So, I admit it, I've succumbed to the addictive pastime of carving rubber stamps. I'm the first to admit I have a problem. To rid myself of this surplus of stampage, the above stamps are all up for grabs on the Etsy. Please. Take them away. I fear they may multiply to numbers beyond reason. 
 
 
Being a writer is nice for a few reasons. One reason, though, one of my favorites and the most useful, is the way you are forced to sit down and scientifically analyze your emotions and feelings. Every reaction you’ve ever had to a traumatizing moment or an abstract concept, finding the words and dissecting yourself to cannibalize the parts to use in your work... I find it resourceful, efficient, in a conservation of matter kind of thinking. But it’s also illuminating. When was the last time you sat down and thought, “That breakup, that one time. With the person I thought I was going to spend eternity with. How did that feel, again?” We’re so good at bottling things up that we misplace our corkscrew. Writing becomes that missing tool.

“Well, it felt like the world was ending.”

Good, keep going.

“It felt like I had no control over anything anymore, and I would never have it again.”

Keep going.

“It felt raw. Like the casing of a skinned animal.”

And through taking it apart, we learn that it’s fine. Feeling that way is fine, and honestly, expected. Humans tend to be weak, in that way, but hiding that weakness I think is the most cowardly thing we can do. Is strength the only thing we value anymore? Achievement, being an ‘underdog’, winning. Sometimes it’s the losers that I want to see. I want to see someone at their lowest level, when they feel like an amoeba: floating, shapeless, aimless. But more importantly I want to see that amoeba split its cells and grow into something new. I love to watch them climb the rungs one after another, one realization after the next, getting somewhere. Which, I guess, is a lot of the point of a book or story: to see what happens next. To see how these people, who are a patchwork of every emotion and reaction the human being that wrote them ever had, learn to move forward.

Talk about a useful skill, dissecting feelings. We all know we’re all human, but sometimes it’s harder to find proof of that. Writers work to get good at it. 

 
 
YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO
I know you guys probably don't get it, but if you're interested in understanding the reference, ask me for a free eBook copy of my book. 
 
 
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I’m in a bizarrely excellent mood today.

I want to invite all my friends over, give them almost-too-long almost-awkward hugs. I want to go running. I feel confidence like never before— like all the things I want to do in my life are open to me and actually accessible instead of, “Maybe one day.” I feel like a well-acted character in a quirky indie film: I’m that cool person on the bus that handles their latte like a professional sports player keeps a handle on the ball. Every flick of my wrist as I swing my backpack on is like a step in a highly-produced music video, acing the top 40 charts with ease. 

I think this mood came from two places: 

1. An upbeat indie pop/rock playlist, 

2. and thinking about what happens to my characters in the book I’m writing after the book ends. 

If you’re wondering, Ashton decides to travel. He sits on the edge of the Grand Canyon, he watches the geysers at Yellowstone, he climbs mountains and walks riverbanks until he’s had his fill of the world that he was never intended to see. 

So, I think that helped me feel this way. Extraordinary as only a fictional character can be. 


 
 
Some new pieces up in the gallery today. Gonna try to update here more often! Consistency and whatnot. Enjoy the moody pooches! 
Moody Pooches should be the title of my memoir. 
 
 
HELLO FRIENDS! 

I am trying to raise money because I have Adult Responsibilities that require it! Lame

See those drawings? I am offering drawings in that style for $5 each! (Up to $10 for more complicated designs.) They will be done with black pen, white gel pen, (if you want) one color of your choice, drawn on 5.5”x9” brown paper. Physical copy can be mailed upon request, we’ll discuss shipping in that event.   

[And don’t worry, your high-res digital file of the final product will be scanned, not taken with my cellphone, like these sketch samples are.] 

* There are FIVE SLOTS available! First come, first serve. Place your order by email at marandart@gmail.com. * 

♥ BLOG BONUS: because you actually read my blog, if you take advantage of this deal, I’ll also give you a coupon code for my Etsy for 25% off any of the listings. :) ♥

—♥ Maranda

 
 
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Hello, fellow mortals! 
To celebrate 200 followers on tumblr and my piece 'Mountainous' being accepted into the roving art show in Wyoming, I've decided to
clean out my art folder and give away some original art pieces! Here they are! There are THREE winners! Triple your chances! I tried to include as many options as I could. 
Here are the prizes: 

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Hop to it, friends! I'll see you on July 31st when the giveaway ends! 
 
 
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Wyoming, I am in you!
I think one of my favorite emotions is, "Wow, I forgot I did that a long time ago, look at it paying off right now! What a surprise!" Felt that today. Because a few months ago, I entered the above piece, 'Mountainous', into the Wyoming Wilderness Association's 30th Anniversary traveling art show. At the time, I thought, hey, I've done a piece inspired by Wyoming. Why not ship it in? So I did and promptly forgot about it. 
Few days ago, I get a congratulatory email. I got in! 
It's always going to fill me with glee when I see my art on another side in the manner of, "Hey look at this cool thing!" Giddy. Just... giddy. 
Check it out! And if for some reason you're around Sheridan, Moose, or Laramie... go see it! Say hi for me! Tell it, "Mommy misses you, but you're on to greener pastures. Do mommy proud." 
You might want to whisper it when no one else is looking, though. Just as a precaution. 
 
 
Hello, friends! (I can say that with certainty because only my friends read my blog. Love you guys! Smooches!) It's That Time Again, in which I produce more horrible creations that are also shirts and stickers. On that note, I have a Redbubble account now! Now, if you're an illegitimate clone of me (or just me), you can have all the stickers and throw pillows of fishdogs you've ever wanted. Click the little red dot on your right. I will now utilize a Very High Tech arrow emoticon to indicate the location of the aforementioned red dot.  ==> 

Also, I have a mailing list now! I read recently that RSS and blogs and social media are dead (we can dream) and that email marketing is kind of in right now. So, being the hip cat I am, I went ahead and got a mailing list. You should be on it! It's like being in a club! Clubs are cool, right? People like clubs? I'm going with that. 

So there you have it-- do as you must. I'll be waiting. Clawing at my keyboard, slamming F5 over and over, awaiting your arrival. No pressure. 
 
 
Sometimes, I sit down to paint, overwhelmed by the urge to paint, but nothing comes to mind. I end up listlessly browsing the 'watercolor' and 'gouache' tags on Tumblr and Google image search... most of what turns up is idyllic flower portraits or gardens or puppies or something else cute and wholesome. 
I have a natural aversion to that kind of kitschy cuteness. The more I browsed for "inspiration", the more I furrowed my brows and frowned. 
"Man, this stuff is boring." 
And then it hits me that I still have some skinned coyote feet in the freezer and bam, inspiration hits me like a truck. 
(You'll get the story of why I have coyote feet in my freezer... later.) 
It was to be my first really serious gouache piece in a while. The last full-on painting I did was in my oil painting class a year ago, and because oils are made of condensed demon's blood and are hellbent on making your life miserable, the idea of doing another painting (until now) kind of rubbed me the wrong way. And by 'rubbed me the wrong way' I mean 'plagued me with fever dreams of the Reflective Objects and Elaborate Geometric Patterns Still Life.' 
But, today, gouache was calling my name. And my blank pieces of aquabord were feeling lonely. One thing led to another. 
Colors start to  happen.
Adding color to the underpainting was thrilling and frightening. As an artist, paint thrills you, and no one else gets why washes of ochre and burnt sienna get your heart racing.
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The final product: Wholesome, endearing, warm-fuzzy feelings. Wook at the widdle paaawws!