I was interviewed earlier this week by the lovely G.L. Giles, and boy did I have a blast! She asked some really insightful questions that made me think (and think…and think, lol). I love talking about my creative endeavors, and this was a fun chance to do so. To see what I had to say about my upcoming titles and other artistic endeavors, check out the article on G.L.’s blog. While you’re there, check out her fantastic work, as well!
11 May 2012 1 Comment
So my early childhood writer self did not, in fact, remain limited to fantasy stories. Nope, I also decided that it was my destiny to be a self-help/instructional writer as well. So today we are visiting my short essay on a project you can do with everyone in your life. In fact, I highly suggest you do this as a unique Mother’s Day present this year. I remember my mom loving things like this when I was a kid so why shouldn’t she love it now that I’m…not as much of a kid on the outside? Try it and see how speechless you can make your mom!
And as usual, unless they really make me cringe I’m writing these verbatim so remember that my spelling and grammar have improved somewhat since I was ten.
HOW TO MAKE SILLY LOOKING ANIMALS
(By SJ age ten)
This is how you can make your own silly looking animals. You will need paper, a pencil, and some crayons. First, get out one piece of paper and fold it in half. Second, think of two animals, like a camel and a dog. Next, draw the first half of an animal on one side. Then, draw the last half of the other animal on the other side of the paper. Now, unfold the paper and see your silly looking animal. Finally, color and name your animal.
Man, wikihow here I come! What amuses me about this is that I was so procedural. In an ironic twist of fate when I was eleven (a year later than when this was written) we had a class assignment that was similar where we had to mash-up animals and name our creature. In that instance everyone in class did the two animal thing and I think I actually may have put together the parts of like forty different animals and written a whole dissertation about the creature’s habitat, food habits, and hobbies. Don’t ask me what in my brain changed from age ten to age eleven, but apparently I decided that typical methods were not for me within that time! I wish I still had that picture – it was a riot. All I remember was that it was some sort of four-legged thing with a giraffe neck and part of the head was like a gator with these really shiny silver teeth because I was in love with my silver crayon and I may have tattooed its butt like a My Little Pony. So compared to eleven-year-old SJ, this ten-year-old version is truly the lame how-to craft book author version. But since your mom may not want a forty-animal hybrid picture for Mother’s Day, or in the event that you’re not feeling comfortable with being that off-the-cuff, I suggest with sticking with the tamer version. Though I would write a little poem to go with it and sign your name at the bottom – moms dig stuff like that. Add some flowers picked from your garden (especially dandelions) and you’re golden! And in the event if your mother is not thrilled with receiving this sort of thing on her special day…well…remember that this advice is coming from my ten-year-old self via time travel and scrapbook.
09 Dec 2011 3 Comments
I try to save myself from this every year. I can usually make it through most of the rest of the year….winter is hard, but the holidays are the hardest. Everything is so cozy and happy, but I’m usually busy with performance obligations so I have to keep my head clear. And spending money on guilty pleasures isn’t something I should be giving into this time of year, either.
But it’s so hard to ignore the craving. I told myself I wasn’t going back to this place, no matter how good it might make me feel. I get that every day it’s a battle and a process. I’ve tried so hard to deny myself and get back to being a whole human being, to not be driven by one, blinding obsession.
But all I want to do is surround myself with one thing and one thing only:
I want it more than anything. Sure, I have enough, but there’s sooo many choices out there. Bamboo, Alpaca, Merino, eyelash….the choices that are so soft and sleek and colorful that it could bring a grown woman to her knees (and some men, too.) I want to buy bags of it, stab it with long sticks, and run my fingers through it over and over until I absolutely have to work with it.
That’s right. My name is Selah Janel, and I am a knitter.
Sigh. Sure, you may think it’s an innocent hobby, but dude, once you start you will get your soul sucked away. If you are one of those people who can just be content to knit scarves or the occasional holiday present, then I applaud you. You are amazing and your moral center in incredible.
