Going through the phases
Life has been interesting lately.
Sometimes I go through these phases where . . . I’m not sure quite how to explain them, but they feel like an evolution of sorts. Which, before it feels good, it feels like shit. Basically everything feels weird, I feel like I’m lightly tripping on mushrooms 24/7, up feels like down. It’s sort of like a spiritual journey, dark night of the soul, caterpillar in a cocoon kind of thing. It feels super uncomfortable and I don’t know what I believe anymore and my writing feels kind of foreign to me and I’m crying and raging a lot.
It’s weird because simultaneously, the rest of my life is super normal. My relationship with my boyfriend is amazing (4 monthiversary today:))))). Rock climbing is amazing (I’m SUPER close to getting my first V7 and I know I’ll be able to get it later this week). Certain things still feel normal and stable and good.
But then when I’m alone, at my parents’ house, doing writing stuff, everything gets pretty uncomfortable. This is because I’m working on breaking patterns around my writing, being financially supported by my writing, my relationship with my parents, and creating a stable living situation for myself without my parents. I didn’t necessarily choose to start doing all this, it kind of just became too uncomfortable to ignore any longer.
If this isn’t making any sense, this essay I wrote in August 2022, “The heat and the flood,” is partially about working through patterns I had regarding romantic relationships and kind of gives a bit of an insight around how chaotic and emotional and weird this work can feel. But it’s effective. Just a few months after I sat with that discomfort and pushed through to the other side, I started dating my now boyfriend. I broke some repeat patterns and beliefs I had around relationships that was keeping me from experiencing a good relationship, and here we are. <3
This is essentially what I’m trying to do with writing and money and moving out. It’s hard for me to write or keep in touch with long distance friends (I’m sorry that I’ve ghosted you!) while I’m going through all this, but I just need to push forward and say what I’m able to.
No matter how ragey I’m feeling right now, I know it’s a pattern, I know it’s for a purpose. If you’re going through something similar, don’t give up! Amazing things are on the other side. Let’s keep going.
In the midst of this personal evolution, here’s a bit of lightheartedness: I made a new Instagram! I deleted all my social media two years ago and it has been extremely refreshing and peaceful and necessary to be away from it all, but I started getting the urge to be back on IG again for the connection and creative outlet. You can follow me here at @allythewriter. Not sure when I’ll start posting, but expect to see journaling excerpts, writing updates, rock climbing videos, and day in the life vibes. I want it to be an encouraging space for other creatives, but also a little bit of self indulgence lol.
Anyway. I wanted to stick to my usual newsletter formula but BLARGHHH I’m not a formula right now and I need to be a little messy. We’ll see how things look by next week.
Trust the journey. Trust yourself. You’re on the right path.
I love you!
Cerebral and emotional
Welcome to the Ally Brennan newsletter—a weekly email containing books, movies, creative inspiration, and things I’m learning + exploring.
Reading: I just finished reading The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis. I love this book so much that I’ve read it three times in three years. Beth Harmon, the main character, is super relatable to me because she’s often alone. She doesn’t have a “squad” and she mostly learns things by herself, tucked away in her own mind. It’s really nice to relate so much to a character like this. Even though I like being alone, it’s nice to not feel alone in the world.
At one point in the book, Beth is talking to a random guy at a party. She asks him if he plays chess at all, and he says, no it’s “too cerebral.” This kind of happened with my boyfriend and me. I brought a chessboard to his house, thinking that chess would be something we could get into together. He played a halfhearted game with me, but wasn’t really into it. Which is completely okay. We don’t need to have all the same interests, and I really appreciate that he’s less “cerebral” than me and much more grounded.
I’m often trying to give my brain more to do, and on that note, I’ve recently started learning how to solve a Rubik’s cube (this is the best tutorial video I’ve found). I decided to claim the one that my brother Zach had, gathering dust in his closet, and have that be another little connection between us. It’s really cool to slowly learn how to solve something that has been a mystery to me my entire life.
