Hooked (Blog)

Coming Up: 19th Annual FisherPoets Gathering!

Posted by on February 16, 2016 in Commercial Fishing, Culture, Reading & Writing, Women in Fishing | 3 comments

It’s almost time, friends! Oregon’s nineteenth annual FisherPoets Gathering is less than two weeks away, with storytellers, musicians, and poets readying to flood Astoria this February 26-28. It’s an immersion into the authentic, captains and crew of diverse fisheries and eras reflecting on the single moments and entire careers that have both nourished and devoured us. It’s an exercise in expressing what has often seemed beyond expression, and the belief that the effort matters. That belief pulls us back, a flood tide, every...

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A Voice Lost, then Found

Posted by on January 9, 2016 in Reading & Writing, Women in Fishing | 10 comments

  On December 15th, six hours after submitting Hooked’s final revision, I lost my voice. Literally. All these years a devoted disciple of the “tell your story” gospel, and, upon surrendering that story for my editor’s review, I couldn’t manage a rasp of a whisper. (Dear Universe, must you be so heavy-handed in your metaphors?)   I won’t lie: the six weeks leading up to that deadline were rough, reminiscent of the final push to get through the fishing season, when Joel, the Nerka, and I all stagger into September, hanging...

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The “Me” Within “We”: Soliciting Stories

Posted by on October 19, 2015 in Culture, Hooked Favorites, Reading & Writing, Women in Fishing | 14 comments

Last June, my editor’s response to Draft #2 arrived on our doorstep just as we were preparing to head north. If there can be a good time or place to face the fact that your book needs major revisions, I found mine in the Nerka’s pilot seat, alone on my wheel watches while Joel slept, the promise of Alaska ahead. My manuscript was heavy in my lap as, removed from the world within this pocket of suspended time, I read it from beginning to end. All 323 pages, many of the margins dark with penciled edits. Then I read it again. Comments that...

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On Missing the Boat, Speaking for Salmon

Posted by on August 13, 2015 in Alaska, Commercial Fishing, Environment, Sustainability | 3 comments

Joel and I went to a movie the other night. We finally saw The Breach, an award-winning film I’ve been anxious to see since its 2014 release. Described as a love story for wild salmon, it’s a love story in all the truest ways – risk, betrayal, loss, resolve, hope. It took my breath away.   (You can watch The Breach yourself here. Please do. Please.)   After the lights came up, director Mark Titus joined commercial fishermen Melanie Brown and Marsh Skeele, Anchorage chef Rob Kinneen, and Sitka Mayor Mim McConnell for a...

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Live from the FisherPoets Gathering!

Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Commercial Fishing, Culture, Reading & Writing | 1 comment

It’s a magical day in Astoria, Oregon: sun on the sidewalks, festive chop on the Columbia. I’m tucked in the Blue Scorcher Bakery (try the cardamom rolls), an introvert on glorious overload, trying to steal an hour of quiet time to recharge. Red lapel pins reveal the kindred spirits surrounding me – the $15 buttons our entry into all seven venues – and we exchange knowing smiles and eager reviews of last night’s favorite performances, recommendations of who we’ll catch tonight. We’re two days in the 18th Annual FisherPoets...

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Fear, Art, and Love in the Canadian Rockies

Posted by on January 28, 2015 in Culture, Family, Hooked Favorites, Reading & Writing | 25 comments

Head down, I watch my snow boots creep across the lake, one shuffle-step at a time. Joel doesn’t shuffle. He hustles, hunched beneath his camera bag as he rushes for a distant spot of blue. Ice wiped clean by the wind: the perfect frame to lead into the fast-approaching sunset. It’s negative three degrees. As I murmur into the scarf swathing my face, words form frosty pellets in the fibers. I can do this. I can do this. A chant intended for my ears only, the lake responds. Bu-BUM. A deep drum beat, issued from somewhere far below. A...

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Night Wheelwatch on the Nerka

Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Commercial Fishing, Reading & Writing, Women in Fishing | 1 comment

53⁰23.596’ N 129⁰52.095’ W 11:15 pm, Principe Channel, British Columbia   Dusk tames the ocean. Dims it to liquid mercury, a silver sheet with yellow threads peeking from the folds. My favorite kind of ocean. The hillsides bracketing this two-mile wide channel have retreated, sacrificing substance for allusion. Joy and relief rush my veins, a flood tide. We’re less than three hours from Alaska now. I lean forward in the pilot seat, as if that will push us along any faster. Charging ‘round the clock to reach Sitka as...

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FisherPoets Live on Kickstarter!

Posted by on March 17, 2014 in Commercial Fishing, Culture, Reading & Writing | 1 comment

Fishing, stories, culture, community, authenticity… These are some of my favorite things, and they all come together in the FisherPoets Anthology, Anchored in Deep Water. My friends Pat Dixon and Chelsea Stephen have done a tremendous job creating and editing this project over the past year, and have just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund printing. Thanks for reading their letter below and supporting this project in whatever ways you’re able.    ANCHORED IN DEEP WATER: The Fisherpoets Anthology Commercial fishing is an...

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Returning to the Cave

Posted by on March 10, 2014 in Reading & Writing | 13 comments

Just as Cap’n J and I outfit the Nerka with emergency equipment – radio, bilge pumps, fire extinguishers – I reach for particular survival gear as a writer. Lately, the one I’ve been keeping closest is Dani Shapiro’s Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life. This book is a rare gift, one I flip open to a random page and find myself face to face with the truth I most need to hear. Today’s section, “The Cave,” is no exception:   One of the strangest aspects of a writing life is what I think of as going in...

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Residency Wrap-Up & Storytelling Events Ahead

Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Commercial Fishing, Reading & Writing, Women in Fishing | 6 comments

We spend all summer moving through the salmon season, yet September always sneaks up on me. It lunges out from where it’s been hiding, hunched behind the corner of August. I jump every time. The end of my residency with the North Cascades Institute feels similarly startling. It shouldn’t: my February 15 move-out has been approaching ever since I moved in on November 20. This conclusion stirs in me an ambivalence similar to the fishing season’s end. Being here has been a tremendous privilege, in terms of the work I’ve been able to...

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