Hello! I’m Sally Helm, writing from my new seat in the Island Institute offices on the Sheldon Jackson campus. I landed in Sitka just over two weeks ago as one of twelve Southeast Service Fellows who will be living on campus this year and serving in various organizations around Sitka. I grew up in Los Angeles, took a gap year between high school and college to travel in Latin America, and spent the past four years in New Haven, CT — I graduated from Yale University in May with a degree in English. I wrote my senior thesis on intersections between poetry and political rhetoric during the 1960s, and I also studied memoir, fiction, and creative nonfiction writing. I’ll be in Sitka for the next nine months (at least!). After seeing the water glow with phosphorescent plankton one weekend under my kayak one weekend and climbing Gavan Hill for a beautiful sunset the next, I’m pretty sure that this is one of the most astonishing places I’ve ever been.
We had a wonderful time travelling through Ketchikan, Juneau, Gustavus, and Sitka last month as part of the 2017 Tidelines Journey featuring artists Nina Elder, Billy Joe Miller, Jimmy Riordan, and Wendy Given.