Happy Birthday, Hooked!

18 03 2012

One year ago today, Hooked went live with this post. Astute readers may notice that that first post’s date doesn’t match today’s celebration. Though I wrote and posted “The Launch” on March 10, 2011, I didn’t have the courage to make it public until 8 days later. Full of trepidation, I wasn’t sure what I had to say – or if anyone would care. Arriving late to the blogosphere (about 3 years after my dad prodded, “Do you have a blog yet?”), I agonized over what kind of first impression Hooked would make.

That first post laid out a pretty modest mission: “Hooked is intended to share the story of what it is to be a Southeast Alaskan fisherman, a troller/longliner who combs the sea to harvest the highest-quality wild salmon, black cod and halibut.”

“Fisherman” is both an occupation and identity for me, so this wasn’t a bad goal to begin with, but I like to have room to stretch. The next line left the narrative door ajar: “Fishermen are a diverse bunch, and no one’s perspective is quite the same. My voice as a tree hugging, tofu eating, public radio listening, pierced/tattooed bleeding heart pescatarian feminist, a lapsed social worker turned professional deckhand, is – perhaps – a tad unique.”

Just as my perspective is unique, so is yours. As you introduced yourselves in the comments, strangers became new friends, and I delighted in your diverse voices. Encouraging family members. Current and retired fishermen. Women from an astounding variety of life experiences. Whether actively working on the water, land-locked and dreaming of a life adrift, or seasick-prone and happily rooted ashore, you tugged the threads of these posts and found them connected to the fabric of your own lives.

So this post isn’t about celebrating 12 months of a one-dimensional online construct. This is about recognizing and honoring community, and that’s all of you who take the time to stop by and say hello. You’ve become participants in these stories. Your hearts seized as whales rose up beneath the Nerka. (Maybe some expletives fell from your lips, too, in chorus with those falling from mine.) You celebrated Cap’n J’s birthday, and you imagined the taste of traditional Tlingit foods. When I shared my writer’s panic last fall, you offered support and encouragement. You learned the interdependent relationship between salmon, trees, and Southeast Alaskans, and you rallied as spokespeople for the Tongass National Forest. You cheered for the 2012 Fisher Poets, and you grieved those lost at sea.

Hooked’s readers have been the greatest joy of this experience.  I wish I could offer you a slice of that aquatic-themed cake (or provide a gluten-free/sugar-free/vegan alternative) in thanks. You’ll just have to trust that we enjoyed it with you in mind. Bear, too.

In lieu of cake, I do have a gift for one of you. Two months ago, I printed a few copies of Hooked: The Best of 2011 through blurb.com. An 80 page collection of my favorite posts, they came out pretty nicely (only 2 typos discovered thus far, and purely my fault.) If you’d like to be entered into a drawing to win your own copy, leave a comment here before midnight on Wednesday, and I’ll put your name in a hat. (No, not a hat, but an Xtra Tuf boot. Thanks for the suggestion, Cedar – cultural authenticy matters!)  Cap’n J will do the honors on the morning of the 22nd, and I’ll stick the winner’s copy in the mail as one of my final tasks before we head north.

Are you a long-time Hooked reader, or a new visitor? As we approach the upcoming fishing season, are there particular stories or issues you’d like to hear about? What have you liked in your time with Hooked, and what could we do differently over our second year?

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56 responses

18 03 2012
Spencer severson

Happy birthday hooked. Keep up the inspiring commentary

21 03 2012
Tele

Thanks, Spencer! Looking forward to crossing paths with you and Ellen this season.

18 03 2012
Steffany Raynes

I love being part of such a wonderfully diverse community. And most of all I love reading your writing Tele. Keep it up.

21 03 2012
Tele

Steffany, I’m so glad to have met you this fall/winter. Likewise, keep YOUR writing up – I loved your last piece, and am going to miss following your stories.

18 03 2012
keneumey

Happy Birthday, Hooked! And congratulations, Tele, on all that you’ve achieved in the past year. Here’s to many more!

21 03 2012
Tele

Cheers to that! Thanks for making my writing stronger this winter, as well as much more fun.

18 03 2012
TiredofTechnology

Tele! Congratulations on a fabulous year! I love reading your stuff, dear. Keep it coming.

