Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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08/14/2006: "Acceptance, Rejection, New Friends, and me SINGING!"

So, I'm sorry I haven't been writing much, a lot has been going on with me and I've been doing some hard thinking non-stop since my interview on Thursday.

The college I interviewed at has offered me the job and I am seriously considering it. I have spoken about this with my dad, sister Traci (who complained that I don't mention her enough in my blog...sorry!) and with a host of friends here in Juneau. Tomorrow I'm meeting with one of our Deans because she has been an administrator for many years and I highly respect her advice. There are some potential problems with the position and in regards to the salary and benefits and I honestly can't decide. I keep swinging one way and the then the other. The people I met were really wonderful though, and I think I would be a great fit there. It just seems surreal to be considering leaving Alaska!

Anyway, it feels great to be wanted but I think I'm getting an ulcer. Speaking of which...when I got home Sunday night I found a REJECTION letter from the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council...Ah, they never get any easier. Even worse, they let me know that there were only 15 applicants and that 10 proposals were selected and I wasn't one of them. That means I was one of only 5 people who didn't get a show there! I was surprised by how much that hurt. I wrote an entry once called Does Rejection Ever Get Any Easier and the answer is...NO!

On the other hand, tonight I got a phone call from a guy who found my art online and is visiting from California with one of his art students on a painting expedition. He invited me out to dinner and we had a great conversation and meal plus he showed me his painting journal that he's been keeping and it was really beautiful. I also got to meet his student Aaron who is going to send me a link to some of his images when he gets home...isn't the Internet amazing?

Also...Snow Patrol was playing in Seattle while I was there and they kept playing their songs on the radio. One called Chasing Cars is really beautiful, I figured out the chords...A, E, and D...and...anyway, I am *not* a singer...but I just think this song is very pretty and I thought I'd post an excerpt of me playing it (MP3). After hearing it online I can tell it's time for new strings!

Anyway, be kind, I've been through a lot lately!

Replies: 19 Comments

on Tuesday, August 15th, Rod said

Take the job. Rent the house. BTW, are there any sommelier jobs in Juneau? ;) I could take care of your kitties! :D

on Tuesday, August 15th, Kasia said

Life is such a weird journey. Don't worry - whatever is supposed to happen - it will happen no matter what. And the funny thing is i do believe that every decision we make turns out to be right somehow in the end. So keep your head up - everything will be just fine. :)

on Tuesday, August 15th, Howard said

What a hard choice to make! As for the job I can't help you there, but as far as being a working artist both Portland and Seattle have a lot more to offer you. Both cities are a hotbed of artistic activity.
Of course you have to make the choice that's right for you.

on Tuesday, August 15th, Elise said

The kitties stay with me Rod but thanks anyway!

As for everything being just fine, I know you're right about that anxiety is over something ultimately positive, the good fortune of having two attractive possibilities.

And Howard, I've thought about the art scenes in Portland and Seattle as well and that *would* be nice...being within driving distance of galleries and being able to not only submit for more shows but attend more openings as well.

All good points and yet...

on Tuesday, August 15th, Daniel said

I'm pretty hardcore in my belief that a working artist is a showing artist; but the last few years I have started to understand that exhibiting is not the reason we make art - its just a nice justification to others (and ourselves).

If Washington will offer equal or advanced opportunities for production, that's great. If its simply a matter of more places to show... that's a crap-shoot no matter where you live (consider the ignorant decision you just received from the Arts Council and your an internet Juneau hero!).

Now here is the hard part, are you an artist with a great day-job or a college Dean? There is no wrong answer, just a life-decision about how you choose to spend your time. Being a Dean includes a lot of after-hours work, meetings, etc. So does your artwork.

I'm always the first person to jump onboard a major life-changing move or new adventure. But this one is tricky. Maybe because from an administrative standpoint its a great career move and I have a habit of throwing my careers out the window - but I've never regretted it, because my ultimate goal has always been about the art.

on Tuesday, August 15th, greg said

Elise - Crazy summer eh wot?! I just caught up on your activities, and must say it's nice to have opportunities!

