Tele Aadsen's WHAT WATER HOLDS speaks to anyone who has fallen under the spell of the sea.
Tele Aadsen met the sea as a child when her parents traded jobs as veterinarians for a migratory life shared with sea birds, salmon, and fishermen. In the mist of the Tongass rainforest, Tele learned to explore life within endless shades of gray, coming to know firsthand how fine the line between life and death and the precarious balance of sea, land, and sky. She’s spent the four decades since trolling for salmon off Southeast Alaska. In WHAT WATER HOLDS, a series of lyrical essays first shared at Oregon’s FisherPoets Gathering, Tele examines questions of equity, identity, community, the changing climate, and sustainability with loving, detailed attention, revealing the complexities within their many shades of gray. Weaving stories of what lies beneath the surface and the possibilities beyond, WHAT WATER HOLDS speaks to anyone who has fallen under the spell of the sea, struggled to find their own uncharted path, and wrestled with big philosophical questions—in short, anyone seeking to live a full, deeply considered life.
Literary Nonfiction. Essay. Nature. Family & Relationships. Women's Studies.
”In this slim, elegant volume, Tele Aadsen evokes the sea and the fishing community in all its peril and poetry. From childhood on, hers is a life lived from dock to deck, and the empathy and understanding she brings to her past resonates on every page. Her hard-earned wisdom is rendered in brilliant writing. The reader can savor these essays one at a time or plunge through the whole book and be equally delighted. Read WHAT WATER HOLDS, and you will never look at salmon in quite the same way again.” — Laura Kalpakian, author of Memory into Memoir
”From the slick deck of a rocking fishing boat, Tele Aadsen finds her footing and navigates the squalls of life with raw vulnerability and courage. WHAT WATER HOLDS is a manifesto to face the waves, embrace the unknown, and give thanks for all of it—storms and rainbows, scarcity and abundance, loss and love.” — Amy Gulick, author and photographer of The Salmon Way and Salmon in the Trees
”In Tele Aadsen’s extraordinary new book, WHAT WATER HOLDS, we have a perfect writer to captain this tale of work, love, and life fishing the Alaskan seas. Reading this story is to be transported from whatever stationary world you occupy to that life she renders so beautifully, with all the risks, challenges, joys, and more found in this memoir’s hold. Aadsen is a master at keeping her balance when a rogue wave or a rogue memory comes to call. She writes, “Birds, fish, life: It’s all one great mystery. . . . Always searching for what not visible on the surface.” And that is what this writer does so effortlessly in stunning prose. She dives, goes subsurface, to brings us mystery, the most sought after bounty. How fortunate are we, as readers, to have her at the helm of this incredible book.” — Toni Mirosevich, author of Spell Heaven
Tele Aadsen is a commercial fisherman, writer, and lapsed social worker. Born in Alaska, she finds home in seasonal migrations: ocean summers on the outer coast of Lingít Aaní, Southeast Alaska, aboard the F/V Nerka with her partner Joel, followed by land winters in the Coast Salish territory of Washington's Skagit Valley. She self-markets their frozen-at-sea catch through Nerka Sea Frozen Salmon and performs annually with Oregon's FisherPoets Gathering. Her name is pronounced "Tell- ah."