We like to hang out in the local bookstores on occasion (read we live there) and I am always on the lookout for new things fir Ysa and I to play with. Not seeing anything I could afford to get this week, or that we didn’t already have, I picked up another Kumon book for Ysa’s homeschool. Ysa and I rummaged around the children’s section a bit and a book accosted me on the way out. Well, it didn’t actually accost me per se, but I am very visual and certain things tend to jump out at me on shelves. In fact when I worked for the bookstores (both BAM and the Noble Barn), I was the one people always came to when they couldn’t remember the name of something. Nine time out of ten I would know it by what the spine or cover looked like and sometimes the “look” of the author’s name.

This time, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was coming home with us.

Scribbles by Taro Gomi is part of a three book series (might be a series, should be) and all three seriously ROCK. The books are almost two inches thick and full of half drawn doodles that you have to finish. It is total creative license, total interpretation, total fun.

…and yes, for those who recognized the name, Taro Gomi also wrote Everyone Poops. hehe

BEING ANACHRONISTIC AGAIN

I’ve rejoined the SCA after a long hiatus and have brought my family with me this time. Val is going Art/Sci, Logan is going heavy weapons, and even my girl is considering it as well since they start youth combat at age seven. She already makes a great shield wall, ran over the last guy. Val has been working on his own medieval chant notation, Logan is making chaine maille again and I have been pouring through patterns and buying fabric in preparation for garb making. It has been way too long since I have been camping so I am really looking forward to it.

Oh, I was also given the honor of being the Shire’s new Web Minister (or Mistress in this case).

My new tagline?

Ana Maria Seaton
ska Ginuivive Alysabaeth Rosewood (Dragonfly or Alysa)
Shire of Amurgorod, Kingdom of Trimaris
“The Dragonfly caught in the Spidered Web.”

Web site for the Shire coming very soon. VIVAT TRIMARIS!

SCRIPTFRENZY

ScriptFrenzy is this month, brought to you by the makers of NaNoWriMo. I toyed with the idea of working on a script I have had in my head for a while now but my time will not allow it. Also, anytime I even consider working on another writing project, my two novels – Moonlight & Shadow and Odonatia – beat me over the head and throw tantrums on the floor begging for attention. My children’s book, Clementine’s Garden, can get away with it though. They don’t beat her up because she is too cute.

WAIT, YOU SAID…ODONATIA!?

Yes I did, you heard me right. Odonatia is fast becoming a novel. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Odonatia is a fiction project I have been working on for about 10 years now. Started as a simple postal issuing authority for artistamps (faux postage), it quickly snowballed (read avalanched) into an epic piece of fiction with real passports, a winery and other goodies coming. Turning very steampunkish. Plans include a daily blog form the island, downloads and other goodies. Looking at a couple of other creative associates that might get involved as well in the future.

ON THE HUSH HUSH

Two major projects going on, one involving my rubber stamp line that is forthcoming, are building up speed and about to take off. Sadly though, and yes I know I am a tease, both are on the “hush hush” right now till I get the okay. I know, stop pouting, I’ll post here as soon as I get the green light. Needless to say both are of incredible proportion and I cannot wait to tell you all.

…well, that is all I can think of for now. (aren’t you glad? hehe) I will be posting scans, photos and a few updates today and over the next couple of days. This week has been a busy one so I have been trying to stay focused and push forward. Hoping this finds you all well and in good creative spirits!

Brightest blessings!

Catch up, breathe deeply

After what seems like forever, I am finally getting caught up. Most of last year was spent with one or all of us bed or house ridden, one passing it on to the other as is the way of things in homes with children. There have been a lot of people disappointed in me, a lot of people who knew me and understood, and still more who have been supportive beyond the call of friendship. I think all of us have dealt with snowballs at least once in our lives and but this one created an avalanche. I’ve not given up though and things are getting better each day. I am moving forward.

