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Notes for a New Year

If you don't want to read my spiel, just skip to this week's cartoon.

This year has been surreal for me.

Last year was the first time my accountant put the words "Professional Writer" on my taxes and I was able to deduct things like art supplies and printer ink.

Writing for actual money is a vocation. You have to really want to do this and you have to prepare yourself for disappointment of Rumsfeldian proportions. But the payoff - the fact that your creation is making someone's life happier one glance at a time is so worth it.

Over time, Andy has morphed into a gentler and more innocent soul than she was when I originally started. There is no evil in her. She's almost like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, so I have to create characters who can speak for the darker frustration of young medical specialist while Andy still displays a child's sense of wonder about her vocation.

I'm going to have a lot of fun with Dr. Ruchi S. and Dr. Priya Roy this year. America is a big bowl of ethnicity that is constantly changing and the latest wave is from the Indian subcontinent. There are a lot of ethnically Indian student entering the medical profession. With Dr. Ruchi S. I get to show one experience - the IMG who wasn't born in the US and who is completely miserable and unlikable. With Dr. Priya Roy, I get to have fun with the concept of an ABCD (ask your Indian friends) who is also a gun-toting Texan with an accent. For those of you new to the strip, #MyRadGirlfriend takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which honors Priya's Texas handgun permit.

The strips main characters - Andy and Ryan - are the products of the last big wave of immigration. Jews from Eastern Europe. Dr. Andy Sisskin is Jewish. So is Ryan McBeth - yeah, yeah I've heard it all. It goes by the mother and anyway, do I look Irish to you?

So today's strip is about Hanukkah. Yes, I know Hanukkah doesn't start until Sundown on Saturday, but you have to suspend some disbelief here. A doctor probably wouldn't treat someone's Benadryl allergy with shellfish either. So all that being said, I'll see you in the new year. Hopefully there we'll have a few laughs together.

All the best, guys.

Ryan McBeth

"Professional Author"

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