Marilyn’s sunset, August 4, 2008
I’m wrapping things up here at Jentel now, using up the last of the ‘good’ pulp by making sheets for the final, final copies of (S)Edition, which will be finished in Chicago, as soon as I can get the cover pulp re-beaten and reworked. I made 22 here. There was significant progress on the new piece, prior to August 5th, but for now, I am leaving it alone; I haven’t been able to give it the focus it needs.
It’s been a rough few days. This is the second time someone very important to me has died while I was on a residency. Masumi’s death, two years ago, was sudden, unexpected, horrible. In July, I knew as I drove away from Chicago that I would never see Marilyn again, at least in this life, but I had gotten to visit her, to say goodbye. So, I didn’t anticipate the depth of my grief, having gone through a great deal of it before I left. On Friday, the day of her memorial, I made a private ritual for her here, as I had done for Masumi, but it didn’t seem to comfort me as much as it did then. Marilyn was all about bringing people together, and I really, really needed to be with “us”, with the huge community she formed. Then, Audrey sent me the utterly perfect, poignant eulogy she had written and read at the memorial, and that began to help.
I want to write about Marilyn, but I haven’t been able to. My experience with her is so very closely tied to the place she built and allowed me to help build, in my own way. When I try to write about her, I fall into the vast gulf between “then” and “now”. When I can teach myself to write simply about the incredible “then” that changed my life, that I am forever grateful to have experienced, I will make my own memorial. I need to do it, and Marilyn deserves every reminiscence that each one of the multitudes of people she affected cares to share.
But for now, I will make paper, and go for my sunset walk, watch the huge herds of deer that appear in the early evening, and remember.
The beautiful solitary doe I encountered the morning of August 5th, walking slowly away.