<You can read about my life up here, or scroll down for links to comics, upcoming events, kitten pictures and more.>
I don’t follow a lot of blogs, but I’ve read enough of them to read the words, “Sorry I haven’t updated my blog in a while…” more times than I can count. This has always struck me as silly, as I’m fairly certain that the only person who is aware of the length of time between one blog post and the next is the actual blogger, with the exception of the occasional stalker. So I’m not going to start off this update with that sentiment, despite the fact that I haven’t written for almost three months. No, I’m not sorry.
What I’ve been doing, in a nutshell:
For the entire month of July, I taught an MFA in Comics workshop in San Francisco, at CCA. It was challenging, all that teaching. There were surprises:
~ For one thing, the students didn’t fall in love with the reading material I assigned. Quite the opposite, in a few cases. It really made me think. Those books I assigned, I consider perfection. How could anyone not adore perfection? I suppose it’s true what they say, that you can’t please everybody.
~ I grew attached to every single student in that class, even the ones I think might hate me. I’m a little bit devastated that I don’t get to spend all my time with them anymore, that my exposure to them will be relegated to Facebook, emails, and perhaps (if I’m lucky) the occasional hang-out. Each person was magnificent in their own way, and as a group, they were a force to be reckoned with.
~ Teaching? It was really fucking hard. I got pretty much none of my other work done during that time.
~ Matt Silady, the head of the department, is now one of my favorite people.
All month long, it was great to breathe in the foggy, urine-scented air, as well as see the loved ones I’d left behind in SF, even though I didn’t get nearly enough time with them. Even though I was there a whole month, I ended up with very little spare time. There were people I consider good friends I didn’t even get to see, not even once. A month seems like a lot of time, but it isn’t. Not really.
While I was in San Francisco, an old friend suddenly died, someone I’d drifted away from, but had always intended to reconnect with at some point, when we became less busy. He was a wonderful young man with a bright future, taken way before he should have been. At the end of July, his family and friends threw him a wake. I never know what to do at these things. On one hand, I was surrounded by other friends I’d drifted away from, and part of me wanted to talk to them (I didn’t), hug them (I did), reconnect. On the other hand, ugh. I ended up just sitting there for most of the time, staring at his old leather jacket, his photography. I hadn’t even known he’d gotten so deep into taking pictures. He was good. Really fucking good.
After the wake, I picked up my mother-in-law and drove her to a going-away brunch my sister was throwing me. She told me, there was some bad news. A death in the family, one we had been expecting for a while but even so, for some reason that doesn’t make things any less sad. I’d gotten to know this family member pretty well over emails. His passing was a stab to my heart. And then , I got a phone call from my husband in LA. One of our cats was very sick, all of a sudden.
Our cat Hugo wasn’t old. He was only twelve. He’d been healthy when I left. In fact, I considered taking him with me to San Francisco, I knew I’d miss him so much. I’m glad I didn’t, or I would’ve blamed myself. Hugo died of something liver-related the day after I returned home. I like to think he was holding on, so we could cuddle together one last time.
A couple days later, I turned forty. I always imagined I’d have a big, blow-out celebration for my fortieth birthday, but instead that day was spent mourning and packing.
A day after that, my husband left the country on a business trip, and the day after that, I left the country myself, to Akumal, Mexico, for a writer’s retreat with Radar Labs (the same folks who jettisoned my book KISS & TELL: A ROMANTIC RESUME with inclusion on the Sister Spit tour).
In Akumal, I was surrounded by some stellar talent: my roommates, writers Elissa Perry and Dia Felix; cartoonist and personal hero, Phoebe Gloeckner; poet Samuel Ace; writers Beth Lisick, Ali Liebegott and Alvin Orloff; and our care-giver, Beth Pickens (who ended up injuring herself right before we got there, suddenly turning her partner Ali into our care-giver). There, in the humid, gorgeous condo-on-the-beach and surrounded by strangers and acquaintances, I stifled a nervous breakdown and existential crisis and got some god-damned work done. It was gorgeous. It was painful. It was like being in a paradise prison. I desperately missed my husband—we hadn’t had time to reconnect, we’d seen so little of each other over the past month, and those few days together, we spent mourning. I hadn’t had time to grieve for Hugo. I missed my dogs so much I ached. One hung-over day, I was feeling particularly vulnerable. On one hand I was kicking ass on my book. On the other, I’d spent a month missing Hugo, and then he died. I worried that if I looked forward to seeing my husband or my animals or even my friends and family, that something bad would happen. Looking forward to something doesn’t ensure that it’s necessarily going to happen, and that froze me. I was afraid to count the days, in case there were no more days. It was an incredibly dark couple weeks, but it was also amazing, epic, actually. (Those last three words are an inside joke for my Akumal roommates, who I doubt will ever read this, but I put it in anyway. Inside jokes are something that happen when you’re confined with people you’re trying to get friendly with for an extended amount of time. It’s weird how that happens.)
