Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Thank You

It has been two years since I posted anything new here. For a long time now, I've wanted to write an update post for you guys, just to clarify whether I'm still doing this or abandoning it entirely. But I honestly didn't know, and so I didn't know what to tell you.

At first, I stopped posting because of other things that were happening in my life. I'll tell you about that stuff first. 

About two years ago, Hubs and I got really interested in the tiny living movement. We wanted to lower our cost of living so we could have more free time. To this day, I think downsizing is the one smart thing we've done thus far in our adulthoods.

We had some money saved, but not a lot. We decided to remodel a vintage RV, because the ones on Pinterest looked super cute and that option fit best within our (laughable) budget.

We've been living in a 1983 Airstream for two years now. I honestly kind of like it and don't mind the tiny-ness. Here are some pictures I took right after we moved in:

And here are some of the outside:

Okay, now I'm just showing off.

Moving into the Airstream reduced our rent by half. We had lovely plans for how we were going to use all the extra savings. Then, Hubs took a job that had a better schedule and seemed like it would be an increase in pay. Long story short, it was the opposite of an increase. We blew through our savings and had to start using our emergency credit card to pay our bills, which we're still paying off. Finally, after about seven months, he found another job, which actually pays more than any job either of us has ever had, so I guess it all worked out for the best. 

All that was about a year ago. BUT THERE'S MORE. Right after Hubs got the new job, last summer, my mom fell and cracked her knee cap in half. I flew out to Montana and helped her recover from surgery and go through physical therapy. I was there for two months, and she's doing a lot better now. I was really sad to come back to North Carolina, because Montana is awesome. Hubs and I want to move there. 

And somewhere in there, I stopped blogging. 

I kept trying to figure out how to tell you guys about all this stuff. At first it seemed weird for my cartoon blog to suddenly start talking about tiny homes and vintage travel trailers, and I couldn't figure out how to introduce the subject. Then more stuff happened, but in order to tell you about that stuff, I had to tell you about the first stuff that I still hadn't told you about. Then even more stuff happened, and it all got so overwhelming that I just never did it.

I felt like you guys had come to know a certain aspect of my personality and think of me in a certain way, and I was afraid it would be jarring to you if I suddenly presented myself as someone who also has non-funny interests and does other kinds of writing and has other projects.

My concerns are ironic, because nothing could possibly be more jarring to you than this abrupt information dump. 

And the truth is, I haven't known what to tell you about the future of this blog, because for a long time I didn't know. 

Even when things started to slow down again and my life became more settled, I never felt another urge to compose an illustrated post. At first I thought I was just burned out. I didn't want to jump to conclusions, because I like to let things grow and change on their own. Sometimes I go through long periods when I don't feel like working on a certain project, and then when I go back to it I've gained perspective. Other times, I stop working on something, and then months or years pass and I realize, "Oh, I was finished with that. That's why I stopped doing it and never wanted to do it again."

I also started working on another writing project, which brings me to the next thing I want to tell you, because it's also a major factor in my decision about the future of this blog.

When I started blogging, I was at the beginning of what has been a very long, very slow identity crisis, mostly stemming from the fact that I was in denial about the kind of writing I want to do. I've always known I want to write novels, but it's taken a long time to accept that I want to write novels. When I was a kid, I was 100% sure about it. As I got older, I realized how risky it was. What scared me most was the idea of going so long without any finished work I could show people. I think starting this blog was my way of trying to take the easy way out. I could spend anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks working on a post, then get almost-instant feedback (translation: gratification) after publishing it. I rationalized with myself that writing was writing. 

And in a way, that's true--the fact that I was writing anything, at all, was a drastic improvement for me five years ago, when the idea of writing scared me shitless. Illustrating my personal essays with crude digital cartoons wasn't something I had ever dreamed of doing, and because I didn't have any pre-conceived notions about it, I approached it objectively in a way that I just couldn't approach any of my other writing at the time. I learned to assess what was working and what wasn't, and even though I've never produced content of mind-blowing, reality-altering genius on this blog, it has come a long way. I poured more effort into this than I'd ever put into any project before. No matter what else I had going on, for those first three years, I clung to this one creative outlet with murderous tenacity. It felt good to make something and see it evolve. 

A few months ago, when I got back from helping my mom, and Hubs' work situation stabilized, and I wasn't working at the pottery gallery anymore, I had sort of assumed maybe I'd finally get back to blogging. But instead, I started writing a book, which I'm pretty sure is the first in a series. I actually had the story idea a long time ago, and while I was staying with my parents, I started making notes and outlining plots and expanding the story. Now that I'm in this rare situation of not working but also having food and shelter, I know deep down that if I want to write this story, it's now or never. I've also realized that if I'm going to give it my all, I won't have time for much else.