LITTLE BITS OF WISDOM
A few of the many things I have picked up along the way, that I try to instill in my daughter, have been active in my life lately…

  • You should always be “straight up” with people. Be honest. Whether they will understand or not, your conscience is clear and you’ve done the right thing.
  • Pick your battles. Do what you can to the best of your ability and honor others as well as yourself. Help as much as you can but know when to say no.
  • If it is worthwhile dream, don’t give up.
  • When everything is a priority remember that family comes first. When it is hard to label what is the top priority in a pile of pressing deadlines, always pick the one that will give you the most trouble.
  • Breathe. There is always time to take a moment, close your eyes, and just breathe.

COMPLETELY ENTHRALLED

I own an HP laptop and frequently receives updates from HP including their Personal Again campaign that features some incredibly well-done and creatively inspiring videos. Recently I found Paulo Coehlo’s The Experimental Witch competition that led me, breadcrumbs in hand, to his Alchemist site on HP.

The guitar music that plays on the site has me completely in thrall. I am hooked on it, sometimes leaving the browser window up in the background to listen to it while I write or work. I don’t know that he will actually see it, but I sent him an email on his MySpace requesting the name of the piece or the guitarist and thanking him for his contributions to the creative community. Admittedly I do not own personal copies of his books yet but hope to soon. His stories are wonderfully rich and I look forward to reading more.

PUBLISHED RECENTLY

I have been so busy on this end that I’ve not had the chance to tell you all about some wonderful things that happened recently!

100 Days of Monsters. My family and I found Daily Monster, Stefan Bucher’s absolutely addictive video blog, and have been glued to it ever since. We crank the volume up so we can enjoy the sounds of his pens as they glide quickly across the paper. It is fascinating to watch what each seed of ink will become, even he doesn’t know till he does it which makes for a wonderful mystery. Stefan asked people to post little stories about his monsters, what we thought they were doing, who they were, and the madness began. Everyone got involved and the stories rolled in. Incredibly funny stories, emotional stories, off the wall weirdness, and all of them great fun to read. Well, he made a book with a DVD. All of his videos for the first 100 monsters and then some are included. And two of my stories made it into the book. So pick up a copy and read about “Reggie” and “Herman”, monsters 91 and 95. They will be very happy that you did. And if you do, please post a reply here and tell me what you think. I hope you like them both.

Thank you Stefan for your inspiration and your kindness!

Never Forgotten. I am a member of the ZNE network and was able to contribute to a book project for one of its members who recently lost her mother. I encourage everyone to take a look at the book and purchase one for yourself or for a loved one who may need some support or encouragement. I do not received any kind of compensation and am even purchasing my own copy so this is not a sales pitch. My piece is Essence & Longing and is included under the “Healing: The Beauty of the Soul” section in the book. If you do buy a copy, remember to post here and tell me what you think.

BACK IN SCHOOL

Started back to college week before last, totally online, and love it. Wish I could have done it sooner. They have the same accreditation as the local university but without worrying about scheduling, gas prices, or the wear and tear on my vehicle. Val has been in since August, he’s on the Dean’s list, (WOOT You go baby!) and I should be there soon as well. I am working on my BFA in Visual Communications with a specialization in Digital Design which, mostly, is the degree for what I have already been doing for the last 22 years. I have been wanting to finish school though, needed the piece of paper, and wanted to get all of the new software so here I am. I really enjoy the interface, the structure, the whole layout of AIU. And, yes, it takes a lot of discipline. But I will have my degree in 13 months, not four years, and there is something incredibly motivating about that. When I graduate in July of next year, if not sooner, I will be working on my Masters in Education there or finding a school where I can complete my Architectural Design degree. Yup, there is the secret to my handwriting, I was an Architectural Design major previously.

TED TALKS

“Who is this Ted person anyway…” you say? Don’t worry, I said that too. During my Visual Literacy class I was linked to a TED Talk by John Maeda. An incredibly brilliant, very funny man. Maeda spoke of simplicity, applying it to design and everyday life which is something I think we all need to look at. If you get a chance to watch the video, do, it is well worth the time. I have also found the TED Talks to be a fantastic resource. I think one of my favorites so far though has to be J.J.Abrams talking about the “mystery box” and writing.

