Stories & Life
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The end of Angry August

I’ve always been interested in all of the nuances of working summers up here in the Great North. The novel that I am working on explores some of these quirks, one of which is referred to as “Angry August.” After working and living together for several months, tensions often build to the boiling point. By the time August rolls around, the shit hits the fan. People fight, they quit, and some say “fuck it!” and head home.

It’s always this way. I’ve seen it for eight summers now — from remote commercial fishing camps on Kodiak Island to tourist gigs at Alaskan lodges. Seasonal Alaskan workers just see too much of each other, and eventually tensions build. I’ve seen some epic August meltdowns, including one in which all the chefs quit at the same time.

Humor is a good coping mechanism. One of my favorites was seeing a note, hand-written by one of the cooks. It was posted on the line and read, “No fucks given.”

This August was one of the less angry. Even so, thank God it’s September.

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Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy; I pass the winters in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. I'm working on a memoir-based nonfiction book on the American Dream. I blog, quite frequently, and I also have a novel in process, set in Alaska.

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