What Women Writers Want—and How to Get It

By Brooke Warner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women who write tend to know they’re looking for something, but oftentimes they don’t know what. They understand that there’s a deeper and greater force than they can even begin to wrap their minds around that pushes them, drives them, and some of the time, yes, messes with their heads.

Last weekend I had the privilege to attend a Hedgebrook-sponsored event in San Francisco—a conversation between Dorothy Allison and Karen Joy Fowler. I spent much of the evening nodding my head along with the forty-plus other women (and two men!) in the crowd. The wisdom of these two long-time writers and teachers in the presence of so many students was palpable. During the Q&A, a question was posed: What do you want from writing?   Read more

The Joy of Women Who Eat

By Hedgebrook Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am sitting at a coffeeshop and catching up on some work. On the way to the coffeehouse, the idea for this post came to me: writing about how awesome it is to be in the company of women who like to eat. I mean really eat.

I am not talking about grabbing coffee or tea with friends and sharing a pastry. Or having soup and salad with a friend and feeling vaguely virtuous afterwards.

I am talking about the joy of watching Kelsye, my co-worker, attack a meatball, turkey and bacon sandwich which dwarfed her small frame. Or at Hedgebrook staff meetings where we take the first bite of whatever Denise has made us (her mac and cheese and enchiladas are my favorites). That first bite where all the women emit a visceral “Oh my GAWD this is so good!!!!” whether it’s audible or not. (Sometimes that feeling comes out in a sigh of relief and appreciation, barely louder than a whisper.)

At Hedgebrook, you EAT. You EAT with WOMEN. Powerful women. Soulful women. Intelligent women. Irreverent women. Women who have won Pulitzer Prizes. Women whose writing you watch on television the next day. Revolutionary women. Women who make you take stock of who you are, what are you doing to make the world a better place, what are you eating and the company you keep when you are eating.   Read more

Writer Residencies: Oh the Places You’ll Go

By Jenny Neill

The Hedgebrook Alumnae Leadership hosted a panel discussion about writer residencies and conferences at Hugo House on Wednesday, October 24. Many Seattle Writergrrls were among those who packed the room that night to hear advice from Susan Rich, Donna Miscolta, and Claudia Rowe. While much of the discussion covered retreats, the speakers also touched on finding grants to help offset costs for programs that don’t offer a full ride.

Susan Rich, an accomplished poet, has attended over 10 residencies all over the world. Novelist Donna Micolta has already participated in more than half a dozen writer programs despite having started writing seriously later in life. Claudia Rowe is presently in the Jack Straw Writers Program and left New York City to move to Seattle after her residency at Hedgebrook.

Each panelist spoke about how to find residency programs and how to prepare for the experience once accepted. Rich encouraged us to reach for our dreams while treating the search for the right placement like trying to get into grad school. She stressed staying organized, creating a cohesive narrative, and conducting research because no two writer or artist communities have the same mission or culture. Talking to past residents is a great way to decide whether and when to apply.   Read more

Full House – The Country in the City 1-Day Writer’s Retreat

By Sally Charette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember the first time you went to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland? It looked like a big house from the outside, but inside it was mind-bogglingly larger with seemingly infinite images and passages. That’s kind of how I felt looking back at the historic building that housed Hedgebrook’s The Country in the City 1-Day Writer’s Retreat after spending the day inside and on the grounds.

The women who made this retreat happen infused it with the spirit of Hedgebrook, which has at its core a sense of infinite time and possibility. What I took away from my three-week stay in Oak Cottage in 2000 was an understanding that it is good and necessary for the creative spirit to allow itself some time. I followed my nose around the grounds of Hedgebrook like a little kid. It was the first time I’d had so much time off work since high school.

From the moment the organizers and workshop leaders introduced themselves and told us how the day would go, I released any lingering trepidation about having a day in which to do whatever I wanted, and time began to expand beneath my fingertips.   Read more

The Endless Baptism

By Bushra Rehman

For the last few months, I’ve been working on a series of essays on Palestine. I’ve now written and erased my words until there is nothing left but the original title of the series. It could fit on a button: “Islamophobia is not the answer to Anti-Semitism.” Eventually, this title too had to be scratched. Because although anti-Muslim sentiment is fueled by and benefits U.S. imperialism and Israel’s apartheid practices, Palestinian Christians suffer as well.

Each day I tried to work, I felt myself covered with dust. I read of the erasure of Palestinian names from Israeli maps and how each erasure was attended by a massacre of innocents. I felt myself consumed in darkness while reading stories of Al-Dawayima where an entire village of Palestinian citizens was murdered, beaten, raped, their bodies thrown down into the town well by Israeli soldiers. I tried to write of the massacre of the people of Nasir al-din, Tantura, Eilabun, but the ghosts silenced me with their hunger.   Read more

VORTEXT: A Meandering Magical Garden of Writing

By Abigail Carter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whidbey Island seems rife with secret gardens whose long winding driveways meander into thickets of wooded groves. That day, a woman directed me to a parking lot – a gravel shoulder bordered by nothing but trees. I got out of the car, bewildered, not sure where to go to reach VORTEXT, the weekend-long writing conference hosted by Hedgebrook, the Whidbey Island writer’s retreat for women, whose board I recently joined.

Another woman parked as I was returning to the car, certain I had messed up. She got out and seemed to know where to go. We walked together, learning that we were both from Seattle, here to write, excited. I was already disappointed that I would only be attending for the morning, teenaged birthdays and events filling this particular weekend, preventing a longer stay.

We arrived at what I can only describe as a lodge-like building – a great room with soaring ceilings, a hallway lined with Hedgebrook’s resident gourmand, Denise’s delicious homemade organic food, an intimate windowed dining area filled with groups of women chatting. I ate breakfast enjoying the meadow and garden view, made enchanting by the misty rain. I recognized Elizabeth George, the Whidbey Island celebrity crime writer, but was less familiar with the other five writers who would be our workshop leaders.   Read more

A Love Letter to Ellen McLaughlin

By Hedgebrook Staff

First, you have to understand that last weekend I got to play bocce ball with Ellen McLaughlin. And that our team won. It was an informal gathering for the annual Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, of which she is a two-time alum. I was completely theatre geeking out. I surreptitiously snuck away to my iPhone at one point during the game to text a friend from college “OMG, I am playing bocce ball with the original Angel from Angels in America!”

And then she blessed my iPhone.

Ok, she didn’t exactly bless it, but she spilled a little bit of red wine on it. I took it as a sign that the theatre gods and goddesses were particularly pleased with me.   Read more

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