My 2023 Year in Review

In addition to the highlights below, I continued to co-host the Heterodorx podcast with Corinna Cohn, and make $150 Drawings.


My 2023 started with crowdfunding platform IndyGoGo retroactively canceling my independent comic book Agents of HAG, automatically refunding all the backers and denying me access to all records.

I traveled to New Orleans with my pals Corinna Cohn and Shannon Thrace to attend a Quillette Social. It was a fun trip, my first flights since 2020’s COVID pandemic shutdowns, and I didn’t die.


I flew again with Corinna to Ireland, to visit our friend Alasdair who had been recently diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. This was my first trip ever to that country, and I feared my last time ever to see Alasdair. (SPOILER ALERT: Alasdair didn’t die. His immunotherapy treatments appear to be wildly successful and there’s a good chance that whatever kills him eventually won’t be cancer.)

I began production of my coolest merch item ever, Apocalypse Animated Lenticular Cards. These were very costly to print, so I crowdfunded some of the expense, this time through GiveSendGo because they supposedly don’t cancel artists. It’s a Christian platform so I did get a call from them later offering to pray for me and my project. As long as the so-called secular world is high on canceling, I’ll take any prayers I can get.

I returned to IndieGoGo with a campaign for Compliance Comix, which is just Agents of HAG (which they canceled) minus the words and pictures. Much to my surprise they didn’t cancel this campaign, so I actually printed them.


I embarked on the GENDER WARS Playing Cards. Once I committed to this project, the drawings just flew out of me. Meanwhile I made travel arrangements for events in New York City, Scotland, and Ireland. I may have been cancelled in January, but things were looking up.

On March 21 I came down with Covid. “Good timing,” I thought, “I have more than a month for this to pass before my travel starts. Better now than later!”

I then proceeded to have fevers over 103°F and was pretty much confined to bed for 4+ weeks.


Every day, I thought, this might be the day I start to feel better. Every day I continued to be very sick. I could walk from my bed to the bathroom and back. Occasionally I could walk to the kitchen. One time I tried to empty the dishwasher but it made my heart race. I occasionally tried walking, and struggled to the end of my driveway and back. I’ve been very sick before, but Covid was something else. It just pinned me down and didn’t let up.

On good days I could sit at my drawing table and work on the remaining GENDER WARS cards, which I was keen to finish. Somehow, I did.


On May 2nd I left my house for the first time since getting sick, to attend a party. I was back to bed the next day. The following day I rode my bike. May was mostly one day semi-normal, one day back in bed. Eventually I returned to almost normal, except for my resting body temperature, which stayed a full 1.5°F higher than it was before. My GP was utterly incurious about it.

I finally made a proper e-store for the Apocalypse Animated and GENDER WARS cards and other merch. Long overdue!


My Mom began preparations for moving from the house we’d shared for 7 years, to an “Independent Living” apartment at the local Geezer Place. After a very brief search for a housemate, my friend J was eager to move in in August.

I rode my bikes frequently and gently. I avoided overexertion, as that can cause the dreaded Long Covid. My rides got longer as I got healthier, and finally I rode my first Imperial Century of the year, 100 miles. It felt great.


I returned to my usual summer occupation, long bike rides and recovery. Corinna and I flew to Denver for the ICONS summit July 21-22, one of the best conferences I ever attended. I was really inspired and encouraged by the badass female athletes and their supporters.


My sister and her husband visited Urbana to help my Mom move. My supposed future housemate J backed out of moving in at the last minute, leaving me with a bunch of problems and significantly less trust in other people. My Mom moved successfully and her new apartment is so nice I’d love to live there myself, but I can’t afford it.

I had some minor digestive health issues, not really unusual.


I got to test ride a fancy AZUB trike with battery assist! 

I filed a complaint with the City of Urbana against local store the Art Coop, which had displayed a prominent “NO TERFS” sign for years.10222023 dey1.jpg

I finally furnished my Mom’s former side of the house, which had been eerily empty since her departure. I hung my handmade art quilts around the space and suddenly it became pleasant and beautiful. 

Listing image 1


I had my first AirBnB guests in the Quilt Suite. I rather enjoy being an occasional innkeeper. If you’d like to stay here please email me directly for a better rate:
20 Talk To Me, Baby

I tried some elimination diets in hopes of discovering what was causing my digestive troubles. I ate no wheat for a couple weeks. I avoided dairy. I avoided chocolate. I could not find the culprit before I flew to Houston, TX to marry MK Fain and Alex Gleason. I’m seldom even invited to weddings, due to my bad attitude and unromantic nature, but these two wanted me to officiate their ceremony! It was a pleasure and an honor.

