By Hedgebrook Guest

Scribbling Over Erasure

Last Friday, a much-anticipated symposium took place at the college where I teach, a small liberal arts university near Seattle. I had looked forward to it all semester, designing my classes around the illustrious scholars, authors, and thinkers who would be speaking at the two-day event. I required all my creative writing students to attend the keynote address by one Very Famous Mexican Author. He was introduced as “the most important living Mexican author,” an assessment that I don’t agree with (I would humbly offer that laurel to Elena Poniatowska), but understand. VFMA gave the packed auditorium an elegant, intricate speech, weaving together pop culture, politics, and literature in an hour-long treatise on the state of Mexican affairs. He was brilliant; I was impressed.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Gloria Named My Memoir

It happened again. Someone “friended” me and her profile picture was of a smiling woman in hijab. Since my book Uncovered is about leaving the Hasidim, this wasn’t a common experience. I was pleased. I see my memoir as feminist, as an act of solidarity with covered women everywhere. I didn’t always see it that way.

Back in 2010, I went to Hedgebrook for the first time. I had just sent off a final draft of my memoir to my agent and was eager to delve into my new novel. I saw no one else that first day, needed no one else. I hung up clothes and set up my writing space, took a careful walk around my cabin, and then I was ready to go to work. But first, a quick email check—and there was my agent’s name.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Staff

The Radical Hospitality Revolution

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

By Hedgebrook Guest

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

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

By Hedgebrook Guest

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

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

By Hedgebrook Guest

The Gloria Steinem I Know

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

By Hedgebrook Guest

Putting Writing First

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

By Hedgebrook Staff

Meeting With The Mentor

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

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