23 03 2012
Tele

Thank you, friend! Definitely helps having the buddy system in place.

18 03 2012
Joel Brady-Power

Congratulations sweetie, I am looking forward to making more stories with you this summer.

23 03 2012
Tele

And you, too, buddy. We’ll have some good times!

18 03 2012
pierrmorgan

Whee! Yahoo! Would love a piece of that cake. Looks delish. In lieu of cake I consider your writings a treat. Every post – no matter the topic – is beautifully expressed and I always look forward to reading them. You have a gift. Thanks for sharing it.

23 03 2012
Tele

I’m thankful our online paths crossed this year, Pierr – it’s been a pleasure getting to know you and seeing your photographs and appreciation for the creatures around us!

18 03 2012
Vicky Wood

My goodness, another year behind us!! Congratulations on this great accomplishment! Once again I will wish for you and Capt’n J…..Calm Sea’s, Fair winds and Full Hooks. Be Safe and Be Well!

23 03 2012
Tele

As you know, that’s the perfect blessing to send fishermen off with! Thanks, Vicky, and best wishes for a lovely summer on the island.

18 03 2012
Karl

Congrats on the first year. Nice work and keep ‘em coming.

23 03 2012
Tele

I’m glad you’re here, Karl – I really value having a place that resonates with the younger generation of fishermen, as well as non-fishing friends who enjoy learning about our special lifestyle. Looking forward to seeing you, Julie and family on the dock!

18 03 2012
fish*wine*ski

Happy Birthday! Say “Hi” to Sitka, the place of my birth, and Beth and Stephen for me.
Congrats!

23 03 2012
Tele

Mel, I didn’t know you were born in Sitka! Do you get back over very often? I haven’t gotten to ride that high-speed ferry yet, but it’s pretty impressive, flying past us in Neva Strait.

In addition to being fellow Backdoor regulars, the Nerka is on the same float as Beth and Stephen’s boat. :) I’ll definitely give our neighbors your hellos.

18 03 2012
Holly

Happy Birthday, Hooked!
I must have found your blog about 3 weeks from your first post. Cool beans.
I’d still love an entry about foot care. It’s so difficult to maintain foot hygiene when I’m working 5 hour shifts on the deck, cleaning fish in hot boots. Not many chances to change socks. This is maybe not the sort of topic for Hooked, but I’d love some tips all the same.
If you draw my name, please take my winnings to the Amberle. I think Roy will be in his usual spot in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for the truth. Good luck this season!

23 03 2012
Tele

Hey Holly! Does that mean you’re coming back for another season on the Amberle? Awesome – I’m looking forward to having you back in the harbor.

That is a GREAT idea about foot care. Not sure I have suggestions – Cap’n J is way better at changing socks than I am – but can definitely relate to the struggle. I’ve got it on my list of things to write about now, so maybe we can get some good responses from other readers with helpful tips.

Yep, you were an early member of this crowd. Thanks for sticking around and all of the encouragement!

18 03 2012
Patricia Sands

Happy Birthday! I’m very glad I stumbled upon your blog and love the window you open into such a different way of life. My tagline is “Everyone has a story” and you are surely proof of that!
By the by, you’re also a fine writer.

23 03 2012
Tele

Patricia, it’s been a pleasure having you here, and I absolutely agree with your tagline. What other way to make the world a more compassionate, celebratory place than through our shared stories? Thanks for all of your contributions towards that goal.

18 03 2012
fivereflections

happy birthday Hooked – now we know each other!

David in Maine USA

23 03 2012
Tele

Lovely to know you, David in Maine, and I’m thankful for the lovely haikus that appear in my inbox, thanks to your own successful blogging! As I type this, I’m looking out the Nerka’s helm windows onto a truly GLORIOUS day in Sitka – blue skies, sunshine blinding on the snow-buried mountains surrounding town, and the faintest memory of ice sheen fading from the harbor water – and am thinking that you could write the perfect tanka for a moment like this! Me, I’ll settle for sharing a photo later on. :)

18 03 2012
jenny moran

Congratulations on one year! I just love reading your poetic adventures- always a joy to get an update in my inbox from you- no matter what I am doing, I stop & imagine myself and your lives as fishermen. Please keep them coming! -Jenny

23 03 2012
Tele

Thanks for commenting, Jenny, I’m glad to meet you. Your photos are wonderful, especially of food – your blog recipes sound delicious! (Tandoori naan pizza? Yes, please!)

