The Liebster Meets Alaska Book Week

12 10 2011

Early September, I hit land and jumped online. Waded through weeks of spam, mass mailings, and impersonal updates. Just when I felt like I might as well have stayed at sea, a message from Annie Boreson leapt out:

I just wanted to tell you that I love your writing. You live a fascinating life and you write beautifully about it. I just gave you the Liebster Blog Award. Hope that is okay!

Okay? An award for Hooked? Reeling from delight rather than landsickness, I was a giddy, blushing mess of awe and wonder.

Writing is such an isolated activity, it’s easy to feel alone with your words. I spent years stifling the urge to write and disparaging the pieces that forced their way to paper, certain that any complimentary responses were merely friends being kind. People who “had” to like my work. Surely no one else would care about my bleeding heart reflections.

But the Liebster suggested otherwise!

From the German verb lieber – to love – the Liebster Blog Award recognizes worthy blogs with less than 200 followers, thereby raising their visibility. The “rules” are simple: thank your awarder and link back to them, select 5 blogs as your own nominees, and let them know by leaving a comment on their site.

My gratitude to Annie Boreson, author of Atoll Annie & the Non-Specific Rim, for awarding Hooked the Liebster. From the comic perils of giving birth in Norway in July, to a heart-wrenching tale of an abusive grandmother’s secret love, Annie is a superb storyteller. Introspective and audacious, reflective and funny, she got my laughter and subscription with her goal, “To go viral before  the Mayan Calendar stops me.”

Every adult grown of an outcast kid carries the searing recollection that selecting some means excluding others. I agonized over the nominations. Beyond inherent reluctance to name “favorites,” how would I choose? Hooked’s readership represents my ideal neighborhood: delightfully diverse, our residents range from conservative Alaskan fishermen, leprechaun-green environmentalists, contemplative memoirists, even a self-described “ex-party girl turned Midwestern wifey-poo.” With such differing life languages amongst you all, what 5 blogs could speak to everyone?

To the rescue: Alaska Book Week! Coinciding perfectly with this post, my Liebster picks are dedicated to some of my favorite Alaskan blogs. If you don’t have time for a new book this week, please take a moment to visit one of these Alaskan writers online.

Nagoonberry reminds me to stop and breathe. My first visit was to this post about my favorite flower, and I’ve been a subscriber ever since. This is a blog of journeys. Humans learning to live together in community. Personal and communal introspection. Thoughts on spirituality and sustainability. I suspect those of you drawn to Hooked’s more reflective moments will connect with Nagoonberry, too.

A Fairbanks English teacher, Paul Greci describes Northwriter as “a blog about writing, running, kayaking, and life in Alaska.” His posts include lovely photos and reflections on his environment. Ever imagined a lynx strolling across your porch? He’s got a great story about that very experience here. And don’t miss the photo of his treadmill laptop – talk about productivity!

If you’re looking for pure, unadulterated fish talk, PickFish Tales is for you. Reading this blog is like being in a BS circle on the dock, with one star storyteller, Jen Pickett. Jen’s been fishing for 20 years, is a fellow contributor to Alaska Waypoints, and has an awesome ability to honor deadlines in the midst of the season. And she’s funny! In addition to following her blog, you can often find her performing with the Fisher Poets (where her work was recently included on the gorgeous site In The Tote – congratulations, Jen!)

Whether writing verse or prose, Alaskan writer Vivian Faith Prescott is a true poet. You’ll find breath-stopping, heart-singing imagery and Tlingit honorifics on Planet Alaska, in stunning pieces like “The Language of the Landscape.” During these off-season months, when I’m struggling with the miles separating me from Southeast Alaska, I read Vivian’s work and she carries me home.

49Writers is such a fabulous resource that I have to close with some love for them. A non-profit supporting Alaska writers and their work, they host an impressive caliber of events. (More than once, I’ve wished I was in Anchorage to attend.) Literary folks – whether in Alaska or Alabama, an active writer or an avid reader – should consider subscribing. Here’s a post for writers who dream of crafting their work during a summer in Denali.

A note to these gifted awardees: I generally shy away from “Pass It Along” virtual movements. But it is lovely to learn that your voice touched someone, and I do recommend favorite books to friends… Is this really so different? If participating in the Liebster isn’t your kind of party, no worries. Please enjoy the public recognition of your work, knowing that your words have mattered to me, and spread a bit of liebe in your own private way.

(This is a particularly good time for Hooked to share the love, having received another bit of sweetness this week. Thank you, Cami Ostman, of Seven Marathons on Seven Continents, for naming Hooked one of your favorite blogs! Feeling honored, indeed.)

Got a favorite Alaskan blog of your own, sweet reader? Please share! 

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18 responses

12 10 2011
Cami Ostman

Yay for hooked!! We’re all hooked, Tele. I’m so excited that others will be visiting your blog and finding your fabulous writing. What will you write about while you’re on land? I can’t wait to find out.

