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Old 08-11-2013, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
159 posts, read 206,593 times
Reputation: 49

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Here's something I've mentioned on before as the story inspired by "The Downeaster 'Alexa' by Billy Joel. I first wrote the story a while back and am not sure if it's actually any good, although flaws have been pointed out to me. Can people tell me what they think.

The Dutch Harbor Alexa

Alexa Sokoloff,

Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, Amaknak Island,Aleutian Islands, AK

Discovered this on my dad’s blog, where he 's got a link to his logbook every fishing and crabbing season. Says it’s a good way to stop himself getting bored know he keeps the blog mainly because he wanted us to be able to find it easily and get updates on what he’s doing. He doesn’t say it of course. It’s not his kind of thing to say.

We left Dutch nine days ago, at first light. I hope for a larger catch by the end of this month - last year’s season the number of crabs we hauled in barely paid enough to keep us working for the next two years. We hauled in 1000 king crabs so far, but I’m hoping for a bit more. I’m trying to make it worth going out,as it might not be worth it to pay the cost of repairs at this end of this season due to the size of our quota.

There’s enough food for extra supply stops to be unnecessary. So far, there hasn’t been much ice on the deck, but Rob, the newest deckhand, is prepared for the situation. Might be the best greenhorn I’ve had in two years. He says that he plans to stay here for a few seasons. Dinner tonight will be spaghetti and meatballs, which should be good. I’m praying that the numbers won’t drop and that I’ll get back safe at the end of this month. -Captain’s log of the Alexa

The last sentence in his blog post was If my family’s reading this –Alexa, we’ll talk about getting you a job as a deckhand in three years when I get back in a couple weeks. Natalya, your meatballs are better than Emily’s. No disrespect to her but it ain’t the same.

Dad loaded up the Alexa’s deck just before Thanksgiving for king crab season. He went again last week at the beginning of opilio season to meet his quota. We’re having another snowstorm. The snowflakes are all I can see in the blackness looking out the window. It’s sleeting too; been like this since morning. Last night he told us the repairs on her were done and he was going to try and get some sleep. “A good crab boat captain can’t fall asleep. The ice might thicken or a storm might creep up at any moment.”

He’ll send us an email if the radio, Skype or phone onboard doesn’t work. The last time all three happened was when I was ten, three years ago. I’m going to copy his logbook entries in here so I know what he’s doing. It’ll help me when I can’t talk to him. It’s practice for keeping the Alexa’s log when I leave school.

Nothing I'd like better to do than be a crabber like my father. I’ve always loved the feel of the cold windon my face when I go on deck during the crab seasons and salmon, halibut and rockfish seasons. Dad told me that thousands of years ago, before the Russianscame to Alaska, our Unangan ancestors used bone hooks, spears, and lines and sinkers to fish. He said he’d teach me if he had time. He’s already shown me how to gut fish, and one of my aunts showed me how to clean and smoke it.

It’s nine-ten and I’m writing this at thedesk in my bedroom. This red-covered journal with gold leaf on the edge of itspages was an early Christmas present from Mom. She gave it to me after night prayers on December eighth, with an Orthodox cross. After we got back fromchurch over the bridge, I was so tired I flopped down on my bed and spent a few minutes listening to the living room conversation. She handed the cross to me in a little brown box and placed the journal in my other hand. “I decided to give it to you ahead of time. I figured you wouldn’t want to wait. Don’t worry,I won’t read it.”

This morning when I went out to collect the eggs from the shed in our yard, it was sleeting. My face stung, so I pulled my red North Face coat tighter around my shoulders and pushed the hood up my head, hiding my wavy black hair. Luckily I’d put on socks and my favorite pair of Bunny Boots.

A few seconds ago, we were on the couch listening to the radio. The sea’ll be up to 50 feet and the winds are going to be about 40 knots for the next two weeks or so. I sat there for half an hour.Well, it sure seemed like it. I had pins and needles in my legs. At least my fingers aren’t numb. Joel spent a minute fiddling with his shoelaces and looking at the clouds. Mom started singing under her breath. Just hearing that made me tense up. The tune’s one of those old Billy Joel ones; I think it's that one about the Italian restaurant.

Reading it back again I feel that it's a bit weak but I can't explain why. It's a gut feeling sort of thing. Is my gut feeling right? If it is, how could I improve this? Thanks.

Last edited by Morwen Edhelwen; 08-11-2013 at 09:55 PM..
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
159 posts, read 206,593 times
Reputation: 49
bump.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Florida
7,196 posts, read 5,124,632 times
Reputation: 12305
It's a good start, but you need a lot more detail. Remember to show, rather than tell.

Show the reader how your dad showed you how to gut fish, don't just say that he showed you. Same with the scene with your mom giving you the journal. Flesh that out. Why did you want a journal? Why would she give you the Christmas gift early? Did you have something pressing to write in it? Did you believe her when she said she wouldn't read it? Let the reader feel the sharp, icy sleet; don't just say that it was sleeting out. Describe your mom's soprano voice giving shape to the words of the song, "I'll meet you anytime you want, in our Italian restaurant..."

Write, write, write.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:01 PM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
159 posts, read 206,593 times
Reputation: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherTouchOfWhimsy View Post
It's a good start, but you need a lot more detail. Remember to show, rather than tell.

Show the reader how your dad showed you how to gut fish, don't just say that he showed you. Same with the scene with your mom giving you the journal. Flesh that out. Why did you want a journal? Why would she give you the Christmas gift early? Did you have something pressing to write in it? Did you believe her when she said she wouldn't read it? Let the reader feel the sharp, icy sleet; don't just say that it was sleeting out. Describe your mom's soprano voice giving shape to the words of the song, "I'll meet you anytime you want, in our Italian restaurant..."

Write, write, write.
Not based on me, actually but Billy Joel's song, The Downeaster Alexa. It is inspired by me partially though . Thanks, AnotherTouch!
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Florida
7,196 posts, read 5,124,632 times
Reputation: 12305
Yeah, I knew it wasn't you specifically. I was speaking to your narrator!
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
159 posts, read 206,593 times
Reputation: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherTouchOfWhimsy View Post
Yeah, I knew it wasn't you specifically. I was speaking to your narrator!
ha ha ha. Anyway I'll keep that in mind.
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