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By Tamiko Beyer

Dreaming Into Writing

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

Hello dear writers, fellow Hedgebrook women, and dreamers. And so it begins!

I’m thinking today about what comes before writing, about what must come before writing. The dreaming, the meditating, the napping, as Minal writes in her post.

I’ve just come back from a few days in Cape Cod. It’s become a tradition for my partner and I to head to that sandy, windy landscape in the spring. Our generous friends let us stay in their guest house before the summer season starts and the paying renters come.

There’s a kind of quiet that permeates the land and the small coastal towns when we go. The deep freeze of winter is over, the sun is out and shining, but the wind still blows cold and the tourists haven’t yet arrived en masse. It feels as if we – the land and the animals and the people – are stirring in half-dreams, half-waking.

 

 

 

 

 

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By Christine Johnson-Duell

My Manifesto

As a teenager in the 1970s, amid psychedelic posters and doorway beads and a great deal of gauzy fabric, I pinned this quote to my bedroom wall:

A witch lives and laughs in every woman. She is the free part of each of us. There is no joining WITCH. If you are a woman and dare to look within yourself, you are a witch. You are a witch by being female, untamed, angry, joyous, and immortal. You are a witch by saying aloud ‘I am a witch’ and thinking about that.
From The W.I.T.C.H. Manifesto:
Women’s
International
Terrorist
Conspiracy from
Hell
New York, 1968

I loved the irreverence, daring, and humor in this provocative quote and adopted it as my personal manifesto. It felt very grown up to have it on my wall.   Read more

By Genine Lentine

The Possible’s Slow Fuse

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

 

By Minal Hajratwala

The Writer’s Clock

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

By Heidi Durrow

Learning From My Old Me and My Familiar Fears

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

By Lorraine Ali

Stopping Long Enough to Sit Down and Write

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

By Shimi Rahim

The Magic of my Hedgebrook Experience

It built slowly, the magic of my Hedgebrook experience. When I first began settling into my cottage and the daily writing routine that would define the next two weeks of my life, I felt out of sorts. Hedgebrook was legendary among women writers. Did I expect that I’d walk into my storybook cottage and, like some writer’s fairy tale, the words would pour magically from my fingers? That, with solitude and three meals a day provided for me in a gorgeous setting, I would spend every waking minute churning out chapters of my first novel?

Instead, what I experienced in my early moments was rather different: feelings of unworthiness, confusion as to how to structure my day, and not a small amount of loneliness and strangeness. My fellow residents were published authors, experienced teachers, activists with years of experience under their belts. I felt small next to them and their achievements, due in no part whatsoever to them and entirely to my own insecurities. Also, they had developed a camaraderie into which I didn’t yet belong.     Read more

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