Sonora Jha Interviews Donna Miscolta

By Hedgebrook Guest

We asked Summer Salon teachers Sonora Jha and Donna Miscolta to interview each other for the Hedgebrook Farmhouse Table Blog. Look for Donna’s interview with Sonora next week!

Sonora: You came to writing later in life, after an education and career in everything BUT writing. What part of this do you regret, if at all? And what part do you love?

Donna: Part of the reason why I came to writing late was I had long believed that it wasn’t possible for people like me to write books, and even if I had thought it possible, I didn’t believe that I myself was capable of such a thing. I regret that it took so long for me to believe. If I had come to writing earlier, it would’ve meant more years in which to learn to write and more years to produce work. My first book was published when I was 58. I turn 63 this year when my second book comes out. I’ve just finished a new novel manuscript and am two-thirds of the way through another one. My kids are grown and retirement from my day job is on the horizon. And though I feel some momentum in writing, I also feel the pressure of time. So, is there a part that I love about coming to writing later in life? I guess I just love that I came to it at all.

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On Making The Overtly Feminist Performance That’swhatshesaid

By Hedgebrook Guest

I have this belief that as a performer, my true identity and self is inherently present and important in everything I do. This, by definition, is the exact opposite of acting. Maybe that’s why I don’t call myself an actor any more.

I used to, though. Proudly introduce myself as an actor. There was totally a Chorus Line fantasy fulfilled in the auditions I used to attend. I’d hop on the bus, poring over my monologues and drinking lemon ginger honey tea (good for your voice, I heard!). I’d get to the audition way too early, smile a lot, ignore the other 40 women warming up in the hallway, say my ‘thank you!’s and ‘look forward to hearing from you!’s and then do it all over again the next day. So glamorous! So fun! Living the dream!

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How Satya Nadella sounds a lot like my brother and why that is not a good thing.

By Hedgebrook Guest

I had just emerged from teaching a class in media studies at Seattle University last Thursday when I saw numerous posts on social media about remarks made by Satya Nadella. The recently installed Microsoft CEO was acting as the keynote speaker at a female-focused technology event when he was asked if he had any advice for women who are uncomfortable asking for promotions.

“It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” he said. “That might actually be one of the superpowers that women who don’t ask for raises have, because that’s good karma.”   Read more

Walking While Fat and Female – Or, Why I Don’t Care Not All Men are Like That

By Courtney Meaker

I started walking between 5 and 12 miles a day about year after I moved to Seattle. The main motivator was a crippling anxiety about being late coupled with an inconsistent public transportation system (that will now become less consistent, yippee). Additionally, working in an industry with late nights (I house manage for various theaters) means that if you’re reliant on public transit, you will be waiting for an hour at a scary bus stop with Mr. and Mrs. Meth Addict at 1:30 in the morning. Walking became a way for me to take control of my commute. It was my time. Four mile walk to work. Four mile walk back. In the rain. In the dark. In the cold. Every season. Sometimes with tunes. Sometimes with “Stuff You Missed in History Class.” Sometimes talking to myself. And sometimes with silence.   Read more

Of Awards and Rewards

By Sonora Jha

Some mornings, you don’t want to wake up to your alarm clock. You want to wake up to your smartphone buzzing from people tweeting your handle (there are at least three words in this sentence that wouldn’t make sense to anyone a few years ago). That’s how I awoke on Monday morning, eyes squinting to read the alerts about my book ‘Foreign‘ being longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.

My first response to this was disbelief. It’s the same response I had to the news last month that ‘Foreign’ was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award.

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Taking A Deep Breath

By Jen Marlowe

 

“Troy sat in his cell, hunched over on his bed, waiting for the horrifying moment when the lights would flicker, indicating that a high-voltage current of electricity was coursing through Chris’s body. Every man on the row twitched in silent agony when the flickering began at 9:50pm. Troy knelt on the hard floor, gripping the steel frame of his bed tightly, and prayed for his friend…”

These words (which come from the new book I AM TROY DAVIS which I co-authored with Troy Davis’s sister Martina Davis-Correia) were read aloud on Sept 20–the eve of the 2nd anniversary of Troy’s execution–at our NYC Book Launch at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem. It was not me reading this passage from the book; it was Lawrence Hayes, a death row exonoree.   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

We Did It! What I Learned Doing The Improbable Places Poetry Tour

By Susan Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow. The inaugural event of The Improbable Places Poetry Tour + 1 surpassed my wildest dreams. We read poems (+ one short story) in our pajamas, read poems (and one short essay) bouncing on the Author Suite’s bed at the Alexis Hotel, and celebrated in style. The quote of the night belonged to one attendee, “I never expected to have so much fun at a poetry reading.”

So what made this a different kind of poetry event? Well, what didn’t make it different?   Read more

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