Sunday, March 4, 2012


Yesterday I tried to post this image of the book that Press Wafer and Kat Ran Presses have recently published. But nothing worked...many nothings didn't work and it wouldn't post which is just as well because today I have an actual dream, last night's dream, instead of the type of dreams I was trying to describe that I have been beset by since the book actually materialized.

I was driving a van (modeled on the VW van my father had and used to drive, with Mari, his third wife, down from Nova Scotia to Alabama, stopping at ice cream pits along with way, to stay with Cousin Hilda, his mother's sister, for a couple of months every winter. He hated (not a word he'd use, let's say he seriously disliked) being with her since she had annually supervised Tom Thumb weddings in kindergarden classes, a event he considered a disgusting spectacle of small children pretending to get married, all those costumes, all those adults oggling at the darlings, performing a ceremony they couldn't possibly understand and that even Cousin Hilda, who married a much, much, much older man so she wouldn't have to have sex ((or children)) didn't really understand) out of a lot just as a blue sedan was pulling out. I drove ahead of it, though I wasn't in control ... and couldn't figure out what was the matter...why couldn't I see the street? why was I just guessing? why was I just lucky, and why didn't I hit that car or the cars parked along the road?

I managed to pull into a place where huge men were working on huge trucks and guarded by huge dogs. And got out of the van, finally figuring out that I was driving from the back of the bus...(oh, what a good phrase that you dreamed up, you whirling-eyed-monster-dog who is nightly punishing me because that book was published). Now the problem was easy to fix, just get in the front of the van, except I have to question whether I'm capable of anything because how could I have made such a terrible mistake, what is wrong with me? has my mind gone? and also have to protect the dogs, my beloved Bogie and my daughter's beloved dog, Happy, from a smaller dog (maybe a young Doberman) who was trying to jump into the front seat the two dogs...  

But, I closed the door before the next segment, the old-stairway-torture-segment, in the building-I-don't-  know, trying to get somewhere, up a narrow, curving puzzle of iron stairs, some of which went down, some up, impossible to tell which way to climb. And two people were coming down, a young woman and a young man, and I needed to buy my daughter school clothes and where was the store? And had I ever bought her clothes? Ever? Had I been so inadequate that I hadn't bought her school clothes?

You get the idea that going to sleep has not been a lot of fun...and that during the days I work very hard on many different projects....I was going to give up a small grant for grassroots videos here in Chelsea, but got talked out of that by someone from the committee and probably it's for the better because I have only been able to accomplish ANY work by working on many projects at once and doing too many other things (which is why retiring wasn't a good idea.)

I cannot concentrate on MY work, never have been able to...whatever MY work is...because something in me doesn't not want me to have a voice...          and it got tricked by this book being published. It thought that, because it took three years, it wouldn't happen and then it got doubly tricked because Michael Russem was the designer for Bill Corbett's project and he adopted it, added many photographs so it's more than a small chapbook with three images. Oh, dear...thank you Bill and Michael and thank you, Mim, for having written about it on your blog, since I'd been avoiding it...


  1. i relate to so much of this melissa. i have dreams, too, that can only be interpreted as my fears of having been an inadequate mother (i dreamed recently that little benjamin was scampering naked around the apt eating lemon peels...sour mother syndrome, no doubt)...and the spectre of one's own work looming like the biggest dustball/elephant in the world ....ugh. i love the story about Cousin Hilda. your father was highly principled. (as are you)

  2. I'd like to thank Michael and Bill, too, Melissa, for 'tricking' you in this way.

    You have a way of communicating things and revealing relationships we might not otherwise see. Gritty, tough, beautiful truths. It seems to me integrity is at the heart of all you. I'm thrilled to know this book has been published. xo

  3. Hilda, Alabama, Tom Thumb weddings: O the eccentric South!

    Cheers again for your book!

  4. My blog was so cranky that it wouldn't let me thank all of you....
    trying again...

  5. Hi Melissa, sorry to have been absent for so long.

    I just came now from Miriam's blog where she posted about this book of yours and having a few moments to spare, I trawled through your website, saw your wonderful photos, looked at your self portraits and then watched your wonderful daughter perform some of those amazing identities of here.

    Shades of Jonathon Caouette's 'Tarnation'. What a talented couple you are and what a pleasure to view your work

  6. Just thought I would look for you this morning you are. I am happy to read about aging n your Blog as I just hit 46 this June and , well, things change, perspectives shift. I am also eager to go browse thru your photos and videos. I have a blog you can take a peek at sometime or my Facebook Photography page. Its filling up with more paid portrait work but hoping to get my own projects on there soon.

    Take Care Melissa,
    Your old student Kristen Emack