Watching: I went to go see Titanic in theaters yesterday for the 25th anniversary re-release. It was a 10:20 AM showing. There’s something so classy about going to a matinee all by yourself. (It’s even sweeter when it’s on a Sunday morning and you’re ex-Christian hehe.) I was alone in the theater except for an older couple, so I was able to sob freely during the movie.
(THE NEXT PARAGRAPH HAS SPOILERS BUT HONESTLY I SHOULDN’T EVEN BE DISCLAIMING THIS BECAUSE YOU’VE HAD 25 YEARS TO WATCH TITANIC . . . ahem.)
I really love the story they tell through Rose, how she feels trapped in her life, how she feels that even if she escaped, she didn’t possess the right skills or smarts to survive. It led her to feel dangerously suffocated by her life, on the edge, but too afraid to leave it because she didn’t trust herself, and therefore quickly became co-dependent on Jack. She’s another female character I relate to, wanting to be free but not feeling capable enough. Obvi I h8 that they killed off Jack, but from a storytelling angle, it was really important for Rose’s development that it happened. You can see her progression by the end, how peaceful and happy she is in her old age, and all the photos of her displayed on the dresser, her flying a plane and riding a horse, and a mention earlier in the movie that she’d been an actress. She had to learn that she had the ability to save herself, and that ability bloomed beyond pure survival later in her life and made it beautiful.
Listening: I’m kind of a sheeple for this, but I watched part of the Super Bowl and I have a favorite commercial from it. But it’s okay because now I have a favorite commercial of all time, so I can check that life quest off the list. It’s a commercial for Bud Light, a couple dancing in their apartment to customer service hold music. I love it because it feels very real. It just feels like sweet simple love. As a plus, the couple in the commercial are actually married IRL (the actor Miles Teller and his wife Keleigh). I can’t stop watching it. I love love like this. It’s what I wanted and what I have with my boyfriend. <3
But anyway, I’m obsessed with the on-hold music from the commercial. It’s called “Opus No. 1” and it was made in 1989 by a 16 year old named Tim Carleton (he gave it free of charge to Cisco as their hold music, and thus, a legacy was created). I honestly didn’t recognize the song when I heard it, which I guess just means that I’ve been fortunate enough to not have spent very much of my life on hold. I’m gonna add it to the Spotify queue at my climbing gym though, because I want to see how people react to it haha.
Thanks for reading! ☻
Every day is the best of the year
Welcome to the Ally Brennan newsletter—a weekly
SundayMonday email containing books, movies, creative inspiration, and things I’m learning + exploring.
I’ve just now replaced my 2022 wall calendar. Actually, my mom replaced it for me. I woke up the other day to find a slim package slipped under my door, containing the 2023 version of the calendar I love: a massive poster displaying the entire year at once (thanks Mom!). The outside of the packaging says “Every day is the best of the year,” and that’s absolutely the energy I’m putting into 2023. One day at a time.
Writing: I’ve been following one of my new year’s intentions of “emptying out the drafts” by re-posting old pieces of writing. Including some poetry I wrote in 2020 + 2021. There are a lot of really good pieces I’ve written, that I took down for various reasons. Maybe I was unsure of the direction I wanted to take my writing. But I realized that as long as I’m being authentic and my writing is reflecting that, it truly doesn’t matter what direction my writing goes. It exciting seeing my website fill out a bit more. I’m reminded that I’ve been writing for quite a while now, and that’s something to be proud of.
Also. I think I’ve come up with a new publication date for my book, The Simple Path of Journaling. This has been a hell of an emotional journey, but the end is in sight. Just editing, editing, little by little. I feel like someone should write a book about how to work through the emotional issues that come up when you finally decide to pursue your dream of writing and try to finish your first book, because this has been a real doozy. Hmm . . . that gives me an idea.
