Happy New Year!

Last year was hard.  Lots of personal struggles and mental illness bullshit and seven family deaths in the last six weeks.  I had some wonderful moments but I also often felt like I was slogging through life and that I would never finish anything.  But in the last few weeks the depression that slows me down so much lifted and I was able to work again like an almost normal human being and last night, just hours before the new year rolled in, I finally finished edits on my next book.


Of course, it’s possible that I will need more edits and even if the edits are accepted I still have to do copy-editing and legal review and a million other things but it is such a relief to know that right this moment my next book is close to being done.  And hopefully this year it will find you in the world.

I’m writing this to remind myself that it can be done.  That even when life and the world and your broken brain seem to collude against you things will brighten again.  I’m writing this to remind myself that even when I feel like a failure these small steps forward eventually add up to something.  And I’m writing to remind you of that too.  It’s okay to struggle, to feel worthless, to fail and to question…but you will get through this.  I will too.

My amazing friend Adele Morse agreed to read some of my book as I was struggling to finish it and it inspired her to create an amazing faux-taxidermy mascot for the book:

Her name is Shirley and she’s misplaced her glasses, her wine glass is empty and she has a giant bowl of comfort macaroni and cheese that is not sharing with anyone and I have never felt more seen in my life.

So here is to full glasses and more macaroni and finishing books and to remembering that it all works out in the end.


Happy 2020, y’all.  Shirley and I are toasting you right now.

172 thoughts on “Happy New Year!

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I needed to read this today.

    Happy New Year. Here’s to our beautiful, broken brains cooperating more in 2020.

  2. HUGE WHOOP! Congratulations, Jenny. I can’t wait to buy and read your new book!!
    As always, than you so much for being there and for being you. You help more people than you can even know. And you are so loved.

  3. WHOOP times infinity!!! 2019 may have been excessively dumpster-fire-esque (I think my autocorrect just imploded with that) but that was a great note to end it on! Shirley is amazing and looks like she was born to be the cover model on a book. Happy New Year!

  4. Congrats to you both, and Happy New Year! I look forward to finding your new book in your window display at Nowhere!

  5. Congrats on the completed book edits. Sorry for the losses, never easy. Hooray for the ability to push through and get things accomplished in bursts.

    I am ready for a new year and a fresh start and for my people (namely kids) to not interrupt me when I sit at my computer (not holding my breath there) . . . I would love to be at the stage of my memoir when someone is interested enough to request edits. Hoping this is the year!

    Love that taxidermy buddy. Too cute! All the best in 2020 Jenny!

  6. Toasts to you, to the comfort-mazing Shirley, and everyone reading with wishful hopes for the new year!…

  7. Yay well done Jenny. I can’t wait to read your book so hopefully you don’t have to do too many re-edits. Shirley is gorgeous.

  8. WHOOP WHOOP! You are seen, you are appreciated, and my Lord are you loved. Thank you for being unapologetically Jenny. ❤️

  9. WHOOP WHOOP! You are seen, you are appreciated, and my Lord are you loved. Thank you for being unapologetically Jenny. ❤️

  10. 👏🏼👏🏼🥳🎉 cut short dry January to pour a Scotch to toast you 🥃

  11. Happy New Year, Jenny! You’ve gotten me through more dark moments than I can count this year. Congrats on the book (WHOOP!!!) and thanks for putting your stories out into the world. Thanks to Victor and Hailey, as well, for being amazing people and letting you write about that, too. Wishing you all the best in 2020!


    You’re inspiring me to renew efforts on my book. Maybe I can post something similar next year.

  13. Congrats Jenny! That is awesome and I look forward to reading your newest book and laughing my ass off. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement and for the example you set for all of us out here with mental health struggles. You’re the awesomest! 🙂

  14. WHOOOOOOOP! I love everything about little Shirley, she’s such a little cutie. I hope 2020 will be good to you and your family, Jenny (and all of us here, too)

  15. I love it that Shirley’s earrings, lipstick, and toenail and fingernail polish all match. I could never be that color-coordinated.

