I started 2010 determined to finish up Wanderlost and get started on a graphic novel. It’s also the year I stopped cartooning about politics. At the time I had studio space outside my home, allowing me to concentrate on my work without distractions posed by piles of laundry and stacks of crusty dishes. I managed to get a lot of work done, but not as much as I had hoped. I am close to the finish line on Wanderlost. I have a chapter outline halfway done for the graphic novel. I’ll take it.

I think the hardest part of this year has been balancing creativity with parenthood. The house depends on me to keep it clean, prepare the food, shuttle the kids, and be an engaged father. These are high priorities. But I would go a little bonkers without a creative outlet. I took up guitar lessons this year. Now I get the relationship between chords, scales and keys; I can look at the fretboard and improvise my way around much more knowledgeably than I had before. I love playing the instrument, as shown by how often I pick it up at home, or by a growing collection of guitars (does one person really need more than two, an acoustic and an electric? Yes!), as opposed to how often I pick up my sketchbook.

I need to correct that, though. I need to put more time into my sketchbook. Flesh out the ideas for my graphic novel, realize on paper the images I have in my head of what characters look like, and practice drawing the features of the world I am creating: the plantations, the work gangs, and especially the trains. So my goal for the coming year is to post a sketch a day to this blog, as well as to the usual twitter/facebook/what-have-you spots.

One thing that’ll help in this regard: We got a new dishwasher, thanks to a generous gift card from my mother. Washing dishes by hand takes a LOT of fucking time. And as a daily activity, it’s depressing. For me, at least. After an hour of washing dishes I come away feeling morally defeated. I don’t think they make a pill for that. Probably an STFU boot to the head therapy treatment.

My dedicated readership of 2 may have noticed a definite falling off in political blogging. FB & tweeting make it so much easier to get my “make Hulk smash!” knee-jerk reactions to the news out of my system. I don’t have a lot of analysis in me these days. Mostly I just get pissed off or depressed by it. The corporate state repression of Wikileaks, the torture of Bradley Manning, the lefty infighting over the Julian Assange rape case, plus the actual revelations of the cables themselves are all very dispiriting. Any blog post would basically be “this sucks.” If there is value in that, I think others have been better at it than I have been. It’s possible my daily sketchbook exercises will take up those issues, a sorta sporadic return to political cartooning. We’ll see.

There will be a Wanderlost update next week. No time this week as we have prepared for the holidays and celebrated two birthdays of important people in my family, my son and my wife. (Guess who hogs the spotlight there.) The kids are home from school. Other than next week’s update, this blog will be even more quiet than usual. Have a great holiday season with your loved ones, celebrating whatever and however you see fit.

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