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A valentine from the Arts desk

On a day set aside for sentimental confessions, here is a semi-unprofessional confession from the Arts desk: I tend to fall a little bit in love with the artists I interview. Not in a romantic or physical sense, but in the sense of being drawn to the inner fire that feeds their artistic passion. Gender, age, marital status – none of that really matters. I am blown away on a regular basis by the things that people say and the way their minds work.

Most recently it was Anchorage carver Drew Michael. I spent more than an hour with Drew at the Alaska State Museum about a week ago, listening to him describe his history, his vision, his relationships, the importance of sharing, and how his overactive brain operates when he is in the zone (which seems to be most of the time). A lot of what he said – including his ideas about attachment and letting others in, which didn’t make it into the article -- resonated with me long after I left the museum.

Before that it was Dave Hunsaker. Though I’ve always known who he is, I’d never interviewed him before this past winter. He's a fascinating and charming man, who has had so many interesting experiences around the state -- I could have listened to him for hours.

Awhile back it was Flip Nicklin. Over breakfast at the Waffle House, he talked with humbleness and humor about his lifelong underwater experiences with whales. A unique perspective on the world to be sure – and what a great guy.

I’ve also, at various times, fallen for Jim Fowler’s sweetness, Ishmael Hope’s graciousness, Zuill Bailey’s playfulness, and George Kuhar’s Kuharness. Angie Lawler’s hands, Shona Strauser’s laugh, and Christy NaMee Eriksen’s voice.

Really the list could go on and on. I don’t get many opportunities to publicly thank the people I interview, so I’ll take this opportunity to say it: Thank you for the trust you place in me. This is my valentine to you. Your visions of the world have enriched mine in so many lasting ways.

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