By Hedgebrook Guest

The Nudged Inch

After a burst of crying, I spent today in an attic thumbing through Jung, a year after my time at Hedgebrook. It’s been a long day. I should clarify that I’m not in any old attic, but one at another residency, and that the cry wasn’t a bad cry, more like a necessary one. The Jung, however, was Jung.

In my morning pages—a residency habit I sustain after having picked up The Artist’s Way from the Hedgebrook library and trying it out in my armchair, by the fire, in Oak Cottage—I wrote that I had accomplished nothing significant almost halfway through this month. Everything feels nudged along an inch. 1600 words here, a decision there, a few pages of line edits here, a revised paragraph there. I remember my month at Hedgebrook being so fertile and idyllic, but did I feel that way in the thick of it or am I looking with the soft light of hindsight?   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Active Body, Active Mind

When I showed my kids pictures of the ridiculously adorable cottages at Hedgebrook, one of which would be my home for an August 2015 residency, my son bet that I’d love the cottage so much I’d never leave it and hoped, for my sake, that it had a bathroom.

He was both correct and not (though thankfully, the cottages do have bathrooms). Each day: coffee, editing of the previous day’s writing, writing toward a new poem. I’d make up an excuse to walk the grounds once or twice, like hey, I’ve run out of fresh figs / flowers / blackberries and should go get some. Breakfast and lunch from my fridge: sheep’s milk yogurt, local honey, a container brimming with something wonderful that a Hedgebrook chef had prepared.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

I Hedgebrooked My Life

Residencies and Master Classes at Hedgebrook should come with a warning: This will change your life.

I spent the first two weeks of August 2015 at Hedgebrook. My goal was to finish a book I’d been writing for ten years – and I did.

At Hedgebrook, I did the same thing every day: woke up, brewed coffee, made toast with peanut butter and banana, and wrote until I was so hungry I had to stop to eat whatever amazing creation I’d carried in my basket the night before. Then I walked on the beach until dinner.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

What I Learned at Hedgebrook

The last week of June, I attended a Master Class at Hedgebrook. For seven whole days this was my home:

An adorable little cottage under the cedar and maple trees, all to my own.

When I returned to the real world, everyone asked, “How was it??” And I replied, “Amazing!” Which was the truth–but not the whole truth. Being there WAS amazing. It was also surreal and difficult and kind of like being on another planet. No matter how hard I try, I can’t wrap up the experience with a single word, one wise thought, one feeling.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Activism, movement building, and fighting structural inequality

The play ended and my colleague Carlton Mackey (founder of 50 Shades of Black) invited the audience to share one-word reflections on their experiences. The students at Bowie State University, an historically Black institution in Bowie, MD sat in silence for several moments before their words came pouring out:

 

“Familiar.”

“Discrimination.”

“Baltimore.”

“Relatable.”

“Ferguson.”

“Reality.”

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By Hedgebrook Guest

Why VORTEXT is Better Than an MFA

The answer to how important a Master of Fine Arts degree is to becoming a fiction writer is, of course, not at all. The history of world literature is weighted heavily on the side of writers who put their masterpieces together without the benefit of two years of graduate school.” ~Ann Patchett, “The Getaway Car.”

For years I have agonized over whether or not I should get an MFA, but I could never bring myself to spend a ton of money or move to a new city in an attempt to earn a a real degree. On my blog, The MFA Project, I document the ways I now make up my own MFA—I am in a workshop that meets regularly, and I am constantly trying to read more widely. Since attending VORTEXT in 2015, the idea of a literary community is now a crucial part of this alternative to the MFA as well.

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