Skagway-born author Marcel Jolley chats with a bookstore patron after signing her book with a personalized message during a recent visit to Skagway. Kile Brewer

Jolley visits to sign second book


Skagway son and author Marcel Jolley visits home whenever he can – and home is where he takes inspiration for his stories.
Jolley published his second book of short stories, Priors, earlier this year.
Though he said he always considered writing, he didn’t seriously start until after he graduated from college.
“My degree is in Journalism, but I always knew I wanted to fly airplanes,” said the Alaska Airlines pilot.
In college, Jolley had an English teacher who asked him if he ever considered writing fiction.
“I told her I might do it in six years, and she told me to start now so I might be good in six years,” he said.
After graduating from college and becoming a pilot, Jolley worked for Skagway Air and has since taken a job with Alaska Airlines in Washington.
Between flights and on long layovers, Jolley wrote in hotel rooms and coffee shops.
In 2004, he entered a contest by Black Lawrence Press for unpublished collections of fiction and poetry
“I thought, ‘These are stories about Alaska. I don’t think it’s going to catch hold with a poetry publisher in New York,’ ” he said.
Luckily Jolley was wrong.
His first collection of short stories, Neither Here nor There, won the inaugural St. Lawrence Book Award and was published in 2007.
Jolley came to Skagway last month to visit family and friends and had a book signing for Priors at the Skaguay News Depot & Books on June 28.
Jolley says Priors is all fiction.
On the copyright page, like most fictional books, there is a disclaimer that states: “This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.”
But when asked about Skagway’s influence on his stories, he said there might be some similarities.
“I thought a lot about the setting,” he said. “If I made up another town for the setting, people would read it and say ‘That’s obviously Skagway.’ People can read it and decide who they think is who.”
Jolley said Skagway cultivated his story telling.
“My parents and their friends would get together and all tell stories,” he said. “We didn’t have much TV.”
Jolley said Skagway has been “incredibly receptive” to his writing, adding that everyone has been supportive and helpful.
“If ever there was a place that was tired of hearing my story, it would be this one,” he said. “But it’s been the exact opposite.”
Jolly’s next book, The Following Sea, will be published in 2013.
The novella takes place in Skagway and is about a police chief’s investigation into the murder of his friend.
“I’m hoping to have it out by the next Buckwheat (Ski Classic),” he said with a laugh. “That’s the touchstone to my calendar.”

Local artist Courtenay Birdsall Clifford visits Glacial Smoothies and Espresso during the KHNS Fund Drive. Clifford’s painting of Mount Harding was selected as this year’s fund drive poster, which was given for donations of $45 or more. Kile Brewer

Local painter creates art for radio station membership drive

Local painter Courtenay Birdsall Clifford provided artwork to be used on posters given away for donations at the recent KHNS fund drive.
A lifelong artist, Clifford said she’s been doing landscape paintings since moving to Skagway in 2007. When KHNS asked her to do a piece for their fund drive poster, she was more than happy to oblige.
Clifford said she wanted the painting to mean something, so she chose the content carefully. Since she’s a Skagway artist, she chose to include Mt. Harding. The water was also chosen to represent the separation and connection that it creates between Skagway and Haines, the two cities KHNS services. Finally, she included the eagle and the raven, which are symbols frequently used by KHNS.
The signed posters were given away with a donation of $45 or more. During the drive, KHNS raised just over $61,000. – KILE BREWER

Bill Hearne concert fundraiser July 21
On Saturday July 21st at 8 p.m., the Skagway Arts council is presenting a “honky-tonk” night featuring Santa Fe music icon Bill Hearne. This winter the Turner family, who own the Alaska Icefield Expeditions, heard him perform in Santa Fe and thought it would be great to bring him up to Skagway for a benefit concert. Because of their generosity, we can all enjoy Bill’s honey-rich baritone voice and his improvisational guitar licks as he gives his own interpretation to some of your favorite country tunes.
The event will take place at the Skagway Elks, and thanks to special consideration on their part, you do not need to be a member of the Elks Lodge to attend. You do need to be 21 years old however, as alcohol will be available. SMART Bus is providing a designated driver for the night.
Admission will be $10 at the door. All door proceeds are going towards purchasing stage and sound equipment for the Outdoor Arts Facility to be built next year at Seven Pastures Park. – SAC

Show and Sale July 20
The Skagway Artisans Guild returns for a show and sale on Friday July 20th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Arctic Brotherhood Hall on Broadway. Local crafts and arts made by Skagway residents will be offered.

Call for SE Fair entries
Artists, gardeners, brewers, writers, craftspeople of all kinds take note. Now is the time to get your slaved-over masterpieces ready for submission to the Southeast Alaska State Fair.
Exhibitor guides are available at the Skagway Public Library, AB Hall Visitors Center, Kirmse’s Antiques, or Alaska Artworks. The fair is July 26-29 in Haines and your items can be shipped free the week before the fair!
For information call: Skagway Representative Donna Griffard at 983-3222.