Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Is it possible

that I'm really courting identity theft through my website? Have times changed so much that my obsession with telling my version of my story is no longer a good idea?

I used to think about how much my grandparents had seen of change and the about how my father had rejoiced over Darwin and Freud, driven a Model-T, gotten a PhD, bought a small black-and-white TV a bit after they came out, got his Ham Radio license when he was in his seventies and built a radio shack in what had once been the TV room in their house in Nova Scotia. He would use morse code to communicate with other radio operators in god knows where.

I recall the heavy black telephone, the operator who asked what number I, a child, wanted and I always wanted Cinnie Baldwin's number since she was my best friend and lived up the street. I doubt my mother spent much time talking on the phone, and imagine that my father rarely used it when he was home from work, but I don't know. I did watch the TV that he bought not that long before she died, watched Gorgeous George jump from the ropes onto his opponent while my grandfather and I sat on the bedraggled couch, a great spectacle of wrestling on that tiny TV. I had a record player, an early super-8 camera, many, many film cameras which I still have, including my beloved Leica. I don't have many CDs of music, but had videos, now DVD's. I own two computers, having long ago moved from the PC, three printers, (one of which I use for DVD labels) one film scanner which probably doesn't work since it's must be incompatible with my new computer since that's the nature of progress and change. I reluctantly bought digital cameras, two point-and-shoots and one slightly better one which I don't like at all.

My work, until I started to do clay pieces, depended on the documentary approach. And on my website, I explain my work, the origins of it. And I probably give too many details. I'll have to ask the wonderful guy who designed the site.

But my m.o. is saying whatever I want to say, not that it's the truth since nothing is really the truth, all point of view and much distortion, conscious or otherwise, no not otherwise, because I do try to convey something of what I've been thinking about, as clearly as I'm capable of doing. (Though I've lost faith in my abilities -- it's winter, there's snow, I'm not teaching any more, all reasons to lose faith.)

And right now I'm working on the very explicit story of a man who was gay bashed in the 80's. He has many, many stories, very vivid, very revealing, startling perhaps. And I've asked him to give them to me so I can put them in a form that can be seen. Video.

What harm am I inadvertently doing him?


  1. It's so hard Melissa. I don't think any of us can ever get it right, and what happens to your work once it's out there is anyone's guess. It might find a good reception, it might get plagiarized or worst of all it might remain unread, unappreciated, unrecognized. You have to hold onto a bit of trust in this world others wise you'll do nothing. My suggestion is to go on doing things, blogging, writing, making art regardless and hope for the best.

  2. We find community in other people's stories. Their courage makes us stronger. In a way, all art may be guerrilla art, something we put out there, then have to release for the world will make of it whatever they wish. As you say, it is winter, perhaps not an optimum time to assess our own abilities. I would say, trust what you know, do what you do. We are not here to be silent and unseen, and that will always involve risk.

  3. Narratives change but still I believe there is such a thing as truth. Tell it ! I say. You're not posting your bank account number, etc.

    Our life with objects replacing previous objects: you give a succinct account. Gorgeous George!! Amazing that you've conjured him up.

    That's some clay crowd!

    What does your gay subject say about his privacy?


  4. thank you...
    and thank you.............................................
    I'm out of words, except thank you..