Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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03/27/2006: "Better off Undead"

I woke up to the news this morning of the murders that took place in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle after a "Zombie Rave". It may sound strange since I live in Alaska, but this hits close to home for me...everyone here flies through Seattle on their way to anywhere else, it's where everyone goes to go shopping and the Seattle Seahawks, and Mariners are Alaskan's adopted teams. I've visited there too many times to count; the whole thing is so sad and pointless.

Anyway, Jackie...I'm thinking of you and the rest of Seattle and Washington State.

Ironically, today was my morning to start thinking more positively. I'm looking into something called Positive Psychology, it teaches people how to be happier. I was all set to try and not let things get me down so much but maybe today wasn't the best day to start. Maybe there never will be. My cat Lemoni is sick again, I didn't get anywhere near 10 paintings done over the weekend...I found it impossible to "let go" and realized that I can't just sit down to a blank canvas and start painting.

I was so upset about it last night but then I woke up to this news. I've become sort of numb to many of the large-scale horrors in the world, these smaller and closer to home still get to me. Seems there will always be horrible things everywhere. I guess what matters is how we choose to respond to them. I can't help thinking that we artists should have some higher responsibility... Suggestions anyone?

Replies: 14 Comments

on Monday, March 27th, Judy Vars said

Good Monday Elise, yes it is very sad and pointless I agree. The randomness of it all is incomprehensible. The way I feel desensitized to all the horror around me makes me question myself.

Maybe just maybe because we were blessed with creativity and a desire to communicate that creativity we are able to contribute to the world in a positive way. And even if we don't see it we are contributing. Sometimes as an artist I feel self-centered and self-absorbed. But my art and my creations do contribute in some higher way to the world. After all we are just one small human being in this vast existance.

My mission statement: My art is my dreams, my imagination, my skew on the world.
It's my attempt to communicate with you. I hope my art brings you joy.

I have been doing my blog. It's addictive isn't it? Can you give me some suggestions?
Please and tell me more about positive psychology.

on Monday, March 27th, Kasia said

I think artists are twice as sensitive as other people -they can be extermely happy and extremely sad on the other hand. I know a few poets, painters and they seem to be"skinnless" - it is easy to hurt them becasue they are too sensitive. I don't mean they are weak, or offend easily - no, no. They are just minded, I guess. But remember one thing Elise - as an artist you should be faithul to yourself. Responsible? for all the world's sins? why? Of course I understand your concern - because if artists become silent, who is going to speak?

on Monday, March 27th, Daniel said

I once had these amazing ideals for what would constitute happiness and contentment. But I eventually dropped the search for happiness a while back. Now, I just look around and wanta know "why?" Philosophy does more for me than Psychology. Does that mean I AM happier, not really... but I AM less likely to get depressed about not being happy. That was always an annoying realization that inevitably made me more depressed.

In the short Nick Nolte film "Life Lessons", a performance artist (Steve Buscemi) states that he doesn't try to be happy and he doesn't like the word content because he has no concept of the meaning. Instead he chooses to just try and be "even" each day.....

Sometimes that's the best we can hope for.

on Monday, March 27th, Elise said

Hi judy, I will post some more about positive psychology later, for now you can check out the following:


And of course I can come and check out your site and give some feedback, I did answer a question you asked in a previous post, about how to get more readers...I can't remember what day that way on but if you look back a couple days you'll probably find it.

And Kasia, I like (though it is disturbing) the visual of being "skinless" it's very accurate to how I've felt my entire life. Like a huge empathetic sponge. At some point we have to worry about self-preservation though.

And I know that we're not responsible in the sense of, responsible that bad things happen, you said, if we don't use our voices collectively...? I don't even know how or what I would say except...PLEASE!

And Daniel, I used to read a lot of philosophy...I guess it depends on the philosopher but it all made me exceedingly more depressed...

And I don't shoot to be "even"... I mean, I think being "even" is the worst thing to aim for. Seriously, I would rather have intense pain and intense happiness, than to just feel the same all the time.

