In Willow Cottage at Hedgebrook

By Hedgebrook Guest

The past few weeks have been by turns exciting, sorrowful, grief-filled, stressful and exhilarating. From flying to Paris for a two-week holiday, only to find out my younger sister had died suddenly during our overnight flight, to coming home to a house still filled with unpacked boxes from Rob’s move to Santa Barbara over Christmas, to preparing for a week at Hedgebrook, it has been a tumultuous time.

Today is my fourth day among the quiet cedars and oaks of Hedgebrook, a retreat center for women writers on Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest. In January, I was accepted into a Master Class with poet Carolyn Forché, and so far it has gone beyond my every expectation.   Read more

Gloria Named My Memoir

By Hedgebrook Guest

It happened again. Someone “friended” me and her profile picture was of a smiling woman in hijab. Since my book Uncovered is about leaving the Hasidim, this wasn’t a common experience. I was pleased. I see my memoir as feminist, as an act of solidarity with covered women everywhere. I didn’t always see it that way.

Back in 2010, I went to Hedgebrook for the first time. I had just sent off a final draft of my memoir to my agent and was eager to delve into my new novel. I saw no one else that first day, needed no one else. I hung up clothes and set up my writing space, took a careful walk around my cabin, and then I was ready to go to work. But first, a quick email check—and there was my agent’s name.   Read more

Whose voice is it anyway?

By Rita Gardner

When faced with the inevitable – that I must write a memoir (the “must” propelled by an inner transmission that just wouldn’t shut off) – I did what I’m sure others have – questioned my sanity.  A residency at Hedgebrook helped me focus on accepting that I am, indeed, a writer.  However, how could I, who perfected the art of invisibility, write a book that would expose me?  I comforted myself by telling myself no one would have to see the finished product if I deemed it inadequate.  After all, I thought I was already not-good-enough – I didn’t finish college, much less got that coveted MFA that seems to be de rigueur for any real writer.  So – maybe I could write and still have it not be my story.   Read more