THE YEAR IN REVIEW, 2010

Things that happened in 2010:

January: we released the “Agoraphobia” print on 20×200. (Sold out in December!) I made the “Creativity Is Subtraction” poem, which became a sort of slogan/rallying cry for the book. Started keeping broadsheets. Had some work featured in the “Old Media / Old News” exhibit in St. Louis. Wrote “On Keeping A Logbook,” about keeping a daily list instead of a diary.

February: I gave a talk on “Visual Thinking For Writers” at VizThink Austin. Gave my first Pecha Kucha slideshow talk, which went over really well. Posted “25 Quotes To Help You Steal Like An Artist.” (Followed it up with 25 more in June.) Drew on sticky notes for TEDxAustin.

I’d had the idea for a while to launch a site where folks could post their own blackout poems, but I didn’t have the right technology yet to really make it happen. Then, back in January, Tumblr enabled a feature where users could submit their own posts. A month later, I finally launched a Newspaper Blackout Tumblr–I had no idea that by the end of the year it would have over 12,000 followers.

March: SXSW!!!

April: Released another 20×200 print, “The Travelogue.” Newspaper Blackout came out on the 13th, almost 2 years after I sold the book to HarperCollins. Had a release party at BookPeople here in Austin. My friends Wire & Twine released the “Creativity Is Subtraction” t-shirts. Oh, and I got to meet on of my cartoonist heroes, John Porcellino.

May: I almost lost my mind doing promotion for the book, and posted my sketchbook and a mini sketchbook manifesto.

June: I sweated a lot and  tried to explain my “you don’t have to go to college” tag.

July: I gave a talk on my experiences with publishing and social media at TEDxPennQuarter in Washington, D.C. Gave a workshop and showed off some poems at the Austin Museum of Art.

August: summer was winter. The best thing that happened was that my best friend shipped my drums down to me from Ohio, and I started playing in a band with my friends. There’s nothing like making music with your friends.

SeptemberPBS Newshour ran a segment on the poems, and we opened our new store. I celebrated five years of blogging, and then wrote about how to keep it up in “Punt.”

October: I drew The National on Austin City Limits and a Teleportal Reading. Met Maira Kalman! Celebrated 5 years of blacking out and started posting Newspaper Blackout horoscopes.

November: I drew Lyle Lovett taping ACL and Fun Fun Fun Fest. Posted another notebook.

December: After three years of designing websites at the law school, I took a new job as copywriter for Springbox. (I’ll be starting the new gig in January 2011.) Back in January this year, I wrote “The Builder and the Keeper,” a post of my thoughts on web design that pointed towards where I’d go at the end of the year. And a few days ago I started a new little mini-site called “I never thought I’d say this, but…”

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So, yeah. Not bad. Every year, no matter what, I always say, “I wish I had read more.” Last year I tweeted: “For me, healthy+happy = books. My biggest failure in the past couple years has been the decline of my reading habit. Trying to remedy that.” And I’m still trying.

But all in all, 2010 was a good year. I got no beef with it. Here’s to 2011. Hope to read more books, make more art, and shed a few pounds. Happy New Year!

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MY READING YEAR, 2010

Ten good books I read this year:

I Remember I Remember
by Joe Brainard

“I remember Saturday night baths and Sunday morning comics.”

The Anthologist The Anthologist
by Nicholson Baker

“I ask a simple question. I ask myself: What was the very best moment of your day…this one question could lift out from my life exactly what I will want to write a poem about.”

Just Kids Just Kids
by Patti Smith

“an older couple stopped and openly observed us. Robert enjoyed being noticed, and he affectionately squeezed my hand. ‘Oh, take their picture,’ said the woman to her bemused husband, ‘I think they’re artists.’ ‘Oh, go on,’ he shrugged. ‘They’re just kids.’”

Lit Lit
by Mary Karr

“I get so lonely sometimes, I could put a box on my head and mail myself to a stranger.”

Reality Hunger Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
by David Shields

“Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands. By necessity, by proclivity and by delight, we all quote. It is as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others as it is to invent.” (Emerson)

Geek Love Geek Love
by Katherine Dunn

“There are those whose own vulgar normality is so apparent and stultifying that they strive to escape it. They affect flamboyant behavior and claim originality according to the fashionable eccentricities of their time. They claim brains or talent or indifference to mores in desperate attempts to deny their own mediocrity. These are frequently artists and performers, adventurers and wide-life devotees.

Then there are those who feel their own strangeness and are terrified by it. They struggle toward normalcy. They suffer to exactly that degree that they are unable to appear normal to others, or to convince themselves that their aberration does not exist. These are true freaks, who appear, almost always, conventional and dull.”

Lucky Jim Lucky Jim
by Kingsley Amis

“Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider crab on the tarry shingle of the morning. The light did harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.”

The Pursuit of Happiness And The Pursuit of Happiness
by Maira Kalman

“Everything is invented. Language. Childhood. Careers. Relationships. Religion. Philosophy. The Future. They are not there for the plucking. They don’t exist in some natural state. They must be invented by people. And that, of course, is a great thing. Don’t mope in your room. Go invent something. That is the American message.”

Picture This Picture This
by Lynda Barry

“Why do we stop drawing?”

Master of Reality Master of Reality
by John Darnielle

“When you listen to early Black Sabbath, you know the main difference between them & you is that somebody bought them guitars and microphones. They’re not smarter than you; they’re not deeper than you; they’re a fuck of a lot richer than you, but other than that, it’s like listening to the inside of your own mind. So when they write songs, they sing about wizards. And witches. And robots.”

See more good books I read in 2010 →

My previous reading years →

What was your favorite thing you read this year?