By Hedgebrook Guest

Active Body, Active Mind

When I showed my kids pictures of the ridiculously adorable cottages at Hedgebrook, one of which would be my home for an August 2015 residency, my son bet that I’d love the cottage so much I’d never leave it and hoped, for my sake, that it had a bathroom.

He was both correct and not (though thankfully, the cottages do have bathrooms). Each day: coffee, editing of the previous day’s writing, writing toward a new poem. I’d make up an excuse to walk the grounds once or twice, like hey, I’ve run out of fresh figs / flowers / blackberries and should go get some. Breakfast and lunch from my fridge: sheep’s milk yogurt, local honey, a container brimming with something wonderful that a Hedgebrook chef had prepared.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

One poem, two poem, three poems, more…

I began sending my poems out to journals in an age before Submittable when a couple of postage stamps and an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) were the well-trodden pathways to an editor’s desk. I loved each ritual, each step of the process handled with care.

First I’d choose the watermarked paper, then the poems, and finally the best looking commemorative stamps. Everything had meaning; even the anonymity of the mailbox, even the lipstick kiss with which I’d seal the envelope, wishing it good luck on its journey. Several months later, when the return envelope arrived through my front door slot, I would hold it up to the light looking for evidence of the impending acceptance or rejection.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

10 Places To Find Inspiration For Your Poetry

For poets, inspiration can be found almost everywhere—at the laundromat with the stranger who looks like Albert Einstein, on a roadtrip passing silos and fields of white geese, taking a walk and finding the lines to a poem have wandered into your head. The online world also offers inspiration with science articles on NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft or a virtual walk through an online museum, but we can find ourselves taking a step out of our poetic work as the online world comes with its distractions and pop-up ads, it can be harder to find what inspires.

Below is a list of places (both online and off) where you can find a little inspiration to help inspire your poems and help you live a little more creatively—

  Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Work full-time? How to make time to make art.

I’ve been in the workforce for more than two decades. And I’m still trying to strike the right balance between making enough money to make rent and leaving enough room in my schedule to make art.

I’m certainly not the only one. This week I asked my Facebook posse how much on a scale of 1 to 10 they fret about juggling making money with making time for their writing. The comments quickly rolled in:

“9”

“9.5”

“Yes. Lots!”   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Let the Fire Stoke Your Stories

When surrounded by plaid carpet and dark wood paneling, when mountains of snow pile up against sliding doors, or when you’re cornered by your eccentric aunt who is sharing with you how she creates jewelry from the fur of her beloved cats, the inspiration to write at the winter holidays is everywhere. Sometimes snarky, sometimes heartfelt, the best stories are about family. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation comes to mind, though Love Actually, A Christmas Story and its many iterations suffice too.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

How I’m Learning to Teach Things I Didn’t Know I Knew

There’s an expectation that when you’ve had a book published you know enough to teach someone else how to do the same—not just the part about actually getting the thing into print, but the craft part too. Since my novel came out in 2011, I’ve been invited on occasion to teach a class or give a lecture—just a 60 to 90 minute stint, nothing terribly taxing or overwhelming. Except that I’d never before done such a thing. Though years ago I received a master’s degree in education, taught ESL classes for a short period of time, and have for over two decades managed an environmental education program, my time in front of a classroom has been limited and none of that time was spent discussing the elements of fiction.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

4 Reasons Aspiring Authors Should Get to a Bookstore

Well, duh, right? Writers are readers and haunt bookstores the way Nearly Headless Nick haunts Hogwarts. But savvy aspiring authors know that the bookstore or library is also the best place to gather key intel when creating a book proposal or query letter. Here are just a few invaluable things you’ll unearth when visiting your favorite brick-and-mortar bookstore.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Putting Writing First

The sticky September light, the edge to the morning, and the sweet, burnt smell in the air signal the beginning of the school year. There’s something traditionally religious about going back to school as an instructor. Reviewing last year’s syllabi and evaluations, I look for my sins. In developing or revising the curriculum, I find redemption. It’s a cycle, much like a Catholic mass. Another cycle, when the school year begins, is to tuck my writing into a closet and substitute the creativity found in students for my own creativity. September has been bittersweet for more than 25 years.   Read more

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