Reading: I just finished Julia Cameron’s memoir, Floor Sample. It’s inspiring me just as much as Steven Pressfield’s memoir, Govt Cheese. I’m paying close attention and noticing consistent patterns. I’m seeing what happens when a person fully decides that they’re going to be a writer + creative, and then follows through on that decision. Things actually happen and work out for them. Julia Cameron, as a sober alcoholic (she had a very wild life), incorporates lots of lessons she learned from recovery into her creative work, namely the “one day at a time” concept. That’s all I do as well. I tell myself that I’m improving and progressing every single day, bit by bit. You guys are truly seeing this creative journey play out in real time.
Julia Cameron is giving a virtual talk on Friday, February 10, from 5:30-7:00 PM (PT) to discuss her brand new book, Write For Life: Creative Tools for Every Writer. It costs $35, and the price includes a hardcover copy of that book shipped out for free after the event! (Excellent marketing, imo.) I’m really excited to hear her speak, especially after having just lived inside her life story in her memoir for the past week. There are so many things I relate to her on. Strangely in love with the desert,
childhoodlove of horses (okay . . . fine, lifelong love of horses), kind of manic about her creative work, spiritual and a little bit psychic. I felt less alone reading her words.
Watching: February 2nd marked my favorite holiday of the year: Groundhog Day! Of course I had to watch Bill Murray’s, Groundhog Day, one of the greatest films ever made. I almost got to see it in theaters on the 2nd: my boyfriend and I walked over Red Rock Casino to kill time while waiting on a tire change and I saw they were playing it later that day in the in-house theater. Unfortunately, it was playing too late for us to see it that day (we waited out the tire change with some rounds of bowling, not gambling lol), but I was stoked to see it playing there!
The reason Groundhog Day is my favorite holiday is because of the connection Austin Kleon made between it and the creative journey in his book, Keep Going:
“Now, it might seem like a stretch, but I really think the best thing you can do as an artist or a creative person is pretend you’re Phil Connors in Groundhog Day: there’s no tomorrow, there’s no chance of success, there’s no chance of failure, there’s just the day, and what you can do with it.
Building a body of work (or a life) is all about the slow accumulation of a day after day’s worth of effort over time. Writing a page each day doesn’t seem like much, but do it for 365 days and you have enough to fill a novel. You do it your whole life, and you have a career.”
Thanks for reading! ☻
Empty out the drafts
Here is some creative inspiration for you this Sunday: (I’m sort of wanting to come up with an “introduction” template for my newsletter, and this is all I’ve got so far, haha.)
Reading: I just finished reading Steven Pressfield’s memoir, Govt Cheese, and holy shit—I’m so inspired and encouraged. I’ll be honest, the title is pretty meh and the cover looks like a self-published book cover from the early 2000’s. But I think those were intentional decisions. He’s such a giant in the literary world, his book The War of Art makes him god-level to me, yet he came from super humble beginnings and actually seemed a bit reluctant to write this memoir in the first place. But I’m glad he did. I relate so much to his early years, his 20’s and 30’s. He was aimless, lived in a van, lived in weird roommate situations, moved all across the country, worked more than twenty different random jobs, quit everything, hated everything. He was tortured by his desire to write.
Until he finally started banging out novels on his typewriter. It was so fascinating to notice the slow yet palpable shift that began to occur when he finally made the decision that he was going to be a writer. I’m starting to do this as well. Shifting more and more focus to seeing myself as a writer, chipping away at the rut I’ve been stuck in, waking up each morning and deciding that I’m a writer, not letting myself give anymore energy away to anymore bullshit. It’s a process.
I like author Robert McKee’s “blurb” for the book: “In the Evolution genre the protagonist’s unrealized potential evolves over time until it reaches its full humanity. Steven Pressfield’s amazing memoir arcs this most demanding form with insight, power and beauty.”
Writing: I’ve come up with an add-on to my 2023 goals: empty out my drafts folder. Because here’s the deal: I have hundreds of drafts between WordPress and my notes app. I dash off a piece of writing, straight from the heart, lots of energy, and then get scared, feel like it needs lots of editing, and it never sees the light of day. But it’s getting to the point where I don’t care anymore. I want more raw material to work with and I want to get more of my words out there, even if they aren’t polished enough. This is how I feel about all my creative friends, who I think are so talented that I wish they would just put their rough sketches and iPhone recordings online, because even the works in progress are so amazing to me. So I want to lead by example and start first.
