2015 Year in Review

2015 was a big year for me. I didn’t fully realize that until I started making a list, which is kind of the reason I made one. I used to do posts like this on Action Athena once in awhile; a summary of things I’d recently done and made. I have a bad habit of telling myself, “I’m pretty lazy; I haven’t been doing anything creative or interesting.” It’s good to refute such unhelpful thoughts with hard evidence.

So, here we go. Some stuff I did in 2015:

1) Traveled
I took several trips in 2015. In March, Jason and I drove to Duluth for a long weekend. We ate wild rice burgers and drank in a “secret” underground speakeasy. In June, we flew to Chicago for my high school friend’s wedding, where I road a luggage cart (thanks to Sarah for the photo). The week after that, we flew to the Pioneer Valley for a reunion with some of my college friends. It was great to see them, and to introduce Jason to that world. In September, we flew to Seattle for another wedding, one of Jason’s college friends. We walked all over the place, and danced all night.

2) Read
I read 40 books in 2015. I’m working on a book covers illustration (like the one I did for 2014), which I’ll post when it’s done. A few were stinkers, but most were quite good.

3) Socialized
Cool Club is the embarrassing self-given name of a group of Minneapolis friends Jason and I hang out with. Our main thing is, we meet up regularly to watch TV. We also went camping in July, and on various other “field trips” throughout the year. They are some of my absolute favorite people. I feel so lucky to have them in my life.

4) Exercised
I used to run a lot. I still run regularly, but it’s been years since I, say, trained for a half marathon. These days, I often run home from work (4 miles), but that’s about as far as it goes. I still enjoy running, but I don’t have the same zeal that I did when I was starting out. Sometimes that bums me out, and makes me feel like I am “lesser” than I used to be. But that’s dumb. I’m still exercising. In fact, I mix up running with strength training, and a little yoga. Sometimes I have to remind myself that if you compare every single run (or whatever) to your personal best, it sucks the enjoyment out of everything.

5) Got Engaged
Oh right! I got engaged in 2015. After five years of dating (and eventually living with) Jason, I decided it was time to make an honest man of him.

6) Got Married
Yep, I got married too. The wedding (and planning of it) were certainly a big part of 2015, but it’s nice to recognize how many other things happened as well.

7) Made a Mini-Comic
That said…I am proud of the mini-comic I drew for our wedding. It’s a sixteen-page quarter-size mini with a light pink cover, and I think it’s great.

8) Drew Some Houses
Homes” was officially a wedding project, but also something I just wanted to do. I’m glad I did. Drawing all the homes I’ve lived in (plus some for Jason) was incredibly satisfying, and I am happy with how they turned out.

9) Got a New Job
I began 2015 working in a used bookstore, which I loved. Honestly, it’s among my favorite jobs of all time. Leaving it for my current job, at a self-publishing company, was bittersweet. The transition has had bumps, but I’m glad I did it. My current job has provided me some truly excellent coworkers, and a lot of power and responsibility, which is challenging but exciting.

10) Got my First Credit Card
This may be embarrassing, but: until very recently, I never had a credit card. Just a debit card from the bank in my hometown. I have some Ron Swanson tendencies about money (Why can’t I just bury it in a hole in the ground? What’s safer than that? etc.). But Jason and I hope to buy a house in the next year, and it finally occurred to me that there are some useful reasons to “build a credit score” or whatever.

11) Stuck Around
Signing the lease on our apartment building for a second year marked the longest I’ve lived in the same place since I was eighteen. Guys, let me tell you: not moving is pretty damn nice. It’s one reason owning a house sounds appealing.

12) The Marjorie
2015 was also the year I launched The Marjorie, the website you are currently reading. I’m so glad I did! It’s quite different from Action Athena, but I’m having a lot of fun with it. I look forward to seeing where it will go in 2016.

13) Maps
Inspired by the great Kevin Cannon, I drew several illustrated maps in 2015. I’m pleased with my maps, and intend to make more.

14) Comics
This one is a little hard to talk about. Obviously, these days I am making far fewer comics than I did in my three-a-week Action Athena days. But I’m proud of the comics I’m making. Quality vs. quantity, or something like that. My latest comics are more polished than many of the Action Athena ones (not to mention those were never in color). As I’ve said before, my drawing style changed a lot in grad school, and it’s something I’m still figuring out. It’s been important to give myself the space and freedom to make some comics, but a lot of other things as well.

15) Patterns & Illustrations
Speaking of things I drew that weren’t comics: I made quite a few patterns and illustrations in 2015! They were fun, and allowed me to play with color and style, and loosen the hell up.

16) Essays
This one is last because it might be the most important. I have identified as a “cartoonist” for six or so years now, but somewhere in the back of my brain I was always thinking, “but actually, I’m probably more of a writer.” I love the drawing part, but the words are always, unshakeably, more important. Producing regular essays for The Marjorie feels great. There will definitely be more in 2016.