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summercomfort ([personal profile] summercomfort) wrote2017-01-01 12:59 am

2016 --> 2017

Well, that sure was a year! I believe last year at this time, I was on my way home from the taiko NYE performance at a fancy-pants hotel party, and 6 months pregnant. And this year -- well, Rutabaga goes to bed at 9pm every night, so we're basically at home by 8:45pm latest.

It's funny how I *finally* hit a good groove re: work, and then the baby happens. Alas. And then next year is going to be more craziness as I attempt to return to teaching history.

One of the personal challenges of this past year has been finding my center again after the baby, and... I'm not sure if I have, quite yet. I enjoy hanging out with the baby, she's pretty cool as far as babies go. But it's also meant a lot of my energy (mental, emotional, and physical) is spent paying attention to her. For example, yesterday was my birthday. Usually on my birthday I'm generally pretty self-indulgent -- I'd spend some time doing "me" things, like drawing or fixing my website or going to the movies, and then in the evening I'd have dinner with my parents, have a cake, chat about stuff. But this year, it was a pretty regular baby-holding day, except for the 3 baby-free hours when I went to watch Moana, and then the dinner was mostly spent keeping an eye on the baby. It's like the majority of my "me" time is crunched down into the 3 hours between Rutabaga going to bed and when I go to bed. That's... not a lot of time, especially if I also need time to decompress.

(There was an animated short tacked onto Moana that was about yet another middle-aged man feeling penned in by a boring 1980s office worker job, and I was like "why aren't there more things about new moms feeling penned in by the compromises they have to make post-baby?")

Like, I think it will be worth it in the long run -- Rutabaga's gonna be a rad young lady. But in the mean time, it's hard to see the forest for the trees, and all I can do is make plans and try to do my best to execute those plans. (Even if I don't quite have the energy to evaluate whether those are still good plans, I guess I gotta just trust my past-self.)

One of the things I've really come to value in 2016 are human connections. My parents have helped so much with baby care, I can't even. And even though it's hard to manage sometimes with Rutabaga's schedule, it's been great having comics night every Thursday and taiko every Saturday. (10 comics people came to help us move! And taiko people are always so helpful with Rutabaga!) Hanging out with these people always leave me with warm fuzzies. It's the energizing kind of socialization, not the draining kind. :D I do wish I had more energy to reach out to non-local friends, however -- thank them for gifts, or just to say hi.

Another thing that's been pretty frustrating to me, is that I've just become a much flakier person, with an ever-growing list of things that I've promised to do, but which I just haven't followed through on. :/

And part of the reason is that I've been trying to protect my creative time. When I go too long without making something, I get really pent-up and antsy. I think it's because making stuff is like -- high quality downtime. (Whereas surfing the internet is low-grade downtime.) So after 9pm, I basically refuse to do work -- I need that time to decompress and make things.

Which gets to the other lack-of-centering, because even though I've been working on creative stuff, I don't have a single goal or project. I've worked on a bunch of miscellaneous ones over the year, and I've gotten better at various skills, but I'm missing a throughline. (Or maybe I have a throughline, I just haven't had the time and mental energy to really reflect on it.)
- I now have 3 anthologies and 6 fanzines under my belt, so I feel like I've leveled up on the "wrangling artists, design-and-layout, promo-and-shipping" front. I'm good at organization, but ... there's other stuff that I can be doing. (Is it the new "knitting" of my life?)
- I also think I've gotten better at lineart and shading ever since I've started just using the pencil tool for drawing. Recently I've also been trying to color in a way that makes me less line-dependent.
- My comics have been all over the place -- awkwardly wrapped up book 3 of Tisquantum, drew very few satisfactory Cap comics, and a handful of Rutabaga comics. But ... I don't know what I actually want? Do I still want to tell a longform story, a la Tisquantum? (And if so, what?) Or do I want to go the observational/educational comics route, a la China Comics/Rutabaga? What draws me to comicking, anyway? And what can I do with this medium that I can't do with, say, teaching? What are the stories that I *can* tell, and *want* to tell? I want to tell stories about women -- living, interacting. But in short, 10-20 page lengths. (Tisquantum is too long.) Maybe a short story in comic form and then some longer text blurb? maybe start with my mom

That is, if I have time. I still want to teach, but if I start that again, that'll be a LOT of work. (Rewarding work, but a lot.) And just to get back into teaching, I'm going to have to spend the next few months transitioning the company *and* doing job applications. Good thing I'm mostly done with moving.

(I'm really happy with the home purchase, so ... yay!)

Somewhere in the mix of all this is the whole fandom thing. (Creativity, social interactions, organization, etc etc.) I wish my chosen fandom had more women. Maybe I can use it to push myself toward slightly longer stories, or at least experiment with the format/tone. And find ways to interact that approach the warm-fuzziness I feel from real life friend hangouts.

Anyways, it's late, so... here's to 2017. I'll do the resolutions tomorrow. After taiko, probably.