A lot of my free time is spent doodling. I'm a journalist on NPR's science desk by day. But all the time in between, I am an artist — specifically, a cartoonist.

I draw in between tasks. I sketch at the coffee shop before work. And I like challenging myself to complete a zine — a little magazine — on my 20-minute bus commute.

Richard Blanco's poem for President Obama's second inauguration, "One Today," just came out as a children's book, with illustrations by Captain Underpants creator Dav Pilkey (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

Blanco is a poet and a civil engineer and says in the right brain/left brain equation, he uses both sides in equal measure. He recently spent some time with us talking about his own childhood. 

Why We Make Things and Why it Matters

May 1, 2014

05/01/14 - Thursday's Topical Currents begins with a look at creativity through hands-on work.  We’ll visit with woodworker Peter Korn, author of Why We Make Things and Why it Matters.  Korn explores the nature and rewards of the creative practice. And more, Linda Gassenheimer speaks with Chef Richard Ingraham, the personal chef of Miami Heat star, Dwayne Wade.  What keeps him going in their race for another championship?  Fred Tasker offers his wine suggestions. Join us for Topical Currents . . . Thursday at 1pm.

Unexpected Benefits of Life’s Difficulties

Jan 14, 2014

01/14/14 - Tuesday's Topical Currents looks at the benefits of . . . adversity.  It can make us better, stronger and more resilient.  Adversity is a boon to creativity.  And when life is hardest, there are meanings and gifts to be found.  We’ll speak with Georgetown University Medical Center psychiatrist and researcher Norman Rosenthal.