By Hedgebrook Guest

The Fabric of Time

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.

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By Hedgebrook Guest

The Art of Falling in Love

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

By Hedgebrook Guest

One poem, two poem, three poems, more…

I began sending my poems out to journals in an age before Submittable when a couple of postage stamps and an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) were the well-trodden pathways to an editor’s desk. I loved each ritual, each step of the process handled with care.

First I’d choose the watermarked paper, then the poems, and finally the best looking commemorative stamps. Everything had meaning; even the anonymity of the mailbox, even the lipstick kiss with which I’d seal the envelope, wishing it good luck on its journey. Several months later, when the return envelope arrived through my front door slot, I would hold it up to the light looking for evidence of the impending acceptance or rejection.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

In Willow Cottage at Hedgebrook

The past few weeks have been by turns exciting, sorrowful, grief-filled, stressful and exhilarating. From flying to Paris for a two-week holiday, only to find out my younger sister had died suddenly during our overnight flight, to coming home to a house still filled with unpacked boxes from Rob’s move to Santa Barbara over Christmas, to preparing for a week at Hedgebrook, it has been a tumultuous time.

Today is my fourth day among the quiet cedars and oaks of Hedgebrook, a retreat center for women writers on Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest. In January, I was accepted into a Master Class with poet Carolyn Forché, and so far it has gone beyond my every expectation.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

10 Places To Find Inspiration For Your Poetry

For poets, inspiration can be found almost everywhere—at the laundromat with the stranger who looks like Albert Einstein, on a roadtrip passing silos and fields of white geese, taking a walk and finding the lines to a poem have wandered into your head. The online world also offers inspiration with science articles on NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft or a virtual walk through an online museum, but we can find ourselves taking a step out of our poetic work as the online world comes with its distractions and pop-up ads, it can be harder to find what inspires.

Below is a list of places (both online and off) where you can find a little inspiration to help inspire your poems and help you live a little more creatively—

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By Hedgebrook Guest

Donna Miscolta Interviews Sonora Jha

We asked Summer Salon teachers Sonora Jha and Donna Miscolta to interview each other for the Hedgebrook Farmhouse Table Blog. Read Sonora’s interview with Donna from last week.

Donna: What has being a journalist taught you about being a fiction writer and vice versa?

Sonora: Journalists are skeptics and they’re an anxious lot. I brought this skepticism and anxiety to my own work. I was skeptical while doing my research and my anxiety pushed me into draft after draft. Mostly, journalism has taught me to be curious. Being a fiction writer has taught me to dream a little, to trust a little, to be in the mystery of things. Together, these things have put a spark in my writing and an interesting quirk to the way I live my life.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Sonora Jha Interviews Donna Miscolta

We asked Summer Salon teachers Sonora Jha and Donna Miscolta to interview each other for the Hedgebrook Farmhouse Table Blog. Look for Donna’s interview with Sonora next week!

Sonora: You came to writing later in life, after an education and career in everything BUT writing. What part of this do you regret, if at all? And what part do you love?

Donna: Part of the reason why I came to writing late was I had long believed that it wasn’t possible for people like me to write books, and even if I had thought it possible, I didn’t believe that I myself was capable of such a thing. I regret that it took so long for me to believe. If I had come to writing earlier, it would’ve meant more years in which to learn to write and more years to produce work. My first book was published when I was 58. I turn 63 this year when my second book comes out. I’ve just finished a new novel manuscript and am two-thirds of the way through another one. My kids are grown and retirement from my day job is on the horizon. And though I feel some momentum in writing, I also feel the pressure of time. So, is there a part that I love about coming to writing later in life? I guess I just love that I came to it at all.

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