I'm hesitant to say, "I'm setting this blog aside to write a book series," because I can't promise that I'll never write more personal essays or other things someday. It would probably be more accurate to say I'm setting this blog aside so I can move on to other kinds of writing. And I owe this blog, and all of you, heaps of gratitude for getting me to a point when I'm actually ready to do that.

For the foreseeable future, this blog will stay right here, and I hope people will continue to derive enjoyment from it. I don't intend to post anything new here again, and if I do, it will probably be very different than what I used to post.

I don't want you guys to worry that I might delete the whole blog one day without warning. If nothing else, I use this domain as my e-mail address. I know, at some point, I'm going to need a new e-mail address, and the thought sends chills down my spine. I've used this e-mail for every account I've set up in the past five years, you guys. Think of all the stuff I'll have to do if I ever want to change that. It makes me want to curl up in a ball and hide from the world forever.

What I'd really love someday is a website where I can introduce myself to people as a writer, and showcase my work when I'm ready for that, but where I can also share updates about what I'm doing in my personal life and what's on my mind. I might include the occasional funny cartoon drawing, if it feels right. Even as I shift into other types of writing, I'm still the same person. I'm always going to need an outlet where I can be funny, and indulge my nerdery, and muse about random things, or tell stories about myself and the questionable decisions I make. My eventual goal is to consolidate more of the things I do into one place, rather than having all these separate, very different projects scattered across the Internet. 

Whatever my next move is, you will be forewarned. You guys have followed my blog all this time, and I'm so grateful for all of you, especially the ones still reading this ridiculously long post. Maybe whatever I do in the future won't be something you want to follow, and that's okay. But I'll at least let you know what I'm up to, and if you want to check in sometimes and see how I'm doing, that will mean the world to me.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Cat Conversations

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Have a New Blog, because I am Insane!

I am now the author of not one, but two obscure blogs that only seem to confuse people when I try to summarize them!  I want to keep drawing King Arthur cartoons like the one I posted here a while back (along with its sequel), so I started an entirely separate blog solely for that purpose.  That way, if you're loving the King Arthur cartoons, you can find them all in one location, or if you're hating them, you can continue to read Haley's Comic without being bothered by them.  You're welcome.

The new blog is called Arthur, Anon! and you should check it out.  There is a new post there that I just published today!  Here is a picture from it:

My overly-ambitious goal with this new blog is to go through Le Morte d'Arthur in its entirety and turn the whole thing into cartoons.  It is a huge, crazy undertaking, and I will probably be working on it for a long time.  (If you're like most people and haven't seen an unabridged copy of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur in a while, it's fairly enormous.  You could order two copies off Amazon and use them for weight lifting.  Or you could order more copies and use them to build stairs for your house.  Or you could order all the copies in existence and use them as actual bricks to build the house itself.  Just remember to save one copy to read.)

This is partly an educational, self-improvement type of project for me, since I remember being fascinated by the Arthurian legends back in ninth grade English class and have wanted to learn more about them ever since.  It's also something that's just really entertaining and fun for me, kind of like this blog.  Except instead of telling stories about myself, I'm telling stories about someone else, which is a nice change of pace.

Speaking of this blog, I am determined not to let it die.  Not yet, anyway.  Stay with me, little blog!  Don't go toward the light!  I still have projects I want to work on and stories I want to tell.  (Remember when I told you guys I wanted to share more stories about traveling across the country with my mom and grandmother?  Whatever happened to that?  I seriously need to do that.)  However, creating content for two blogs takes a while, so my goal is to update each blog once a month.  Sounds reasonable enough.  We'll see what happens.

Anyway, I feel bad that there isn't much humor in this post, so here is the funniest thing to happen to me today:  As we were getting ready to leave the house, Hubs walked out of the bedroom wearing a pair of jeans, turned, and asked, "Do these make my butt look like it exists?"

Ponder that.

(The answer was, "Almost.")

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jet Ski

It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school.  I had just spent the night with my friend--we'll call her Katie--at her grandparents' lake house.  Our friend Lisa, who had always been inseparable from Katie, had recently moved away, and this sleepover was clearly a test to see if I was potential New Best Friend material.

So far, I was botching it pretty badly.

"Lisa always used to change the CD while I was driving," Katie announced during the 45-minute trip to the lake, so I stretched my arm awkwardly in front of her face and rummaged through her visor-mounted CD case.  

"Oh," she said when the CD I picked started playing, "I guess that's okay."

After a fitful night on the upstairs couch "where Lisa always used to sleep," I slipped downstairs shortly after daybreak, careful not to wake Katie, who was burrowed in her own bedroom.  

"Why didn't you wake me up?" she demanded when she emerged several hours later, looking refreshed and well-rested.  "Lisa always used to wake me up."

Now Katie wanted to go jet skiing on the lake.  I had never ridden a jet ski before, and I was immediately alarmed by the lack of anything to hold onto whatsoever.  In the driver's seat, Katie had the handles and foot pedals to anchor her; riding behind her, I had no grips, no straps, no footholds.  

