Goodbye, 2021

In 2020, billions of people wore a face mask to walk outside for the first time.

At the end of 2020, I said goodbye to the pandemic and recorded my impressions of what I thought would be the end of that phase—I wasn’t expecting COVID to be around us one year later.

We've had to comply with full lockdowns, limited gatherings, and ever-changing curfews. We've reduced our travels and kept our trips as local as they can be. Christmas hasn't been our traditional holiday—a sense of fear and anxiety accompanies our gatherings with friends and family—and local restrictions forced many to spend salient dates apart from each other.

Ever since some of us got vaccinated and obtained a COVID certificate and fought multiple coronavirus variants. Today, omicron is on the news, spreading faster but killing less, especially amongst those who got their shots.

This is my last publication of the year, and I wanted to, once again, shift my focus from the bad to the positive and highlight some of the good things I take from 2021.

At the turn of 2019, I published Twelve Grapes—a short reflection on temporal landmarks and New Year's resolutions. For me, 2021 was a year to stop overdoing things and ship faster; to reduce creative friction by automating workflows where possible and delegating work to other creatives.

If you’re thinking of starting a blog or a personal journal, read One Word per Day. I agree with Seth Godin—Everyone should have a blog and should write daily, in public. It’s free, and it’s a great way to establish your tone before anyone cares about your writing.

As a matter of fact, one of my goals to remove friction from my creative writing process is to begin publishing on Substack, in English only and without a required illustration. The simple fact of having to translate a piece of text and couple it with a drawing or photo makes my process more complex than it needs to be.

There are lots more that I’d like to share with you. But I’ll leave that for future posts. If there’s anything you’ve learned or enjoyed from my sketches and stories of 2021, I’d love for you to send me a note. Feel free to reply to this email if you’re getting the newsletter, tweet at me @nonoesp, message me on Instagram, add a comment to this publication, or through this contact form.


Thanks so much for being there.

Goodbye, 2021.

Happy New Year!

  1. I captured my First Impressions in writing and recorded a podcast on the subject with Jose Luis García del Castillo. I explained How to prevent your diving mask from fogging up and how to use the Otovent, and talked about The Diving Reflex—probably, what I enjoyed learning about the most— and sighting dolphins

  2. I’m building my first recording studio to produce podcasts and video tutorials outside of my living room. I’ve learned a lot about acoustic treatment, lighting, and sound. And even though my space will always continue to improve, I’m actively using to podcast and live stream, and all of the equipment I’ve acquired so far can be reused when I move my studio elsewhere in the future. 

  3. Huge thanks to Daniel Natoli from Peripheria Films for making this possible. We can hopefully bring you more on-site video interviews in the near future. 

December 28, 2021
Nono Martínez Alonso

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Pencil sketch of Nono Martínez Alonso.