By Cathy Bruemmer

An Update from the Hedgebrook Garden

The growth in June is outrageous.  We have gone from famine to feasting and I’ve renewed my job as vegetable pusher.  Actually I’m pretty much just a salad pusher (keep reading for Denise’s amazing Caesar dressing), but at least the greens are abundant.  The pea vines are FINALLY flowering and I hope by next week we can start picking.  Strawberries began ripening this week and the first bulbing fennel are beginning to fatten up.  Mustard greens and baby bok choy are making their way into the kitchen and the first big bundle of carrots wound up in Julies Indian stew.   Read more

By Vito Zingarelli

2012 Writers in Residence Application Now Available Online!

Hedgebrook’s 2012 residency season application is now available.

I am pleased and excited to share with you that we have now shifted to an online application process and I can’t say I will miss the mountains of paper I hosted in my office for months.  After last year’s beta-dabble into an on-line process with our application, it became clear that a full transition was warranted.  If I had any doubts, they were quickly dispelled when the tubs of application packets avalanched into my office with close to 800 applicants last year.  The environmental impacts involved with the creation, shipping and recycling of such an incredible volume of paper were clearly excessive and unnecessary.

So began the transition to create an on-line process that would provide an uncomplicated experience for our writers. To accomplish this, we partnered with SlideRoom, a leading online applicant management system, and believe that we have been successful in our efforts.
I hope you find the process smooth and simple.  We have certainly worked to make it so. 

For more information about the 2012 Writers in Residence Application, please visit the application page on our website.

By Austin Walters

A Valuable Lesson

I’ve always loved to read. Cracking open a book is one of the greatest joys in my life, and talking to others about books comes in a very close second. But somewhere around the time when I started taking literature classes in college, I became a snob about books. I didn’t  really realize it was happening, and I wasn’t extremely open about it. I didn’t scoff or chide people about their choices or recommendations, I just developed a strong opposition to the most talked about bestsellers, popular book club picks, and any book printed with a movie poster cover. I thought that these books were a waste of my precious reading time.

Then a small, misfit British boy came along and changed everything.   Read more

By Lorraine Ali

Stopping Long Enough to Sit Down and Write

I’ve been trying to finish a memoir for a couple years now, but ever since I landed a book deal I’ve somehow become the human equivalent of a magpie. Every single task, aside from writing The Book, is now a like a shiny lure that I need to pursue with gusto.

Don’t get me wrong — I do have somewhat of an excuse.  Life is packed with must dos, (work, the kid, the bi-annual vacuuming of the living room rug) and it takes up a great deal of energy. I’m also a journalist who writes for a living, so the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is, well . . . you get the idea. But not so long ago I found myself filling up every bit of free time engrossed in some sort of entirely unimportant busy work. After all, who else is going to re-grout the bathroom or de-pill that old wool jacket I haven’t worn in three years? I’d justify these mind-numbing pursuits (it gives me intellectual free time to incubate brilliant ideas for the book!) or curse the task itself for standing between me and literary greatness. Either way, I had something to tell myself as I dodged blown book deadlines like deadly IEDs.   Read more

By Shimi Rahim

The Magic of my Hedgebrook Experience

It built slowly, the magic of my Hedgebrook experience. When I first began settling into my cottage and the daily writing routine that would define the next two weeks of my life, I felt out of sorts. Hedgebrook was legendary among women writers. Did I expect that I’d walk into my storybook cottage and, like some writer’s fairy tale, the words would pour magically from my fingers? That, with solitude and three meals a day provided for me in a gorgeous setting, I would spend every waking minute churning out chapters of my first novel?

Instead, what I experienced in my early moments was rather different: feelings of unworthiness, confusion as to how to structure my day, and not a small amount of loneliness and strangeness. My fellow residents were published authors, experienced teachers, activists with years of experience under their belts. I felt small next to them and their achievements, due in no part whatsoever to them and entirely to my own insecurities. Also, they had developed a camaraderie into which I didn’t yet belong.     Read more

By Jen Marlowe

My Year as a Sponge: Wringing Out at Hedgebrook

August, 2010. We gathered each evening around the Farmhouse Table.

“What did you work on today?” someone asked.

“A section of my memoir,” one woman answered.

“A new poem,” another offered.

Invariably, one of the women turned to me. “What did you write today, Jen?”

“I wrote…a press release.”

Vito, the residency director, warned us. Writers get the most from Hedgebrook if they break away from “real life” distractions and dive deeply into writing.

I intended to do just that. To carve out those weeks to work on my book about Martina, the sister of my friend Troy Davis, an innocent man on Georgia’s death row.

It didn’t go as planned.   Read more

By Upcoming Hedgebrook Master Class Teacher - Karen Joy Fowler

Are you a Writer or a Reader?

Many writers I know fret about how to answer the question, what do you do?  When are you entitled to say that you’re a writer?  When you write?  When you publish?  When you support yourself writing?  For what it’s worth, I believe that a writer is simply someone who writes.   Question posed and answered!  But that’s not actually what I wanted to talk about here.

Early on, I fretted about that question too, but I’ve been answering that I’m a writer for quite some time now.   Only lately I’ve been running a different answer through my head.  Lately, I’ve been thinking that I spend a lot more time reading than writing.  Lately I’ve been thinking my answer should be that I’m a reader.

I’ve always been a reader.  There was a time, early in my career, when reading was quite spoiled for me.  Instead of losing myself in a piece, I’d be frantically trying to dissect it—figure out how it worked and why.  I had to ask myself then—if the price I have to pay to be a writer is my reading, do I still want it?  And answered no; price too high.   Read more

By Vito Zingarelli

Spring Arrives at the Retreat

The sun has finally begun to grace us with more than an occasional appearance here at Hedgebrook.  The result is that beauty abounds and the blossoming of orchard, garden and forest brings forth both bounty and sustenance for all the residents of our 48 acres.

It is always around this time, end of April/early May, coinciding with the Hedgebrook

Women Playwrights FestivalTM, where we hope and expect the sun to return, allowing us the pleasure of al fresco dining and dramaturgical exchanges around the retreat grounds.  This year was no exception, although it was touch and go right up to the last minute, and we enjoyed a glorious opening weekend of play readings and community here for this year’s five playwrights and our theatre guests from around the country.

This week saw the departure of our playwrights and dramaturgs-in-residence and we have once again welcomed a new roster of writers of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir and screenwriting.  The writers-in-residence program is once again back in full swing and the cottages are filled with the diverse creative energies fueled by brisk sun-filled late spring days that are elongating towards the solstice when the last light of day here in the pacific northwest lingers until 11pm.  Perhaps a month away but the inevitability is apparent.

We have long awaited the ‘great drying-out’ from this year’s record rains and will now bid farewell to the overflowing ponds and running brook that came alive this year as Nancy, our founder, had envisioned 24 years ago.  It seems these wet days are now ending and we welcome the lush aftermath of such intense moisture now encouraged by the returning sun.

Hedgebrook is in a full court press to summer………….

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