A NEW SITE FOR ART FOR CURES

Art for Cures has been in need of a site for a while and, though I had started building one, my life and health conspired to keep me from it. After seeing a few site on the Ning network, seeing the resources available and the network’s framework, I decided to build us a home there. Art for Cures is now part of the Ning network and we already have several members there. Looking forward to posting the auctions in the next week and moving forward!

SCRIBBLES, DOODLES, AND SQUIBBLES

We like to hang out in the local bookstores on occasion (read we live there) and I am always on the lookout for new things fir Ysa and I to play with. Not seeing anything I could afford to get this week, or that we didn’t already have, I picked up another Kumon book for Ysa’s homeschool. Ysa and I rummaged around the children’s section a bit and a book accosted me on the way out. Well, it didn’t actually accost me per se, but I am very visual and certain things tend to jump out at me on shelves. In fact when I worked for the bookstores (both BAM and the Noble Barn), I was the one people always came to when they couldn’t remember the name of something. Nine time out of ten I would know it by what the spine or cover looked like and sometimes the “look” of the author’s name.

This time, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was coming home with us.

Scribbles by Taro Gomi is part of a three book series (might be a series, should be) and all three seriously ROCK. The books are almost two inches thick and full of half drawn doodles that you have to finish. It is total creative license, total interpretation, total fun.

…and yes, for those who recognized the name, Taro Gomi also wrote Everyone Poops. hehe

BEING ANACHRONISTIC AGAIN

I’ve rejoined the SCA after a long hiatus and have brought my family with me this time. Val is going Art/Sci, Logan is going heavy weapons, and even my girl is considering it as well since they start youth combat at age seven. She already makes a great shield wall, ran over the last guy. Val has been working on his own medieval chant notation, Logan is making chaine maille again and I have been pouring through patterns and buying fabric in preparation for garb making. It has been way too long since I have been camping so I am really looking forward to it.

Oh, I was also given the honor of being the Shire’s new Web Minister (or Mistress in this case).

My new tagline?

Ana Maria Seaton
ska Ginuivive Alysabaeth Rosewood (Dragonfly or Alysa)
Shire of Amurgorod, Kingdom of Trimaris
“The Dragonfly caught in the Spidered Web.”

Web site for the Shire coming very soon. VIVAT TRIMARIS!

SCRIPTFRENZY

ScriptFrenzy is this month, brought to you by the makers of NaNoWriMo. I toyed with the idea of working on a script I have had in my head for a while now but my time will not allow it. Also, anytime I even consider working on another writing project, my two novels – Moonlight & Shadow and Odonatia – beat me over the head and throw tantrums on the floor begging for attention. My children’s book, Clementine’s Garden, can get away with it though. They don’t beat her up because she is too cute.

WAIT, YOU SAID…ODONATIA!?

Yes I did, you heard me right. Odonatia is fast becoming a novel. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Odonatia is a fiction project I have been working on for about 10 years now. Started as a simple postal issuing authority for artistamps (faux postage), it quickly snowballed (read avalanched) into an epic piece of fiction with real passports, a winery and other goodies coming. Turning very steampunkish. Plans include a daily blog form the island, downloads and other goodies. Looking at a couple of other creative associates that might get involved as well in the future.

ON THE HUSH HUSH

Two major projects going on, one involving my rubber stamp line that is forthcoming, are building up speed and about to take off. Sadly though, and yes I know I am a tease, both are on the “hush hush” right now till I get the okay. I know, stop pouting, I’ll post here as soon as I get the green light. Needless to say both are of incredible proportion and I cannot wait to tell you all.

…well, that is all I can think of for now. (aren’t you glad? hehe) I will be posting scans, photos and a few updates today and over the next couple of days. This week has been a busy one so I have been trying to stay focused and push forward. Hoping this finds you all well and in good creative spirits!

Brightest blessings!