  16. I’m waiting for this book with baited breath. Maybe you can explain this phrase to me because I’ve never really understood it. Like my breath stinks while I’m waiting for something I’m excited about? It kind of ruins the excitement. I know you can decipher it for me. Learn me up girl. Shirley is the fabs btw.

  17. I’ve got a book half written that I haven’t touched since developing major depressive disorder, severe anxiety, and agoraphobia (more the first two than the last). I’ve got the attention span of a gnat with ADHD and maybe, once I move, I will write again.

    Thanks and congratulations!!!!

  18. Wooo hoooo and Woop, too!!!! Thank you for helping us all feel better this new year Jenny, and I can’t wait to read your new book! I am glad you’re feeling better right now, too. Little steps…..

  19. Omg I love Shirley!!!!!! I can’t wait to read the new book. Lots of love to everyone on here

  20. As big a WHOOP as I can give!

    It seems that 2019 was not a great year for a lot of people. Let’s hope 2020 is much better.

  21. As big a WHOOP as I can give!

    It seems 2019 was not great for many people. Let’s hope that 2020 is nothing but better!

    (sorry if this repeats; I can’t see my first try)

  22. It’s a celebration of you, but we get the goodies. Very much looking forward to getting my hands on your new book in 2020. 2019 tested my mettle more than any normal (?) person need be tested. Your continued triumphs occurring amid your struggles provide hope that maybe, just maybe I’ll find or feel a hint of triumph myself. Thank you for hope.

  23. I hope you know that so many of us out here are rooting for you and can’t wait to have that book in our hands this year!!!! Everything your write inspires me to do better and fight my depression every day.

  24. Top of the New Year to Jenny, Thanks for being there for all of us out here, you remind us that depression LIES and help in so many ways to bring laughter through the tears not to mention that your simply an awesome and inspiring woman, Glad you are you! P.S. 2019 was a bitch.
    Here’s to a better 2020!

  25. Soooo looking forward to the audio, gonna be a great year! My regards to Shirley.

  26. Whoop whoop!! I love the bowl of macaroni. When I was pregnant, I craved mac and cheese and would usually get home from work, make mac and cheese, get it on a bowl, start eating and zonk out wherever I was sitting. My husband took many pics of me sleeping with a bowl of mac and cheese on my tummy.

  27. Congrats on your next book, which I am so excited to read!! May 2020 bring you much- needed joy!

  28. Needed this today. Looking forward to your book, and to 2020 being a better year. Love Shirley!!

  29. Now that is how you start a new year. I thought I was doing good by cleaning the bathroom.
    Well done, Jenny!

  30. WOW!!! You continue to amaze and inspire! (Because I thought losing 6 loved ones in 18 months was hard…. 7 in 6 weeks is something I can barely wrap my head around!) Keep on keep in’ on!!

  31. Shirley is nicely accessorized, toes and nails on point! Mac and cheese, well goes without saying that it’s the best! Well done and totally you. Congrats on the book, huge accomplishment! Can not wait to read it, love you Jenny!!!! 🥳❤️🥰😜

  32. omg YAAAASSSSS! I need more of your work in my life. So sorry to hear about all the losses. Here’s to 2020 being full of nothing but awesome!

  33. 🥳🎉🎊🎆🎈💕
    Yay! What a way to kick off 2020! I am so happy that you reached this milestone! 2019 was excruciating for me too with my Medicine Woman Mom Hail Eagle 🦅 Woman’s death. Her Memorial was McKinley Beach at the Lakefront Of Milwaukee, WI on May 4th! Then the next day on Sunday May 5 I was sexually assaulted and robbed by two adult men at my church robbing me of my IPad Pro worth $1700 with my Journalism homework and Journalism Master’s Thesis I needed to graduate in October. I had to do a rape kit with 5 people photographing my naked body’s bruises for evidence. Then my Professor violates my American Disability Act Rights so I filed a formal complaint so the Business Office states a Full Sail Staff Member forged my signature illegally withdrawing and then charging me $478.50 holding my Official Transcripts that my Scholarship needed. Since I could not produce my Official Transcripts I am being sued and they are saying they didn’t get my Official Transcripts they want my Scholarship back in the thousands dollars. 2019 can burn in a trash 🔥 Fire. Here’s the 2020!

