love is a mixtape

   At midnight, I gave her the poems.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“Well, the last word in the first line is a trochee, and it rhymes with the end of the next line. So ‘catachresis’ rhymes with ‘fleece’.”
“No, what’s going on?”
“In a catachresis?”
“No. What are you talking about?”
“Uh… I have a big crush on you.”
Oooooh,” she said. She smiled and let the pages fall on the table. She relaxed in front of my eyes. “So how did it start?”
“Well, I think you’re really beautiful.”
She relaxed a lot more – in fact, her face changed shape a little, got a little more round as if her jaw had unclenched. I didn’t know whether that was a good sign or not, but I couldn’t shut up yet.
“I always thought so. Right away, when I saw you.”
“The amazing black dress,” she nodded. “I was wearing that when I met you. There’s, uh, a lot of me in that dress. My Fuck the Hostess dress. It’s a real ‘drop to your knees and say amen’ dress.”
“I noticed. It’s gotten a lot worse since then.”
“I know.” She lit one of my Dunhills. I had never seen her so comfortable. “I was on the phone with my friend Merit tonight, and she was like, Does Rob like you? And I said, I don’t know, he made me a tape and he didn’t call and then we danced together and then he left and called and left a message but didn’t call after that. And Merit was like, So, do you like Rob?”
I couldn’t believe she was making me do this. “So, do you?”
She smiled. “I don’t know. He’s not my type, but I really like him.”

love is a mixtape, by rob sheffield

i found this book about five years ago, just wandering around in the library. this was back when the library next door was still a place of wonder and mystery, and not, well, work. so there i was, scanning the shelves, looking for something new to read when – hm. it’s weird to think that i would have never known it existed, had my eyes just skipped this one spine. this actual, real life, life story that’s so sad and wonderful at the same time. it’s weird, having never heard of it outside of myself. all of this music, that i wouldn’t have heard in this beautiful way. my eyes always linger an extra second or two when i pass it by; stacking books, lost in work. i look at the title and the corners of my mouth turn up, just a little. life and loss, one song at a time. 

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eleanor & park

“I don’t like you, Park,” she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it.
“I…” – her voice nearly disappeared – “think I live for you.”

He closed his eyes and pressed his head back into his pillow.
“I don’t think I even breathe when we’re not together,” she whispered. “Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it’s been like sixty hours since I’ve taken a breath. That’s probably why I’m so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?”
He was quiet. He wanted everything she’d just said to be the last thing he heard. He wanted to fall asleep with ‘I want you’ in his ears. 

 

Nothing was dirty. With Park.
Nothing could be shameful.
Because Park was the sun, and that was the only way Eleanor could think to explain it. 

 

 

“Damn, damn, damn,” she said. “I never said why I like you, and now I have to go.”
“That’s okay,” he said.
“It’s because you’re kind,” she said. “And because you get all my jokes…”
“Okay.” He laughed.
“And you’re smarter than I am.”
“I am not.”
“And you look like a protagonist.” She was talking as fast as she could think. “You look like the person who wins in the end. You’re so pretty, and so good. You have magic eyes,” she whispered. “And you make me feel like a cannibal.”
“You’re crazy.”
“I have to go.” She leaned over so the receiver was close to the base.
“Eleanor – wait,” Park said. She could hear her dad in the kitchen and her heartbeat everywhere.
“Eleanor – wait – I love you.” 

 

He wound the scarf around his fingers until her hand was hanging in the space between them.

Then he slid the silk and his fingers into her open palm.

And Eleanor disintegrated. 

franny and zooey.

Lane himself lit a cigarette as the train pulled in. Then, like so many people, who, perhaps, ought to be issued only a very probational pass to meet trains, he tried to empty his face of all expression that might quite simply, perhaps even beautifully, reveal how he felt about the arriving person.

Franny was among the first of the girls to get off the train, from a car at the far, northern end of the platform. Lane spotted her immediately, and despite whatever it was he was trying to do with his face, his arm that shot up into the air was the whole truth.

“Oh, it’s lovely to see you!” Franny said as the cab moved off. “I’ve missed you.” The words were no sooner out than she realized that she didn’t mean them at all. Again with guilt, she took Lane’s hand and tightly, warmly laced fingers with him.

