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By Anastacia Tolbert

Please Don’t Wait!

And so it begins this New Year like a new tune I haven’t heard before. Like a book whose pages outnumber my minds capacity, whose pages make me want to skip ahead and see what’s next. (Perhaps a chapter about coming back to the states for the summer??)

Be mindful. This is what I keep telling myself. Mindful of what I am thinking. Mindful of what I am doing. For instance: I am trying to focus on the fact that I am typing this blog, not what’s for dinner, not who has what extracurricular activities this afternoon and what CNN.com says is going on in the world—and entertainment section. Be mindful that I am typing my heart out to whoever will read it. Be mindful. And I am… my mind is full of countless thoughts. Focus. I tell myself to focus on the purpose of this month’s blog. Pre-funeral expressions of love.   Read more

By Ann Hedreen

Turning 55…

I’m about to turn 55.  What a great opportunity to flagellate myself for all that I’ve not done or done wrong.  For all the ways I’ve fallen short!

This is how the habitually self-bashing person thinks.  Maybe I’m not alone: Maybe it’s how a lot of us think.

A wise man about a decade older than I am once said to me, when I made some routinely self-deprecating remark at a church meeting: “Hey Ann, you know that stuff we hear every Sunday about forgiveness?  That’s supposed to start with yourself.  That famous line about loving your neighbor?  It’s ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ remember?”   Read more

By Allison Green

Hegebrook Sisterhood

I don’t believe in sisterhood.

I came out into a lesbian-feminist community in the mid-1980s that was split between women who thought us purer, lovelier, and in all ways superior to men and those who wanted to claim a fuller humanity, including the potato-bug undersides of our psyches, like our racism, our capacity for violence, our complicity. Enumerate the seven deadly sins, and I’ve sinned them, even against my sisters.   Read more

By Donna Miscolta

When Your Family Thinks They’re in Your Fiction

“Why did you kill me off in that story?”

Some years ago my younger daughter confronted me with this question after she had read a story I had recently completed. The story is about two sisters. I have two daughters. My older daughter insists that she is the narrator in that story.

“It’s not about you,” I said to each of them.   Read more

By Tania De Rozario

The Woods That Now Grow: A Reflection on Hedgebrook

It is rainy season here in Singapore, and as flashfloods assault small pockets of urbanity, a tree pushes itself insistently out from the strip of soil that flanks my house. Two years ago, this tree did not exist. Today, it towers above the roof. My landlord keeps pressing me to cut it down. I resist.  Here, people or plants growing wild, unnerve the general populace.

I love this tree. I have watched it grow, flower and fruit. Having finally taken a break from a history of house-moving, I have now been in one place long enough to see something grow. When time permits, I sit and watch species of birds I did not know existed, come for its fruit. When I write, I listen to the avian politics from inside my house. I am nonsensically proud that somehow, this tree picked this tiny spot in my yard, and from it, decided to sprout.   Read more

By April Dammann

THE FRANKLIN VILLA – A HOLLYWOOD HAVEN

This first blog entry could be filed under “One Writer’s Beginnings” – not to be confused with the wonderful Eudora Welty’s memoirs. My roots aren’t Southern, and my oeuvre is not as grand.  Still… I think others are as interested as I am in how, where and why a writer finds inspiration.

During my senior year at Hollywood High School in 1964, my family lived in an apartment complex called The Franklin Villa. It was ordinary in every way, squeezed between other similar buildings on busy Franklin Avenue, just two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard. There was a swimming pool with cracked concrete in the middle of sixteen units occupied by singles, marrieds and families. The tenants were mostly down-and-outers, trying for Hollywood careers. In a way I was one of them, beginning my writing life within those faded green stucco walls.   Read more

By Anastacia Tolbert

Change

oh mother moon

looks like you’ve got a story to tell
tell us.

tell us at least half.
light our eyes like stars—

pause our busy & our blue rays.
give us something to tell our neighbors.

tell the news. tell our children.

whisper one version here.

one version there.

let us come together & cipher it out the next day.

let us all say i know… she told me too.

Having just witnessed a lunar eclipse in the heavens of Japan, I feel changed.

It isn’t the kind of change that one would wear like a new scarf or sassy hat, nor is it the kind of change that happens rapidly like walking into a building in daylight and returning to a parked car in darkness. It is a simmering crock pot kind of change…or, picture the late 80’s when teen agers wore pleather jackets, penny loafers and white socks and got in long lines and did the “tic.” One upward then downward motion of the hand and wrist slowly moving to the elbow, then the upper arm, then the neck and head, then miraculously to the next person. Yes. This is the kind of change I am speaking of. Crock pot 80’s dance change.   Read more

By Lesley McClurg

Turning Down the Volume

Surprisingly, the silence around me doesn’t feel lonely or empty.  The frenetic thoughts of my mind are quieted by the stillness here in Waterfall Cottage at Hedgebrook. I don’t feel my usual urge to fill space with sound.

Often the first thing I do when I come home to my apartment near downtown Seattle is cut through the emptiness by turning on the radio. I struggle to relax when my apartment is quiet because the stillness feels oppressive. A creepy loneliness settles over me when I sit and eat without the radio playing. Music or podcasts are my imaginary dinner guest.

Yet, here in the woods where nature offers only the subtlest noises, I don’t feel alone.   Read more

By Cathy Bruemmer

I’m a Reader not a Writer

When I give tours or orientations I am frequently asked, “Are you a writer?”  I’m not a writer. I’m a reader.   One of my rare pleasures is a chance to read a book from cover to cover in one day, preferably in my pajamas.  On a recent solo trip across the country I found myself shocked that the flight was almost over.  This happened BOTH WAYS.  All it took to transform the drudgery and discomfort of coach seats was a couple of good books and some earplugs.  Because I was traveling with my son I suppose the fact that I didn’t have to provide snacks, entertainment or listen to a few hours of chatter about the latest development in ski technology played a part in the feeling of a time warp.  But what made the trip a pleasure was the opportunity to enter a different world, to hear a new story. The gift of a good book is something I am deeply grateful for.   Read more

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