The Possible’s Slow Fuse

By Genine Lentine

Editor’s note: The following post is being republished from Hedgebrook Writes!

Perhaps one condition of a capacity to imagine abundant possibilities is to then feel bereft at the intractability of executing even a small percentage of them.  I sometimes have the wherewithal, within that bereavement, to entertain the theory that perhaps all those possibilities can funnel into whatever it is that I manage to do.   Still, I feel a lag and then slow things down further by thinking everything takes me way too long.

Sometimes when this happens I try to steer into the spin by exaggerating the (perceived) torpor.  If it’s taking me forever to finish an essay, well, what if I decide to work on it twice as slowly?  The first  time I tried this strategy, as is probably not a surprise, I finished the thing (in that case, an application) with startling alacrity.  I short-circuited all the labor it was taking to have the constant stream of assessment of pace and then when that energy was freed up to do the actual work, everything came together readily.

The gleam of an heroic Act
Such strange illumination

 

The Possible’s slow fuse is lit
By the imagination.
Emily Dickinson, #1687

image: p. 14 of Slug or Snail: An Assay on Velocity and Viscosity. (unpublished ms.) You can see more of this book, slowly, one page at a time here

 

The Writer’s Clock

By Minal Hajratwala

Editor’s note: The following post is being republished from Hedgebrook Writes!


Far away from Hedgebrook: the other side of the planet. Spoke with B, N, and M — there are four of us alumnae in India, that I know of! — but our idea to meet across our distances and excitements did not work out.    Read more

Learning From My Old Me and My Familiar Fears

By Heidi Durrow

Last fall I had the wonderful opportunity to return to Hedgebrook for a two-week stay and the more amazing experience of meeting up with my old me.

Let me explain.  My first stay at Hedgebrook was in 1998.  I’d left my job as a corporate litigator and was pursuing a literary career.  The residency invitation was the first time I’d received an affirmation that I was a “real” writer even though I hadn’t published a word.   Read more

Stopping Long Enough to Sit Down and Write

By Lorraine Ali

I’ve been trying to finish a memoir for a couple years now, but ever since I landed a book deal I’ve somehow become the human equivalent of a magpie. Every single task, aside from writing The Book, is now a like a shiny lure that I need to pursue with gusto.

Don’t get me wrong — I do have somewhat of an excuse.  Life is packed with must dos, (work, the kid, the bi-annual vacuuming of the living room rug) and it takes up a great deal of energy. I’m also a journalist who writes for a living, so the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is, well . . . you get the idea. But not so long ago I found myself filling up every bit of free time engrossed in some sort of entirely unimportant busy work. After all, who else is going to re-grout the bathroom or de-pill that old wool jacket I haven’t worn in three years? I’d justify these mind-numbing pursuits (it gives me intellectual free time to incubate brilliant ideas for the book!) or curse the task itself for standing between me and literary greatness. Either way, I had something to tell myself as I dodged blown book deadlines like deadly IEDs.   Read more

Are you a Writer or a Reader?

By Upcoming Hedgebrook Master Class Teacher - Karen Joy Fowler

Many writers I know fret about how to answer the question, what do you do?  When are you entitled to say that you’re a writer?  When you write?  When you publish?  When you support yourself writing?  For what it’s worth, I believe that a writer is simply someone who writes.   Question posed and answered!  But that’s not actually what I wanted to talk about here.

Early on, I fretted about that question too, but I’ve been answering that I’m a writer for quite some time now.   Only lately I’ve been running a different answer through my head.  Lately, I’ve been thinking that I spend a lot more time reading than writing.  Lately I’ve been thinking my answer should be that I’m a reader.

I’ve always been a reader.  There was a time, early in my career, when reading was quite spoiled for me.  Instead of losing myself in a piece, I’d be frantically trying to dissect it—figure out how it worked and why.  I had to ask myself then—if the price I have to pay to be a writer is my reading, do I still want it?  And answered no; price too high.   Read more

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