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by Hedgebrook Guest

I feel oddly indebted to a less fortunate unnamed writer, without whose misfortune I wouldn’t have enjoyed one of the most satisfying experiences of my life: attending Claiming Your Truth, with Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, last year. I’d applied when the class was already full and so I was waitlisted. And then the call came on Sunday afternoon, with the retreat already in progress: A writer had fallen and broken her leg. Would I be interested in taking her spot? My husband had invited nine of his colleagues over for dinner the following night, Monday—associates from all over the world. Cook or leave my husband in the lurch and go off and retreat? I was ready to beg and cook in advance. My wonderful husband quickly assented and lasagnas, appetizers and salads were hurriedly prepared. I was going to Hedgebrook for six days to write. Just to write. To give and receive feedback on writing. In the company of writers.
What I discovered there was how powerful it is to simply be “anointed,” acknowledged and chosen, and given encouragement to do what I want so much and also fear doing. There are many journals in each cabin, filled with the diary entries of former residents, many of them expressing similar feelings regarding this idea of “permission” and also the idea of place. Simply a place to write.
99c7dbf1-dfb6-4328-9818-388582ad18a7.1Earlier this year I decided to transform a house I own in Walla Walla into a short-term vacation rental. It’s a terrific house with an even more terrific location next to a park and blocks from the charming downtown, as well as Whitman College. This “little Napa” draws crowds during three seasons but the hum is silenced in the winter months. I wondered if my little house could be a “place to write” for someone in the Puget Sound during the winter months. It’s a luxurious and cozy place, and it’s far away enough to be a get-away, but close enough to drive in an afternoon.

And so indeed, I’ve launched this idea and opportunity with the help of the Northwest Playwright’s Alliance: two fully-funded one-week retreats available—for writers in any genre—at My Walla Walla Getaway. If the thought of driving over the pass doesn’t discourage you (!), I urge area writers to apply. There are no teachers and no fellow writers, but don’t underestimate the power of place. And permission. To simply write.

For details please visit: http://northwestplaywrights.org/ Applications due January 5th 2015

 

twoOfus_Hawaii (3)Leticia Lopez is a theatre artist/leadership facilitator/ youth educator and writer. As a respected leader in youth and arts education, Leticia has worked for Intiman Theatre, YWCA of King-Snohomish, Planned Parenthood, among others. At Intiman she was the Director of Education & Community Programs, where she led The American Cycle, examining the American character through dialogue, drama and public education programs across King County. At the YWCA she was the founding director of Leaders in Progress (LIP)—now Girls First—and empowerment and mentorship program for teen women from racially diverse and low-income communities; YW-LIP was awarded a Golden Apple by KCTS for “excellence and innovation in education.”  She continues use theatre as a tool for team-building, leadership development and social justice. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Whitman College and is an alumna of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and the Mark Taper Forum Latino Theater Writer’s Retreat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Hedgebrook, its staff or board members.

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1 Comment

  • Traci Barela
    1:08 AM - 19 December, 2014

    Oh what an opening! Yes, I thought, and clicked on the link.. totally missing the New Writing Retreat… oh my what a nice blog entry… and it hit me. A retreat in Walla Walla… Letitia, Hedgebrook sister, what a gift! I am so impressed by what you write and what you have done. Talk about walking the walk. Walla Walla has much to offer a writer… very much. But, who am I to say, as I too spent 4 marvelous years there!

    Blessings,

    Traci Hill Barela
    Whitman 83

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