Chez Merks: I lived inside a children’s book for 3 days

This is my pal Meryl Smith. She's an artist who someday wants to make prosthetic limbs for those in need. Artist AND humanitarian. She could also be one of those special effects people who work on sci-fi movies.

*photos above by Todd Selby // photos below by Veevers (me)

This summer I stayed at Meryl's for a few nights. One night we had a garden party (read: smoking outside in her overgrown back yard for 45 minutes). If you’ve ever been to Meryl’s house you’d know that it’s an enchanted, necromantic roost where woodland creatures, sea life and children are created by her magical wizard hands. At dusk the fireflies came out. I’ve never seen fireflies in New York and didn’t know they were in the city until this summer (I don’t hang in parks too often). I didn't even know outside of humans and dogs that lower Manhattan was conducive to supporting life outside of the roach-rat-pigeon species.* Even though we were just behind Houston, Meryl's back yard felt like the Greenwood Forest.

There are two tiny blue and yellow parakeets and a huge hamster named Boomer who live there too. Hollow sculptures of injured animals and heavy, woven bear heads face her bed. There are tiny, innocent eyes peering out from every corner. Seahorses made from peanut shells are perched above her bed, high up on the wall. They look so realistic it’s hard to distinguish them from their real counterparts hanging next to them. Two small, mummified dolls of children occupy a turn-of-the-century wooden wheelchair near the front door. They look morose and kind of creepy, but Meryl insists the wheelchair comforts them. I stared at their sullen frames every night before falling asleep. On the bathroom wall a piece of tape holds grey hairs that have fallen out of Meryl's mermaid head. She’s collecting them to make into a bracelet of 'witch hairs' for Alex.

One night I met her and Ben at East Village Radio where she was hanging out listening to The Cho Show (this was awhile ago). Afterward we all walked over to that aw-ful aw-ful bar The Annex for an aw-ful aw-ful Misshapes party. The music wasn't awful but it wasn't really our scene, so instead of dancing or talking to the perfectly nice aw-ful aw-ful people, we dance-walked up to the bar for drinks and sat back down in our booth until eventually this happened:

Todd has amazing photos of her on his site right HERE

Her art blog can be found by clicking HERE

I love you Merkles!

*controlling these pests are a huge part of our local economy