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By Hedgebrook Guest

Parenting and Playwriting: Worst Review Ever

After a decade of having plays reviewed, I like to think I have a system. If the reviews are bad, I read quickly. If they’re mixed, I read carefully. If they’re good, I eat pie. I try to learn something. I try to get over them quickly. I allow myself to experience all the feelings, but I try not to wallow. It’s all very civilized.

It also left me completely unprepared for the worst review of my life.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

And, And, And Isabella Bootlegs Interview

Samantha Cooper’s new play and, and, and Isabella Bootlegs premiered this month. Production dramaturg Sara Keats led Cooper and director Norah Elges in conversation about the women-driven heart of the play, bi-coastal collaboration, and the future of new plays with Seattle roots. You can read more of their interview at http://ow.ly/NeTzc.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Dani Shapiro’s Strategies for Giving Yourself Permission to Write

It’s hard to believe that Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of the memoirs Devotion and Slow Motion, as well as five novels and the craft book, Still Writing, has struggled with giving herself permission to write.

“Permission is something that everyone who creates has to find a way to access,” says Shapiro, who was raised in an orthodox Jewish home, where it was expected that, as a woman, she would marry an investment banker and raise kids in the suburbs. “Doctors don’t graduate from medical school wondering if they’ll practice medicine; people don’t graduate from law school needing to ask permission to be an attorney. But anything we do that’s about creating something from nothing, is bushwhacking in a way. The more we’re forging our own path, the more we feel the need to be granted permission to do so. And often, there’s nobody there to give us that assurance.”   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

The musings of a writing life, with and without libations

Writing chose me, not the other way around. I’m sure many people feel that way about their vocation or avocation. And just as many have experienced the ups, downs, and sideways moments that their work brings them. What those moments look and feel like are different for each person, and how each person handles them is also unique. Wordsmithing my way through life—technical/marketing writer by day and nascent novelist by night—I’ve experienced the full gamut of emotions.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Staff

Envisioning Equal Voice

Actress Patricia Arquette caught the zeitgeist by the tail last month when she capped her Oscar® speech with a clarion call for gender equity: “It’s time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.“

Applause rippled through the audience, erupting as the camera caught Meryl Streep and J-Lo leaping out of their seats. My wife, sister-in-law, nieces and I joined their cheers from our living room.

Backstage, Arquette made an unfortunate gaffe that went viral, calling for, “…all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve fought for, to fight for us now.” Her comment rubbed those of us in these communities the wrong way, by implying that LGBTQ people and people of color have achieved equality. We’re not there yet, sister!

When so many people are not being heard in the cultural conversation, drawing lines is divisive, and distracts us from the core issue: there’s an imbalance in the stories we see, read and hear. And because stories shape who we are, this is a problem.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

How I became a Radical Black Feminist

A day after the Oscars there is a media frenzy over the Patricia Arquette acceptance speech at the Oscars, where she called for an end to the wage disparity between men and women in the United States. I do not think that anyone can argue about whether that part of her speech was wrong in any way. However it seems her back stage comments resulted in a furor because she states that gays and people of color should join them in the fight for wage equality, the same way that they (white women presumably) fought for them.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Why Receiving a No from Hedgebrook Was a Yes

December 19, 2014:

Dear Katarina,

Thank you so much for applying for a 2015 Hedgebrook residency.

We received 1,466 applications for 2015 and are able to offer 40 residencies. Though your application did not advance into the final round this year, we want you to know that your work resonated with our reviewers.

Sending your work into the world is an act of bravery, and we appreciate the opportunity for our reviewers to experience your voice.

We’d like to share our selection process with you, so you know the thoughtful time and attention your work received. Two Hedgebrook alumnae, who take their role in this process to heart, read your application and collaborated to select applications to continue further into the adjudication process. All applications are anonymous, and any reviewer who recognizes an applicant will recuse herself. Applicants who advance are reviewed by a three-member committee of readers in cities across the country, and then by a five member selection committee in the final round.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Ghosts, Daughters, and Heartbreak: Some books to read in 2015

Here are some must-reads for me in 2015. Yes, they’re all books by Pacific Northwest women I know and admire. Lucky me. Lucky you if you decide to read these books, too.

 

The Ghosts Who Travel With Me, Ooligan Press, by Allison Green

Smitten as a young adolescent with Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America, Allison Green explores her fascination with the book, the author, and the Sixties as she take us on a literary pilgrimage to the Idaho towns Brautigan visited, the streams he fished, and the woods he camped in during the summer of 1967. It’s a pilgrimage that leads her to reflect on her family history, her own identity as a lesbian and a writer, and the meaning of place.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

My Favorite Rejection Letter

I’ve been submitting my writing for publication for exactly fifteen years now. My first ever submission, to a small local journal, was mailed on January 10, 2000. On February 1, I submitted a short piece to a local contest. I never heard back from either.

On February 12, 2000, I mailed a submission to another local contest. I received a phone call shortly thereafter that I had won. I still remember playing the message back several times on the old answering machine. You know the kind that beeps and clicks and rewinds the miniature cassette tape, which ceaselessly fascinates the cat?

My 8th submission that year resulted in a Hedgebrook residency. My 14th resulted in being published by the esteemed journal Calyx.

Not bad for a first year. But consider that with three acceptances, I also collected eleven rejections.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Juxtapositions at Hedgebrook

Because I’m a fine-arts photographer as well as a poet, I frequently get asked if my photography somehow illustrates my poems. Do the images and the words come from the same place? For years now, I have known my “photographic” and “poetic” minds to run parallel and close, related but different in a way I can’t quite articulate. My latest chapbook, “Abraham’s Voices,” was my first attempt at marrying the two impulses–but the kudos go to my wonderful editor, friend, and fellow Hedgebrook alumna Lana Ayers, who saw the way for some scant pages of poetry to become a chapbook with the addition of photographs. Still, people tell me how “poetic” my photographs are, and how strikingly visual most of my poetry. Surely there is some connection?

As a photographer who persists in shooting film (and old-fashioned medium-format film at that), I have been dragged to the digital age grudgingly. It was through the film-like images I could get with my smartphone that I came around to digital photography. I now carry my cell phone at all times, not as a communications device but as an ubiquitous camera. So I had it with me every second at Hedgebrook this past October. As I walked through the grounds I took pictures of the trees, the mosses, wheelbarrows by the outbuildings. I took photos of the beach at Double Bluff, the white fences and the changing colors of the neighboring farms’ deciduous trees. I have lived 5 miles away from Hedgebrook for almost 20 years, but that didn’t stop me from photographing everything anew.   Read more

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