Recommended Reading: Sierra Golden

Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Alaska, Commercial Fishing, Family, Reading & Writing, Women in Fishing | 2 comments

For the most part, I’ve been rely­ing on my Face­book page to pro­mote the books I’m cur­rently lov­ing, the writ­ers who inspire me, the para­graphs so fist-to-my-mouth mov­ing that I want to pass them along to you like the gifts they are. An easy, imme­di­ate exchange with those of you who hang out over there, I like watch­ing the rip­ples of your responses. Shar­ing things here on Hooked feels much big­ger, more time-consuming and cum­ber­some, enough so that I rarely do it. (Title? Tag? Embed links? Meh… screw it.) Sham­ing to say, but true.

There are, of course, very spe­cial exceptions.

Leav­ing a writ­ing group this after­noon, I checked my mes­sages before head­ing home. I had an email from  Sierra Golden, fel­low fisherman/writer/FisherPoet, with the sub­ject line “Because you’re my writer friends.” She’d had a new essay pub­lished with South Writ Large, hoped we’d read it and share with a friend or two.

I don’t like read­ing stuff on my phone, but I clicked the link any­way, just to give it an ini­tial glance. You know — like a writer friend does. Then I sat in the park­ing lot, fist to mouth, and read Sierra’s essay all the way through. Then I read it again. When I got home, I read it on the big screen. And now I want to extend Sierra Golden’s Prodi­gal Daugh­ters to you, a gift of pecan pie and salmon dip and rain­drops gath­ered in cal­loused hands:

Anchored in remote Ford Arm, a half day’s run north of Sitka, Alaska, I’m stuck doing chores around the boat — mend­ing small holes in our seine net, chang­ing oil in the main, and scrub­bing the flat-top diesel stove until it shines. The five of us on board have sev­eral days of this before the Alaska Depart­ment of Fish and Game grants another open­ing to har­vest pink salmon. Luck­ily, we’re not alone. Another three boats have rafted up with us, tying rub rail – to – rub rail, so that we all hang on one anchor and can social­ize freely, step­ping from boat to boat. Though it’s an acquired taste, I love the inde­pen­dence and beauty this life offers: when I over­heat the skiff and burn out the impeller, my dad, the cap­tain, looks me in the eye and says, “Fix it”; when I run out of but­ter in the gal­ley, I learn to make bis­cuits with may­on­naise; and when the sun finally sets in the sum­mer, the stars burn fierce and white through unpol­luted dark­ness. There is an exag­ger­ated sim­plic­ity to such a life: bro­ken and fixed, make it work and work­ing, and not a lot in between…


Read Prodi­gal Daugh­ters in its entirety.


  1. Thanks for rec­om­mend­ing this story and author, Tele. Great writ­ing, touch­ing story.

    • Oh, I’m glad you read and enjoyed it, Cindy! All best wishes to you this win­ter — stay warm and read good stuff!

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