Read and Follow: Hyperbole and a Half

Sneaky Hate Spiral
This image came from the wonderful blog Hyperbole and a Half. Specifically, this post.

It's rare that I come across a blog that consistently makes me laugh. Even the funniest writers have their off days and it can sometimes deflate their work. Such is not the case for Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half.

What sets Allie apart from other humor blogs is her dedication to the content. She takes her time to craft her words and MS Paint illustrations and posts entries when she's ready to post entries. That means the stories she tells about her life and experiences are the stories she wants to tell in the way she wants to tell them. There isn't a set publishing schedule, either. When she finishes an entry to her level of satisfaction, it goes up. That's how I know that she consistently puts out the best work she can.

Allie writes and illustrates bizarre stories from her life. These stories, though very specific (like having to kill her own pet fish), take on a familiarity that is bound to remind you of a similarly absurd and scarring experience from your own life. This is even more true for her non-narrative-driven posts, like A Better Pain Scale and The Alot is Better Than You at Everything.

While a sad and entertaining story about a possibly-retarded pet dog is enjoyable, I doubt I would dig through the Hyperbole and a Half archives as often as I do if there wasn't something more than funny pictures and stories. Allie occasionally goes into her own issues with working as a writer. In this entry, she writes about the almost overwhelming desire to make sure each piece of writing is better than the last. She attempts to free herself from those expectations by drunk blogging for a night. The results are strange, funny, and--for one agitated reader--unwelcome. The line between the joke's conceit and its basis in reality is so blurred by the end you can't help but laugh.

For me, I read that entry (and a choice few others) and realize I'm not the only person writing who becomes obsessed with constant improvement and exceeding audience expectations. The anxiety this creates is unbearable at times. After the unfortunate slam page/hacking/cyberstalking incident a few years back, all the progress I had made towards accepting that everything I wrote online couldn't be golden was erased. It took years of inconsistent meandering work to come to the conclusions that Allie puts through so plainly in the opening and closing paragraphs of that post. Whenever I feel really down, uninspired, and worthless as a writer, I crawl through the Hyperbole and a Half archives to find the posts that let me know I'm not the only person who can feel this way. It never fails to make me feel better.

I have no doubt that if you start reading Hyperbole and a Half you won't be able to stop. It's just so funny and different from what else is out there in humor blogs. The community that has grown around the site is great, too. If you ever just need a laugh, click over to Hyperbole and a Half. You'll love it.