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Hello! This blog has moved!

August 1, 2010

Please update all your bookmarks and subscriptions to blog.laurayan.com. Can’t wait to see you there!

Where the Summer Goes

July 21, 2010

photo by fantaisiee

I own you an apology. Four months of silence (sans my sporadic postings on Tumblr), and suddenly it’s hi! I’m back! I could make the usual excuses: but life got in the way, but the end of the semester became shockingly busy, but my emotions ran on overload, but I focused solely on fiction, all of which would be true…none of which justify. So, I turn to a fast forwarded recap, and promises of a future rich in updates and regularity.

Since March: I finished Sophomore/Junior year of college, gathered yet more pages of convoluted literary criticism to store in a musty folder to slowly disintegrate, thread through periods of bliss and contentment with the small daily rituals of my life, and then sudden plunges of self loathing, fear and despair, clutching to sheets at 3am with tear stained cheeks pressed against sympathetic pillows. I read books, fewer than I’d have liked, and sometimes not the right ones, sometimes not finishing them. I made decisions to quit poisonous affairs and began new ones. Oh, and, I fell in love.

Which is ridiculous, unexpected, and hard (or rather impossibly easy but hard to do well) to write about. It crept up, between weekends spent in bed, conversations without end, drunken confessions at mediocre parties. It took a strange conversation from a stranger from Omegle for me to realize it (he, somehow, recognized my feelings better than I). And it took: nerve wrecking obsessive thought, countless melodramatic reimaginations of the scene of confession (always with a bleak and tragic end), thousands of words written in various journals in panicked blue or red ink, and the incredible boost to clear minded and suddenly optimistic thinking that somehow only plane rides inspire, to finally reveal it. It was terrifying, and, I learned, well worth the pain.

It was the start of summer, then, which was a desperate roller coaster of ups and downs, wavering between constant regret and moments of sudden, convinced ambition. I’m still not sure it’s reached any sort of stability–any moment, tomorrow, this afternoon, a little line from an email, an unexpected phone call could still change absolutely everything. Unlikely, of course, but the structure of my life feels like a frail thin rope, spinning according to the whim of the wind and apt to snap at any moment. This is hardly the lazy days and careless nights of last summer (I suppose nothing can quite replicate that feeling of the first summer in New York), and instead wrought with tensions and deadlines and responsibility, all topped with the constantly looming deadline of August 31: my flight to London for the next three months.

I’m torn between wanting to slow down time, erase every bad decision and instead fully soak in the atmosphere, the luxury of this, before plunging into that other world, and wanting to leave now, today, all the small frustrations and irritations tossed away with the heat and humidity of the city, to gloomy gray skies and old bookshop lined streets, Paris a weekend train ride away. I suppose it hardly matters what I feel–it’s a settled affair, and for now, so is New York.

Anyway! What you can look forward to on the blog, from now on: very likely, a site redesign, or at least clean up, songs & photos & stories & such three times a week (including a much delayed, extensive expose on NYU you may or may not have been awaiting), and my full attention on anything you’d like. Want to ask for advice? Email me: tweexcore at gmail.com, and let me know if you want the question to remain anonymous (or ask on tumblr). I always adore your tips, suggestions, and comments, especially when I’m reshaping the site toward its absolutely best! As always, comment, subscribe, and recommend at will. I am nothing without you, my wonderful, wonderful readers!

xoxo

Music Monday: Home Is Where I’m Alone with You

July 19, 2010

Edward Shape and the Magnetic ZerosHome

What do I know about Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, or this song? Not much, save that once a friend had it stuck in his head, and sitting across the table on a hot summer’s day, in the safety of the shade but still the oven of the warm air, he performed a surprisingly accurate rendition of it, in the same cracked, country twang as the real singer of the band, drumming the beat with his fingers on the table. Later I heard it played at yoga, somewhere between the strained hold of a warrior pose and the smooth transition into downward dog, and felt this clap of recognition, of pure happiness at the opening whistled melody, and these comforting voices, now no longer a strange private performance but a full song. I still could not recall the name of the band, except that reminded me vaguely of the Magnetic Fields and was overly long.

