The Radical Hospitality Revolution

By Hedgebrook Staff

Collaboration is the essence of growth, and we sorely need both. But I think we need something beyond “growth”.

It’s clear to me that what we need is a sustainable revolution. A revolution founded on truth-telling and dialogue. A revolution that provides radical hospitality while centering the experiences of disenfranchised voices.

Hedgebrook can only host about 45 writers each year at our retreat. So, we are partnering with our alumnae community to help spread this model of radical hospitality.   Read more

A Faith in Leaving: How a Week at Hedgebrook Reconnected Me With The Writer I Was

By Hedgebrook Guest

Journal Entry, December 7, 2010

As I type this I feel blessed.

I feel blessed for the opportunity to be here, for the weather, for my own cottage, for my family to be home safe for a week.

I have started my first fire in the woodstove and watch the flames thinking—I want to find my writer’s self again. Somehow I left her someplace and no longer know where to find her.

This is different than saying, I want to be writer. I know I am writer. I know writing has been with me since I can remember, but the part of me that writes, she is missing.   Read more

How I’m Learning to Teach Things I Didn’t Know I Knew

By Hedgebrook Guest

There’s an expectation that when you’ve had a book published you know enough to teach someone else how to do the same—not just the part about actually getting the thing into print, but the craft part too. Since my novel came out in 2011, I’ve been invited on occasion to teach a class or give a lecture—just a 60 to 90 minute stint, nothing terribly taxing or overwhelming. Except that I’d never before done such a thing. Though years ago I received a master’s degree in education, taught ESL classes for a short period of time, and have for over two decades managed an environmental education program, my time in front of a classroom has been limited and none of that time was spent discussing the elements of fiction.   Read more

The Gloria Steinem I Know

By Hedgebrook Guest

I started out in radio at an auspicious time. It was the mid-1970s. Radio and television and radio stations were feeling the heat to put more women on the air. I became the beneficiary of a women’s movement that was gathering steam. And of course, Gloria Steinem was one of the engines of that movement.

I became the producer and host of a weekly one-hour radio show called “A Woman’s Place.” It aired at 11 p.m. on Sunday night, not prime time but who cared. I got to talk to many interesting women including Margaret Mead, Gilda Radner, Nora Ephron, Yoko Ono and Gloria Steinem.   Read more

Putting Writing First

By Hedgebrook Guest

The sticky September light, the edge to the morning, and the sweet, burnt smell in the air signal the beginning of the school year. There’s something traditionally religious about going back to school as an instructor. Reviewing last year’s syllabi and evaluations, I look for my sins. In developing or revising the curriculum, I find redemption. It’s a cycle, much like a Catholic mass. Another cycle, when the school year begins, is to tuck my writing into a closet and substitute the creativity found in students for my own creativity. September has been bittersweet for more than 25 years.   Read more

Meeting With The Mentor

By Hedgebrook Staff

Mentors come at unexpected times and in surprising places. Sometimes we seek them, and sometimes they just show up and offer exactly what we need.

My most unexpected meeting with a mentor happened by chance in a Seattle coffee shop.

The time was 2003, and the place was Victrola, a favorite Capitol Hill espresso bar, around the corner from my apartment. I’d moved to Seattle from grad school in the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and was supporting myself with odd jobs I’d cobbled together: a couple of teaching gigs, and a part-time job in the receiving department of the City People’s Mercantile. Making ends meet.   Read more

Writer, with a Capital “W”

By Hedgebrook Guest

I applied to Hedgebrook nearly twenty years ago as a young poet with a journalism day job and a love for putting words together.

Today, dozens of proposals later, I teach artists and writers how to write kick-ass proposals. We work on writing applications that are Shiny, Persuasive, Authentic, Real, and – of course – Killer.

That spark is what makes an application leap from the pile. Sometimes it comes out naturally and easily the first time; often, it can be coaxed and elicited through a smart writing and revision strategy.   Read more

Knocking at Hedgebrook’s Door

By Ellen Sussman

Originally published June 19, 2014, this post by Ellen Sussman remains one of our most popular blog posts. We are re-posting it because we received an update from Ellen she wanted us to share with you. 

UPDATE 7/2015: When I posted this blog about my many years of Hedgebrook applications and my many rejection letters — then finally… an acceptance! — I didn’t expect the strong response from readers. One woman told me she had taken her rejection so personally that she had stopped writing for a while. Other women told me they certainly wouldn’t apply again after a few years (only a few years?!!) of rejection. Months later something wonderful happened — many of those same women emailed me to say that they took another chance. They applied again. And this time, they got in. 

And some women emailed me to say: well, I didn’t get in. Again. But I’ll keep trying. 

Here’s another chance, fearless women writers. Take a risk. Apply for a residency at Hedgebrook. Believe in yourself and your writing. It’s essential to what we do.   Read more

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