Hedgebrook LogoHedgebrook Logo

By Hedgebrook Guest

Poetry Has Value, But Do We Value It?

We write poems because we love writing poems, not because we expect to make a living from it. I feel like that’s probably the most blatantly obvious statement I’ve written in a long time, but I had to start there because—as a writer who has recently become a public voice for the necessity of paying poets for their work—it’s too easy to think I believe otherwise. But, no, the fact is I wrote poetry long before I ever made a cent from it, and I’ll continue to write it regardless of whether payment sources arise or not.

  Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

On Community and Isolation

In New York City where I lived until last summer, some playwright friends and I figured out that the way to see each other, and get our work done, was to write together. Not collaborate, just set laptops side by side, set a timer (usually 45 minutes) and go. Take a timed chat break, then repeat as necessary.

I’ve used this method in my generative writing workshops too, offering students more structured prompts. Something changes when you work in the presence of a writer you know and admire. You risk a little more, turn towards the scene or sentence instead of away, hold your pee. It’s partly the shame – deliberately externalizing the inadequate internal pressure to sit still and stay offline. It’s a good tool when the writing is not so focused, or when time constraints seem impossible. It works long distance, too.

  Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

A Tale of Silence

I’d be willing to bet the ranch there isn’t one writer out there who hasn’t yearned for more time alone to write. Sometimes we think we have silence. It is so uncivil to notice or complain about those small sounds of another person in the house, the water running in the kitchen sink, soft music a couple of rooms away, a cough or sneeze. Even the air moves in a different way when there is someone else in your living space.

There are days that the silence holds an unbelievable amount of racket no matter how long I sit unmoving. The amount of silence I relish is something another person may find intolerable. The partner brushes fingertips across the panels of the closed door, to whisper, “You’re so quiet in there. Are you okay?”   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

The Many Ways We Need Each Other: What Writers Mean to Writers

I caught the red-ass over a post-it note. I even took a photo of it with my phone.  It was blue, and stuck on my thirteen-year-old son’s poem he wrote for English class. The one clear sentence in his teacher’s handwriting said, “vague poetry is just not good poetry.” Heat bubbled in my belly, built up until I began to pace the house, front door to back. I watched from the kitchen as my son picked up the altered book in which his poem was written. He read the post-it note and then closed the book leaving it on the kitchen table. Half hour later, I watched him do it again.    Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

I Wrote This

When Katie first approached me to write a piece I didn’t know what to say.

I recently moved to Los Angeles from my hometown of Seattle. Besides going on tour with fellow poet and friend Mary Lambert for two months, I haven’t lived anywhere but Seattle. But last year, after a really rough summer, I moved. Packed my car and drove to LA.

So here’s the thing.

I am in the middle of my 25th year here on Earth and I am unsure about a lot of things in my life. Like am I doing it right? And what am I actually doing? What I am going to eat? Where I am going to get next month’s rent? But in spite of all that doubt, whenever someone asks me, “What do you do?” I say, without hesitation, “I’m a writer.”   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

The musings of a writing life, with and without libations

Writing chose me, not the other way around. I’m sure many people feel that way about their vocation or avocation. And just as many have experienced the ups, downs, and sideways moments that their work brings them. What those moments look and feel like are different for each person, and how each person handles them is also unique. Wordsmithing my way through life—technical/marketing writer by day and nascent novelist by night—I’ve experienced the full gamut of emotions.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

How I became a Radical Black Feminist

A day after the Oscars there is a media frenzy over the Patricia Arquette acceptance speech at the Oscars, where she called for an end to the wage disparity between men and women in the United States. I do not think that anyone can argue about whether that part of her speech was wrong in any way. However it seems her back stage comments resulted in a furor because she states that gays and people of color should join them in the fight for wage equality, the same way that they (white women presumably) fought for them.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

The un-Book Tour

 

I’m not new to writing, but I am brand-new to being an author. It’s a word I’ve longed to claim my whole life, and this September, I did, with She Writes Press’s publication of my memoir, Her Beautiful Brain.

I understood—and my freelance publicist gently worked with me on this—that as a non-famous, first time book author, it did not make sense to attempt to book what you’d call a tour with a capital T. So I decided to start out with one big, morale-boosting hometown event: a launch reading at Elliott Bay Book Company, the Seattle bookstore I’ve loved since I was a girl. All summer long, I spread the word, and on September 7 at 3 p.m., people showed up. And by people, I mean family, friends, clients, colleagues; so many people we were pulling out extra chairs and spilling up the stairs. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in September. 110 people! I couldn’t believe it. I had practiced, I was ready, and though standing up in front of them all was one part terrifying, it was many, many parts thrilling.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

My Favorite Rejection Letter

I’ve been submitting my writing for publication for exactly fifteen years now. My first ever submission, to a small local journal, was mailed on January 10, 2000. On February 1, I submitted a short piece to a local contest. I never heard back from either.

On February 12, 2000, I mailed a submission to another local contest. I received a phone call shortly thereafter that I had won. I still remember playing the message back several times on the old answering machine. You know the kind that beeps and clicks and rewinds the miniature cassette tape, which ceaselessly fascinates the cat?

My 8th submission that year resulted in a Hedgebrook residency. My 14th resulted in being published by the esteemed journal Calyx.

Not bad for a first year. But consider that with three acceptances, I also collected eleven rejections.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Holding Each Other Up Hedgebrook Style

“We’ll need to hold each other up.” That’s what Anita Gail Jones Roerick (Fir 94) wrote in an email when I informed her of my plan to launch a support group for women writing our first books. I hadn’t met her; all I knew was that she was a Hedgebrook alum (94).

In the fall of 2009, shortly after my first summer residency, Hedgebrook staff spearheaded the formation of leadership councils in a number of cities. I had the good fortune of attending a meeting and becoming part of the council in the Bay Area. The Hedgebrook Mothership, as we called it, was somewhat vague about what it wanted councils to do and gave us space to coordinate activities that grew organically out of the interests of local alums.

  Read more

1 3 4 5 6 7 18