AS: Can you tell us about how you came to live in New York? ML: I came to New York to study fine arts at Pratt Institute. That was in 2005. I originally wanted to pursue painting, but I became obsessed with printmaking and the idea of publishing––making multiples and stuff. I have always been obsessed with zines, so that’s really where my interest in publishing came from.
AS: And now you do everything. ML: Making zines forces one to be the editor, the printmaker, the artist, the intern, the whipping boy––everything. Knowing how to work every part of a magazine is what makes independent publishing so special. Working on your own publication forces you to learn everything and it’s also the best because you have the most control.
True, the benefits of living alone are many: freedom to come and go as you please; the space and solitude to recharge in a plugged-in world; kingly or queenly domain over the bed.
Still, as TV has taught us, the single-occupant home can be a breeding ground for eccentricities. Think of Claire Danes’s C.I.A. employee in “Homeland,” who turns her Georgetown one-bedroom into a control bunker for an ad hoc spying operation. Or Kramer on “Seinfeld,” washing vegetables in the shower or deciding, on a whim, to ditch his furniture in favor of “levels.”
Other people say their greatest eccentricities emerge in the kitchen. Eating can be a personal, even self-conscious act, and in the absence of a roommate or partner, unconventional approaches to food emerge. Drinking from the carton is only the start.
“At the opening I was touched and surprised. People would come up to me with tears in their eyes. Students aged 20-21 came up to me weeping and saying, “thank you so much for making this work. I see it as a very important archive that has a risk of being lost. I’ve noticed that some people my age in their mid-20s who weren’t personally affected by a loss from AIDS feel as if they grew up in a time after AIDS. There is a real separation between those who have been affected by it and those who haven’t.”—Gran Fury: Read My Lips, curated by Gran Fury and Michael Cohen
“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”—
George Webbe, You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe
“You can’t go home again” has entered American speech to mean that after you have left your country town or provincial backwater city for a sophisticated metropolis, you can’t return to the narrow confines of your previous way of life, and, more generally, attempts to relive youthful memories will always fail. Susan Matt has suggested that the phrase is sometimes spoken to mean that you can’t return to your place of origin without being deemed a failure. In this regard, the phrase is used as a self-admonition or warning. You can’t go home again ambitious Americans tell themselves. They say it as a warning to stick it out, not to dare to go home and subject themselves to the prospect of being a failure in the eyes of their family and the friends of their youth.