Having her guest blog this month is especially cool, as it's Ayun's birthday next week and the East Village Inky is closing in on issue #50!
|Ayun at the Chicago Zine Fair this month.|
2. Are you in a tight place? If so, what are you trying to do about it? Physically, yes. It seemed so big when we moved here from a 340 square foot apartment in the East Village. That was literally at the start of the millennium, and now every board creaks, the furniture is warped from the increasingly slanted floors, there's a crack separating the ceiling and the wall, and something that looks like blood drips down a living room wall every time it rains. Oh wait, I was supposed to be talking about the size. Because what I was describing sounds like a haunted house and you know how big those are. We have four people, a cat, and a ton of books and paper crammed into an approximately 725 square foot apartment with one closet and no outdoor space, unless you count the stoop 3 flights down, which I do since I have claimed it as my own. The two biggest problems with this tight place are that my children share a room the size of a smallish walk-in freezer, with no room for anything resembling privacy or just contemplative alone time. This was okay when they were younger - not a lot of flouncing off to the bedroom or telling someone that they couldn't come in - but I can feel how much my teenage daughter would like a room apart from her younger brother. The other problem is that their dad gets in these moods where our semi-squalid quarters can envelop him in a very dark and crabby cloud that permeates all 725 square feet. But neither of us has the stomach to look for real estate in a methodical, hopeful way, and we have different criteria as to what makes a livable neighborhood! (So I take a breath and remember that we have a very fair landlady, and a lot of great neighbors, and no roaches, and a roof over our heads and all that…)
Mentally, I feel fairly un-tight. This can be a liability at times, but it allows me to check out or at least hear about all sorts of interesting events and projects here in NYC and beyond, often helmed by people half my age. It's rare that I feel hemmed in by the world. Financially, I do feel some tightness. I seem to be genetically predisposed to live frugally but not meanly, but my talent for finding cashmere at the Salvation Army is not of much use when it comes time to pay for braces, health insurance, college…
3. What do you want to get done this year? Meet a magic fairy who will trade me a brownstone in move in condition for a lifetime subscription of the East Village Inky. Preferably in Fort Greene or Clinton Hill. Also finish a novel I've been working on for years, see it sell, publish three more issues of the East Village Inky, fatten up my subscriber list, have a wonderful summer at the camp where I work, keep the love handles off, get a grant, score some freelance work, be patient with and loving toward my husband, children, and friends, hit a few more zine tests and keep my wig on straight whenever it's threatening to come off.
4. What inspires you? Homemade parades, punk marching bands, people who modify their bikes, older women dressing in eye-catching, festive ways, well written books, people who know how to use the Internet for good, the staff and sometimes campers of Beam Camp, the knowledge that other people in other countries live with much more difficult challenges than the ones that cause self-pity in your average bohemian-inclined American, music… I'm just coming home from the Chicago Zine Fest where I met a ton of cool people who are a) nice and b) pumping out a metric heinie load of beautiful, clever, well written, well drawn, funny zines and comics.
5. What is your favorite legwear? Striped knee socks. I felt really proud when I saw that Trixie, the main hooker on Deadwood, shares my affinity.