Saskatoon is a dream. Not because the weather is warm, the sun is out, the muffins in the hospitality suite are bursting with freshness, and I am hanging out with helpful strangers and old friends I only see in hotels - though all these are true. Saskatoon is a dream because the house was a mess when I left, a litter of unpacked boxes and unworking phone jacks and junk on the front lawn, and I just walked out. Packed a knapsack, turned on the i-pod, and caught the early morning train. I feel like a deadbeat painter, leaving my wife and children to sail away and live in Tahiti. Guilt is a funny thing. I should be enjoying myself here in the warm friendly mid-west. But I can't help thinking of all the things I have left undone back home. I hope Ed's buddy with a truck can get the stuff off the lawn. I hope Ed can empty the boxes, deal with the phone company, find something to eat, and get to and from school. I hope the car doesn't break down on him. I wonder if Gauguin had any moments like this? Did he think sadly and guiltily of his family back in Arles, or did he blot all that out, and focus actively on enjoying his years in the sun, painting and infecting the native girls? I wonder how real Tahiti was to him? If only I had Gauguin's talent, think what I could do in Saskatoon! The prairie, the potash, the fields of rippling wheat. So much raw material for art. (That picture there reminds me of the hotel sauna!) I'd stay here forever, slip into syphilitic old age, never go back east ... except that my flight is booked for Thursday evening, and I feel guilty. I hope Ed remembered to take out the garbage.