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By Ann Hedreen

Turning 55…

I’m about to turn 55.  What a great opportunity to flagellate myself for all that I’ve not done or done wrong.  For all the ways I’ve fallen short!

This is how the habitually self-bashing person thinks.  Maybe I’m not alone: Maybe it’s how a lot of us think.

A wise man about a decade older than I am once said to me, when I made some routinely self-deprecating remark at a church meeting: “Hey Ann, you know that stuff we hear every Sunday about forgiveness?  That’s supposed to start with yourself.  That famous line about loving your neighbor?  It’s ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ remember?”   Read more

By Brenda Miller

The Yoga of Writing

The first time I went on a writing retreat, I had no idea what I was doing. And get this: I went for two months! I arrived at Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island, in the winter of ’94, with my clunky Mac Classic in tow, a box of books, a sack full of travel journals, and lots of big ideas about writing.

I soon found out, rather painfully, that big ideas about writing often lead you nowhere. Those big ideas sit in the middle of the room, daring you to write something good. Something good and something long. They glower at you. They grumble and complain. They make you hungry just an hour after breakfast. They give you a whopping headache. They make you look at the clock and wonder if anyone would notice if you just headed home, say, 7 weeks early.   Read more

By Lois Bertram

Snapshot of a Miracle

 I told Vito as he gave a very young Clarisa and me an overview of the grounds, “I knew my selection was probably a mistake but I was coming anyway.”  Then when I walked into my cottage, Owl, I knew I was home.  One chair, one desk, one cup, one bowl, one plate in a charming intimate space heated by a small wood burning stove.  When I took off my shoes, it wasn’t about housekeeping but treading on consecrated ground. I wondered whose feet had walked these worn pine floors before me.   Read more

By Allison Green

Hegebrook Sisterhood

I don’t believe in sisterhood.

I came out into a lesbian-feminist community in the mid-1980s that was split between women who thought us purer, lovelier, and in all ways superior to men and those who wanted to claim a fuller humanity, including the potato-bug undersides of our psyches, like our racism, our capacity for violence, our complicity. Enumerate the seven deadly sins, and I’ve sinned them, even against my sisters.   Read more

By Donna Miscolta

When Your Family Thinks They’re in Your Fiction

“Why did you kill me off in that story?”

Some years ago my younger daughter confronted me with this question after she had read a story I had recently completed. The story is about two sisters. I have two daughters. My older daughter insists that she is the narrator in that story.

“It’s not about you,” I said to each of them.   Read more

By April Dammann

THE FRANKLIN VILLA – A HOLLYWOOD HAVEN

This first blog entry could be filed under “One Writer’s Beginnings” – not to be confused with the wonderful Eudora Welty’s memoirs. My roots aren’t Southern, and my oeuvre is not as grand.  Still… I think others are as interested as I am in how, where and why a writer finds inspiration.

During my senior year at Hollywood High School in 1964, my family lived in an apartment complex called The Franklin Villa. It was ordinary in every way, squeezed between other similar buildings on busy Franklin Avenue, just two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard. There was a swimming pool with cracked concrete in the middle of sixteen units occupied by singles, marrieds and families. The tenants were mostly down-and-outers, trying for Hollywood careers. In a way I was one of them, beginning my writing life within those faded green stucco walls.   Read more

By Donna Miscolta

Remedies for Writer’s Envy

Writing a book seems almost effortless compared to promoting it. I don’t think I ever suffered from writer’s envy before I had a book published. I’m pretty sure I have it now. Not chronically or acutely. Just now and then.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely grateful for the support I’ve received from friends, family, and my local bookstores. But like a spoiled child, I want more. I want bigger. I want what she has, the one with the book tour, or her with all the interviews, or him with the movie deal.

I’m on my own path, I tell myself. So when I’m tripped up by writer’s envy, I tend to my bruises with my own particular remedies.   Read more

By Anastacia Tolbert

Change

oh mother moon

looks like you’ve got a story to tell
tell us.

tell us at least half.
light our eyes like stars—

pause our busy & our blue rays.
give us something to tell our neighbors.

tell the news. tell our children.

whisper one version here.

one version there.

let us come together & cipher it out the next day.

let us all say i know… she told me too.

Having just witnessed a lunar eclipse in the heavens of Japan, I feel changed.

It isn’t the kind of change that one would wear like a new scarf or sassy hat, nor is it the kind of change that happens rapidly like walking into a building in daylight and returning to a parked car in darkness. It is a simmering crock pot kind of change…or, picture the late 80’s when teen agers wore pleather jackets, penny loafers and white socks and got in long lines and did the “tic.” One upward then downward motion of the hand and wrist slowly moving to the elbow, then the upper arm, then the neck and head, then miraculously to the next person. Yes. This is the kind of change I am speaking of. Crock pot 80’s dance change.   Read more

By Honor Molloy

Poetry in Pavements

 I grew up in a house filled with music and jokes and song. A robust language rang off the walls as the family freely quoted Synge, O’Casey, Shakespeare, or Bubbles, one of the Dublin characters my father, John Molloy, collected. Both of my parents were theatre artists dedicated to preserving a Dublin vernacular that split a two-syllable word into ten, giving it a hundred new meanings. Back in the 60s, there was lively poetry to be heard on the streets and in the markets that was rapidly fading. So, the two of them took material straight from the mouths of the Moore Street dealers, buskers, down-and-outers with extraordinary language and stories. More…

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