2017: A Photo Tour

I have a hard time telling a story when I don’t know the ending.

I don’t usually plot out stories from start to finish. I’m not one of those writers who knows what happens on page 112 before I even begin writing. But I always have at least a vague idea of the main thread. I know the big twist. I can see the movie poster in my mind. I know the questions I want discussed. I just don’t know the details. On my current project, I didn’t know what my main character did for a living until I started writing. Meanwhile, I painted a mock cover for the book almost as soon as I had the idea.

The book cover (fan art?) gave me context, and I like context. I don’t have to know the bits and pieces, but I like to know the packaging. This extends beyond writing. We all need the punchline before telling a joke. That makes it difficult to talk about 2017.

I don’t know how to package a year like this. In many ways, it feels like a year in the middle. A combination of things big and small and great and bad. A year of questions without total answers.

I had a professor in grad school who said that the first step in storytelling was creating glitter. Plotting, then, was placing glue on the paper and throwing the glitter at it to see what sticks. I’ve been trying so hard to put into words what this year in the middle has been, but I don’t have the glue for 2017. So I’m not going to package this story, not yet. I’m just going to share a little of the glitter.

Here’s a photo tour of my year. Strap in because I took way to many pictures.


Winter struck me differently this year. It was my first back in Indiana, and I’d forgotten how barren and stark and sharp everything looks.


Writing Project #1: I edited my book about hillbilly robots.


Indy, 2001-2017.


Then: “I love my new hair!” Later: “Can we just fix the front?”



Trip #1: Dallas, TX. I met the cat that makes me wish I were a cat person.



We created blackout poetry in English 12. March was the month thought that I was really starting to get the hang of teaching. (It should be noted that I only had students for two weeks due to Spring Break.)





IMG_7947 2

Trip #2: England and Scotland! You can read the long version here. In short, I loved it.

I took pictures of my outfits so that I could choose clothes quickly, but Mom made fun of me for it, so I’m sharing that shame with you. (Run-on sentences don’t count in blog posts.)

Not pictured: Getting ultimately rejected from every agent EVER or so it felt. The meltdown from this. The rise from this.


I became obsessed with creating all of the delicious foods from the UK trip. This faded slightly when I spent hours making scones only for them to turn out as biscuits. However, I’m a master at clotted cream and hot cross buns, thank you.

I went roller blading, which quickly turned into realizing that I can’t really roller blade. But I can work the camera timer on my phone!

Baseball season began. Someone had to eat all the hotdogs.


Am I stepping on that duck’s foot? Maybe. These were the “first” ducks. Yes, there were second ducks. I’m not ready to talk about it.


Trip #3: We went to Megan’s Dallas Pets Alive! photography show and spent a total of 16 hours in Texas.



I chaperoned prom, but my hair still thought I was in Texas.

School came to a close with a pie in the face and a teacher-of-the-year award. I decided that if you don’t cry at every graduation you attend, you don’t have a heart.

I became the person I always want to be during the first days of summer break. This person loves dogs and crocheting and fishing and is a general ragamuffin.


Running again. Writing again. Everyone knows: selfie or it didn’t happen.

Writing Project #2: The grandma screenplay that was so. much. fun.

More baseball.


The “second” ducks.


Trip #4: Westerville, OH. Katie and I laughed and talked and wrote and got tatted. Her tattoos were much cooler and less ridiculous than a millennium falcon.



Professor Hilary

Someplace old (Bloomington), someplace new (Mooresville’s lavender farm), somethings borrowed (library books), and something blue (that July sky!!).

Writing Project #3: Othello Novel


I decorated my classroom and got excited for school to start.



Too excited.



Trip #5: Cape Cod, MA, for Rob and Jill’s wedding. I loved my flower crown. Can you tell I loved my flower crown? The last picture is me in pajamas and my FLOWER CROWN.

Now you might be distracted from the flower crown. You might actually be thinking, “Hilary, a bathroom selfie? Really?” I’m not proud. I’m not proud, I say!

The blurrier the photos, the better the time. Seriously. Jill‘s wedding was personal and lovely and there’s just nothing like watching someone you love marry their person.




This was an actual outfit I wore to school, and it took me until lunch to realize the state of affairs.


I chaperoned the dance, which really meant spending the dance taking notes on ridiculous teenage behavior and going home with an entire pizza.


I attempted to capture the space station. (It turned out to not be a strength of mine.)



Okay, so I was very proud of myself for getting the crockpot full of chili in the car without spilling, especially considering I did it in the dark. I drove to school, got out of the car, and was greeted with this mess. Me, to myself: “Oh, honey.”

Trip #6: Fall break in Los Angeles, CA. I expected to feel sad going back to California, to feel like I was missing out, but honestly, I was just thankful–thankful for the time I had there, thankful that it still feels a little like coming home, and thankful that I got to laugh and hug so many dear friends.


I became this person for about twenty minutes.


I traded in Indianapolis Indians baseball for old movies at Franklin’s Artcraft Theatre.


“Mom, will you take a picture of me with my popcorn?”


I found a lesson planning approach that works for me. It is in no way practical and in every way fulfilling to the deep parts of my soul.

Writing Project #4: Rom Com novel.



I need you to know that this exists in the world.


Sigh. Christmas, at last!


Trip #7: Destin, FL. I’m still here, actually.

I’m here and enjoying the glitter of these “middle” moments. Loving them, really.

And now we’ve made it. To be honest, I wanted to give up in April, but by golly, I persisted (even if it did take entirely too much time).

Happy New Year!

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