Joining Hands at Hedgebrook

By Hedgebrook Staff

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead.

And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”

(From the play, The History Boys)

 

When I was in middle school, I started a tradition of reading with a blank book beside me. I would hand write excerpts from the books I read that moved me, or seemed especially juicy.   Read more

The Joy of Women Who Eat

By Hedgebrook Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am sitting at a coffeeshop and catching up on some work. On the way to the coffeehouse, the idea for this post came to me: writing about how awesome it is to be in the company of women who like to eat. I mean really eat.

I am not talking about grabbing coffee or tea with friends and sharing a pastry. Or having soup and salad with a friend and feeling vaguely virtuous afterwards.

I am talking about the joy of watching Kelsye, my co-worker, attack a meatball, turkey and bacon sandwich which dwarfed her small frame. Or at Hedgebrook staff meetings where we take the first bite of whatever Denise has made us (her mac and cheese and enchiladas are my favorites). That first bite where all the women emit a visceral “Oh my GAWD this is so good!!!!” whether it’s audible or not. (Sometimes that feeling comes out in a sigh of relief and appreciation, barely louder than a whisper.)

At Hedgebrook, you EAT. You EAT with WOMEN. Powerful women. Soulful women. Intelligent women. Irreverent women. Women who have won Pulitzer Prizes. Women whose writing you watch on television the next day. Revolutionary women. Women who make you take stock of who you are, what are you doing to make the world a better place, what are you eating and the company you keep when you are eating.   Read more

Women Writers Find Inspiration, Mandate to Create, at VORTEXT Retreat

By Kelsye Nelson

The first ever VORTEXT event, Hedgebrook’s weekend retreat for women writers, began with Bastard out of Carolina author Dorothy Allison growling from the keynote podium as though a preacher at a pulpit for the ladies to “Write me a book!”

Forty-five women attended the three-day retreat held June 1-3, 2012, at the Whidbey Institute on Washington’s leafy green Whidbey Island. The event was hosted by Hedgebrook, a nonprofit organization serving women writers, that will soon celebrate its 25th anniversary.

“You have the right to be here! You own your stories!” said Allison.

Fifteen minutes into the retreat, attendees were already dabbing at their eyes, some furiously scribbling in notebooks.   Read more

A Love Letter to Ellen McLaughlin

By Hedgebrook Staff

First, you have to understand that last weekend I got to play bocce ball with Ellen McLaughlin. And that our team won. It was an informal gathering for the annual Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, of which she is a two-time alum. I was completely theatre geeking out. I surreptitiously snuck away to my iPhone at one point during the game to text a friend from college “OMG, I am playing bocce ball with the original Angel from Angels in America!”

And then she blessed my iPhone.

Ok, she didn’t exactly bless it, but she spilled a little bit of red wine on it. I took it as a sign that the theatre gods and goddesses were particularly pleased with me.   Read more

Turning Down the Volume

By Lesley McClurg

Surprisingly, the silence around me doesn’t feel lonely or empty.  The frenetic thoughts of my mind are quieted by the stillness here in Waterfall Cottage at Hedgebrook. I don’t feel my usual urge to fill space with sound.

Often the first thing I do when I come home to my apartment near downtown Seattle is cut through the emptiness by turning on the radio. I struggle to relax when my apartment is quiet because the stillness feels oppressive. A creepy loneliness settles over me when I sit and eat without the radio playing. Music or podcasts are my imaginary dinner guest.

Yet, here in the woods where nature offers only the subtlest noises, I don’t feel alone.   Read more

I’m a Reader not a Writer

By Cathy Bruemmer

When I give tours or orientations I am frequently asked, “Are you a writer?”  I’m not a writer. I’m a reader.   One of my rare pleasures is a chance to read a book from cover to cover in one day, preferably in my pajamas.  On a recent solo trip across the country I found myself shocked that the flight was almost over.  This happened BOTH WAYS.  All it took to transform the drudgery and discomfort of coach seats was a couple of good books and some earplugs.  Because I was traveling with my son I suppose the fact that I didn’t have to provide snacks, entertainment or listen to a few hours of chatter about the latest development in ski technology played a part in the feeling of a time warp.  But what made the trip a pleasure was the opportunity to enter a different world, to hear a new story. The gift of a good book is something I am deeply grateful for.   Read more

Hedgebrook Vocals

By Nancy Bardue

At Hedgebrook, when you hear “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all…” the call is not coming from the Farmhouse kitchen but from the depths of the forest. Our vocal – often loud mouthed – resident Barred Owls are making all the racket. Indeed, most alums can attest to waking up in the middle of the night from “noises like I have never heard before” or “a sound that scared the sh*t out of me”! It’s really fun when writers come to the office and verbally try to imitate the call, “No, no it was more like a hooooaahh, hooooaahh!” I love that they are also called Le Chat-huant du Nord (french for The Hooting Cat of the North).

  Read more

The Art of Communicating

By Lesley McClurg

My job is to communicate information. The method and means change depending on what professional role I’m playing. Some days I use flyers, e-blasts, newsletters and the universe of social media to promote events and news about Hedgebrook. On other days I am a journalist working for either public television or radio. Whether I’m marketing or reporting, I’m required to use a number of different tools to try and capture an audience’s attention. And this tool kit seems to be growing exponentially by the day. It’s hard to keep up with the varying social media sites, broadcast outlets and electronic devices continually hitting the market.   Read more

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