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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.

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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

By Reilly Richards

Courage, Lipstick, and How I Found V-Day

When one begins an adventure, they usually have either a great deal of knowledge on what they’re getting into or none at all. I’m still unsure which of the two applied to me when I decided I wanted to do something like Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, or Harriet Tubman at the age of 7. But I knew that by golly I was going do something whether you like it or not! As I got older I found other interests: sports, science, history, clothes. But all along the way I was continually drawn back to feminism, women challenging the system, and female roles in our culture.   Read more

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