I'll Wear Any Color As Long As It's Black

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Posted in / / / by Jeralyn on March 20, 2010




I know a lot of people, myself included, are always harping on technology and modern times and how we’re losing all of these amazing forms of interaction we used to rely on . . . but I can’t help how I feel. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of mixtapes from my youth. I was reorganizing some stuff in my room and came across a shoebox full of tapes which I’ve carried around with me for a number of years. I’m not sure exactly why these specific tapes made it into this box — I can’t remember if there are others hidden away at my parents’ house that survived all the years of endless playing in my old car or if these are all that I have left. I would like to say that all of them have some level of emotional significance, but that’s not true either. Some of them I don’t know if I even really listened to in the past. But I am listening to them now. And it’s a funny thing, to put yourself in someone else’s hands, without them there to explain to you what you’re supposed to be getting through these songs. Besides Justin, I’m not in touch with any of these tape-makers anymore. Some of them were once great friends, some were brief or attempted romances, some just feel like fog on a distant sea when I try to recall any sort of connection. It reminds me very much of the song, “O Pamela,” by The Wake: “And though the feelings change, the words still sound the same.” Despite not knowing what anyone meant with these tapes or what they think of me now, or what I think of all of this, I can still garner some intense emotional response to 90 minutes of scratchy songs blended especially for me (like the Nation of Ulysses song, “Shakedown,”: “90 minutes is all the time it takes to make you mine.”) It’s a thrill, an exhilaration followed by an intense sadness and longing. For what, I’m not sure. It feels both good and bad, both strange and familiar to listen to these songs. It reminds me of myself and other people and other songs and other things. Like the essay “Heroin/e” by Cheryl Strayed, “It’s so strange to think of listening to that same song now. I would never have known.” It’s so strange to think of someone sitting there, in their bedroom, records piled all around, pressing record and stop over and over again and trying to convey something to you, wherever you may be. I can remember myself doing that a million times. A few years ago I got a MySpace message from an internet friend I had lost touch with. She wanted to thank me for the tape I sent her (which, for some completely unknown reason, I can clearly remember the cover of) which had changed and helped form her taste in music. These marks we leave on others and on our own lives and how it just passes in and out and we never realize. Perhaps that’s what I am feeling, maybe that’s why it feels good and bad at the same time. To quote Joan Didion, as I so, so often do:

Some time later there was a song in the jukeboxes on the Upper East Side that went “but where is the schoolgirl who used to be me,” and if it was late enough at night I used to wonder that. I know now that almost everyone wonders something like that, sooner or later and no matter what he or she is doing, but one of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened to anyone before.

2 Responses

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  1. sarah said, on June 12, 2010 at 3:54 AM

    maybe my tape is in there somewhere? i remember distinctly making a tape for you, with a sun rising on the cover and a picture of someone (perhaps yourself) rising from the sun. (what the hell was i thinking??…. obviously too much E in those days). well anyway, enough creepy talk. hi jeralyn. we’ve lost touch but somehow through a combination of facebook and insomnia, i came across this blog. looks like you’re doing well these days– congratulations on the store and whatever other good things you have going on. good to read you’re doing well!

  2. Jeralyn said, on June 12, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    Hey! WordPress doesn’t send replies (I don’t think) so I’m going to email you xx

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