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THE YEAR IN REVIEW, 2010

Friday, December 31st, 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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2009: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

2009-year-in-review

A few folks seemed to enjoy my Tweet earlier this month:

When the ball drops, I'm gonna stab 2009 in the heart to make sure it's dead.

I have several friends who feel the same way: they’re more than ready for 2010.

For me, the year was colored by a setback at the end of January, when I learned my book release would be pushed back seven months to April 2010. At that point, I’d worked on the book seven months, it was eight months til the original release date of September. Another year and four months seemed like an eternity. In hindsight, it worked out fine: I did a big round of edits to the final manuscript in April, the fall book release schedule was incredibly loaded with heavy-hitters, and now I’m more prepared for the release. But it was tough.

The rest of the year felt like I was stuck in a holding pattern. Where to go next?

Still, there were some highlights.

The best thing I can say about February is that it bought me my first pair of cowboy boots. A perfect ending to the month that I’ve always joked is “a good month to die”, I spent the 28th in College Station.

20 days out of March we had out-of-town guests in our house, but despite the exhaustion, I met some great folks at my first SXSW, and had my first TV appearance. (Any month that ends with seeing Neko Case on the 31st can’t be all bad.)

April brought the biggest life change of the year: our dog, Milo!

Late May, my wife got her master’s, and the Vizthink Visual Note-Taking webinar was a smash hit, which later led to our accepted 2010 panel at SXSW.

In June, the official 2010 Texas Summer of Heat and Death began. The coolest thing I did was silkscreen Newspaper Blackout prints with my buddy, Curt Miller. I also saw a terrific taping of Austin City Limits with St. Vincent. My wife and I came up with an idea for a book, which we’re working on now, but I can’t say anything about…

July and August boiled my memory.

September I had my first religious experience with Texas BBQ in Lockhart. At the end of the month we released our 20×200 prints.

October, the weather broke.

November I taught my first college class, and had a terrific Thanksgiving with our friends.

The 1st of December brought galleys of the book, as if to answer January.

So here we are.

What I learned this year is that even the most modest success  comes with a lot of paperwork. A book isn’t done when you turn in the manuscript. There’s a lot of logistical crap you have to deal with, and if you don’t keep doing your job–read, investigate, dream, make up cool shit–you will be brought down. There were a few side projects that kept me exploring (I’m thinking most of my tea drawings and de-signs), but overall, I kept too busy. I didn’t read enough, I didn’t relax enough, I didn’t allow enough space for myself to grow.

But then, that’s why we tick time off in years: we can say goodbye to all that, and start over.

Thanks to everyone for reading, sharing links, buying prints…y’all are awesome.

2010, here we come.

2008: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

2008: The Year In Review

What a nutty year. The pages of my paper 2008 diary are full—right up until the end of June, when things got crazy, and I lost six months of my life to writing a book, buying a house, and watching Obama get elected. Phew! About the same happened with this blog: July came around…and poof! I blogged about half as much for the second half of the year. (Check out the infographic above and the 2008 Visual Archive.)

So what now, 2009? The only thing I have planned is the book release in September. I’m going to take a break in January and February, curl up on my office couch, and read some really big books. Hopefully start blogging some more. Around March, I’m going to try to start on another book. Maybe a graphic novel. I’ll be posting whatever I come up with here, along with a bunch of blackout poems that didn’t make the book.

Thanks for reading. It was a great year for me, and everybody who visited the site, left comments, linked to the poems…y’all made it so.

My very best to you. Warm wishes for a great 2009!



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