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

By Donna Miscolta

Why and How I Made a Book Trailer

“Look, Mom. I wrote a book!”

Approval from Mom. That’s all we want, isn’t it? Well, maybe when we were three and Mom equaled the world. But now, isn’t it the world’s attention we’re really after? Okay, maybe not the world. But some very modest portion of it. A sliver.

Because writers spend a good amount of time writing, rewriting and worrying over it, because we endure rejection and self-doubt, we imagine that in recompense our book will at long last arrive, if not to pageantry and spectacle, then at least to some applause, a salute, a thumbs up.

Which did happen back in June to me and Wendy Call at our joint book launch party where we felt feted, buoyed by well-wishers. But once the guests had left, the musicians had packed up their instruments, and we had folded up and hauled away the rented chairs, well, the party was over. The manager of the gallery wasted no time in pushing a broom across the floor to remove the remnants—candy wrappers, napkins, toothpicks, paper plates, and fallen petals from congratulatory bouquets. Soon the room was clean. Empty, except for the question insinuated by the pile of post-party debris: Now what?   Read more

By Sheila deShields

No Longer Missing

We may be exiled, or considered black sheep, if we go away or astray.  Not so with Hedgebrook.  Somehow my email address was lost for ten years, and then they found me, and life hasn’t been the same since.   Read more

By Iquo B. Essien

Hedgebrook(lyn)

A small group of alums met for a day of writing, reading and fellowship at Hedgebrook(lyn)—organized by alums Mary Armstrong and Holly Morris, who runs the PowderKeg, an urban writers’ retreat where we met.

At ten o’clock in the morning we had tea and fruit and chatter in the kitchen.  We later planted ourselves at a handful of ancient writing tables spread throughout the loft, overlooking a row of windows with a view of Flatbush Avenue.  I picked a table in the center of the room, just far enough from the windows that I wouldn’t be tempted to stare outside. Sitting there in quiet community, a story visited me about black women, depression and suicide that has been circling my creative mind for years.  It is something like Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf, but different.   Read more

By Nancy Bardue

Hedgebrook Vocals

At Hedgebrook, when you hear “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all…” the call is not coming from the Farmhouse kitchen but from the depths of the forest. Our vocal – often loud mouthed – resident Barred Owls are making all the racket. Indeed, most alums can attest to waking up in the middle of the night from “noises like I have never heard before” or “a sound that scared the sh*t out of me”! It’s really fun when writers come to the office and verbally try to imitate the call, “No, no it was more like a hooooaahh, hooooaahh!” I love that they are also called Le Chat-huant du Nord (french for The Hooting Cat of the North).

  Read more

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