I tell myself every year that I don’t have time to make presents for everybody and I sure don’t need to add challenges for myself that I’m never going to finish. Ditto to the projects that I know will drive me out of my mind (This would be most sweaters. The sizing challenge on sweaters makes me want to kill myself, though I can usually get them to turn out decent…though not without some destruction to my soul and emotional center first.).
I have to lock away any extra money before going into a craft store, especially the crafting supercenter that is too close to where I live. Not only does it have aisles and aisles of yarn, but aisles and aisles of fabric…oh it’s bad. It’s a bad, bad den of temptation. And I want to Be At One With Everything In It. I want to run down the aisles and grab EVERYTHING, because only I can make everything in that store achieve its true purpose!!!
Ahem. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Crafting addiction.
It starts out innocently enough: one or two hats for myself since those I have are getting ragged. Or maybe a few lacy scarves for extra presents. Maybe a couple small clutch bags. Some ornaments. A plushie. And somehow it morphs into all of the above, a sweater, a blanket, a cozy for my car, and life-size replicas of all my friends with embroidered features.
Okay, maybe it isn’t THAT bad, but there are days I wonder about myself.
I’ve stopped checking out random knitting books and hitting up blogs. I now page through them as fast as I can to determine how many patterns there are that I can actually use. And then I weigh these new temptations against the pile of projects I have waiting for me…those poor, neglected, half-formed mutants that just need a little finishing, a little work, a little love. And yet they get passed over for the new shineys, the new challenges that will take my art form to epic highs. Poor, sad little creatures.
I also tend to forget what’s in my stash. And I have a beautiful yarn stash, although I always see things I want and think ‘Maybe…maybe just this once…Oh think of all the things I could do with THAT…oh if only I could sink my hands into THAT…oh what glorious things we could make together, that yarn and I!’
okay, maybe I’m not quite that bad, but I still get yarn mania from time to time. And yarn mania combined with fabric mania is just a nightmare waiting to happen. The next thing I know I’ll wake up on the couch all contorted in a pile of yarn and forty-seven different needles, with five different pattern books laying on my lap. And just when I think I’ve reached a new low, I’ll look over and see it: that horrible plastic bag full to the brim of fleece, lining material, and knit apparel fabric that I didn’t really need. And seventeen patterns that looked good at the time. And that awful compulsion, that horrific drive to try new things in an attempt to get higher than before, better than before wars with the shame of all the projects yet to be finished…and I think maybe, maybe if I try really hard and don’t sleep for a week I can get it all done. It never works out, friends.
Don’t let this happen to you or someone you love this holiday season. If you have a crafter in your life, be there for them. Keep an eye on them. Take away their sales brochures (but do so at your own risk – we’re dangerous if you take away our tools. If you ever want to potentially lose a limb go up to a knitter who has nothing else to do and take away her needles. She can be the nicest, most patient person in the world as long as she has her knitting but take it away and watch yourself lose a limb.) Make sure they have a plan, a schedule, a lifeboat when things get to be too much. Comfort them when they get overwhelmed. If they get that telltale gleam in their eye, hide their materials and let the air out of their tires so they can’t buy more. Because if they take on too much, you won’t see them again until at least April. If you want to make sure you actually get to spend time with the crafter in your life this holiday season, be prepared to lock them in a room without their pattern books. But even then you’re not safe, oh no. They will resent you. They will hate you for depriving them of the ability to knit you ten zillion sweaters. They will cry at the thought of all the little children missing out on the little hats they could be making. Just the mere sight of anything holiday-related is enough to send a crafter into fits of nostalgic-fueled work overload. If you know you are prone to these temptations, this unconquerable addiction, just remember all those who love you. They want to spend time with you this holiday season and not just the things you create out of yarn, no matter how magical and how spectacular.
Let’s face it, the heathens never appreciate your talents enough anyway, so why waste your time when you could be plowing them with snowballs and stealing those ungrateful jerks’ Christmas cookies?
So to everyone, a final reminder: be careful. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.