At least that's how I'm feeling today, I suppose there are times I would have killed to just feel a little even.

on Monday, March 27th, Jackie said

E: Yeah - the "massacre on Capitol Hill" this weekend is just another bizarre example of the mayhem wrought by guns in the hands of madmen. It is amazing to see the support the Raver Community is extending to themselves and the greater Seattle community.
Kasia - I think the term we'd used is 'thin-skinned', rather than 'skinless'. Ugh - conjurs up images of skinless chicken, or skinned animals in my mind :cry:
I am 'thin-skinned' too Elise - but that's why I try not to get too wrapped up in the daily horrors of news reports. Not that I'm ignorant of the goings-on in the world. I find that I'm more intensely affected by people closer to me - like my co-workers. If I'm in a group where someone is sending out bad energy, I can feel it, and sometimes it's exhausting to me to interact with those people. Funny - I'm a union shop steward, so I have to listen to all kinds of stories!
Let's just send some healing energy to those who lost loved ones in the massacre. I think that's the most we can do. :(

on Monday, March 27th, Elise said

Jackie, I think Kasia may have meant thin-skinned, but I like skinless better...eeeww...but sorta true eh?

I will be sending as much healing energy to Seattle as possible...I have to save a bit for Lemoni though, poor sick kitty.
Oh, and I agree about negative energy, I'm very susceptible to it as well. Sometimes I fear that my concern for what's going on in the world and my need to discuss it with others, can bring people down. I just don't know what else to do. I can't hold it all in all the time.

I do try though...especially if someone is in a great mood, I don't want to ruin that for anyone.

on Monday, March 27th, ann said

I don't think you should hold it in, Elise. Especially if it's bothering you. There's a difference between being honestly upset by something and being a perpetually negative Nellie. If you turn into such a Nellie, I'll personaly let ya know. :P But, if you want to share your feelings when you are upset, then I'm all for it. You're among friends! :)

on Monday, March 27th, Elise said

Thanks Ann, I appreciate that (do you have an hour or four!)
but I do think there is a difference between talking about issues that personally affect us, as opposed to just being a negative person in general... in the sense of mean-spirited gossip, complaining about work, the weather, other people, etc. Ya know?

on Monday, March 27th, Jackie said

E: Poor Lemoni! Do you know what's wrong with him? Our kittty gets hairballs, and it gives him bad tummy aches. He gets needy (even more than normal) and wants to sit on your lap, or be cuddled. He loves to roll on his back and have his tummy gently massaged. We can feel how hard his tummy is - and feel so sorry for him! We give him Petromalt (salmon flavor), and special food. Plus I have to brush him more diligently.

I didn't mean people who are talking about issues like we do hear are who bring me down. it's those folks with eternally bad attitudes, or who feel the World owes them, while they never give anything back.

More bad about the Seattle shootings - the two youngest victims were girls, aged 14 and 15. How awful I feel for those families!
Peace - and sending some healing vibes your way as well - for Lemoni! :hehe:

on Monday, March 27th, Elise said

I heard that, about the young girls. I'm glad in a way that I'm not a parent. I would be a total basket case 100% of the time.

As for my furry little ones, Lemoni has a UTI. There was a lot of blood in her pee. This is the second time that she's gotten one. I have some antibiotics for her but I can tell she's in pain, trying to pee all the time, I'm trying to get her as much liquid as possible.

Sorry to hear about your kitty's hair balls. Lemoni has really long hair too, I have to brush her nearly everyday. And I feed her those hairball treats too.

I was so upset waiting to hear from the vet today, I was afraid it was something more serious.

on Tuesday, March 28th,">Stephanie said

you said "maybe today wasn't the best day to start" then again maybe it is the right time! personally i like to check in with your blog and the wonderful conversations you inspire to help me feel "even" - and i have to comment on skin-less as i was just in denver and saw the body worlds exhibit - absolutely amazing!!!

on Tuesday, March 28th, Elise said

Thanks for saying that Stephanie! As for the body worlds exhibit, I've always wanted to see that...I used to joke that if I ever got into good enough shape I would donate my body for plasticization!

on Tuesday, March 28th, RR said

Oh my God that's dreadful. It always feels worse when you know someone there -I have friends in Seattle.

on Tuesday, March 28th, Elise said

That's so true, like I think I mentioned on your blog way back when, that the bombings in Madrid struck closer to home for me than the ones in NYC, since I go to Madrid and am more familar with that city than NYC, I know that probably sounds strange but...when you have ridden the exact same trains etc.