Then I flew to Denver and hung out with my friend Lisa, who made this amusing little short about Menopausal Woman.


Still in Denver, I attended the Genspect conference shortly thereafter. It was fun, intense, and socially overstimulating, but worth it to see all these people I knew from online in 3-D/360°. I flew home after 11 days of travel. 

After Genspect, I got canceled again.  

Also after Genspect, the so-called Gender Critical movement blew apart, due to what’s now called AGPgate. I had planned on making a 2024 edition of GENDER WARS cards, but the illiberal behavior of my former compatriots put me off. I’m still not sure if I’ll make that deck or not. Regardless, I have other things to occupy my time and attention, because I finally visited a doctor to discuss my not-resolving digestive issues.


“Your symptoms could be colon cancer. I’m not saying you HAVE colon cancer. But you’ll have to get a colonoscopy.” So I was referred to a GI specialist, which usually takes months, but there was a cancelation so it only took days. I had my blood tested and my poop tested and a colonoscopy was scheduled, which would have taken months but — miracle! — there was a cancelation so that too only took days. I was soon diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and have been on the rollercoaster of “acceptance” ever since. A follow-up with another specialist determined my case is moderate-to-severe, its only redeeming quality that it’s of such recent onset I may escape bad scarring if treatment (monthly hospital-administered infusions of a “biologic” drug called Skyrizi) puts it in remission. My infusions still aren’t scheduled because we’re waiting for “prior authorization” from my insurance. Meanwhile I’m on a low-fiber diet, which as a formerly-healthy vegetarian is bizarre. My attention is consumed reading Crohn’s disease forums, trying to guess what foods might ruin my guts, and getting to know my new masticating juicer that arrived a few days ago (so far, so good). I’m pretty confident my Crohn’s was triggered by Covid, as that is a Thing; I call it Covid Reactive Autoimmune Pathology, or CRAP. It might explain why my temperature has been elevated since my Covid Spring. 

On the bright side, I’m receiving lots of love and support, for which I feel much gratitude. 

I neither regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. As we stumble into 2024, I feel mostly curiosity. Whatever happens in the next 12 months, one thing is for certain: more will be revealed!


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

3 thoughts on “My 2023 Year in Review”

  1. I researched alternative therapies for inflammatory bowel disease more than 20 years ago and found the “Specific Carbohydrate Diet” which cuts all starches and just about all disaccharides and limits dairy to long-fermented yogurt (so all the lactose is broken down into lactic acid). Here’s a more recent article about it:
    Hmmm, it seems to have some mainstream acceptance now:
    Oh yeah, this is what the internet looked like 20 years ago:
    Sorry if I’m spamming you, I have a powerful feeling that fermented foods are good for everyone. Something you could try right now (while avoiding all fiber) is to submerge chunks of raw organic beet in saltwater. Once the liquid is deep red and sour, you can start drinking it. You put maybe an inch of kvass in the bottom of a glass and then fill with water – it will still be as richly colored as red wine. No fiber, but plant goodness and lots of our friend, lactobacillus.

  2. It’s a rough year, but successful with impressive art. Those lenticular cards really are the coolest magic. Crones looms large in your retrospective, but it is most recent. It puts the cancellation silliness into perspective. I’m still convinced your cancellation is actually your superpower, the psychic ability to repel the mentally fragile.

    Please deeply research and consider kratom (the real leaf, as in the documentary A Leaf Of Faith (2018), not the falsely-labelled truckstop mystery stimulants the FDA considers), as the community has found many benefits for Crone’s especially. Carrots will be great in that juicer, non-synthetic vitamin A for healing. Fermented foods are healthful, but check lists of food to avoid at times, and beets are wonderful but they’re on the list. Also, I’ll not make any claims which would give me your superpower, but please reconsider any vaccine boosters, with so much immune system involvement lately, and autoimmunity, and medications incompatible with them. Insurance companies win when you give up and go away and keep paying them, so keep pushing them hard daily. Skiryzy can put it into full remission. Unsolicited medical advice over, but let us know if you’re feeling better a month after.

    At least the Christmas music is over?

  3. I’m not a doctor so I have no prescription for you. But despite some disagreements, I enjoy your work and I hope you continue on. I’ll remain a part of your audience.

    be well,
    bob roman

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