Daniel offers some sage advice. It's a tough decision facing a busy job and balancing your artist dreams.

I will say that while I never considered Centralia any place I'd want to live near, it just might be a great spot for you to transition. It's a quiet, out of the way town, but still nicely connected, as you say (an hour from seattle?? jeez how fast were you driving?!?! :D )
Most people just stop there to pee and gas up before resuming their LA-Seattle drug run.

Olympia is def a great funky town. Evergreen college is there, which adds to a fun and wild mix, plus offers prime south sound sailing opps you wisely noted.

Being twixt Seattle & Portland gives you excellent proximity to our art scenes. Both are decent. Have you seen Seattles new downtown Library? awesome!

Plus you'll be near Jackie and me! :)

Wishing you success with your decisions. Follow your intuition!

on Tuesday, August 15th, Marja-Leena Rathje said

First of all, Elise, congratulations on the job offer!! That's a big boost and don't forget it, even if you decide not to take it. It's a tough decision, but a part of you must be wanting a change if you went so far as to apply for it. Good luck and don't get an ulcer over it. :-)

Daniel and Howard make some very good points.

And about the arts council rejection - yes, rejections hurt. I, however, don't place these councils too high in the art world - they are usually extremely conservative. Maybe your work is too non traditional for them (nudes for example).

on Tuesday, August 15th, Brian said

Hey Elise,

Everyone has made some good points thus far. I'm totally with Kasia and her comment that no matter what you choose, it'll be the right decision - you'll definitely make either option work.

Now, being a non-artist, I can't really help you in that regard. However, would it have made any difference if your current circumstances were flipped - say if Centralia would have turned you down but JAHC accepted you? I would think about that and use the answer as guidance - that is, if you're thinking in terms of career vs. art.

Anyway, focus on the positive and realize how great it is to have options. You'll figure it out.

on Tuesday, August 15th, Elise said

Hi Daniel, the Arts Council here is actually really great. They aren't conservative at all, and actually had an erotic art show recently so I don't think it has to do with my subject matter. I have really enjoyed all of their exhibits too; I just think that even though Juneau is a small community, we have a lot of really excellent artists here.
(cries softly into hanky)
“Internet Juneau hero”…thanks!
I do like your question though Daniel, it gets at the heart of how I see myself.

And Hi Greg! I haven’t heard from you in awhile, I forgot that you’re in Washington as well…what part of the state do you live? And I thought Centralia was cute, it has a nice historic downtown that’s off the interstate so if you were just passing through it probably wouldn’t seem as charming (all the chain fast-food places off the exit ramp)…but Olympia is really great as well, and nearby.
Oh, and it was an hour from Seatac and I was driving at a good clip.

Marja-Leena, I think you’re right that I must have applied for the job for a reason, I think it was totally random, I was going through email and saw the position announcement and couldn’t believe how closely the requirements matched my rather odd skill set. I don’t know at the time I initially applied how serious I was about leaving, but the further along the process went the more into the idea I got…but now that leaving could be imminent I feel wracked with doubt.

And Brian, ultimately you’re right of course, having opportunities is better than not having any. If I decide to stay in Juneau I’ll know that it’s a choice and that I’m not “stuck” here…and if I decide to take the position, well, a whole new adventure will start for me.

on Tuesday, August 15th, RR said

Hey, snap - these job offers are exciting aren't they? Well done!

I know what you mean about not knowing whether to take it or not and I'm not even moving. It's a big decision for you but you'll do whatever feels right. I accepted my job offer and am still a bit scared because I know there have been staffing problems and it's much more responsibility but maybe fate offered it to me for a reason and I will be closer to my studies, so it 'should' all be fine. I'm hoping it will be fine. But I definitely don't have so much at stake as you do Juneau sounds wonderful and you seem to love it most of the time. But you can love other places and other ways of living. If I hate this job I'll look for another. Two new jobs in a year - I must be ok at these interview things and so must you, so take the chance. Nothing is forever and no-one should let good opportunities go past them without giving it a go. What's that well known phrase.....What's meant for you won't go by you. Anyway, Well done again, take your time to think things over. Try making a list of the pro's and con's (a truly objective one) and see how they compare, make the decision and make sure you won't have any regrets with what you decide. And keep us posted.

on Tuesday, August 15th, berry bowman connell said

And now, the wordy question answered
without answering it at all, COOL!
Yer coming down t'continental US, and did I get it right, Still teaching school?
And, of course, from what I understand
There's plenty more places t'show
not just in Potland, but all Oregan
Not t'mention
Northern California....
Good For Ya!