Later I heard a friend play it while lounging in his cozy Harlem apartment, and when he sang along with the same chorus, the swell of the celebratory cheer, and then trickling came the charming dialogue of the bridge, the sweet strange little narratives accompanied by foot tapping guitars and whistles, I knew that the deed had been done: I had fallen slave to the melody, the infectious good nature of the song, and I would not relent unless I tracked it down and made it my own. And once I had–I fell more and more under its spell. A love song, a two character performance, girl-boy harmonies (but this isn’t the sentiment etched sweetness of Stars or the melt in your ears strawberries & marshmallows of twee bands), country accents and playful strings, and oh, those whistles! How simple, barefoot on a summer night–yes, it’s exactly that, running through expansive & scratchy grass fields, biting into over ripe apples, laughing with linked arms, and falling deeply, deeply in love with you. Just like that.

(PS: yes, I’m absolutely reviving this blog. And back to regularly scheduled postings soon! And expect songs every Monday as well as everything else!)

All This Sunshine’s Making Me Dizzy

March 21, 2010

It’s spring. With each day of surprising sunshine New York peels off a layer of coats and reveals a teasing trailer of the future. Spring means people in parks and rising hemlines, picnic blankets and whisper of summer. It’s not yet the non-stop gray showers of spring (but soon, I’m sure), this is merely a taste of delight, a sprinkle of pastels and cottons and wonders.

I spent all afternoon doing the reading I missed during break in Washington Square (still my favorite park), and little things I noticed mostly reminded me of other little things, the countless other times I’ve done the same exact thing. Like: a man approached someone next to me for a cigarette, and the vintage film camera dangling around his neck suddenly reminded me of Eddie the black photographer. Eddie asked for my picture in the park way back when. We went off on an impromptu photoshoot and he invited me to a movie I agreed to, I had no other plans for the afternoon. He showed me the notes for an inspirational self help book he was writing. Eddie worked two jobs, one as the security guard for a medical center nearby and one as a cashier at Duane Reade. He attended art openings and dance performances for people to shoot on his boxy old film camera. He kissed me on the cheek and I hadn’t realized that  he might have thought our afternoon a date. He called, every now and then after that, but I had excuses, I was always busy.

One night in the summer months after I met him, almost forgetting who he was, heading home at Union Square at three or four AM after an exhausting (and dramatic) night, I heard someone call my name. I turned around on reflex and there was Eddie. We talked, but not for long. I went home. I forgot about Eddie, until now.

I wondered how many similar such instances I’d forgotten, things that seemed impossible and sparkling gems when they happened and now slipped away in the cracks of my memory like the cracks in the sidewalks. People and conversations and interactions. Once I met two punk traveller kids who hopped freight trains at Union Square and took them to Times Square. The red steps were closed but we had fun anyway and they spent the night at my apartment. My roommate hadn’t been happy but they had some great stories. When we walked past another sleeping traveler punk kid on the street they found change to spare though they still needed bus fare.

Once I walked past a homeless man with the cardboard sign in his mouth and one eye a bloody pulp, seemingly hanging out of his eye socket. It was so terrifying and grotesque I couldn’t glance back to make sure if I’d imagined it. I remembered how much I hated it, seeing violence, decay, this living nightmare on the street just as easily as a storefront or a happy puppy.

That’s New York. I was reading a book about New York, an old New York, but still, a New York of connections and patchworks and unlikely reminders and occurrences.  Sometimes I forget–a lot, actually. But some days it’s impossible to ignore, it’s in the way the world awaits with a search at my fingertips, the way a smile or an overheard snippet of conversation lifts up my mood. It’s the glimpses into unfamiliar apartments and imagining the stories I haven’t heard. A love letter to New York, this? No, not just. A love letter to, oh, I’ll allow it, the unfeigned adoration of this very life I lead, the frequency of the wonderful and the novelties in the routine that is not quite a routine, that is a delight in its familiarity and its flexibility.

