Bona Fide's Story

photo of melissa Lanitis gregory by becky bell

photo of melissa Lanitis gregory by becky bell

On February 24, 2009, friend and artist Melissa Lanitis Gregory died; she was only 47. Kim had talked to her earlier that day, and she was going down to Reno for a blood transfusion. Melissa and Kim had spent the past few months talking about art v. commerce – Kim was writing lightweight articles and editing books she felt little connection to. She felt that the state of publishing was a mess; talented writers were being overlooked for celebrity advances. Mel was avoiding making jewelry she could sell; instead she was drawn to creating giant papier-mâché hearts. One black January night, after an inspiring visit with Truckee artist Carole Sesko, they drove home along the west shore of Lake Tahoe. It was one of those fantastical moonlit nights—granite peaks and snow aglow, the lake shimmering a thousand feet below—and it seemed impossibly beautiful. Right then and there, in Mel’s car, they made a pinkie pact that 2009 was the year they would be brave and unapologetic about their true work: creating and supporting meaningful art and literature. And then Melissa was gone. A week after she died, Kim decided to start a small press, and work in the service of art and community.