  34. Congrats, Jenny! That’s fantastic and wonderful for you and for everyone who loves you. May this new year bring light and blessings to you and all of us, and my all brain weasels, pain, and ill luck go someplace else for a while. WHOOP!

  35. Congrats on the book edits and a giant whoop, whoop to you for doing so! Thank you for sharing your life and your family with us. May 2020 be better in many ways for everyone! Shirley is a welcome addition to the creative creature family – especially the bowl of macaroni and cheese which is one of my favorite comfort foods too.

  36. As a cavy lover, I’m a little horrified that Shirley’s hind legs look to have come from a guinea pig….new book sounds great, though!

  37. I AM SO EXCITED!! I love you and Shirley and I can’t wait to curl up with your book and a bowl of mac and cheese!

  38. WHOOP WHOOP!!! And also, I think it’s a good omen that Shirley is eating mac and cheese because that’s what I had for lunch today!! high five to you and Shirley

    I cannot wait to get your next book. And also to request that my library brings in a copy to make sure everyone has access to it. 🙂

  39. 2019 was terrible. I was already depressed and I had to watch my husband get sicker and sicker with cancer until he passed in late November. Depression is hard. Gri6ef on top of depression is unbearable.

  40. May their memory be a blessing. Congratulations on the book! I am re-reading Furiously Happy, and my SO doesn’t understand why I laugh out loud – even when I read it to him. I have explained this is my brain, and he goes back to college football. I guess we are even.

  41. A Gigantic WHOOOP that rings loud from Washington state to Texas! It was a tough year for many is us but with 2020 starting I feel a gleam of hope. Shirley leading the way it will be a better year. She is one of the most adorable mascots ever and I can’t wait to read the new book! Thank you for sharing!

  42. Congratulations! I’m not sure what Shirley is, but I love her anyway! I hope 2020 is all as pleasant and rewarding for you as today! (Initially, I wrote exciting instead of pleasant. But I am wary about wishing anyone excitement any more. See: your last few weeks,)

  43. Woot woot! Congratulations on a new book in a new year. May we all be so lucky.

  44. I am so proud of you and thankful for you. In the midst of your struggle you manage to encourage others. I love you.

  45. And DO call me Shirley. <3
    Congratulations on the book – this is excellent news and I hope you are overflowing with that beautiful feeling of accomplishment. That’s one of my favorite feelings because it self-renews every time I see the tangible results. We are all so proud of you and thankful that you light our way. xoxox

  46. It was a rough year in our house as well….these words of encouragement were much needed and I am SO PUMPED to read your wonderful words in your new book. Thank you!

  47. Congratulations! I so needed this post today, alone and really sagging, and I know I will be better because I care so much that you are doing well. If I can keep my empathy, I am still human. Thank you.

  48. Happy New Year,to you and your family,and it’s awesome to meet you Shirley! I eagerly await your new book!

  49. Mac and cheese for all and a never empty wine glass. Congratulations on finishing off the hard part of the book.

  50. This is the most perfect post. Ever. congratulations on the book. You are such an inspiration, and the world is a better place with you in it. Happy New Year, with an emphasis on the New!

  51. Woot! Love Shirley – I don’t share my macaroni either! Happy New Year! Sending much love and looking forward to reading the new book!

  52. Raising a glass to you, dear Jenny, who always makes me feel “seen”. Your light shines in this world, even when you’re not feeling it. With love to you, Victor, Hailey, and your furry kids.

  53. WHOOP!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS, Jenny!!! You are a goddess!!! What a fabulous way to end the year! And I’m so sorry for your losses.

  54. Congrats on the book news! Cheers to 2020… I am hopeful that jazz makes a comeback…that is, if it ever really left.

  55. Whoop for the new book, and for you and for Shirley! Happy New Year, Jenny – to you and Victor and Hailey from us all here in Squamish BC

  56. I started 2019 with reading You Are Here and finished it with reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Somehow I managed to read Furiously Happy in the spring of 2018 before reading your actual first book or even reading your blog. I look forward to the next one! Happy new year from Wisconsin! <3

  57. Cheers to you! And homemade mac n cheese from scratch mind you, is one of my ultimate comfort foods. With a drink in hand of course. 2019 sucked for me because of exhaustive reasons and I’m looking forward to blazing and roaring into the new 20’s.

