HOUSTON, Texas — Doodling takes my mind off things. Helps me concentrate if I’m working on something and get writer’s block or have too much on my mind, sketching something out is my catharsis. I remember having to explain to a boss once that doing this during a meeting isn’t disrespectful — it helps me remember. It’s kind of like a left brain/right brain thing, I guess. Lord, please don’t let anyone grab one of my work notebooks. They wouldn’t know what to make of the margins.

Maps frequently come to mind and those thoughts usually manifest themselves in the stuff I doodle. My high school World History teacher Mrs. Gatlin used to give us map quizzes with a twist. The first week would be labeling a region of the world. The next week’s would be drawing in country boundaries and labeling. The next week would be drawing drawing in country boundaries, inland major water bodies and labeling, followed by a blank sheet of paper to draw the region from scratch and so on. Part of our final grade was a poster board-sized map of the world.

The technique stuck and it’s pretty good from memory. No surface is safe with me, pretty much. I don’t vandalize or anything, but you get my drift.

I’m going to try and do a state a day. Starting with (no surprise) Texas:

That’s on my desk — in pencil. (It wipes off.)