I wrote an essay called “Feel the rope.” A piece about learning to trust my intuition and not overthink what I’m trying to accomplish.
Watching: My boyfriend and I watched a couple cool documentaries on Netflix. One about mushrooms and the other about a filmmaker who started snorkeling every day and developed a bond with an octopus. “Fantastic Fungi” and “My Octopus Teacher” are the titles, respectively. Absolutely amazing films—I highly recommend both of them!
In both documentaries, I was struck by how incredible it is when someone gets passionate about a subject and takes that obsession to the absolute limit. They are able to make new discoveries, advancements to science and knowledge, and just bring more beauty and joy into the world.
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes ever: “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, because the world needs people who have come alive.” —Howard Thurman (he was an author, spiritual activist, met Gandhi, and was MLK’s mentor).
As always, I’m inspired to keep working hard to close the gap between the deep desires of my heart and what I’m actually doing. I hope you’re inspired too.
Thanks for reading! ☻
Welcome to June and issue #5!
I mentioned in my last newsletter that I was looking for a full time job after having read Daily Rituals by Mason Curry and having my mind changed on the idea of getting a “real job” to support myself and my passion work. Well, success! I’m now working two jobs, seven days a week, for a total of about 65 hours. I enjoy both of my jobs and I’m glad to have shed that pressure of “hustle like crazy so your passion can be your income”. Because I ultimately just care about making stuff and being happy with it and sharing it with people who might like it. The frustrating part now is having the energy to get up early in the morning to write and illustrate before work. But my mom reminded me that I’m still transitioning into a new routine and to be patient with myself. I have the rest of my life.
reading: A fiction book I enjoyed recently was Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. It took me a bit to get into at first, because I felt like I was too tired to read a story that was set in another culture and included lots of phrases and concepts to try to pick up on. But I eventually got sucked into the drama of the story, and I’m now impatiently on the library waitlist for the 2nd and 3rd books in the trilogy.
Finally read Bird By Bird by Annie Lamott, which has been on my reading list for years. Lamott does a great job at being completely frank about the drudgery of a writing profession. It’s not glamorous. But to a person to which writing is an absolute necessity to life, the drudgery does nothing to deter. She says, “To participate requires self-discipline and trust and courage, because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, as my friend Dale puts it, How alive am I willing to be?”
listening to: I have an hour long commute five days a week now, and I desperately tried to get into listening to audiobooks while I drive. But I’m a very visual person, and my mind drifts while listening to people talk. In addition, writing down quotes I like is an essential part of reading for me and there was no way for me to bookmark the timestamps on the audio files that contained the sentences I wanted to remember. So it’s back to John Mayer on the road and old fashioned books on my too-short lunch breaks. And contemplating taking the bus so I can read on my way to work.
new things: I’m spending June and July off the grid, in order to give my brain more processing space to rest and create without any pressure of maintaining an online presence (and to adjust to my new work hours). My creative work has been needing time to go underground and hibernate for a bit. The thought of not “hustling” freaked me out for a bit, but then I read Austin Kleon’s new book, Keep Going. He writes, “You have to pay attention to the rhythms and cycles of your creative output and learn to be patient in the off-seasons. You have to give yourself time to change and observe your own patterns.”
I’m excited to see what happens in the coming months! (I’ll still be sending out a newsletter again in July, but everything else will stay pretty silent until August.)
If you want to support my work, you can follow me on Instagram or forward this newsletter to someone who might enjoy it.
Thanks for reading (and happy summer)!
Welcome to issue #4! Still publishing the first Sunday of every month, even though this one is squeaking by at a few minutes past midnight. I’m very proud of myself for being consistent with this. Not sure if the production quality has gone up or down in the months since I started, but I’m going to round up and say this is the best one yet.
reading: I haven’t been reading as much this year as I did last year, but I did read a couple gems in April. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was one of them. I’m generally not drawn to murder mysteries, but I loved that it was told from the perspective of like six different people who were all bound together in some way and each knew a tiny piece of the puzzle.
