Endings are always Beginnings

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.

4 thoughts on “Endings are always Beginnings

  1. The best thing is that you are constantly working through all of this, and not just ignoring what is coming up. I’m glad that you get all that sky for a little bit longer, and the white tails! My thoughts are with you.

  2. You mentioned that you made your own private ritual. I am reminded of the ritual Smith did for Mother Dwarf & Cat with ashes by the lake. I think you and Smith are both artists in every way – you approach the entirety of life as a holy art project.


  3. Dear Melissa,
    I have just now visited your website for the first time, and like you, and so many other we know, I am missing Marilyn. Although I can still feeling the presence of her energy and generous spirit when with close friends like Pam.

    But, as serendipity would have it, I am just now reading your blog and seeing that “you encountered a solitary doe in the morning of August 5th”. I find this next coincidence to be profound…”I would say you won’t believe this…but the truth you will, as much as I do!” So here goes…as I pulled away from the Evanston art center after her memorial, still with wet salty eyes (I had a very difficult time holding my tears) swollen from hours of on and off crying, I turned right onto Sheridian road. Just opposite the Art Center and past the open field on the left, I looked towards the first house, not sure why, but there standing in the middle of the front yard staring right at me was the most beautiful, peaceful doe.

    I mean come on, on Sheridain Road? I immediately said “oh Marilyn” and was overcome with the stature of this lovely creature. It’s penetrating eyes. I knew someone had to hear what I saw and know that I felt it was truly Marilyn in that yard…so I call Pam and told her my vision. NOW I KNOW MORE THAN EVER that she was so present for me in that moment, that I finally could stop my weeping. So after reading your blog knowing that you saw a solitary doe…WOW is all I can say.

    I hope you get to read this and know that she was present for you the same way she was for me…and always in such a quiet yet powerful manner.

    peace to you Melissa.
    with a wink and a smile,

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