Growth, Stubbornness, and Working on a Memoir for (something like) Ten Years

By Anne Liu Kellor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I feel ashamed when people ask if I’m still working on the same book. Yes, for almost a decade now I’ve been working on a memoir, SEARCHING FOR THE HEART RADICAL, with some periods away from it in between. Most of the chapters originated during my time in grad school from 2004-2006, although many of the seeds of those pieces had already been planted during the years I lived and wrote in China from 1999-2002. And in some respects, you might say I’ve been working on this book since the day I was born.

This book has taught me a ton—about the process of writing and about myself. I have grown so much as a writer over these years that I have felt compelled to go back and rewrite most of the pieces, again and again and again. And because it’s a book about discovering myself during my twenties—and I started writing it while still in my twenties—it’s also a book whose deeper meaning has been elusive and unfolding as I’ve grown as a person.   Read more

Doll’s House

By Ann Hedreen

“Teenage Girl Blossoming into Beautiful Object,” proclaimed a recent headline in the Onion. The faux-newspaper goes on to describe the high school junior’s, quote, “staggering metamorphosis from a young girl with thoughts, feelings, and aspirations into a truly stunning commodity.” This kind of nailing-of-truth-through-satire is what makes me a great fan of the Onion: where writers specialize in humor that makes you wince. And think: about the truth behind the laugh.

The struggle of young women—to be treated as persons, not objects—is not a new theme. It’s not a “problem” we’re going to “solve” overnight. It is a chronic danger; one that burbles up over and over again, in every corner of the world. In many places, more poisonously than others.   Read more

Five Essential Elements of a Great Beginning

By Robin Swicord

When I watch a movie, the story hooks me within minutes – roughly the first 10 to 15 pages of the screenplay – or not at all. When I’m not hooked, I may not always walk out (or turn off the TV), but as I continue to watch I remain aware of myself residing outside the movie in a disengaged way, waiting for the movie to end.

Believe me, that’s not the experience a filmmaker wants the viewer to have.

In those first critical minutes of a good movie, the storyteller seduces the viewer with an irresistible invitation: Come inside and play. I think there are five essential elements that contribute to a great start:   Read more

Helen and Aldo

By Joan Moritz

This is the story of a Hedgebrook alumna who was conned by a marmalade cat. Or maybe this is the story of a woman searching for family who recognized a feline soul mate. It is definitely the story of a poet of witness who died before her work was done.

Helen Eisen was born in a displaced persons camp in 1946 to Polish survivors of the Holocaust. She grew up in New York City, and spent most of her adult life in St. Louis. As a poet, her work was deeply influenced by the Holocaust — both as experienced by her parents and as transmitted to her as a child of survivors — and by the immigrant experience. Issues of family, loss, survival and belonging were central to her writing.   Read more

Who Cooks for You

By Kate Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He flew on silent wings; one swoop and his talons grazed the top of her head. She didn’t see him coming. She was walking down the forest path to her cabin after a hearty meal at the farmhouse. It was twilight, drizzly and she was alone. Before she thought to run, he went in for a second swipe. This time, she left sprinting and even though her cabin was closer, she ran back to the farmhouse to warn us.

This was my first night as a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers located on Whidbey Island, WA. The writers’ cottages are tucked away in the forest amongst cedars and furs, pines and hemlocks and vine maples. In owl territory, it seemed. Funny, the packet I received when I was awarded the Hedgebrook residency, mentioned deer and bunnies, not crazed owls.   Read more

Thank you to the wonderful women, to Hedgebrook and to SAM

By Susan Rich

Thank you to the wonderful women who came out yesterday to my ekphrastic poetry workshop at the Seattle Art Museum sponsored by Hedgebrook.

I’m always utterly amazed and humbled by women who put themselves in my hands; who allow me to share what I know about poetry and art. Writing is often a solitary experience and we writers tend toward the shy side. But here were 23 women, most whom I had never met before. They came out to learn about the history of visual art and poetry and finally to share their work. We had women that were in their first poetry workshop and women who are well published. There were photographers, journalists, gallery owners and even a gospel singer!   Read more

The Monster in the Laundry Basket: Professional Jealousy in the Open

By Caren Gussoff

Part I

I knew I’d found a keeper when my boyfriend-at-the-time barely flinched the first time he saw one of our fights, word-for-word, in print. “You writers,” he said. “You air your dirty laundry. That’s how it is.”

We not only air our dirty laundry, we turn each piece inside out, study the seams, stinks and stains, so we can proudly, faithfully reproduce it onto garments of our own design.

And it was this same man — now husband — who pointed out the quixotic duplicity of my reaction to hearing award nominees (I wasn’t one, but I knew many of them) made public one February afternoon. He pounded me on my back (as I choked on my own dirty laundry), and asked, “Family, friends, lovers, illnesses and personal catastrophes — big or small — are all fair game — why not this?”

“What?” I asked in response, hoping the answer wasn’t obvious.

It was. “Jealousy,” he said. “Professional jealousy.”   Read more

The Beauty of a Hedgebrook Salon

By Donna Miscolta

Last month, I had the pleasure of being one of six workshop leaders at Hedgebrook’s December Salon, a day-long event at this writers retreat for women located on Whidbey Island, WA. The salon was an opportunity for women writers to partake in workshops, conversation, the famous Hedgebrook food and the capstone – a lively open mic.

The workshops were held in the beautiful Hedgebrook cottages, each of which normally houses a single writer during a residency. A Hedgebrook residency in a cottage in the woods is writing bliss as the over 1,200 alumnae can attest. Occupants of these cottages have written poems, plays, and books in pleasurable solitude. For the workshops, a half dozen or more women writers in a single cottage made for a cozy union of ideas and an inviting place for sharing work.   Read more

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