Sharing the Love for Hooked’s Friends

2 05 2012

The harbor wi-fi’s been cooperative this week, keeping me distracted with all kinds of internet goodness – including some friends’ achievements!

Longtime readers have already heard me rave about Cami Ostman. We worked together in Seattle’s homeless youth services; 10 years later, our paths merged in the Bellingham writing community. Author of the inspiring memoir Second Wind and founding member of Red Wheelbarrow Writers, Cami’s a generous mentor and beloved friend.  Yesterday, she gave a fantastic interview on ABC’s show The Revolution, discussing her own inner revolution of running marathons on all seven continents. Watch “Running Across the Globe” here.

Fellow fisherman writer Jen Pickett scored an interview with PBS! Jen’s a pioneer: when she was only 28 years old, she became one of the only women to own and operate her own boat on the legendary Copper River Flats. She’s also a memoirist, a Fisher Poet, an adventurer, and a pleasure to know. Read her interview to learn about her 20 years at sea, how commercial fishing has changed in that time, and which Muppet she’d hire as crew.

Those of you in the Seattle – Vancouver B.C. area, I recommend marking 6 pm, May 22, on your calendars. Laura Kalpakian’s Memory into Memoir students will have a public reading at Bellingham’s beloved independent bookstore, Village Books. This event concludes three quarters of exhaustive writing, critiquing, and revising. I had the privilege of spending fall and winter with these writers. They’re a tremendously gifted, courageous group, telling extremely diverse life stories. If you’re in the area, please go, listen to their stories, and give them some extra love for me.

Big hugs to all – I’m so proud of the whole bunch of you!

And you, friends? Anything wonderful going on that you want to share?





Coming Soon: Fisher Poets 2012!

8 02 2012

Hey, you guys – it’s almost time for the Fisher Poets Gathering!

Not familiar with FPG? Every February, men and women connected to the fishing industry flood into Astoria, Oregon, to share poems, songs, memoir, and visual art in celebration of this unique livelihood. People come from around the country to take part in this event (from around the globe, in fact: one of this year’s FisherPoets is from Japan) Now in their 15th year, more than 70 artists will be performing this February 24-26.

(Having a hard time imagining a fisherman/woman poet? Veteran FisherPoet and photographer Pat Dixon put together this gorgeous site of past performers and their work.)

Fishin’ folks, writers, storytellers, nestled into bars and restaurants in a seaside town… Some of my favorite things, right there.  So it’s more than a little shameful that I’ve never been to a FPG. Astoria is only about 5 hours south of Bellingham, but somehow, the timing just never worked out. I’ve been a long-distance, wanna-be groupie for an embarrassing number of years now, swooning over various highliner performers from afar. (Yes, I’m lookin’ at you two, Moe Bowstern and Jen Pickett!)

But no more! When, at the end of last season, Cap’n J and I discussed our winter goals, I announced, “I want to finally make it to Fisher Poets this February.” He’s always game for a road trip, especially to the Oregon Coast. (One of his favorite photography destinations, as you can see here.) And just like that, the room’s rented, we’re going, and I’m a quivery mess of excitement.

That quivery mess? Not just about excitement, but nerves, too. As it turns out, sweet readers, this won’t just be my first time in the Fisher Poets audience, but on the stage, too. The organizers generously gave this greenhorn two slots on the schedule (7 pm Friday at the Baked Alaska, and 9 pm Saturday at the Fort George Showroom. Just, you know, if you’re in the area and wanted to stop by.) I’m grateful to be on board, and am eager to learn from the pros.

Between the thrill of hearing some of my FisherPoet idols in person, and the anxiety of filling my 15 minute slots with worthy pieces, I expect the weekend will fly by in a blur of shanties and salt-tinged stories. I can’t wait.

If you’re within range and looking for a fantastic weekend, please join us in Astoria, February 24-26. All of the information is here – admission, scheduling, etc. Info on lodging in Astoria is here. Can’t make it and want to enjoy vicariously? NPR-affiliate KMUN 91.9 FM will be livestreaming the Astoria Events Center performances on Friday and Saturday nights, beginning at 6 pm. Wherever you are, you can listen here.

 





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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