I haven’t absolutely figured out my summer plans yet, but spending it in New York, again, still sounds like an option I’d embrace. I’d miss this. I’d miss even simply sitting on the cold glossy floor of my apartment and laughing about something silly, walking to try brunch with massive portions, miss the history I’d evoke with every trip around the village or 14th street. Oh and, how could I forget, the people. The pink bubble of a blister against the hem of flats that didn’t cause them, the ripped pattern of the back of black tights, sunglasses and colorful hair, wrinkles that illustrate a life worth telling, the voices and accents and limps and even if the rest of the world remains impassive, immune, these marvels will go on.

*A Sort of Excuse

February 4, 2010

It’s not that I have forgotten, it’s just that I’ve been doing most of my writing here in the forms of bits and pieces of fiction and poetry lately. It’s fun and it sounds pretty. But expect a proper update soon. I promise.

On Poetry

January 2, 2010

What I mean is this.

It was five am at the latest, the first day of the new year. Minutes earlier, I’d been deliriously tired with my eyelids glued down and the need for sleep draping over my body like the tattered old blanket that rested there. Curled next to a girl from the party on the small couch, all of us drained from the endless night, when I turned and saw the bright white glow of the day peeking from behind a half closed curtain. Suddenly I was awake.

I didn’t want to spend any more time in the uncomfortable dark room where my friends were already drifting off to sleep. I fumbled by that little streak of light to find my pen and notebook from the desk and made my way outside. The living room was nearly deserted, a stark contrast from the flashing colored lights and loud music that spilled from it not so long before. There was someone curled up half asleep on a loveseat, and the faint sounds of footsteps and door creaks from upstairs and elsewhere in the house.

I walked to the dining table and found a cigarette and a lighter among the small pieces peppered across the table. The painted glow of the sunrise and new day beckoned from the patio. I slid open the door to the yard and slipped outside, taking in a deep breath of the morning air. It was cold, a sharp chill that my thin cardigan hardly protected from (I didn’t want to go searching for my warmer jacket in the mess of the rooms and couches and sleeping friends inside). I was alone, blissfully and wonderfully alone with the kiss of the sun and its melting colors dipping across the open sky, with the last few stars still sparkling and the moon still a visible pastel slice. It was silent except for the chirping of the birds, a light symphony I could appreciate.

I found a seat on a chair that overlooked the yard and opened my little notebook to write. It was integral that I had it, then, not that it ever left my side, the thin blue tipped ink and the fresh press of the paper. I smoked the lone cigarette (the playful wind kept blowing it in my face) and watched the lights of the sky and clutched my sweater ever so closer, and wrote. Read more…

2009: A (Slightly) Sentimental Year in Retrospective

December 30, 2009


Maybe 2009 was the year for adult accomplishments, the ones like getting and working at my first two internships, both of which, despite their sometimes trying hours of sitting and refreshing a screen, desperately hoping for a distraction, the headaches and burning eyes at repetative tasks, taught me and motivated me so much more for the future that I envision. I remember when having an internship seemed like the most romantic thing in the world, and somewhat impossible to achieve. Scouring Ed2010 or Craigslist and emailing countless resumes and cover letters felt like college applications all over again (and later, apartment hunting would feel like the same thing), but I must have forgotten that this is my reality and it fits exactly the way it should.

Or, apartments-the wretched drama that accompanied each one, for the excitement and discovery of a new (albeit temporary) home, for the lifestyles and possibilities each glimpse at a different one offered, for finding one on my own and the little joys that comes with sort of living alone–and all the pains that stranger roommates accompanies. For the uncertainty and the potential for disaster.

With the apartment I learned that I am capable of everything I could have ever imagined on my own. More than ever, I am in love with and in charge of my independence and, especially in New York, it’s invaluable knowledge. But with independence came an edging awareness of solitude, and loneliness. Nights where I felt entrapped and completely distanced from the rest of the world, my classmates, my friends. Irrational thinking, of course, but to tell myself that at 2am on a Friday night after a week spending evenings at home, alone, was a hard mistake to correct. Read more…

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