12 10 2011
Tele

Ha! There’s the rub, Cami – I SHOULDN’T be writing much of anything on land except that proposal, the homework for Laura’s class, and, oh, all of the content to follow the proposal. No big things! But what a delicious distraction, the lure of immediate feedback and connection, and there were some past-due posts I’d wanted to get out – this one, the one for my Dad. I’m getting close to stepping back for a bit… Seriously, I can stop… ;)

12 10 2011
Annie

Tele, I’m so glad you liked the award and passed it forward to some writers that you wish to share with. I am looking forward to reading your recipients as I’ve never stumbled across them. Really fun for me! Enjoy! You are so deserving of praise!

12 10 2011
Tele

Thanks, Annie – let me know if you meet any new favorites!

12 10 2011
Karolee Joel

you are not a “have to like” blogger Tele!

So I read this post and poured myself a cup of wine to sip and compose with… only to find that the last half of a cup of coffee was still in the cup (still using coffee mugs for everything, just like on the boat) So from the perspective of a yin yang cocktail, Yaay for Hooked!

a quick cat note: I planted a cat nip for the old grey cat (former deckcat Shelikof) and the house sitters managed to keep it alive. To my delight, Sheli strolls out of the back door and nibbles at her plant and looks infinitely pleased with life, even at 16 years age. She still loves salmon hearts and still chews on you when you rub her belly.

12 10 2011
Tele

You crack me up, Joel – I adore our comment conversations!

Give Sheli a belly rub for me; glad to hear that she’s going for Yacky’s longevity title. (He made it to 18 before going FAS.) I have to admit that Bear seems pretty happy to be on land, too – she’s a tolerant boat cat, but is really enjoying her reunion with the squirrels (from her side of the window.) You’ll have to come up this way to see her as her more pleasant self!

13 10 2011
Paul Greci

Thanks for the award and for introducing me to some more Alaskan Blogs.

13 10 2011
Tele

You’re most welcome, Paul!

13 10 2011
Sean Rodda

Congrats Tele! I tell everyone about your blog and enjoy every one of the updates. Keep it up lady!!

13 10 2011
Tele

Thanks, dude! I’m not ignoring you – truly not, although the end result of not getting back to you is the same. :( Sending hugs and good thoughts to you both.

13 10 2011
Paige

Thank you for this post. I love reading your blog and it’s a treat to see a new entry in my email box. I save it for when I can sit down with a cup of tea. I lived in Alaska for 13 years and now live in St. Louis. I flew to Juneau this summer, met my best friend who flew in from Anchorage, and we took the ferry to Sitka. I nearly cried when we touched down in Juneau and I saw the mountains. There is something about the Alaska landscape that I can’t extract from my being (and am grateful for it). Your blog is a little piece of my Alaska that I miss so much. I don’t remember how I found you, but I am so pleased I did. I look forward to checking out the other blogs you enjoy. Paige

13 10 2011
Tele

Oh, Paige! What a wonderful comment to leave; I can’t tell you how glad I am that Hooked is bringing that little bit of Alaska to your St. Louis life. I know exactly what you mean about that moment of touching down after time away. I haven’t figured out quite how this feeling to articulate to folks who haven’t experienced it, but you named it perfectly: reuniting with that bit of Alaska that we carry in our very being. What amazing power that landscape has over so many of us.

When I’m having a hard time sitting down and writing – easily distracted, can’t find the right words, frustrated – I imagine just a few people I’m writing for, readers who might be positively affected by this particular piece. Being accountable to someone specific, even only in my imagination, helps me find focus. It’s lovely to add you to that team – a new friend in St. Louis, tea steaming beside her. Thank you for that! I hope that you find similar connections with some of the other blogs here.

Be well, Paige – so glad to meet you.

14 10 2011
nagoonberry

Thank you so much, Tele! My first award! I’ll pass it along later today.

15 10 2011
Tele

You’re so welcome, Heather! I’m sure it won’t be your last award, and will look forward to meeting your nominees.

17 10 2011
(FL) Girl with a New Life

The ex-party girl turned wifey poo chiming in here. (You have to admit, it has a certain ring to it.)

I do love your words and will be sure to visit some of your mentions here.

And a quote that made me think of you…

“I must go to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky.
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.”

–John Masefield

17 10 2011
Tele

A fabulous ring to it, indeed – makes me smile every time, Tina. Thanks for stopping by, and congrats on that latest award of your own! Well done, friend!

17 10 2011
Sharing the Liebster | Nagoonberry

[…] then I opened my email. Waiting for me was a comment notice from a new blogging friend, Tele from Hooked. Her email said, “I wrote about Nagoonberry over on Hooked today, passing the Liebster Blog […]

17 10 2011
Annette Gendler

Congrats on the Liebster! I got one a while back and found the most fun part was following all the threads it opened up, which is exactly the point!




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