"Are you sure this is safe?" I asked.

"It's fine," Katie shrugged, already revving the engine.  "Lisa used to ride back there all the time."

This was likely my final chance to squeeze some magic memories out of this awkward, exhausting weekend.  Katie would know if this was really dangerous, I assured myself.  I mean, she has a jet ski license.  

We careened away from the pier and into the open water.

It took a full thirty seconds for me to yell "SSSTTOOOOPPP!" as my arms flailed uselessly behind me and my ankles lost their ineffectual grip on the hard plastic seat.  

The roar of the engine died away.  Katie cast a cursory glance over her shoulder as the jet ski bobbed in the water.  "WHAT." 

"I'm falling off."

"Just grip my waist," she barked, and we sped away once more, now with my hands resting hesitantly on the sides of Katie's life preserver.

The wind was churning up some impressive waves that day, and Katie's objective was to hit each wave hard enough to send the jet ski briefly flying through the air.  Shortly after we started moving again, a wave slammed against us, and I lost my timid grip on Katie's life vest.  I barely had time to process what was happening as I flew through the air in a graceful arc.

I hit the surface with a giant, full-body slap, then tumbled head-over-heels underwater at breakneck speed.  My field of vision consisted of swirling water and streams of bubbles.  I had no idea which way was was up or which way was down.  Not that it mattered, since I couldn't feel any part of my body.  I'm actually a pretty good swimmer, but it's impossible to swim when you literally have no control over your limbs.  I was like a floating head caught in the spin cycle of a washing machine.

This is pretty much exactly what was happening in front of my face.

Finally, I lost my momentum, and my life vest buoyed me upward.  I broke the surface of the water, gasping for air.  Katie circled around on the jet ski.  As I floated there, watching her approach, I prepared myself to gracefully accept her apology for dragging me into what was clearly a deathtrap.

At that moment, I realized there were things I absolutely would not do for friendship, and that being flung off the back of a jet ski was one of those things.

I spent the rest of the day watching TV with Katie's grandmother in an air-conditioned room, while Katie rode her jet ski around the lake. I was not invited back to the lake house.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


I haven't been blogging this month, but stuff has still been happening to me.

I went to a concert with my mom like a cool person.

This concert was at a standing-only venue in Asheville that serves beer in plastic cups.  The show was sold out, and the uncirculated air closely matched the internal body temperature of the horde of human beings inside.  Just as the show was about to start, I was nudging my way back through the sweltering crowd from the bathroom, when I somehow collided with a plastic-cup-wielding girl who splashed beer down my leg.  

I had been looking forward to this concert for a while, and I wasn't about to let one damp, yeasty-smelling leg ruin it for me.  But as I stood there, waiting for the band to take the stage, I realized something:  All these people are milling around with, at most, six square inches of personal space per person, and roughly two thirds of them are carrying beer in unlidded containers, consuming said beer and getting progressively drunker and, consequently, less able to steadily grip said containers as the evening progresses.  We are all basically standing here taking a giant beer shower.

It was a mind-blowing realization.

I got way too emotionally invested in Game of Thrones.

This actually started when, determined to find out what all these memes were talking about on Pinterest, I put season one of the show in our Netflix queue, at which point Ari announced that neither of us was allowed to watch the TV series until we'd read the books.  (I have a sneaking suspicion he only said this so that he could move 2001: A Space Odyssey to the top.)  So a couple of weeks ago, I finally picked up the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, and found myself sucked into a state of psychological turmoil the likes of which I hadn't experienced since my Harry Potter days.  

Seriously.  I literally found it difficult to concentrate at work because I was so concerned about the characters' safety and well-being.  Who cares about wrapping this order?  Arya is trying to escape from the castle and I DON'T KNOW IF SHE MADE IT.  How can I be expected to sweep when NED IS LOCKED IN THE DUNGEON?!  For about a week, my existence consisted of sleeping, working, and then practically dive-bombing my bed at the end of the day so that I could indulge in another marathon reading session.

I have no regrets.

My car did something weird, so I took it to a mechanic, but then it immediately stopped doing the weird thing, and now I feel like an insane person. 

It's amazing how one barely-detectable lurch or vibration or mysterious noise in my car takes me from zero to cray-cray in a matter of minutes.  On the bright side, the mechanic didn't charge me for my visit, which I am going to choose not to interpret as an act of pity toward the girl who was clearly having a paranoid episode.  My car has been driving fine ever since, so I've decided to just stay calm and assume my engine is going to explode at any moment.  My solution to this impending disaster is to treat my car with especial kindness, as though my goodwill and affection will convince it to continue functioning properly.

So as you can see, I'm in a really great place mentally.

Thursday, May 23, 2013