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By Hedgebrook Guest

Reflection…

It is truly amazing how much your life can change in one year.

This March was the one year anniversary of my debut novel, The Truth About Awiti. Since its publication I have resigned from my job as a Policy Advisor for the US Department of Energy to pursue writing full-time. I have discussed The Truth About Awiti at colleges, universities, and high schools, and recently the novel was selected as a Foreward Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards’ finalist. Pinch me!   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Sonora Jha Interviews Donna Miscolta

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.

  Read more

By Debra Daley

From Hedgebrook Master Class to Publication

In forty-eight hours my novel Turning the Stones is going to be launched at a party in Soho, London. The venue is a literary club in an 18th-century building, an appropriate venue for a story set in the 1760s. I can hardly believe that this moment has come at last. I’ve walked a long and winding road to get here. I had had a novel published before, but then a lot of life intervened. I had a household to support and being a low-earning fiction writer did not bring home the bacon. So I worked and brought up kids. I never stopped writing though. I had a few little things published here and there. Then some other not-great stuff happened and I ended up in a tiny one-bedroom flat in London making a highly unpredictable living as a freelance editor.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Staff

Questions for our Winter Salon Teachers

Our Winter Salon teachers share what they are reading, writing and what excites them about teaching for our Winter Salon.

Anna Bálint

 What are you reading?

I always seem to have several books on the go at once. I’ve just finished “Nervous Conditions” a wonderful coming of age novel by Zimbabwe’s Tsitsi Dandarembga, and have started on “Bloodroot” by Amy Greene, another novel, this time an intergenerational family story set in Appalachia and told in multiple voices, (something I love…) I’ve also been dipping into “One World: a global anthology of short stories” which I was happy to come across and is introducing me to some fantastic writers I’ve never heard of before from various parts of the world. Lastly, but no means least I’m reading “Making Peace With the Earth” by environmental activist and feminist Vandana Shiva.   Read more

By Susan Jensen

The Shame Game

There is no shame in being incested, molested, raped, or beaten.

The shame belongs with the perpetrator, not the victim.

Always.

If we are too young or weak or scared or damaged or battered or seduced into complicity to defend ourselves, where is the shame in that?

The symbiotic dynamic of the shame game conspires to protect the abusers who hide in and behind our shame, protected by it, reveling in it.

As victims, we’re too ashamed to bring charges, too ashamed to tell the truth, too ashamed to confront.   Read more

By Kate Thompson

Who Cooks for You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He flew on silent wings; one swoop and his talons grazed the top of her head. She didn’t see him coming. She was walking down the forest path to her cabin after a hearty meal at the farmhouse. It was twilight, drizzly and she was alone. Before she thought to run, he went in for a second swipe. This time, she left sprinting and even though her cabin was closer, she ran back to the farmhouse to warn us.

This was my first night as a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers located on Whidbey Island, WA. The writers’ cottages are tucked away in the forest amongst cedars and furs, pines and hemlocks and vine maples. In owl territory, it seemed. Funny, the packet I received when I was awarded the Hedgebrook residency, mentioned deer and bunnies, not crazed owls.   Read more

By Donna Miscolta

The Beauty of a Hedgebrook Salon

Last month, I had the pleasure of being one of six workshop leaders at Hedgebrook’s December Salon, a day-long event at this writers retreat for women located on Whidbey Island, WA. The salon was an opportunity for women writers to partake in workshops, conversation, the famous Hedgebrook food and the capstone – a lively open mic.

The workshops were held in the beautiful Hedgebrook cottages, each of which normally houses a single writer during a residency. A Hedgebrook residency in a cottage in the woods is writing bliss as the over 1,200 alumnae can attest. Occupants of these cottages have written poems, plays, and books in pleasurable solitude. For the workshops, a half dozen or more women writers in a single cottage made for a cozy union of ideas and an inviting place for sharing work.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Staff

The Joy of Women Who Eat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

By Allison Green

Dreaming Hedgebrook

Before I returned to Hedgebrook recently for a brief stay, I had a dream. I arrived to find that the Hedgebrook property was ringed with new buildings. A teaching colleague — it didn’t occur to me to ask why she was working at Hedgebrook — gave me a tour of the dark-panelled bowling alley and the snack bar that smelled of frying oil. She showed me my “cottage,” a dingy brown nylon tent. When I asked its name, she said it was called “Willow,” just like the cottage where I had originally stayed seven years before. Outside the tent, cars in a perpetual traffic jam idled in four lanes.

  Read more

By Abigail Carter

New Girl’s Network, One Story at a Time.

Our mission, as we sat in the rustic long house at Hedgebrook, was to determine our organization’s BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). A BHAG is one of those statements you hear from those non-profit organizations during NPR broadcasts, statements like “Eradicating Childhood Disease” or “Equal Education for All.” BHAGs are almost impossible to achieve, but the thinking goes that if you don’t set such goals, you have no hope of ever achieving one. Since Hedgebrook is a writing retreat specifically for women, our main goal is to support women writers. But really, Hedgebrook is bigger than that.

As it turns out, Gloria Steinem is one of Hedgebrook’s biggest supporters and cheerleaders. And on this day, excitement was in the air because Gloria was joining us in our discussion. Years earlier, Gloria had mentioned to our executive director the need for a “New Girl’s Network,” an idea borrowed from the 80s corporate world. A network of women that could compete with the mostly exclusionary “Old Boy’s Network.” Where an Old Boy’s Network might be seen by men as a necessary means of furthering their own careers, The New Girl’s Network is seen as furthering the cause of all women, albeit, one woman at a time.   Read more

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