It seems that my friend Marlin is destined to have literary deckhands. After a string of memoirists and bloggers, one of this season’s hands is Paul, an MFA grad focused on creative writing and fiction.
Paul isn’t green: he’s crewed on another mutual friend’s gillnetter, and worked the slime line of a Southeast processing plant. But trolling is new – a different fishery, a different culture. Like so many of us who find our footing through writing, he hasn’t wasted any time in processing his experience on the page.
While I frittered this town time away with a blend of necessary chores and soul rejuvenating socializing, Paul got right to work. I found him in my favorite spot at the Backdoor Cafe – the highly coveted corner table “office.” Intent on his computer, he explained his project – a 1000-word piece about our king salmon opening, a new sort of “Blessing of the Fleet.”
Paul posted that piece on his blog that evening. I read it right away – jaw slightly agape, stunned at his ability to fictionalize our recent experience, creating new characters on recognizable boats, while maintaining absolutely authenticity to the core emotions, struggles, and rewards of our business. It’s a rich, sincere piece of creative writing that captures the heart of trolling beautifully. Do yourself a favor and read it.
Here’s the opening paragraph to pull you in:
“Opening day on the trolling grounds and a glassy ocean receives the fleet after their long, bucking ride up from Sitka. Sometimes July on the Fairweather Grounds is like this, like old friends returning to each other. But this July there will be only three more days of good weather. The other days it will blow. Westerlies, southwesterlies, white caps and swells, twenty five knots winds that come whipping off the open ocean through the trollers’ welded bait sheds making a sound like a locomotive humming in the near distance. With the winds there is rain, there is usually rain even in calm seas. It does not storm, exactly, but mists, sometimes aggressively; it is never warm.”
Read the rest of “Blessing of the Fleet” here.
And that’s it for another few weeks, friends. Cap’n J and I are fueling up this morning, then heading back out for our first coho trip of the season. This is where the grind starts: we’ll stay out until the Nerka’s hold is full. Hopefully we’ll be back in touch in another 10 to 12 days. Until then, be safe and be well, friends.