Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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03/10/2008: "Into the Wild"

Do you agree with the statement "Happiness isn't real unless it is shared"? I know it's true for me. Chris McCandless wrote it at the end of his journal right before he died alone in the Alaskan wilderness after an attempt to live off the land.

I just watched Into the Wildlast night which was based on the book by Jon Krakauerthat I read non-stop in a single day.

I was up in Anchorage when they found Chris's body and I remember how everyone (the media included) responded so harshly, calling him an idiot. I'm also struck by the number of people who write to me each week telling me of their plans/dreams/hopes to move to Alaska. It's a compulsion for some, it was for me.

Chris saw the most amazing beauty yet had no one to talk to about it. After a semester in Spain I was to meet friends at a train station in Madrid for a summer of back-packing. I went to the wrong station and I ended up on my own. One of the most profoundly lonley moments in my life was on this trip, at the Prado Museum. I saw paintings I'd only ever seen in books and it moved me to tears. I ached to talk to someone about it.

Surfing around recently I read the post of a young guy on a suicide prevention website lamenting the fact he'd never had a girlfriend, and feared he never would. There were hundreds of responses to his post, by guys of all ages, admitting they'd never had a date, never been kissed, never had sex, and they were so lonely and in so much pain they wanted to die. "Happiness isn't real unless it is shared".

I don't believe another person can *make* you happy and I don't agree that the person you share happiness with has to be romantic, I just think that we all need somone who cares about us; someone to share those moments when everything feels right with the world.

Replies: 6 Comments

on Monday, March 10th, Erin (J.E.M.) said

Elise, my husband is reading "Into the Wild" right now and actually is let down so far. But I too stumbled upon a blog of a Fairbanks reporter and musher named Jillian who went to see Chris' bus before the movie was ever made. She actually has some great photos of it on her blog. (
As I have told you before my husband and I are too obsessed with the idea of moving back to Juneau. Hopefully, I will get to go to one of your shows once we are there in May. Good luck on all the planning. I know it is an exciting yet overwhelming time. One piece of advice, don't worry about all the small details, keep it simple, very simple. Because in the end the only thing you and your family and friends will remember is the laughter and the memories. Definetely not the centerpieces, linens and flowers. Steal ideas out of any magazine, stay away from the bridal mags (they can be so elaborate). Well, sorry for the wedding lecture. Just remember, enjoy it all!! And keep us posted.

on Monday, March 10th, Elise said

Hi Erin,
I will check out that woman's blog. I actually enjoyed the book, it was a really fast read for me. Of course, I read it when it first came out and when I was closer in age to Chris than I am now.

Thanks for the good luck wishes as far as the wedding planning goes. i'm trying not to get bogged down in the details but the truth is, I LOVE planning parties, and this is like the ultimate party. Doing it for as little as possible is also a challenge but one I feel up to.

I just need to get further along with my show so I'm not having to deal with two large stressers at the same time.

on Friday, March 14th, berry connell said

Y'know if you have all those extra canvases, you should at least attempt "knocking out" a painting in one stand....

While you have the extra, mind you.

Left a brief notation on my show this evening on the post prior to this. Nice computer work, gal! There are two gals here that do computer art.
They paint some small something then extract the image and manipulate it with a computer. Both have different techniques and neither look like each other's works nor do either look like yours.
Interesting enough, you take that image you have, size it with your computer and then give it to your printer, work with them as they get started, and low and behold, you can have a five/ten dollar card to sell ($7.50 with envelope) and while that may not sound like a lot. If half of the crowd here had bought a card, 60/2 = 30.....30x7.50 =$225
Check my math, because I'm older now, and may be getting feeble minded....

on Saturday, March 15th, Lucy said

Hi -
I felt the same way when I spent a summer in Washington DC. I went to all the museums and monuments but I went alone so when I was in awe of what I was seeing there was no one to share it with.

on Monday, March 17th, berry connell said

'course, one of the reasons I accept your computerization on the mountain side is because I do a fair amount of computer drawing and painting of late. Been making art for the mini-videos I've been doing, and, while there are several ways to make shortcuts, I find that the experience is increasing my knowledge of color and content/design.

on Monday, March 17th, Elise said

Hi Berry, I don't really do "computer art" I just manipulate my own photos in PhotoShop and then I paint them and sell the paintings. The photos are sort of a by-product. And $7.50 does seem like a lot of money, there are sites like that do it for a lot less!

Oh, and I'll be sure to come by and see how your opening went. Congratulations by the way.

And Lucy, it's terrible isn't it!