Thursday, October 26, 2023


I have a notebook as well as a sketchbook. I find myself keeping them separate because in my early days, when I was serious, struggling to become some kind of professional, people who seemed to know more told me, “You have to make up your mind.” The world where they make creativity into money doesn’t like it if you’re an artist and a writer, and if you do them both at the same time . . .

The desire to be a cartoonist isn’t something teachers like. Why don’t you do real art? Real writing, instead of all this sci-fi silliness?

For years I fought off the urge to be a renaissance Chicano, writing, and drawing on the same page, with the same tool, pencil, pen, or even crayon.

In the the happy rebellion of my school daze, doodling in the margins of the notebooks while taking notes in class, trying to commit and master the painful, unnatural act of being a student, I hijacked the educational materials and space to put some of what’s bubbling in my head into some viewable form.

My personal notebooks are where I organize my writer business. I make notes of daily progress, keep track of my simultaneous projects, jot down rough ideas. Serious stuff.

These days, I doodle in the margins of my notebooks.

Unlike what I do in my sketchbooks, these aren’t intended for public consumption. I’m not being a “professional” artist. Damn, it’s liberating.

It’s putting down the burden of art, the way the Maya speak of putting down the burden of time.

At the same time, I find myself reconnecting with drawing, the act of making a mess with some kind of tool, putting the magic in my mind on a flat surface.

In the end, it makes me a better artist–whateverthehell that is.

Sometimes I take pictures of these doodles. Some of them are pretty good. Maybe they’ll somehow make their way into my Work.

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