Another book I read was I’m With The Band by Pamela Des Barres. She was one of the most famous groupies in rock history. Reading about the musicians she was friends and lovers with (including but not limited to Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page, The Bryd’s Chris Hillman, and Mick Jagger) made me start to fangirl a bit myself and give more attention to their amazing music. I’m inspired by how Pamela lived her life with such freedom and love (she’s hosting a writer’s workshop here in Las Vegas pretty soon but all the tickets are sold out, boo!).
watching: Spotify Premium now includes a subscription to Hulu at no additional cost, but even with a new streaming app on my phone to distract my fragile focus, I really haven’t been watching much lately. The only time I really feel compelled to watch a TV show is right after I get off work, but that never fails to make me fall asleep, which in turn makes me extremely groggy, disrupts my sleep at night, and wastes the precious parts of my day which I have dedicated to writing and drawing. However, I was quite excited to discover that Hulu has the entire Twilight Saga. 🙂
new things: I just finished reading Daily Rituals by Mason Curry. It’s an anthology of writers, artists, musicians, and thinkers throughout history, and how they shaped their lives around their work. Many of these creative professionals maintained jobs throughout the entirety of their careers to help support their passion projects. Some absolutely despised this lesser work, while other enjoyed it and gathered inspiration from their jobs and coworkers.
The idea of finding a normal full time job while working on my writing has never really appealed to me, because it felt like giving up. But after reading this book, I’ve started to see the idea of a stable consistent employment and living situation in a new light. If I can stop worrying about where I’m going to live or how I’m going to afford things, I can fuel more focus into writing and art. I’m currently looking for a full time job that can afford me my own place of residency, and might have found the perfect job, but I won’t know until mid-summer if it will pan out. Fingers crossed!
thinking about: Star Wars Day was yesterday (RIP Peter Mayhew, the actor best known for his role as Chewbacca, who died six days ago). I’m a pretty big fan of Star Wars and usually celebrate “May The Fourth Be With You” every year, but I had to work yesterday. Thankfully, there’s a second chance day called Revenge of the Fifth, which is today (my parent’s and I all watched The Phantom Menace together).
I thought about the concept of being grateful for the chance of tomorrow. Often when I think about my goals of becoming a published writer or freelance illustrator, I get anxiety and wish I’d started working hard on my career five years ago. But telling myself “there’s always tomorrow” has been helpful. Not in a flippant way to give myself excuse to be lazy in the present day. But I think about an index card Austin Kleon keeps above his desk that says “Every day. Without hope, without despair.” It’s a reminder to not put too much stock into one individual day. Every day you wake up alive is another day to be grateful and do a little work—without hope and without despair.
If you want to support my work, you can follow me on Instagram or forward this newsletter to someone who might enjoy it.
Thanks for reading!
Welcome to issue #3 of my (surprisingly consistent) newsletter! (Okay fine, I technically sent this a day late, even though it was only by one hour). My blog and Instagram are updated very irregularly (which is the number 1 thing I want to improve this year!), but for some reason I feel ten times more pressure to send my newsletter out on a proper schedule.
I did miraculously manage to publish a blog post this week. It’s about the importance of brevity in writing, which is extremely difficult for me as anyone who knows me well can attest.
reading: March was a slow month for reading. I was very distracted by other things happening (vacation, existential crisis, bad bout of depression). But also, most of the books I did manage to pick up turned out to be flukes. I kept losing interest in them after reading a few chapters. “Stop reading books you don’t like” is on a list of tips Austin Kleon wrote about how to read more, and one I’ve adopted wholeheartedly.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t “reading more” with all the time I saved by quitting books I didn’t like. I recently befriended a musician and we spend a lot of time talking about music (the career I would have pursued in another life). So lately I’ve found myself tapping my Spotify app way more than my Kindle app (yes, I read e-books, don’t judge).