  58. Thank you so much for the update and the words of comfort. I really needed an encouraging word.

  59. Woo to the hoo!!!! So excited for your book. 2019 had some pretty rough spots but I’m so glad you didn’t give up. You are an inspiration and reminder to so many of us that we are not alone, we are worthy, and we can do this. I know this may be weird because I don’t “know” you know you…but I love you so hard!!

  60. a) WHOOP!! 2) please let her last name be Hughgeste. III) Consistency is overrated

  61. Gah. I’ve been in the dark beyond the dark – not just wishing I could hibernate, but wishing I could be (and kind of feeling like I was) inside a locked vault in the lowest dungeon In the darkest lowest valley of hibernation, away, away, away; alone, alone, alone. And I wondered, is this it? I’m 54 fucking years old and I’ve been off and on and off and on this ride since I was 19, and… ugh. I’m done. Can I just be done? Maybe this is when I’m done?

    Then I heard about and ordered the kindle book, “Reasons to Stay Alive”, and I didn’t make it to the reasons, because such privileged, white male “I didn’t take medication, so I have a greater understanding of my illness” bullshittiest bullshit was right at the beginning, and fuck that, so I returned it for a refund because I shouldn’t have spent the money in the first place,and felt stuck in hopeless. Then, I realized: Some part of me ordered that book. Some part of me wanted those reasons. Some tiny part of me has hope, even if I don’t feel it. Then I remembered depression lies, but does it? I mean… I kinda suck.

    Then you go and write this. So. OK. OK. I’ll keep being my fucked up broken-brain self, and maybe I’ll catch glimpses of the me I once knew in there somewhere, the one who remembers how to think and do things, and maybe that tiny part that has hope got a little breath of life here and maybe that hope stretched a bit bigger. Just the next step, right? And if not a step, a breath. I’ll take the next breath.

    I appreciate you.

  62. Whoop! And I am copying this to a safe place so I can read it whenever I need comfort, a nudge, or a giggle . . . Or all three! Much love!

  63. Will there be an audio book too? You tell your stories in such a wonderful way.

  64. hang tough, miss jenny… the wildest, grandest visions are meant to be vexing af and yet we carry on… thanks, sister! #2020inevitablybetter 🙂

  65. Jenny! I am so so sorry for all the crap of 2019. Let us hope for a better 2020. In the meantime please remember that your beautiful, perfectly imperfect self is such an inspiration to your tribe. You demonstrate it is possible to prevail with your own inimitable style and we love you for it.

  66. I am a Shirley and am so proud to share my name (and love of comfort Mac and cheese) with your new friend!

  67. WHOOP!!!!!!

    I’m also going to try something new this year. I’m scared, but I’m going to try anyway.
    Thank you.

  68. HUGE fan here and I feel you 💯. Last year was a giant ASSHOLE. There were many wonderful moments but mostly it was bullshit. Here’s hoping this year is so much better! Congratulations on completing your book edits! Keep being awesome, happy new year and happy birthday to us!

  69. I wish I had someone in my house, if only to hear another person breathing. I wish I had any damn reason to enjoy life, just one, just one. I am very happy that you have Victor and your kid so you are not alone trying to force your way through. Sometimes being alone even though you know there are friends here and there is so awful. My friends can’t hug me or hold me, they are far away. Even the one that lives next door has her own issues and is too far away to come for a hug. Today I hugged a guy in the grocery, he’s my FedEx driver, he has a metal plate in his head now and his wife died one year ago today. We hugged, I told him to come here if he needs someone but I’m pretty sure he never will. So much pain so little happiness.

