North Words Writers Symposium? Yes, Please!

30 05 2012

Greetings from the Juneau Airport!

Remember that last halibut trip we made? Turns out we nailed our poundage, got everything we needed. We spent the next few days cleaning up – scrubbing every last drop of halibut slime and blood, taking the longline gear off the boat and getting it set up to be ready to go trolling for salmon on July 1. Joel and I moved ourselves back onto the Nerka, ready to think about our own boat projects.

This weekend, I finally waded through 10 days’ of email. Cruising through with one finger hovering over the delete button, I stopped short at a post from 49 Writers.

“North Words Writers Symposium,” read the headline by Alaskan author Heather Lende. What’s that? Three days with my favorite Alaskan authors? The same writers whose books fill my memoir proposal’s “Comparative Titles” section, whose words I study devoutly, awed by their evocation of landscape, communities and experiences I recognize as my own? Registration limited to 50 – a 1 to 3 faculty/participant ratio – with lit stars dancing in my eyes? Scheduled perfectly between my boat and fishing responsibilities, only five days away?

My gods.

Once in a special while, opportunity appears spread-eagled before you, stunning with its blatant invitation. That’s what I saw in that post. And with a fresh longline check burning in my wallet and a partner who said, “Of course you should go,” I was in.

That’s not to say the trip planning was easy. Hopscotching between remote communities in Southeast Alaska takes effort. I spent the next two days figuring out how to get from Baranof Island to Skagway, one of only three communities in Southeast Alaska that’s accessible by road. Thanks to one Boeing 737-400, two Cessna bush planes, and one high-speed ferry, everything seems to have lined up just right.

Cap’n J borrowed a friend’s van to drop me off at the Sitka Airport at 5:30 this morning. By 6:30, I’d landed here in Juneau. In a few minutes I’ll be boarding a Cessna Caravan to Skagway – at nine seats, it’s one of the “big” planes.

My chariot to Skagway.

Some deckhands blow their hard-earned crewshare in the bar; I run off to a writer’s conference. Excited? Oh, yes. Anxious? That, too. Stand by for a delirious report, buddies. Meanwhile, do check out the North Words Writers Symposium details here.

For my writer friends – any special requests? Questions you’d like to ask if you were here? What discussions would you attend?

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