You Should Apply to Hedgebrook!

By Hedgebrook Guest

“How do you tame a wild tongue, train it to be quiet, how do you bridle and saddle it? How do you make it lie down?” (Gloria Anzaldúa)

“You should apply to Hedgebrook!” is one of the most rewarding suggestions that I have heard since my arrival to the United States from Palestine in Fall 2004. The first time I heard this magical phrase was in Spring 2006, when I attended the American Ethnic Studies conference in San Francisco. I was then in the process of moving from the University of Oregon to the University of Washington to pursue my PhD in Comparative Literature.   Read more

Three Weeks at Hedgebrook

By Hedgebrook Guest

The year was 1996. I recently finished graduate school and had started teaching in the California Poets in the Schools program.

Desperate to complete my first book, I wanted to find time and space just to write. Though I lived alone in a small cottage by a creek, I was constantly teaching, reading, commenting on the poems of my students, making ends meet. I was involved with many friendships and embroiled in family matters. It’s an old story.

I needed to find sustained, unburdened-by-demands-of-real-life time to put pen to paper. I needed space and quiet to focus. So I applied to Hedgebrook. I applied for a six-week stay. I applied during the summer, when I wouldn’t be teaching.    Read more

Poetry Has Value, But Do We Value It?

By Hedgebrook Guest

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.

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On Community and Isolation

By Hedgebrook Guest

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.

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A Tale of Silence

By Hedgebrook Guest

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

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

By Hedgebrook Guest

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

I Wrote This

By Hedgebrook Guest

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

The musings of a writing life, with and without libations

By Hedgebrook Guest

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

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