  70. WHOOPPEE! I would put that word in LARGER TYPE and make it BOLDFACE and fancy it up with emoticons and such but this format doesn’t allow that, so ….
    Let’s Pretend This WOOP Is Bigger and Fancier
    In Bright Colors With Fancy Stars and Rainbows and Such

    Sorry to hear your year was as much of a downer as mine was (deaths of dear friends, hospitalizations of husband, dog died … three hand-written pages of all the things that made 2019 suck for me. I have faith 2020 will be better for me and for you, too!

  71. WHOOP from me as well. More macaroni! And also more gravy. And more of anything you need or want in your life.

    Keep on keeping on, and know that you are seen, you are heard, and there are a lot of us out here who love you.

  72. All the best to you for 2020, here’s to great health, joyful moments, kindness of and towards strangers, love of friends and family and to being seen.

  73. thanks i needed that! To Shirley and us all! congrats! You are doing amazing! sorry for the shit.

  74. WHOOP! And not a “whoops”

    You delight us, and I get to get a new book soon!

  75. I needed to read this this morning. I know the feelings inside the mind. Shirley is a true gift from a wonderful friend. Happy 2020

  76. Whoop whoop! Happy shiny spanking New Year! I’m so thankful you share your gloriously bedraggled brain with the rest of us frazzled, struggling, moody followers. To Victor and Hailey, thank you for sharing your precious Jenny with us, she makes us feel stronger in this fight and rage against the sucketude that is depression, anxiety and loneliness and weirdness in our lives. Thank you for Shirley and your other taxidermied buddies for making us laugh. For your fans and followers, I hear you, I see you, may you be victorious in your fight to be safe, sane, and survive! Let 2020 be your year of tranquility and success and remember, you are NOT alone, we’re all in this together.

  77. Sorry about all the family deaths. That’s a lot in a short time frame. You really inspire me to keep going. I often feel my brain hates me. Anxiety is my personal monster that feeds off making me feel inadequate and just plain shitty. I magnify every personal slight, real or “imagined”. I appreciate that I’ve never heard you say “get over it”. I hate that phrase. It’s so flippant and dismissive. Like don’t you think I’d love to toss that shit aside simply by thinking get over it, poof it’s gone. Blessings to you in a new year. Can’t wait for your new book. Peace ☮️

  78. I love Shirley. She loses her glasses the same place that I do.

    Congratulations on finishing this round of edits! That is HUGE! So proud of you, and so happy for US because another Jenny book is always what the doctor ordered!

  79. Mazel tov Jenny, I am SO happy for you!!! This post made me cry cleansing and needed tears: you’ve spoken to my heart and that’s the best way to ring in the new year. I can’t wait to read the new book! 🤗❤️🦩

  80. WHOOOOP! I don’t know how you write another book, put together a book store, and keep us informed and educated and entertained. Thanks Jennie, and all good things in the new year.

  81. That’s wonderful, Jenny! Congratulations!

    May 2020 bring you all that you desire, plus more! Happy New Year!

  82. WHOOPS and more WHOOPS to you and your new book. Can’t wait to order my copy. It means the world that you pop your curlered head up out of whatever dark cave you’ve fallen into and cheer all of us onward. Best medicine ever (but I’m sticking with my prozac, too).

  83. WHOOP! And a WHOO HOOO too, for good measure! Congrats and can’t wait to read it! Shirley is fantastic, btw. She looks amazing!

  84. Jenny, so proud for you. I’m just coming out of a depression so let’s click glasses and listen to Peri’s dog,Jack,singing opera! Well done to all three of you lol

  85. WHOOP!!!!!!!
    “I’m writing this to remind myself that it can be done. That even when life and the world and your broken brain seem to collude against you things will brighten again. I’m writing this to remind myself that even when I feel like a failure these small steps forward eventually add up to something. And I’m writing to remind you of that too. It’s okay to struggle, to feel worthless, to fail and to question…but you will get through this. I will too.”

    Jenny, my I please hijack this paragraph and hang it on my locker at work???? This
    Is exactly what I go through with work and exactly what I need to remember!!!

  86. Woohoooo!!! You are inspiring to those of us who feel they can’t get out of their own way. <3

  87. WHOOOOOOOP! This is amazing news and well done you! This time of year I find it incredibly hard to get anything accomplished. The month of December is always chocked full of Christmas preparations and activities, that the week after Christmas and before the New Year, I’m usually just a lump on the couch trying to recover from it all.

