Hedgebrook LogoHedgebrook Logo

by Corinne Cavanaugh

What I wouldn’t give to be in the soothing, lulling calm of Hedgebrook Farms right now. I could use a little radical hospitality of the soul post November 8.

I had the good fortune to attend a Master Class last June and while I can’t say it radically changed my life I would definitely say it substantially altered the course of my work.

I went with a novel in hand. I had about half of my story written. Through a series of last minute errors, my master teacher only got one of my chapters, one that I’d included to show my whacky crazy side. But it was all she saw. I remember going into my session and having her show me what she had and I almost plotzed! (Yiddish word for died or fell over in extreme embarrassment.)

The three days leading up to my individual session were full of questioning. Am I up to par here? Am I a writer? Am I analytical enough to cut the proverbial mustard? Sometimes questions that wrench deeply into ones core are the very, very, very best ones to ponder.

I managed to salvage my session by sitting one on one with the incomparably kind, ruthlessly truthful and searingly (made up word – cuz I’m liberated now) questioning Ru Freeman and storytelling my story. It was in that session that I came to hard truths about what I was doing, what my intentions were and how I would endeavor to move forward.

The next day, I didn’t write a WORD. And that was a good thing. I had to swing my thoughts around my entire project. I took the day and walked to Freesomething. My goal was to see the island and think. While I missed a few busses, I didn’t miss a trick in self-evaluation. What I realized I had to do was to gut my novel and take it back to its foundation. I had to throw out all the cleverness, question all the barbs and strengthen the backbone.

I spent the remainder of my time there in communion with my fellow writers, exchanging ideas and compliments, offering suggestions and thoughts and soaking in the kind words they offered to me. I made several new friends. I gathered raspberries and nuggets of good ideas. And I re-evaluated everything.

I realized that I am in fact a writer. I may not have a novel in the pipeline for delivery, but I have great ideas and worthy offerings to share with the world. I figured out that I don’t need to be paid to be valid. And, I got solidly in touch with what I feel my writing strengths are, and what they aren’t.

Will I go back to this novel? I don’t know. I am currently in a writing group with another Hedgebrook alum and have switched my literary focus from the long to the short form. I am finding that flash fiction is more my thing.

And equally important, I am carrying forward the idea of radical hospitality. I am still savoring the joy of the experience and making that joy permeate my days. And these days, these days in particular, that’s crucial.

Dear fellow Hedgebrookians, sending you love and courage in these crazy and uncertain times. And, as I encourage myself in this darkness, WRITE ON!

Learn more about the Writers in Residence program: www.hedgebrook.org/writers-in-residence/

About the Author (by the Author):

When Judy Silk grows up she “wants to be an old woman”.  (Thank you Michelle Shocked for the lyrical inspiration.)  At the ripe old age of 55, she published her first articles, first in her local newspaper, The Palisadian Post, and then on the internationally read Huffington Post.  She also fulfilled a life long dream of doing stand up comedy, performing onstage at the Hollywood Improv, two days before a milestone event in her life, when she achieved menopause.  2015 saw the publication of “If You Give a Mom a Margarita” which is currently selling by the dozens on Amazon.  Visit her website JudySilk.com (how original) and WRITE ON!



Support Equal Voice and Women Authoring Change by donating to Hedgebrook today!

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.

Subscribe to the Farmhouse Table Blog
Corinne Cavanaugh (contractor - inactive)
About Corinne Cavanaugh (contractor - inactive)
former contractor. owner/operator at donorswell.com

No Comments

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.