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By Donna Miscolta

Why and How I Made a Book Trailer

“Look, Mom. I wrote a book!”

Approval from Mom. That’s all we want, isn’t it? Well, maybe when we were three and Mom equaled the world. But now, isn’t it the world’s attention we’re really after? Okay, maybe not the world. But some very modest portion of it. A sliver.

Because writers spend a good amount of time writing, rewriting and worrying over it, because we endure rejection and self-doubt, we imagine that in recompense our book will at long last arrive, if not to pageantry and spectacle, then at least to some applause, a salute, a thumbs up.

Which did happen back in June to me and Wendy Call at our joint book launch party where we felt feted, buoyed by well-wishers. But once the guests had left, the musicians had packed up their instruments, and we had folded up and hauled away the rented chairs, well, the party was over. The manager of the gallery wasted no time in pushing a broom across the floor to remove the remnants—candy wrappers, napkins, toothpicks, paper plates, and fallen petals from congratulatory bouquets. Soon the room was clean. Empty, except for the question insinuated by the pile of post-party debris: Now what?   Read more

By Sheila deShields

No Longer Missing

We may be exiled, or considered black sheep, if we go away or astray.  Not so with Hedgebrook.  Somehow my email address was lost for ten years, and then they found me, and life hasn’t been the same since.   Read more

By Iquo B. Essien

Hedgebrook(lyn)

A small group of alums met for a day of writing, reading and fellowship at Hedgebrook(lyn)—organized by alums Mary Armstrong and Holly Morris, who runs the PowderKeg, an urban writers’ retreat where we met.

At ten o’clock in the morning we had tea and fruit and chatter in the kitchen.  We later planted ourselves at a handful of ancient writing tables spread throughout the loft, overlooking a row of windows with a view of Flatbush Avenue.  I picked a table in the center of the room, just far enough from the windows that I wouldn’t be tempted to stare outside. Sitting there in quiet community, a story visited me about black women, depression and suicide that has been circling my creative mind for years.  It is something like Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf, but different.   Read more

By Yvette Heyliger

Yvette’s Response to Exit Question # 4

Dear Ones:

It is my last few hours here at Hedgebrook. I just completed my exit questionnaire and thought I’d share my response to this question:

4.  What would you like others to know about your experience here?

As an alumna (Oak 2008) I was well aware that there are many ways to be nourished as a writer in mind, body and spirit here at Hedgebrook. During my return-stay, I managed to get in all three, resulting in a well-rounded, holistic two week visit! Here are a few highlights:   Read more

By Jackie Shannon Hollis

Ah, The Grace of Time

Some of the best experiences are the hardest to describe. I began each day at Hedgebrook with a deep appreciation for the gift that was given in being selected to come here. And from the moment I stepped onto the property, I carried that gift and took it in. The staff welcomed me in an open-armed welcome. They sheltered me, as they do all of the residents here. Vito Z. gave me a tour and then showed me to Cedar cottage, my cottage for the time. It was spotlessly clean and had only and exactly what I needed (one plate, one bowl, one mug, one water glass, one wine glass…) perfect! A fire was ready to light in the woodstove. Ah, the woodstove.

  Read more

By Rahna Reiko Rizzuto

A RADICAL ACT

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ― Muriel Rukeyser

Twenty years ago, Anita Hill sat in front of a Senate hearing and told her truth at the intersection of race and gender.  She was publically pilloried by a panel of white men. This weekend, at Hunter College, Anita Hill was celebrated by a sold-out, star-studded conference, whose participants had a chance to thank her for enduring what she has so that women today could stand on her shoulders.

After a full conference day, the evening was filled with stories, in a hot ticket night of performances curated by Eve Ensler.  But throughout the day, there was a clear refrain that will resonate with all women writers.    Read more

By Sue Frause

Hedgebrook writers trade words for wine on an autumn afternoon in Langley

A recent Seattle Post Intelligencer blog from Sue Frause.

A couple weeks ago I received a phone call. The name was familiar, Yvette Heyliger, and when she said Hedgebrook— it all came back to me. Three years ago, I gave a wine tour to Yvette and two other Hedgebrook writers. I’d signed up to be a Hedgette, or a Hedgebrook Ambassador, and had listed wine among my many interests on the island.   Read more

By Kathlene Postma

A Room of One’s Own, One Way or Another

What I wanted for Christmas for ten years in a row was simple and impossible: A room of my own. Our house is a cozy bungalow, we have three young daughters (who will soon no doubt be asking for rooms of their own), and by the time the issue became pressing—I was desperate for a quiet space to write—the housing market convinced us to stay put. Small is the new big enough.

Except I really wanted—no needed—my own room.

  Read more

By Elizabeth Austen

Letter to a Young Writer

Dear Writer,

Years ago I heard Stanley Kunitz say, “The first job of the poet is to become the person who could write the poems.”

For a long time I thought this meant I had to become a better person than I am. I thought I had to become virtuous and perfect, so that the Muse would give me wise and beautiful poems.

But what I know now is that all (all!) I needed to do is to become myself, not someone else’s idea of me.   Read more

By Claudia Rowe

Add Kids and Stir

When I was last at Hedgebrook, two writers-in-residence were pregnant, and I – single, childless, about to turn 41 – could not hide my envy. It was not that I desperately loved children. I didn’t even know any children. But I wondered about missing out on the experience of family. I wondered if it would limit me, as a person and as a writer.

Years before, a friend had urged that I take full advantage of my solitary life: “It won’t be this way forever,” he said. “Do your work now.” Yet I was antsy, wandering around my tiny mountain home. Jumpy. The silence clogged my brain and I could not commit to the voice on the page.   Read more

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