I’m going to make a new little section just for this month to showcase the albums I’ve been obsessing over (since I have no books to share, RIP).
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost-Part 1—Foals
The Suburbs—Arcade Fire
Thank You For Today—Death Cab For Cutie
Trench—Twenty One Pilots
watching: A friend suggested I try out the show Bojack Horseman, and I am completely hooked. It’s definitely not a show I would have ever watched without a trusted recommendation. There’s something about adult cartoons shows that are off-putting to me. Perhaps it feels like a betrayal to childhood, because growing up I thought that Toons Are For Kids™. But the writing for this show is absolutely genius and I love the illustration work. Every time I watch it I just get more excited to keep pursuing some kind of writing and illustration career.
new things: I have a meeting with a potential business mentor coming up soon, which is really exciting. I read a lot of business books and blogs, and one unanimous agreement in them is that businesses are way more likely to succeed under the guidance of a mentor. I’m still not completely sure what exactly I want my “business” to be, but I know it’s on the tip of my tongue. Hopefully my meeting will help me spit it out.
If you want to support my work, you can follow me on Instagram or forward this newsletter to someone who might enjoy it.
Thanks for reading!
Welcome to issue #2 of my monthly newsletter!
I’m embarrassed to say this, but there is no comic or link to a new blog post to accompany this email. I didn’t really draw at all during the month of February.
For some reason I get paralyzing anxiety every time I finish drawing a comic and I convince myself that my ability to make that comic was just a fluke and I won’t be able to make any more of them. It sounds stupid writing it out and hearing stuff like this from other people, but it’s a constant internal battle.
Unfortunately I lost the fight last month, but fortunately I can only improve from here!
reading: I just read the wildly popular Educated by Tara Westover. It’s her memoir of being raised Mormon in a small town in southern Idaho (not too far from where I grew up!). She and her siblings were neither public schooled nor taught at home—they worked their dad’s junkyard and learned about their faith and prepped for doomsday. It was rather startling to read about parents raising their kids in deliberate ignorance (they were too secluded in the mountains for the government to get involved). My siblings and I were homeschooled, but our mom was very passionate about giving us a good education and we were very involved in extracurricular activities outside the house. Where I failed in being a stellar student, my mom forever instilled in me a love of reading and self-motivated education.
I also finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed which tells her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. This is the second book I’ve read about a solo female PCT trek and it’s slowly planting the idea in my mind of trying it myself someday. Not anytime soon though. It’s a massive, lengthy undertaking and something you have to put your entire life on hold to do. This year has felt as though my life is finally beginning and I don’t want to pause any part of it.
watching: A friend mentioned the show Schitt’s Creek to me a couple weeks ago and I’ve binged 3 seasons of it so far. It’s a comedy about a rich family who lost everything and had to move to Schitt’s Creek, a town they had bought years ago as a joke. I’ve been loving this show because while it is funny and fresh, it’s also super relaxing. I find a lot of comedy shows to be kind of grating, but this show calms me. The daughter in the show, Alexis, can be a bit over the top and dramatic, but she makes these amazing/cute/realistic awkward faces that I’ve never seen on TV or in movies. Also I have a fat crush on the incredibly fashionable son, David. I would kill for his wardrobe.
thinking about: I just read Hank Green’s much anticipated debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, about fame and people’s responses to the idea of invasion. It reminded me of Dave Egger’s The Circle (about a girl coming to fame through external circumstances and documenting herself relentlessly) and the Doctor Who episode “The Power of Three” (about a mysterious invasion and people’s reactions to it).
