What if destiny leads you to your soul mate, but the laws of time conspire to keep you apart?If her parents had never divorced, Laura wouldn’t have to live in the shadow of Bruce, her mom’s unpredictable boyfriend. Her mom wouldn’t say things like "Be groovy," and Laura wouldn’t panic every weekend on the way to Dad’s Manhattan apartment. But when Laura spots a boy on a facing platform, lifting a camera to his face, looking right at her, Laura feels anything but afraid, and she can’t forget him. Jonas, meanwhile, thinks nonstop about the pretty hippie girl he glimpsed on the platform -- trying to comprehend how she vanished, but mostly wondering whether he will see her again in a city of millions -- and whether if he searches, he would have any chance of finding her. In a lyrical meditation on love, Nora Raleigh Baskin explores the soul’s ability to connect, and heal, outside the bounds of time and reason.
I am so excited to have Nora Raleigh Baskin as a guest on my blog today. I absolutely adored her novel Subway Love and am so honored to have her stop by! There were so many things that she could have posted about, but I am a sucker for cool art and the graffiti-covered subway seemed like just the thing.
The graffiti-covered subway cars that Laura rides in 1972 were the subway cars of my childhood, so it wasn’t hard at all to paint that picture for my readers in my book, Subway Love. If I close my eyes, I can still remember what they looked like and what New York felt like to me when I was Laura’s age, riding into the city to visit my grandparents. I can still see the angry, expressive, sometimes beautiful spray-painted images. I can feel the vibrations and the sounds of being under the city in the otherworld-ness of the tunnels. But when I set out to research how and why the subways in New York have changed (and boy, have they changed!) I didn’t expect to be so drawn to the world and history of underground art.
My family members are all artists - my father and grandfather both illustrators and painters - so understanding the drive to create and experimenting with various styles, colors, and mediums was easily familiar to me. However, the connection to the rebellious, fleeting, dangerous aspect of this art form was all mine. Underground and confrontational manifestations are vastly appealing to me.
I also found so many metaphors in the urgency of subway art and hip hop culture. It is about the need to tell your story when you feel unheard. The desire to be “seen” when you feel unseen and both, were very much my story as a girl who grew up often living with people neither of whom were my parents; unseen, unheard and unprotected. As an adult, becoming a writer was my way of being born, and so while I gave my semi-autobiographical backstory to both my main characters, Laura and Jonas, I also found myself learning from Max (Spike) Lowenbein, the graffiti artist who brings the two teenaged lovers together across time in 1972 and 2013.
The magic of art and the magic of love are so very similar. When you are in love it is as if the rest of the world doesn’t exist.
Time moves at a different speed, if at all.
All things are possible. And yet, at the same time, true-fated love that lasts forever is as ephemeral and temporary as art itself. It does not stands still and wait, and much like a moving subway car, it moves along a track of history, the colors blurred. I wanted to capture subway art at its historical peak, when there were many well-known subway artists and famous “writers,” as they were called, who invented new graffiti styles and battled each other for prominence.
And I wanted to capture a true love at its height, at its peak, at the moment it is consummated, both spiritually and possibly physically.
Now I am sure that you are all ready to go buy this book just to see her words come alive on the page like they did here, right?! You will fall in love with Jonas and Laura as much as I did, I guarantee! Check out Nora's other guest posts for the blog tour here:Both an art and a love that are too passionate to survive, but are too real to ever be gone completely and forever.
The Story Siren (5/18)
Book Chic Club (5/19)