She found herself looking at Lane as if he were a stranger, or a poster advertising a brand of linoleum, across the aisle of a subway car. Again she felt the trickle of disloyalty and guilt, which seemed to be the order of the day, and reacted to it by reaching over to cover Lane’s hand with her own. She withdrew her hand almost immediately and used it to pick her cigarette out of the ashtray.

“I’ve just felt so destructive all week. It’s awful, I’m horrible.”
“Your letter didn’t sound so goddamn destructive.”

Franny nodded solemnly. She was looking at a little warm blotch of sunshine, about the size of a poker chip, on the tablecloth. “I had to strain to write it,” she said.

Lane started to say something to that, but the waiter was suddenly there to take away the empty Martini glasses. “You want another one?” Lane asked Franny.

She smiled at Lane – in a sense, genuinely – and at that moment a smile in return might at least have mitigated to some small extent certain events that were to follow, but Lane was busy affecting a brand of detachment of his own, and chose not to smile back.

But everything. He’d written some perfectly harmless test-tubey paper on Flaubert that he was so proud of and wanted me to read, and it just sounded to me so strictly English Department and patronizing and campusy that all I did was-” She broke off. She shook her head again, and Zooey, still half-pivoted in her direction, narrowed his eyes at her. She was looking even paler, more post-operative, as it were, than she had on waking. “It’s a wonder he didn’t shoot me,” she said. “I’d have absolutely congratulated him if he had.”

 

i fell into franny and zooey a couple of days ago, and fell out of it on the train ride to school this morning. i love it. it’s melancholia and warmth and naiveté and bitterness all at the same time. i love the mirroring of franny’s short story and zooey’s novella, maybe even more so because they weren’t meant to be bound together to begin with. i love the way the stories compliment, contrast, combat and coexist with each other. how they continue each other. and i love the subtle nuances. the hinting at a million stories that compel you enough to think about them long after they’ve flashed by. like lane. well, like franny and lane. frannyandlane. franny. lane. the way that the complexities of their relationship is conveyed through such simple means bewitched me. salinger, man.

Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?

Will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul…

I saw the film adaption of The Great Gatsby the other day (two days ago to be exact). It was lovely, though a little overstated. The overuse of the green light felt a little too “Gatsby for dummies”, and it’s a pity because it’s one of the most iconic metaphors in the history of literature. It was a little silly at times, but I liked that because it captured the silliness of the book – part of it’s charm. I remember reading the book and loving it, but then catching myself and thinking: “Jesus, they’re stupid.” But I like that. The delusion, the fickleness, the innocence… and yeah, the sheer stupidity too. But yeah, back to the movie. I thought the casting was perfect, great performances too (points that stood out: Carey Mulligan’s “Daisy in despair”, DiCaprio’s “Gatsby’s smile of eternal reassurance” and “Gatsby’s loss of temper”, the man that played Buchanan’s whole performance etc.) . I really felt like the story had come to life, and I think I needed to see it acted out on screen to have it all click for me. Everything looked gorgeous too, of course. And the soundtrack worked… especially Young & Beautiful, which is just a invaluable gem of a song in general.

Getting a little teary eyed when I think of the words “Tune of the Day”, but since this is supposed to be a new start, let’s call them “If this day had a soundtrack, it would be this…”

If this day had a soundtrack, it would be this… no. 1

Dear lord, when I get to heaven
Please let me bring my man
When he comes tell me that you’ll let him in
Father tell me if you can
All that grace, all that body
All that face makes me wanna party
He’s my sun, he makes me shine like diamonds

And will you still love me
When I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will
Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?
Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?
Will you still love me when I’m not young and beautiful?

————————————

(But wasn’t Luhrmann’s Nick a bit too naive? I always felt like “Nicky” had been more of a shrewd spectator appreciating the genuineness of Gatsby’s deceit, but in the movie, I got the impression of a blue-eyed boy, moon-eyed over this savvy man (omg Gatsby as a manic pixie dreamgirl) and reacting as he’d just found out santa isn’t real when he realizes the callousness of the East Egg inhabitants (and rich people in general). I didn’t like movie-Nick less than book-Nick, not at all, but he just seemed different. It was an interesting change of perspective though, definitely. And I couldn’t stop thinking about the Gatsby being black/jewish possibilities anyways. And also the theory of Nick being gay and in love with Gatsby. So interesting.

And also, the scene where Gatsby and Nick are driving over the bridge and Nick looks across the highway to see a bunch of black people partying in a car while being driven by a white chauffeur. I mean, I think I get it, but what does it mean?)