So hey, the 2010s are half gone now

Kids, it’s true. The older you get, the faster time goes by.

My theory has always been that it’s because time is both personal and relative–every new year is a smaller percentage of the total time you’ve been alive before it.

But even though it really seems like 2015 just started, I’m still able to look back on it and think “whoa, did that all happen?”

I live pretty far north (Seattle) and frequently suffer from really gloomy winter depression, so new years always begin and end in both literal and emotional darkness. 2015 started especially darkly: my beloved kittycat, Gladys, was terminally ill (she would die on January 23). I was also in a bit of a long tunnel, professionally: the newspaper launch of the strip was imminent (although I didn’t know the exact date yet), and it turns out that’s a lot of work. We went through multiple drafts of the sales kit (the collection of sample strips the syndicate gives newspaper editors to get them to buy the strip). That had, by this time, stretched out for almost a year already, and was beginning to seem interminable.

2015 started out feeling like a slog, overhung by a black cloud of grief. So it was only up from there. Way, way up, as it would turn out.

The strip launched in March. (That same month, a wonderful new kitty came into my life. Her name is Sofia.) In 110 papers, a very large number for a launch and certainly more than I had expected. (I think it surprised everyone.) The number would go up all year.

That was the fulfillment of a dream, for me. I’ve pretty much wanted to be a syndicated cartoonist since I knew what one was. I had worried that the decline of newspapers was making that a less reasonable career goal, but 2015 was the year I learned, for certain, that it can still work out.

Unicorn on a Roll book release event, University Bookstore, Seattle, WA

Unicorn on a Roll book release event, University Bookstore, Seattle, WA, May 26, 2015

Unicorn on a Roll came out in May. I signed a contract to publish at least two more Phoebe books. (I am also now under contract to write a non-Phoebe book, a graphic novel memoir, which deserves its own post.)

The first book won a Washington State Book Award. The second is, as of this writing, shortlisted for a Pacific Northwest Book Award. (Tomorrow the universe!)

My life involves a lot more traveling now, which I like–this year I was in San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles (multiple times), Kansas City, Portland (driving distance but far enough to count), Spokane (likewise), Scottsdale, AZ, Naperville, IL, and Ashland, OR. I’m looking forward to more of that in the coming year.

And I had my first TV pitch meeting in Hollywood (well, Burbank, but I like saying Hollywood). Probably not the last I’m going to have to say about that.

It’s the end of the year now, and I’m seeing my books show up on some¬†“best of 2015” lists (it was holiday gift guides, a couple weeks ago). The year is ending on a much higher note than that on which it began.

It was also the year I started regularly speaking to groups of schoolchildren. And one of the main points I think I’m making to them, when I tell them the story of my career, is the value of persistence. 2015 was the year a lot of big things happened, things I had been working toward and dreaming about for years and decades. 2015 was the Year It All Happened, for a number of values of “it.”

Unicorn on a Roll turned out to be a really appropriate title for a book that came out this year. Bring it on, 2016.

  4 comments for “So hey, the 2010s are half gone now

  1. Averagemoe
    December 30, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    I’m interested in this TV pitch thing. Was it for an animated adaptation of Pheobe and her Unicorn? Or for Ozy and Millie. I hope it’s both, despite my wishes that I could spring for those if I ever get a big enough name in Hollywood.

    • Dana Simpson
      December 30, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Both have actually been discussed. ‘Phoebe’ is a bigger name and probably has more institutional support, but ‘Ozy and Millie’ would make a great animated show and it has also been discussed…so fingers crossed, eh?

      • Averagemoe
        January 6, 2016 at 5:05 pm

        I’ve thought it over, and decided that if you do get a show made, I’m interested in auditioning as a voice actor. I already have a voice I can do for Ozy. I’ll email you some samples if you want.

  2. January 11, 2016 at 8:49 am

    Congrats on all the success in 2015, Dana! Everyone in our family is a big fan (including our two boys, age 10 and 12, proving that comics about girls and unicorns are not just for girls!). We’ve bought copies of both graphic novels as gifts, as well as a family copy to read and one to keep on the bookshelf. So looking forward to the new one! Super excited to see you at Further Confusion in a few days, too!

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