Laurel by Tyler Mendelsohn
First printing of Tyler Mendelsohn's memoir, Laurel.
Handbound with love by IPP and friends in Baltimore, Maryland.
Limited Edition of 150.
Size 8.25 x 5.75
In lyrical prose, Mendelsohn writes about figuring out how to mourn their grandmother, getting sober, creating ghosts as a form of coping with death, understanding mental illness, their relationship to gender and the body—and, through it all, how language affects the way we view any and all of these subjects. Laurel is a memoir told through family lore, mythologies, naming, and even other memoirs. Mendelsohn understands that each person is influenced—changed—by the things they encounter, the things they consume. All of these influences have equal weight on Mendelsohn’s story as the facts of their own life.
Let the figure 8 lie down to rest and you get infinity – those two lacuna surrounded by endless connection. In Laurel, Tyler Mendelsohn fills one circle with stories of sobriety and laments for a grandmother, each echoing into the various definitions of ghosts. The other circle is filled with the curiosities of permanence and what it means to mean anything or nothing as a person evolves. Mendelsohn places that figure 8 on the reader’s head like a laurel, asking us all to honor the journey of self-discovery and the selves we become in reaching out for connection. This is a marvel of a memoir.
Steven Leyva, author of Low Parish
Mendelsohn’s collection has a compelling center of gravity that draws the reader into their wry and thoughtful recollections. They wield both vulnerability and hindsight with a rewarding tempo.
dave ring, Chair of OutWrite LGBTQ Literary Festival
When Tyler writes, "anything can be a ghost," I hear, "anything can be worthy of our grief," and I am left with hope. Laurel is a gem: clear, angular, and full of light. There are few chapters of my life that would not have been better off without this collection of essays and how it centers family, curiosity, and wisdom in its search for understanding.
Andrew Klein, author of Breezewood
Tyler Mendelsohn’s tangential, free-associative approach to memoir in Laurel is a queer delight. Like a pinball game, Laurel presents a coruscating playing field, with facts and figures both trivial and profound lighting up the zig-zagging throughline: a funny and heartfelt memoir about finding family, sobriety, and comfort as a non-binary person in an increasingly non-binary world. There’s a lot in these pages, and like a good pinball game, you’re going to want to start it all over again as soon as you finish.
Rahne Alexander, artist/writer