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November 9, 2022

MariNaomi's Playlist for Their Graphic Memoir "I Thought You Loved Me"

I Thought You Loved Me by MariNaomi

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Roxane Gay, and many others.

MariNaomi's I Thought You Loved Me is an inventively told and incredibly moving graphic memoir from one of our most talented storytellers and cartoonists.

Foreword Reviews wrote of the book:

"The book’s art and storytelling style are an inventive hybrid of drawn images, photographs, and text, the latter featuring a wide array of fonts. The result of this combination, along with MariNaomi’s willingness to share personal details, is a story that resonates with texture, intimacy, and elements of voyeurism.

Dazzling in theme, story, and visuals, I Thought You Loved Me is a standout graphic memoir."

In their own words, here is MariNaomi's Book Notes music playlist for their novel I Thought You Loved Me:

Here’s a playlist for my collage-comics memoir, I Thought You Loved Me, a book about a complicated friendship. “Jodie” and I were best friends for years, and then suddenly we weren’t, and I didn’t find out until much later why that was.

My memoir begins with me deciding to come to terms with our friendship, and hopefully to let go of my anger about what happened between us. But when I began making it, I realized I had retained very few memories of her, despite having spent so much time with her as teens and young adults. With this book, I intended to piece together our friendship by using old letters and journal entries, as well as the few scraps of memory my brain allowed me to keep hold of.

I’m going to do these chronologically according to their impact on me:

Let’s Dance by David Bowie (1983)

I’ve always been a huge David Bowie fan. I loved his music of course, and also his style and gender fluidity. According to my journals, Jodie accompanied me to the only David Bowie concert I ever attended, on his Sound and Vision tour in 1990. I remember the day well, although my brain has erased Jodie from the memory. I was extremely excited to be there, despite David being a tiny ant so far away on that stage. Me and a British girl bonded over our love for the thin white duke, screaming like he was the Beatles and as if we were teens in the sixties, while our friends probably sat on the sidelines, embarrassed by us.

Hey Ladies! by the Beastie Boys (1988)

Jodie had a huge crush on one of the Beastie Boys. Possibly all of them. Is it terrible that I can’t tell them apart? I recall her oozing about them, often playing a VHS tape of their videos when I was at her house. The cowbells in this song always got us dancing.

Vogue by Madonna (1990)

Madonna was another huge crush of Jodie’s. I wasn’t a huge fan, maybe because Jodie made such a big deal about her, but I’ve come to appreciate her over the years. (Maybe I was jealous by how hot Jodie thought she was?) After I found out why Jodie stopped speaking to me, it was impossible for me to hear Madonna’s music without being consumed with anger and sadness about my ex-friend. Unfortunately for me, Madonna’s music is everywhere.

Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (1975)

According to my old journals and photos, I was learning to play guitar in the early nineties. Possibly using Jodie’s guitar? Either way, we were both attempting the instrument at the time. I never got very good at it, but I recall this song was played frequently by amateurs in the Mill Valley Depot, where we whiled away hours as high school dropouts with not much else to do. The hippie vibe was alive and well in Marin County in the eighties and early nineties. I never managed to learn this song on the guitar, but each time I hear it I have to stop whatever I’m doing and let the feelings overwhelm me. It’s a beautiful song.

Groove is in the Heart by Deee-Lite (1990)

Here’s a band Jodie directly introduced me to, and their music really puts me in a time and place. Not only did we adore Deee-Lite, Lady Kier Kirby was a fashion inspiration. I remember a pair of Italian blue leather platform boots Jodie had that were reminiscent of that time, which she thought she paid way too much money for. I coveted those boots, and still think about them to this day, almost three decades later.

Man-Size by PJ Harvey (1993)

This song really encapsulates the early nineties for me, a time when Jodie and I struggled to make a life in male-dominated world: she in the sex industry and academia and me in video games and comics. We were both angry feminists who loved men. It was not an easy life! I look back at the shit we had to endure and my blood runs cold. (Some things happening right now give me chills too, but the normalized rape culture and homophobia in the eighties and nineties were definitely A Thing.) Despite PJ Harvey claiming she wasn’t a feminist in an interview with BUST Magazine, I still consider her mournful wails on this album a feminist war-cry.

Waiting on a Friend by The Rolling Stones (1981)

Jodie was a friend who would come and go from my life over the years, often embarking on adventures to other cities and countries, much of it before the internet was really a thing. We kept in touch with postcards and letters, which took forever. When she left our friendship, I didn’t realize she’d done so at first. I was used to her coming and going, so I waited for her to return. And waited. And waited.

Don’t Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers, Featuring Daya (2016)

This song is something I heard decades after our friendship ended. It appeared on a playlist Jodie made for her boyfriend, but I listened intently to it, over and over, trying to piece together who she had become over the years. It’s also a great metaphor for how I feel about my friendships after being so deeply wounded by Jodie all those years ago, piecing together my trust in people, and my acceptance that even the ones we love the most are flawed and might very well disappoint us.

MariNaomi (she/they) is the award-winning author and illustrator of Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22 (Harper Perennial, 2011), Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories (2dcloud/Uncivilized Books, 2014), Turning Japanese (2dcloud, 2016), I Thought YOU Hated ME (Retrofit Comics, 2016), the Life on Earth trilogy (Graphic Universe, 2018-2020), Dirty Produce (Workman Publishing, 2021), and the upcoming collage-comics memoir I Thought You Loved Me (Fieldmouse Press, 2023). Their work has appeared in over eighty print publications and has been featured on websites such as The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts, The Washington Post, LA Times, The Rumpus, LA Review of Books, Midnight Breakfast and BuzzFeed. Their comics have been translated into French (Devenir Japonaise, Editions IMHO, 2021) and Russian.

MariNaomi’s comics and paintings have been featured in the Smithsonian, the de Young Museum, the Cartoon Art Museum, the Asian Art Museum, and the Japanese American Museum.

In 2011 and 2018, Mari toured with the literary roadshow Sister Spit. They are the founder and administrator of the Cartoonists of Color Database, the Queer Cartoonists Database, and the Disabled Cartoonists Database. They have taught classes for the California College of the Arts Comics MFA program, and was a guest editor for PEN Illustrated. They were cohost of the Ask Bi Grlz podcast with author Myriam Gurba.

MariNaomi lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with their partner and a menagerie of beloved rescue animals.

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