It got me to thinking about the human obsession with aliens (which is a topic for another time) but also about the subtle pursuit of fame. I think for kids who grew up with the internet, the idea of getting famous is a pretty real/normal possibility that isn’t reserved for big screen celebrities. Which is why so many people who don’t really *do* much, keep a well curated Instagram profile or faithfully document their lives on YouTube. Ryan Holiday, wrote a blog post about the level of fame and success we should aim for.
grateful for: Tomorrow I’m going on a trip to Portland! It is not an exaggeration when I say I have not hung out with non-family member friends over a year. Not. An. Exaggeration. I’ve been super focused on work this past year so it will be a much needed friend-cation (but also partially a business trip that will provide clarity on future plans). Excited to spend the week drinking coffee and looking at nature (no, I will not be going to VooDoo Doughnut).
new things: Obviously not much is happening right now (re: the opening paragraph of this missive where I admit to slacking off the entire month of February). But here’s a list of my main creative goals for this year:
1. Post twice a week on my blog.
2. Finish a draft for a comic/essay book.
3. Round out my skills and begin marketing myself as a freelance illustrator.
James Altucher wrote a great blog post about how to improve yourself in the thing(s) you most want to be doing. I especially like the section about building up “micro-skills”. Essentially you break apart the Thing (writer, illustrator, actor, musician) and examine/work on all the small pieces that the Thing is made up of. Having small goals to work towards helps alleviate anxiety paralysis (which means new comics coming in hot this month!).
If you know someone who would enjoy this newsletter, please forward it to a friend.
Thanks for reading!
Welcome to issue #1 of my newsletter! These will be sent out regularly on the first Sunday of every month.
January + February in Nevada feels like how June felt when I lived in Idaho, so to take advantage of the perfect weather I moved an armchair out to the covered gazebo in my backyard to use as a workspace. As someone who almost equally loves the outdoors and the writing/illustration desk job I’m pursuing, sitting outside to do my work seemed like a good mix. I was right.
Yesterday was Groundhog Day, which is my second favorite holiday (Halloween is 4ever number one). I absolutely love Bill Murray and his movie Groundhog Day (my family has it on VHS… and we still own a working VCR). One of my favorite authors, Austin Kleon, wrote a blog post about how people (especially creatives) should treat every day like it’s Groundhog Day.
Unfortunately I got my dates mixed up (I think nannying gives me secondhand mom brain) and thought Groundhog Day was today instead of yesterday. But I’m going to skip the Super Bowl (college football is better anyway), slip on my favorite Bill Murray shirt, and watch my movie anyway.
reading: Currently reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean and just finished reading The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen by Lisa Gungor and The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. Starting my reading year off with a bang, because they’re all fantastic and I’m predicting that they’ll all make it onto my “top ten reads of 2019” blog post this December.
watching: I just watched the Fyre documentary on Netflix. The actual event was an epic disaster, which obviously makes the movie wildly entertaining.
I rarely have shows I actively keep up on each week, but these days I have two. The first is the most recent season of The Bachelor. If I was basic, I’d call it my “guilty pleasure”, but I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. Either you like something or you don’t, and I think The Bachelor is an excellent use of my time. But okay fine, my ego insists I provide a disclaimer for why I’m watching it. It’s because I have a serious lack of social community out here in Nevada, so watching artificial televised drama fills that hole in my heart.
The second show I watch isn’t on TV at all. It’s John Mayer’s Instagram live video series, Current Mood. He records it live every Sunday night and usually has musical guest stars who perform. Just something he started doing for fun. I’m obsessed with John Mayer because his humor style is the exact scientifically crafted formula of what I find hilarious.
thinking about: Mere-exposure effect and the fact that even in the age of information, we’re still ignorant and afraid of people who are different from us. Perhaps because it’s so easy to cultivate our desired internet experiences, and mute, unsubscribe from, or block the things we don’t like.
grateful for: The internet. And my little brother who buys me my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough Larabars in exchange for driving him to work.
books I read last year: I wrote a blog post highlighting the top 10 books I read last year (out of a total of 115). The post was technically published today, but I changed the date on it to make it appear as though it actually went up on my website at the end of 2018. Cheap tricks.
Before I close this out, I have a request! If you have any questions at all about me or my writing or illustrations, please reply to this email and ask away! I’m working on the FAQ page for my website and I haven’t been able to think of good questions to ask myself.
If you know someone who would enjoy my blog or comics, please forward this email to a friend.
Thanks for reading!