A Retrospective on 2016

The year is coming to a close, and I — like everyone you know — am taking the time to review it. Obviously, this is my favorite thing that happened:

Ashley M. Hill & August Baker Get Married
obligatory wedding photo <3

I did a lot, though. My husband and I moved in together and got married all in the same month. I changed positions at work, started school, had some pretty stark mental health issues there for a bit, and have been just generally dealing with Adult Stuff a lot. It was a busy year, both externally and emotionally.

I have not written as much as I’d like, though.

As such, I’ve been reviewing my writing habits, as well as  goals, and thinking, Okay, where do I go from here?

The real answer is: I don’t know. But I have some ideas.



A Pep Talk for the Lawrence, KS, Region – NaNoWriMo 2016

I wrote this pep talk for our region, and I like it quite a lot. So here it is for you as well, in case you need it.


I’ll be honest with you because we’re friends now (I decided that for us) and you don’t lie to your friends: I should be working on my novel right now. I’m writing this at the beginning of week three, much later than I promised Neil I would, and I have about thirty minutes before I’m supposed to catch the bus to school.

Because we’re friends, I’ll also take this moment to be vulnerable with you: writing is hard when you’re a busy adult with many important things to do. It’s hard to choose to carve time out for something deeply personal when everything else seems more pressing. Why haven’t I folded the laundry? Why aren’t I volunteering at a soup kitchen? Shouldn’t I be spending more time with my family? Is this really the best use of my limited time on this crazy earth?


The Internet Makes People 2D

I’ve been quietly stepping  back from the Internet, mostly on accident. I got extremely busy over the summer and didn’t have much time. When I started to have slightly more down time, I began to notice how increased time online was both hurting me and making me angry. Over the last 24 hours, I’ve been distracting myself from dealing with real feelings by instead focusing on why every time I get online, I walk away quickly feeling frutrated and tired. (Emotions my real life has enough of in spades; I don’t need to add more.)

One of my favorite websites ran an article that has sat with me for a while: How the Internet Flattens Generations. In my increasing frustration with the Internet, I come back to that thought: the internet flattens generations.

My husband and I have been talking on-and-off about how the Internet narrows our focus down to really minute places. We don’t see whole pictures — we get really hung up on minute-to-minute dissections of tragedy and horror and human pain. We tend to get over the happy endings and the resolutions of issues pretty quickly. Oh, ho hum, story over — where’s the next piece of tragedy porn for me to obsess over?! We’re gobbling up the Internet’s obsessions with bad news after bad news after bad news — then going out into the world with a conclusion that the world is exclusively bad.

A sidebar: I don’t think that addressing the problems in our society, the horrors that occur worldwide, and all of these things is a problem. We need discussions of the bad in the world, because if we cannot see the bad, we cannot be good and become better. Making the world better for everyone can’t exist in a vacuum, and is impossible if we refuse to even see the problems. But they have to be discussions, not just endlessly yelling LOOK AT THIS BAD THING IT WAS SO BAD I HATE THIS BADNESS THIS WORLD IS BAD END IT IN FIRE.

(I think this is how Batman got his start. BRB becoming a vigilante.)


A Scattered Bunch of Thoughts Weddings, Wedding Planning, and Related Objects

I’m getting married soon. How soon?


As you might expect, I’ve had a lot of thoughts on wedding planning, both in terms of how it’s completely and totally weird and also mundane. There’s so much expectation, both internally and externally, that I didn’t see coming. But at the same time, everyone getting married feels the exactly same way, all the time, as far as I can tell.

I write to process. It’s a thing I do. And yet, I’ve had the hardest time trying to articulate my many feelings about weddings. None of them seem fully formed enough to warrant their own post, but they’re too omnipresent to simply not write about. So here, less than two weeks before the big day, I’m going to share my scattered and nearly incoherent observations on the topic of weddings.


Two Months of Updates in One Post

So, my last update was almost two months ago. It’s not that nothing happened, it’s just that it turned out to be a rather stressful set of months. None of the blog posts that I wanted to write ever seemed to materialize beyond concept — not to mention that I never found the time. (Forever the quandary.)

Here are the general updates on what you’ve missed, starting with writing:


The Definitive List of Women I Would Leave My Fiancé For

There are important things to establish before going into a marriage, and I think the most important is, “But seriously, who would I ditch you for in a heartbeat?” And while I am of the opinion that no men could sway me from my special dudefriend of choice, let’s be real: the heart wants what the hearts wants.

Here is my (unranked!) list of women who can get it, if by “it” we mean my heart and devotion. August Baker, consider yourself warned.