Friday, June 27, 2014

Jane Claire Hervey: Crushing Creepy-Crawlies

There is a cockroach in the apartment.

It’s the East Village in the summer, all sun-soaked sidewalks and rose-tinted skies. Sunglassed, shoes clicking, people stroll the streets with the glamorous nonchalance that can only exist in soft-focused New York.

And there is a cockroach in the apartment. A glassy-backed, furry-bristled cockroach.

The girls go running. But Jane Claire Hervey faces it down, unflinching.

She’s the unequivocal exterminator, the de facto Grim Reaper of rancid roaches. People joke that when we’ve successfully polluted our world to the peak of inhabitation, all that will remain are landfills and cockroaches. Maybe it’s because of their enduring black-armored shells. Maybe it’s just because we’re all too squeamish to go after them.

Hervey is not afraid of cockroaches.
*  *  *
She makes friends with strangers on the street. Day and night, she’ll find someone new to connect with. Laughing, she says that’s contingent on how much she’s been sleeping and how much she’s been drinking. She doesn’t sleep much.

She breezily refers to the people she meets as her friends, and they are. At a party the other week, Hervey met someone who works in the same building as she does, where she spends the days working at Reader’s Digest.

They’ll be getting lunch tomorrow.

She walks into random open mic nights to sing. Before she decided to study journalism, Hervey dreamed of being a songwriter, particularly drawn to the bar atmosphere. New to the city, she walked into a bar and up to a microphone, guitar in tow, to lay her lyrics on the line.

“That’s not really a viable career,” she says. “But it’s always been my love.”

She boldly tells people that they need her help. Just a few weeks ago, she picked up a subculture magazine and found it riddled with errors. Instead of tossing it, she took up the chance to pitch in.

“I emailed the editor saying, ‘Hey, your issue is full of mistakes. Can I come into the office and talk to you about it?” she said. Now she’s coaxed it into a new internship for Friday afternoons and Saturdays.

She’s got a litany of aspirations that stretch from here back to her native Texas. After the summer ends, she plans to head back to the University of Texas at Austin for just one more semester, graduate early, freelance forward and begin her own magazine on music festival culture. She’s the first to admit it’s a risk, but she’s setting her sights out and up.

And with a flick of her plucky peroxide-streaked bob, a twist of her Jeffrey Campbell lookalike booties, she’ll crush down any obstacles along the way. Especially when they’re glassy-backed and furry-bristled.

—Written by Gabriela Riccardi, Syracuse University, Family Circle
—Edited by Varun Nayar, Grinnell College, Fast Company



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