The Nudged Inch

By Hedgebrook Guest

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

Active Body, Active Mind

By Hedgebrook Guest

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

I Hedgebrooked My Life

By Hedgebrook Guest

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

What I Learned at Hedgebrook

By Hedgebrook Guest

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

Activism, movement building, and fighting structural inequality

By Hedgebrook Guest

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.”

  Read more

The Fabric of Time

By Hedgebrook Guest

Now that the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival is in its 19th year, I find that I’m in the past and in the present all at the same time. As I walk up the road from the Farmhouse toward the cottages, I hear echoes of laughter and snippets of conversations past, the deep reverberations of the playwrights who’ve been here before. Even as I greet the 2016 Hedgebrook playwrights for the first time—and they’re an astonishing group of women: Kristiana Rae Colón, Virginia Grise, Dawn Renee Jones, Madhuri Shekar, and Regina Taylor—I simultaneously recall the sound of Dael Orlandersmith telling rock ‘n’ roll stories, the image of Danai Gurira hunched over her laptop, and a walk to Double Bluff beach with Sarah Treem. I remember laughing till we cried and crying till we laughed with Kathleen Tolan. I remember the “whoosh” of Theresa Rebeck slipping new pages under my door at 7:00 a.m. I remember playing poker with Tory Stewart, collecting rocks on the beach with Lydia Stryk, and attending mass with Julia Cho. I think of hanging out in the farmhouse after dinner and hearing Tanya Barfield read the first scenes of what would become Blue Door, Lynn Nottage sharing the exquisite beginnings of what would become Intimate Apparel, and Caridad Svich reading an early draft of Magnificent Waste (“B-b-b-boy in a box.”). Each memory conjures up ten more. Alice Tuan, Lenelle Moïse, Tanya Saracho, Karen Hartman, Rosanna Staffa, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Karen Zacarías . . . so many extraordinary women who’ve gathered here over time to dig deep into their writing, share generously of their lives, and create the plays that, one by one, are transforming the American theatre.

  Read more

The Art of Falling in Love

By Hedgebrook Guest

One year ago I boarded a ferry headed for Whidbey Island, for the beginning of a two-week stay at Hedgebrook, for their annual Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. I was invited by the Goodman Theatre, which had commissioned me to write a new play KING OF THE YEES for them. Today, one year later, I have a co-production of the play scheduled for 2017 at the Goodman and Center Theatre Group, a Canadian premiere of the same play, and two additional commissions that are almost certainly connected to my time on Whidbey Island. Hedgebrook has certainly been one of the most helpful vehicles for creating momentum around my work, and since Hedgebrook, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how this exactly happened and how to replicate this in everyday life.   Read more

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