2015: The Year in Review

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photo by Clayton Cubitt

This was the year of Drawing Blood

I worked on this damn book for two years.  It was the hardest, most miserable, isolating, troll-beast making work of my life, but damn.. I killed that word beast dead and now am standing on its suddenly beautiful corpse and I’ll say it.

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I wrote a book. 90,000 words.  100+ new drawings.  Its out in the world.  Its in Athens, Paris, Tehran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, London, The Mechanics Society Library and Chess Room of San Francisco and the Federal Prison System.

I don’t even care if it’s not cool or humble.  The book took everything in me. I’m fucking proud.

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Some press it got

New York Times Book Review

Buzzfeed (Alana, thank you)

Guardian

Daily Beast

NPR

VICE

*****

Typically, by the end of the year I don’t remember much of what happened.  Too much work makes time go fast.  These blog posts are a sort of reminder that things happened, art got made, whisky drank, dawns met from both sides.  Here’s some stuff I did.

*****

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I collaborated with Marwan Hisham, a young Syrian journalist, on pieces from Aleppo and Mosul. The first won a Front Page Award

Created video after video with Jim Batt and Kim Boekbinder, mostly about the prison system.  This one, for The Equal Justice Initiative, is something of which I’m immensely proud.

Got a Yale Poynter Fellowship

Got to talk about comics and violence with Art Spiegleman

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Learned to read Arabic (and write it with considerable less skill)

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Travelled to New Orleans, Boston, Seattle, LA, Gaza, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine, Istanbul, Iraqi Kurdistan, the Turkish/Syrian Border, Beirut, and Amman.  Istanbul I never stop loving.

Read my work in Ramallah with the Palestine Festival of Literature

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Read so so many books

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Documented the work of Doctors Without Borders at a refugee camp for Syrians in Domiz

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Drew covers for the French punk feminist Virginie Despentes

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Wrote many articles, including ones about the man who videotaped Eric Garner’s murder, Gaza a year after the war, prison whistleblowers, the cruel fiction of borders.  Also some very mean apocalypse porn about Wall Street

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With my friends at the Karam Foundation, covered a refugee school’s library in Reyhanli with swarms of cats.  Karam has been doing brave, vital work with Syrian refugees for years. I’m honored to know them

Said “fuck” on CSPAN

Saw friends triumph, over and over again

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Drew pictures about the purification of language

Said no to someone famous

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Took a RISC course in battlefield first aid, that I will probably only use if and when I impale my foot while scampering around a bombed out building

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With Sarah Leonard, raised thousands of dollars for Greek solidarity activists helping refugees arriving by boat to the island of Chios

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Painted one of my best friends

Stayed up till dawn at the Plaza Hotel, with the best, worst, most brilliant women on earth.  Spontaneous dance party onstage with the best worst women at my book party, and loved my friends so hard.

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Along with everyone else, saw the world and country grow darker, more violent,  more fearful, more stupid and more twisted.

Became more convinced that we must hang on to these things: solidarity, beauty, generosity, defiance, and joy.

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Much loved friend and collaborator Seth Kushner died this year.  You’ll never be forgotten.

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