Stepping Outside Your Genre

By Nan Macy

At Hedgebrook’s Writing Salon last Saturday, one woman who’s writing a book spoke up at lunch and said she’d been so focusing her attention and energy on tasks to complete her book that she’d sort of developed blinders (my phrase, not hers).  Her experience resonated for me as I’ve done the same in the last year.  She said that when asked in her morning workshop to do an exercise outside her genre/field/topic, she had this internal momentary response of “wait, I’m monogamous to my work.  I don’t date outside of it.”  Once she realized the limits of this closed creativity door, she could free herself to open it and walk through.   Read more

Connecting My Newborn Daughter to a Place that Birthed Me as a Writer

By Nassim Assefi

In 1980, at the age of 7, I moved to Seattle. Almost immediately, I started plotting my escape.  This had to do with my inner landscape more than my outer one, but I only saw that in retrospect. I was an awkward kid who skipped grades and started university in my early teens.  It was no surprise that I never fit in. After going to college on the East Coast, I returned to the Emerald City for medical school, but that did not improve my sense of belonging. I vowed to leave again for specialty training and did.  But during my last year of med school, something changed the way I started feeling about my home town, and that was a 2-month residency at Hedgebrook.   Read more

What We Owe Adrienne Rich

By Madeline Ostrander

The late poet was a patriot who wrestled for the soul of her country.

I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn between bitterness and hope…

I was 19 when I first read Adrienne Rich and these words from “An Atlas of the Difficult World,” which seemed to tear down the barriers between the poem and me, and let me in.

Like Rich, I grew up at a distance from true poverty: “reader reading under a summer tree in the landscape of the rural working poor,” she writes. But I knew how fractured and unstable the world around me was becoming.   Read more

Our own writing time-zones

By Minal Hajratwala

My writer friend Mary Anne posted on her blog about waking up at 4am from bad dreams and then … writing!

I am inspired at how often she does this. She wakes up with way too little sleep — crying babies, nightmares, whatever. She stresses about it for maybe a paragraph. And then? She gets right to work.   Read more

Hedgebrook Downtown

By Hedgebrook Staff

By Nan Macy, Donna Miscolta, and Allison Green

On a recent rainy Saturday, eight Hedgebrook alumnae met around the farmhouse table and shared essays they were writing about visibility and invisibility, about motorcyles, about Louisa May Alcott, about rice. Actually, this farmhouse table was not on idyllic Whidbey Island, but in a conference room at Hedgebrook’s Pioneer Square office in Seattle.   Read more

Kony2012, Mike Daisey and the Politics of Art, Truth and Complexity

By Jen Marlowe

I have a half-dozen or so of my short films on youtube and vimeo. The most “popular,” uploaded ten months ago, has been viewed 90,593 times.

The Kony2012 film, released last month, has over 84 million hits.

I spent much of the month venting in fury about the Kony2012 film/campaign and the Invisible Children organization that produced it. It oversimplified the very complex reality in Eastern and Central Africa. It offered misleading and highly sensationalized information. It proscribed militaristic policies that could potentially put thousands of civilians at severe risk. A white, male American was foregrounded as the story’s hero (along with his pre-school aged son) while the very real, very important work of reconstruction and peace-building that Ugandans themselves have been doing for years was entirely ignored. It suggested that Americans sharing videos on Facebook and purchasing bracelets was all it took to catch an indicted war criminal—and by doing so, they would also become heroes. It was self-serving and narcissistic.   Read more

What My Woodstove Has Taught Me About Writing

By Ellen McLaughlin

When you’re starting from a cold stove, lay the fire according to the principles that have lasted over the centuries, namely:

Clear the way for the new

It helps to start clean when you’re dealing with cold ashes rather than live embers. The knowledge that you’ve made fires in the past is comforting, but that doesn’t mean you have to lay new ideas on top of the cold residue of old ones. The memories of finished work, whether it was successful or not, just aren’t particularly helpful. That work is behind you, it has already served its purpose and you may be grateful to it but often the memory of that past writing keeps you from trying something new and challenging yourself, just as those dead ashes only muffle and obscure what you need to do right now, which is to start. Transcend your fear of the unknown. Let the past go. Shovel it out and clear it away before you begin.   Read more

To Tell the Truth

By Madeline Ostrander

I find it hard to tell the truth. Which is not to say that I am in the habit of lying. I am a nonfiction writer and a journalist. It’s my job to tell the truth. But each time I set words down, I realize I am wrestling with more than one truth.

It is partly a trouble of writing about activists and underdogs and do-gooders, my specialty. These are people who have so often had their stories stolen from them— mangled, distorted, or transformed by media or politicians or Hollywood. They are trying to change the story that other people know about them. And you have to hold both their truth and the other truths—the truths of their adversaries, detractors, and peers—in your mind as you write.   Read more

1 4 5 6 7 8 11