A Dark Day

A Strange and Sad Coincidence

I received two horrible pieces of news on July 12, 2002. The first was an e-mail from David Alvey that informed me of the suicide of Julie Jeffries' son, Jeff Paquette. Julie (aka Ex Posto Facto) hasn't been very active in mail art recently, but she created the brilliant and often-imitated Fluxus Bucks project in the early 1990s. Though I never knew Jeff, I feel a deep sense of sorrow for Julie and all her family has gone through in the past few months. The death of a child is one of the worst things that can happen to someone, and when that death is a suicide, I can only imagine the deep regrets and second guessing that must go through the mind of the parent.

Still reeling from the news of Jeff's death, I received another piece of shocking news when I opened a letter which appeared to be from Ivan Preissler. The letter, however, was from Ivan's Mother, Eva, who informed me that her son had died on April 1, 2002.

Ivan's death came as a complete surprise. He was one of my oldest contacts, and one who never ceased to amaze me with his brilliant work. His pieces, which on the surface seemed simplistic, often had deeper meanings and elaborate linguistic puns. When Mary and I travelled to Prague in 2000, we met Ivan in person. He was an odd character--strangely dressed and larger than life. His English skills were unusual also--He knew a vast number of difficult words, yet he seemed to lack the basic grammar to form coherent sentences. As we walked around Prague with him, he would speak of complex historical and philosophical concepts, which we tried to follow but found ourselves lost much of the time. Clearly the ideas he was discussing were beyond his language skills, but we still had a sense of his brilliance. The last piece of mail art he sent me, in January 2002, was this drawing of a tree stump, which indicates to me that Ivan knew full well he didn't have long to live. I only wish I would have known...his letter didn't say anything about it. Of course, that's what we always say...if I had only known.

Vortice Argentina's memorial page for Ivan.

Jeff Paquette
April 28, 1982 - July 9, 2002

Ivan Preissler
April 28, 1953 - April 1, 2002
© 2002, Ken B. Miller & Contributors as Listed. | Reproduced from Shouting at the Postman #48, September, 2002 | 5843

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