Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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04/30/2004: "Good day bad day"

When the weather is perfect in Juneau, there is no place in the world that can match it. The very air seems to vibrate with all that is clean and beautiful and sweet smelling. Today is one of those days. And tonight is the first sail of the season for the Auke-Ward Regatta, a "race" that we tried to get going last season where we had an undefeated (uncontested) record. I'm part of the crew of the High Noon, a beautiful, 41' racing yacht out of Auke Bay Alaska (my position is the rear port-side runner).

We go out every Friday after work from 6-9 or so. After we get back into the dock we sit on the boat eating fried chicken and drinking beers. Last summer it was the perfect way to start the weekend. Some nights we have 13 or more people out on the High Noon! Tonight is going to be a work party, scrubbing sea gull and eagle pooh from the decks, and getting out all the sails etc. Jeff is going to do some diving to check zincs and give her a scrub. As skipper Mike would say "Clean bottoms are fast bottoms" and after the work is done, we'll still have time to go for a sail!

The co/skippers of the High Noon are incredibly amazing people, he's a pilot working with the FAA on some high-tech navigational software that helps bush pilots see the horizon line in zero visibility weather, and she is the Dean of both the Department of Business and of Career Education. Both are brilliant, fun, and down to earth people, not at all like I imagined yacht owners to be.

So, on one hand, all day long the prospect of getting out of work and into this amazing weather for a night of sailing has been making me as high as the prescription pain pills I'm taking for my back. On the other hand, I watched Frontline this morning on "the Jesus Factor" about how Bush's Christian beliefs have affected his presidency, which depressed and frightened me a great deal. Also, I learned more about the torture and degradation of the Iraqi prisoners at the hands of the US soldiers and it made me feel sick inside. I have a TIVO and more and more I am deleting programs like Friends and Will and Grace from my "season pass" list, and adding programs like Frontline and Hardball. I wonder how long I will be able to allow myself to do art work that I find aesthetically pleasing before I break down and start doing work that is more thought provoking and disturbing...which is closer to how I feel these day, provoked and disturbed. I'm never sure if doing work that is political in nature is the responsibility of the artist or not. I guess I'll have to follow my own conscience.