As y'can see, I'm still on the poetry
but with yer fine voice and yer stateside.
We should get t'gether and put out an album!
We'll get rich until we've died.

OK, well, maybe not that rich.

OK, be like that, we won't sell a flippin album at all
be in debt t'our ears
have t'live on the cold streets...

wait a minit...
How 'bout we stay artists, eh?

on Tuesday, August 15th, subi said

hi elise,

congrats on the job offer! ijdk tho, it's just a *feeling* but i think you would regret leaving Alaska and all you have created for yourself there. on the plus side you would be much closer to your dad and all your other stateside family. a bittersweet offer, i think, one that you'll have to meditate on (remember i'm wearing a red sweater ;)

on Tuesday, August 15th, dad said

did you stop to think how you felt when you return to Douglas after you were gone for just a little while? A lso what about JEN, IN Ankrage? don't be like the dog looking at himself in the pond with a bone in his month if you knoe what I mean but you got to do what you got to do. ps You can;t leave S/E IN A LEARCH EITHER

on Tuesday, August 15th,">Jackie said

E: Congratulations! It must feel good, just having the job offer - kinda balances out the rejection letter, eh? It's definitely a tough choice to make - and ditto everyone else's great advice. It's also a very personal choice to make - so if I were in your place, I'd just have to go with my 'gut'. Good luck pondering! :satisfied:

on Tuesday, August 15th, Elise said

Hey RR, 2 jobs in under a year!??? You have me beat but congratulations anyway. I have indeed made a very long list of pros and cons but each pro has a con and each con has a pro so they seem to perfectly cancel each other out.

And Berry, in the new position I'd still be working at a college but not teaching, which is something I really love to do. I'd be training faculty, maybe, some of the time if I'm lucky, it's still a bit amorpheous.

Subi, you know me well, being an expat Alaskan...I keep using the "closer to my dad" logic but he seems to not (as you can see from his response) be that on board with me leaving (he's seen what a sweet deal I have up here)...

Speaking of which, I wouldn't be leaving UAS in a bind dad...I would *never* do that to any employer. Centralia has been good enough to give me the fall semester to finish up my committments here which would also give me time to sell my house etc.

Jen thinks that she'd get to see me just as much living near Seattle as she does with me being in Juneau since she flies free and goes through Seattle a lot more often than through Juneau. For me, the cost of a flight to Anchorage is the same from Seattle as from Juneau!

Anyway, I keep trying to take everything into consideration...but I really appreciate all of the advice, there are just no easy answers here. I think I'm going to need to sleep on it another night and let them know by tomorrow my decision.

I told my director what was going on and she obviously doesn't want me to leave but she was hugely relieved that I'd be able to teach my two classes this fall and finish up some of my other projects if it comes to that.

on Tuesday, August 15th, Elise said

Hi Jackie, i must have been responding to everyone when you left your comment but thanks for the support, and I'm sorry again that we weren't able to hook up while I was in the area.

on Wednesday, August 16th, greg said

Hi again. Well I too am up to my ears, as usual. My Elise and I live in a burb town bordering north seattle, called shoreline.

A nice thing about coming to seattle from the south, is you hit the best gallery spots in Pioneer Square, first. Plus the cool International Dist. (where I work), the sports stadiums (if ever so inclined), and of course Sea-Tac airport.

on Wednesday, August 16th, holly said

Do it.

on Wednesday, August 16th, Elise said


And Holly, do it? As in, you think I should take the job?