Happy New Year, faithful reader! Greetings to you and yours on this very first day of 1/1/11. From where I sit the sun is streaming through the windows and last night's reveries are fading faster than an old jean jacket. What a night! We ate hopping john for good luck, we laughed, we danced, we toasted the new year, we kissed at midnight. Now the dawn comes up like thunder and we survey the battlefield in the misty morning light. The fires are all out. Coffee is brewing. I vaguely remember the promises I made last night but they're like songs from a half-forgotten dream: eat less sweets, relieve stress, get more exercise, all that good stuff I firmly believed last night that i will try to live up to from this day forward. God willing and the creek don't rise I'll have a novel finished by summer. I'll make more artwork this year, and that must co-exist with this literary schedule, so there will be plenty of paint and pots of ink and crumpled paper in the coming year. And yet I'll be less messy. I plan to spend more time with my girlfriend Wendy, and more time enjoying my friends and family, and less time blowing gaskets about the seemingly endless stream of numbskulls and puritans and tea-baggers who want to ruin everything I hold dear. Don't get me wrong, I shall not become beatific and forgiving instantly. I'm only human, after all, and I'll probably still raise my voice at the screen and those spoiled pundits who infuriate me (there I go again) but I'll try to sublimate that rage, chill it Sicilian-style, and transmute it into new creative work. I'm not giving up on a better world--I still believe in that, though not in a corny kumbaya sort of way--I'm just not raising my blood pressure if I can help it. I have a plan. It goes something like this and I advise you do the same. Get plenty of rest. Express yourself. Go easy on dessert. Read great books, maybe write one. Paint some pictures. Draw. Dance. Enjoy all the laughter and wit and courage and beauty all around you. And if that doesn't work, go back to bed and try again. Good luck.