Where Zines Happen: Marcos Soriano

At SFZF 2011, I picked up issues #1 and 2 of Marcos Soriano’s Map of Fog; it immediately made my “faves of the fest” list. Here was a zinester writing about the San Francisco I experienced every day, in all of its entertaining and unapologetic ways. The zine reminded me that this city still had nooks and crannies to explore, every neighborhood held secrets.

Wanting to know more about Map of Fog, I got in touch with Marcos and asked him to discuss his creative process, as well as the space he works in. Fascinated by artists’ spaces, I couldn’t help but wonder how Marco’s studio affects the way he works and writes. Graciously, he showed me both the space where he writes, as well how he approaches a new issue of Map of Fog.

For the type of work that you create, what sorts of things inspire you, visually speaking? Do you have a favorite genre or artistic time period?

Map of Fog is a zine about San Francisco. Photos of the city are a crucial part of the zine; my girlfriend Tara Donohoe is the photographer. I think she’s got a pretty classic approach to composition—she often frames shots with a strong sense of line and movement—and I’m guessing that her eye is influenced by the art history she studied in school.

Which do you prefer in your workspace: peace and quiet, or lots of excitement? Does this affect your workflow?

I’m easily distracted, so I prefer a workspace with peace and quiet.  If I’m trying to work in an environment that has a lot of peripheral action, it takes me forever to get anything done.  I end up losing my train of thought and getting drawn into whatever’s going on around me, so I seek out workplaces that offer minimal distraction.  If someone’s having a conversation nearby, I can’t stop myself from eavesdropping!

What do you like about your workspace? Dislike? What would your "ideal space" look like?

A certain amount of the work for every issue of Map of Fog has been carried out at the writing desk in my apartment. When I’m alone in the apartment, it’s a nice, quiet place to work, relatively free of distractions.  The desk is up against a window to the backyard of the building I live in; there are birds that fly into the yard to dig for worms or seeds, and they offer a bit of relief from the work without being so interesting as to distract me entirely.  I can watch them for a few minutes while I turn a sentence over in my mind, and then get back to writing.

If I have a complaint about my workspace, it’s that it can be a bit too quiet at times, to the point of feeling isolated.  I find myself wondering what’s going on in the world outside.  I start to worry that interesting things are happening out there, and I’m missing out.

An ‘ideal space’ for me would offer a sense of camaraderie without distraction.  The library fits that description, and I do a good amount of writing there too.  But you’re not supposed to drink beer at the library, and you can’t leave your computer behind while you go to use the bathroom, either, so the library has its drawbacks too.

Marcos Soriano is the author of the critically acclaimed zine Map of Fog, which explores the city of San Francisco through a series of first-person accounts. He is a fiction writer and poet whose work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Quick Fiction, Fogged Clarity, Word Riot. In March of 2012 his third issue of Map of Fog was chosen as a “Top 10 Zine” by Maximum Rock’ n Roll.  Descriptions of his work can be found at