But then I went home. I worked on my book some more, a lot. I’m still working on the book. I did a lot of sitting around with my husabnd and the remaining animals, snuggling and drawing. It was wondrous, therapeutic. And then, during my sister’s weekend-long visit to our new home, we fell in love with some kittens, and soon after adopted them.
I can’t tell you how much joy and love these little creatures have brought to us. It’s like being infatuated, my body full of endorphins non-stop, a perma-smile on my face. Me constantly taking pictures (I’ve taken hundreds each day—so happy for digital cameras). And it was really good.
Then suddenly, our remaining older cat got very sick—Hugo’s reluctant companion, Batface. The day we decided it was serious and to take her to the vet was the same day my husband was leaving on a business trip to Europe. That was last week, and holy shit, what a horrible week that was! Nobody could tell us what was wrong with her. Stress? Something more nefarious? On Wednesday I was speeding down unfamiliar Los Angeles roads, sobbing my eyes out, driving her from the vet to an animal hospital to get emergency surgery. You know what sucks in LA? Driving. And crying while doing so.
She didn’t get the surgery. In fact, she has made almost a full recovery (pancreatitis, giardia), which is good. “Good,” of course, is not an adequate word to describe the relief I feel in not having one more loved one to mourn. “There are no words” is a ridiculously trite thing to say, but it’s true. There literally aren’t. I didn’t think she would make it, she was in such bad shape. I didn’t think I would make it. Just remembering five days ago makes me hold my breath and the muscles in my shoulders ache. I can’t take much more loss, but I know that this is just the beginning. Nobody’s going to live forever, and the longer I stick around, the more heartache and loss there will be. I know that this is a best-case scenario, but I’d appreciate if people would stop dying long enough for me to catch my breath.
Okay, thanks. Now here’s the good stuff:
This is the first comic I ever made, about an unrequited crush.
Daniel (1997) http://tapastic.com/episode/16625
A kind-of-gross comic, about my experience with birth control pills.
The Pill (1998 or so) http://tapastic.com/episode/10105
Body image and the media (NSFW-ish) (you’ll need a free Tapastic account to read this)
Superbowl Sunday (1998-ish) http://tapastic.com/episode/10112
This short comic first appeared in an Action Girl Comics Valentine’s Day issue.
Love Is… (1999) http://tapastic.com/episode/10102
Comic/poem (read my comment at the bottom for some bizarre trivia)
Little Boy Blue (2002) http://tapastic.com/episode/15840
If you’re interested in lots of pictures of kittens and pups, you can follow:
The Menagerie’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OnoDog
My Instagram account: http://instagram.com/marinaomiart
My Tumblr account: http://marinaomi.tumblr.com/
Brodie Foster Hubbard interviewed me on his Shakeytown Radio podcast. You can listen to me ramble here: http://shakeytownradio.com/post/62060572192/marinaomi
I’m very excited to have a story in HENRY & GLENN FOREVER & EVER #3, which is essentially a romance comic/fanzine about Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig.
I’ve also got a couple pieces in Northwest Press’s new anthology about bisexuality, ANYTHING THAT LOVES, including a water-colored story about the first time I was attracted to a woman, and the silly way I dealt with that. http://northwestpress.com/shop/anything-that-loves/
I also have a one-page contribution in THE BIG FEMINIST BUT, a feminist comics anthology that I believe even a misogynist could appreciate. http://bigfeministbut.com/shop/
I have a few events coming up! If you’re interested in getting more information about any of them, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 26, 2013, 7 pm to 9 pm
L.A. Zine Fest presents: Zinextraveganza! A night of bad-ass poetry, comics and zinesters
Readings by MariNaomi, Zoe Ruiz, Dylan A. Doren, Tomas Moniz Jaylee Alde, Brodie Foster Hubbard, Jessica Garrison and Bianca Barragan
The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring Street (main entrance is around the corner on 5th), Los Angeles
NOTE: I wrote an essay just for this reading, and I’m very nervous-xcited to share it with real-live people! If you can make it out to this event, I will love you forever. Or, you know. I’ll be happy that you’re there.
September 29, 2013, sometime in the A.M.
West Hollywood Book Fair panel/book signing for Anything That Loves
Cartoonists panel for Anything that Loves, Comikaze Expo
Queer Art Show, Bent Con
October 13, 2013
Queer Cartoonists panel at the Alternative Press Expo
Concourse Exhibition Center, San Francisco, CA
October 13, 2013, 7 pm
The Big Feminist BUT comics reading, with Joan Reilly and others!
Mission Comics and Art, 3520 20th St., San Francisco, CA
Okay, I suppose this is why I should send monthly updates, as I have so freaking much to share. For that, I’m sorry for not updating since June. I really am.
Until October. Or maybe January…