18 03 2012
Lori Breckon

Tele, Happy birthday to Hooked. Hard to believe that your baby is one. Love to you, Joel and your next year’s adventures in Alaska. See you on the ocean. I would like to buy a book, please!!!!

23 03 2012
Tele

You’re so sweet, Lori! So good to talk with you the other day; hope everyone is healthy and feeling better, and that you’re enjoying as beautiful of a spring day as we are. Hugs to you and all.

18 03 2012
kathrynmartins1

Happy 1st, Hooked! That cake looks great. Bear has some restraint, sitting there with his white whiskers.

Honestly, Tele, it’s a joy to read your writing, to listen to you tell stories, to hear your voice come through–as Neruda wrote–“in a speech as clear as lamplight.”

Suggestions? Keep fishing. Keep writing. You have the sea’s depth, its inclusiveness, its generosity.

You take care :-)

23 03 2012
Tele

Kathryn, thank you for bringing Neruda to Hooked, and for your very generous words. Appreciated, friend.

Oh, and Bear’s restraint? Not so much… A moment later she was on the table, whiskers-deep in frosting. I very nearly posted that picture instead, but had second thoughts. This one definitely shows her better manners!

24 03 2012
kathrynmartins1

Sorry, Bear. Bit of a gender bender. I mean “her white whiskers.” Tele, wish i could have seen those whiskers turn blue :-)

19 03 2012
Linda Rudick

Tele, I await your next adventures…everything to date has been delightful and illuminating for me. Keep up the great words (work).

Holly, foot care is a valid topic for many…daughter had issues from wearing boots in desert in Iraq…foot=foundation=important. Good idea.

24 03 2012
Tele

You’re another who’s been here from the beginning, Linda, and I’m thankful for your continual encouragement. Thank you!

Good seconding of the foot care – also a HUGE issue from my social work days, kids who’d been wearing the same filthy, wet socks for days in the rainy Pacific NW. New topic on the list, thanks to you and Holly.

19 03 2012
Aunt Lynn

Dearest Tele,

Congratulations on a great first year!!! I’m so proud of you and your writing. I LOVE Hooked! I also love your commitment to your writing. Here’s to another great year of writing and fishing!!!!

Love, Aunt Lynn

24 03 2012
Tele

Aunt Lynn – what a lovely surprise to hear you chiming in! I didn’t know you were out here with us. If anyone knows a thing or two about commitment to writing, it’s you. Thank you for being an inspiration in practicing your own craft, and encouraging others to do the same.

19 03 2012
grainsifter

Thank you so much for your blog and for sharing with so many of us your thoughts, your experiences. I savor your words, Tele.

24 03 2012
Tele

Well, I feel the same about yours, friend. Thank you for your kindness, and your insightful, moving reflections.

19 03 2012
Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Happy Birthday! I love when you speak for the trees! I’d love to win the book!

24 03 2012
Tele

We’re a good team, then, Jodi, because I love listening (reading) you speaking for wellness. Thanks for all of your service and heart, friend.

19 03 2012
emily a la blog

Happy birthday! Great giveaway idea. :)

24 03 2012
Tele

Thanks, Emily! Never done one of these before, but something about having an overly optimistic stack of books on my shelf…

19 03 2012
CJ

Hey Tele,
Happy Birthday, Hooked. Good job, congratulations, bravo!!

As you may recall, our paths crossed when you joined SheWrites, back when your followers were in single digits. I still read every post like a letter home as I’ve watched your meteoric rise in the blogosphere. Not only is yours an exciting life from the get go, but you manage to hone in with beautiful writing and heartfelt empathy, on important social issues such as the treatment of indigineous peoples and “occupy.”

I comment less because I feel it’s no longer my place, but I do send my congratulations to Cap’n J for his poetry win and my condolences for the bookend boat disasters. And I unabashedly brag on my Alaskan female fisherman deckhand friend. My son, a big strapping guy about your age, said he would love your life. He worked a couple of years as the chef aboard a research vessel out of Florida.

Hooked on Hooked, C.J.