    Also…I think Shirley needs a MUCH larger wine glass, in my opinion.

  88. Congratulations and condolences swirled around together! I can’t wait to read your next book and I love Shirley. Can I tell you I wish she wore rollers in her hair without insulting her?

    Enjoy your reprieve.

  89. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me or how much I love your Shirley. I have an aunt by that name that I cannot stand, so I will just focus on your wonderful version. Thank you for finishing your book and for the bookstore I will visit someday and everything else you do to help the rest of us feel heard.

  90. Oh, Jenny, if only you could see you as we see you. In awe of your ability to connect with us in a way that makes you family that we’ve never met.

  91. Jenny,
    Don’t think of yourself as not normal human being, mental illness is more common than we think, and this is the imposter syndrome talking. You’ve got highs and lows, but you’re a successful adult. You have made success in using that amazing and amazingly difficult brain of yours to find words for intense vulnerability and resilience and helped inspire thousands of people!!! You’ve surrounded yourself with people who love you and can help you pick up the pieces. I’ve never med you and your soul has changed my life. Probably saved it a couple times too.

    I know you probably don’t read all of your comments, but I’m sending a big WHOOP WHOOP and an Internet in hopes you catch it.

  92. Dear Jenny,
    I must admit I first found your blog and was obsessed, and then life got in the way and I kind of forgot about it. But then yesterday was 2020 and I had this idea it was going to be grand and magical because 2019 was really really hard. And my husband and I got in a massive fight and I cried harder than I have in a very long time, and for possibly the first time in my life I felt truly hopeless. And I didn’t want to blame it on my depression or anxiety or hormones, it just was. And then I remembered your blog. So I’m just writing to say thank you. I needed to read this. You remind me of simple truths, and you make me laugh, and I appreciate you more than words can express.

  93. WHOOP WHOOP!! GO YOU!! You got this and you continue to do great and amazing things every day, even when you think you don’t. We love you (exactly the way you are) and are always here rooting for you! Remember……YOU GOT THIS!

  94. Congratulations!!! This is huge. Such an amazing accomplishment under the best of circumstances. You are a bad ass hero for slogging thru the pain and illness!

  95. WHOOP! WHOOP! That’s amazing to finish your book! And deal with all that loss!(so,so sorry) And start a business/remodel! And deal with holidays and all the tangled joy/bittersweet feelings/memories/sadness that can entail…thank you for pushing on and sharing with us. It makes me feel less alone

  96. I want to thank you for writing this post and for writing your books. You are an inspiration to me. I am in school at 46 years old. My major is creative writing with my hopes to be an author one day. My love is to write fiction books in the genre realism. However, I hope my first book will be my memoir, as like you, I have dealt with mental illness and if my story helped just one person it would have made the pain of writing my memoir worth it. I’ve actually already started my memoir and my professor loves it. I have signed up for your book club and look forward to discussing all these wonderful books we’ll all be reading with you and everyone else.

  97. So sorry about the sad event in your family recently. Despite these hardships, congrats on finalizing the draft of the new book. A really nice way to bring in the new year I imagine. I’m in the homestretch on my sci-fi opus (hitting 177,000 words) but my MDD has beat the shit out of me for 18 months (you are only as happy as your saddest child, so true) and I struggle line-by-line on the final coming-to-a-head chapter that I have known in detail since August 2018. I’m using your New Year’s example to get me motivated and over this hump. End of March! I love Ferris Mewler btw. If I had been a cat, I’d be FM.

  98. Still catching up on my post-christmas blog feed, and YAY!! I cannot wait to have more of your words bound into a pretty thing that I can sell to people in the bookshop after reading it all on release day. YAY.

  99. Happy New Year! I just want to say thank you to those who purchased gifts for James Garfield Christmas. My daughters LOVE their lavender Warmie stuffed animals. We warm them up every night and they go to bed cuddling them. Some how we ended up with doubles of both so I donated the extras to the children’s hospital for their gift drive. I’m sure they put a smile on the patients’ faces. 💕

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