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By Rahna Reiko Rizzuto

A RADICAL ACT

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ― Muriel Rukeyser

Twenty years ago, Anita Hill sat in front of a Senate hearing and told her truth at the intersection of race and gender.  She was publically pilloried by a panel of white men. This weekend, at Hunter College, Anita Hill was celebrated by a sold-out, star-studded conference, whose participants had a chance to thank her for enduring what she has so that women today could stand on her shoulders.

After a full conference day, the evening was filled with stories, in a hot ticket night of performances curated by Eve Ensler.  But throughout the day, there was a clear refrain that will resonate with all women writers.    Read more

By Sue Frause

Hedgebrook writers trade words for wine on an autumn afternoon in Langley

A recent Seattle Post Intelligencer blog from Sue Frause.

A couple weeks ago I received a phone call. The name was familiar, Yvette Heyliger, and when she said Hedgebrook— it all came back to me. Three years ago, I gave a wine tour to Yvette and two other Hedgebrook writers. I’d signed up to be a Hedgette, or a Hedgebrook Ambassador, and had listed wine among my many interests on the island.   Read more

By Kathlene Postma

A Room of One’s Own, One Way or Another

What I wanted for Christmas for ten years in a row was simple and impossible: A room of my own. Our house is a cozy bungalow, we have three young daughters (who will soon no doubt be asking for rooms of their own), and by the time the issue became pressing—I was desperate for a quiet space to write—the housing market convinced us to stay put. Small is the new big enough.

Except I really wanted—no needed—my own room.

  Read more

By Elizabeth Austen

Letter to a Young Writer

Dear Writer,

Years ago I heard Stanley Kunitz say, “The first job of the poet is to become the person who could write the poems.”

For a long time I thought this meant I had to become a better person than I am. I thought I had to become virtuous and perfect, so that the Muse would give me wise and beautiful poems.

But what I know now is that all (all!) I needed to do is to become myself, not someone else’s idea of me.   Read more

By Claudia Rowe

Add Kids and Stir

When I was last at Hedgebrook, two writers-in-residence were pregnant, and I – single, childless, about to turn 41 – could not hide my envy. It was not that I desperately loved children. I didn’t even know any children. But I wondered about missing out on the experience of family. I wondered if it would limit me, as a person and as a writer.

Years before, a friend had urged that I take full advantage of my solitary life: “It won’t be this way forever,” he said. “Do your work now.” Yet I was antsy, wandering around my tiny mountain home. Jumpy. The silence clogged my brain and I could not commit to the voice on the page.   Read more

By Monique Truong

I blame Laura Ingalls Wilder for my constant craving for homemade pies

I blame Laura Ingalls Wilder for my constant craving for homemade pies.  On the pages of her Little House series of books, I learned that Ma could make pies out of almost anything: green pumpkins (The Long Winter), black birds (Little Town on the Prairie), dried apples (By the Shores of Silver Lake), and even vinegar (Little House in the Big Woods). In fact, the only time when Ma did not bake a pie was when their eponymous little house was on the prairie, where “stewed dried blackberries and little cakes” were the closest things that Pa and the girls got to a proper dessert and that was only at Christmas dinner.

When I was eight and speeding through every book by Wilder that I could find—eschewing Farmer Boy till the very end because it was, eww, about a Boy!—every sentence about pie making and eating was pure magic to me. They still are. While I have put away now, along with other childish things, my calico sunbonnet (I will leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide whether I mean this figuratively or literally), I have kept close to my heart and my open mouth Wilder’s vivid evocation of the Good American Pie.

Like many quintessentially American fare, pies were foods that I read about but that I rarely ate at home when I was growing up.   Read more

By Christine Johnson-Duell

Finding Pomegranates

I have always loved the Persephone/Demeter myth and as an MFA student, I discovered Eavan Boland’s poem, “The Pomegranate.” I loved its wistfulness, its wisdom, and its fierce ambivalence (simultaneous wanting: to protect a daughter from, and propel her into, life), especially because I’d always related to this myth as Persephone. The speaker says “…the best thing about the legend is/I can enter it anywhere.”

In the decade that followed grad school, I came across numerous Persephone/Demeter poems. In that decade, I had a daughter, but I never wanted to write a version of the myth. Other poets, better than I, had already done it; the world didn’t need another. And, unlike Boland’s speaker, I was uncertain where to enter it.

I did (and do) however, have a few opinions.   Read more

By Anne Liu Kellor

How to Write After Giving Birth

You fear that once you have your baby it will be hard to write. You have been spoiled for so long with so many uninterrupted hours. How will you adapt to working in snippets, a half hour here, hour there? You know that this is how other mothers do it, how they manage to hang on to their identities as writers, manage to get anything done. That said, you are prepared to give up writing altogether for a while. You are trying to lower your expectations so that you will not be disappointed. You are trying to be realistic.

Before giving birth, you are gifted with three blessed weeks at Hedgebrook. You know that this is your last chance to make great strides in your work before life with baby takes over. You know that life with baby will take over.   Read more

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