23 03 2012
Tele

C.J., there will ALWAYS be a place for you at Hooked! I remember very well you reaching out in the earliest days, and my delight at learning of our shared trolling history. Every time I passed your brother’s boat on the drag last season, I sent a little smile out to you and Smoke.

You’re right, Hooked has indeed been blessed with many new friends over the past year. I’m thrilled that these stories resonate with a wide audience, and am grateful for more people to learn the blessings and struggles of the unique lifestyle that you and I know so well. New voices are valuable additions; it’s up to us to create a culture amongst us that allows Hooked to grow, while retaining the comfort and warmth of a small group of friends sitting around the kitchen table. As the season amps up and I spend weeks away from the internets, I’ll be relying on our regular readers/commenters to help create that space.

Thanks for saying hi, C.J. – I’d noticed your absence, and was sending good thoughts your way. Hope you’re having a lovely spring day.

19 03 2012
Julie Farrar

I’m a little late to the party today, so I guess all the cake is gone. However, I’m adding my congratulations to the mix. I never would have said to myself, “Hmmm, I think I’ll search for blogs about fishing in Alaska,” but ever since I found you I love learning so much about a different world than mine. And I wonder if the salmon I love to eat is coming from your boat. Save journeys out there. Looking forward to more stories.

19 03 2012
Greg J.

Hi Tele,
Even though I am still in Sitka, I find you tie me back into the fishing industry that I was a part of for so many years. Thank you for your voice.

25 03 2012
Tele

Thank YOU – if this is the Greg J I’m thinking of, then whether you’re coming at this from your own deck or the dock, you have been and remain a tremendous contributor to the industry! Thank you for your decades of service to maintaining an industry-wide standard of quality.

19 03 2012
Nancy

Tele,
A new visitor I am, but hooked already. Happy Birthday! I will serve salmon for dinner tonight, in honor of you and all the others who are on their way to another season at sea. Best!

24 03 2012
Tele

What a wonderful honoring – and I don’t have to ask you if it’s wild! I’d love to hear what your favorite salmon recipes are sometime. Meanwhile, best wishes for your own continued writing, Nancy – enjoy yourself and your story!

19 03 2012
Amyee Peeler

Congratulations on a wonderful first blog year Tele! When I receive the email with a new Hooked post, I save it until I can sit down to read and truly appreciate your writing :) Coming in from the first longline trip of the year now…wish I could share a pic, it’s absolutely stunning out today!

23 03 2012
Tele

What an awesome comment, Amyee – realizing that you were reading/writing from out on the water, your boat hopefully plugged and slogging her way towards town, totally made my day! What a great feeling that is, the first trip under your belt, the conditions smiling upon you, knowing a shower’s in the near future… thanks so much for being part of this community since its early days, and best wishes, Amyee!

19 03 2012
Ron McDaniel

I would have replied anyway but with the chance to win your blurb, how could I resist? Sorry I didn’t find Hooked until a few months ago when catching up on Fisher Poets info. You, Captain J, and Ashley made quite a splash this year. (Talk about unique perspectives…a cowboy welcoming you to Fisher Poets) I look forward to following you guys this year and entertaining myself with the pleasure of reading your work. You have a gift as a writer that I can only dream of. Keep up the good work!

20 03 2012
Vivian Faith Prescott

Happy Birthday, Hooked!!!! It’s been great to get to know you through your blog. May you have many happy writing years in the future.

20 03 2012
Paula Dobbyn

It’s a wonderful blog, Tele. Thanks for sharing your beautiful writing with the world. And congratulations on the anniversary!

21 03 2012
andrew thoms

Congrats on the one year anniversary! I’m looking forward to another year… especially more scenes from the Nerka along the coast… my favorite was K’naan drag jam in the westerlies (which blew so much during the summer of 2011). i also liked the recipe for salmon. most especially, i love the mix of perspectives and insights and the complete lack of any orthodoxy in your writings and reflections. keep it up!!!

22 03 2012
beverlydiehl

Happy blog birthday! Not sure how long I’ve been following, but know I always enjoy stopping by. Making it to the one year mark is very cool. :-)

31 12 2012
Hooked Ends 2012 on a Note of Change « Hooked

[...] what powerful, generous allies you’d be. Just as you deserved honoring (and cake!) on Hooked’s first birthday, I want to close 2012 with appreciation. As often as I try to express this, words fail to capture  [...]




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