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By Hedgebrook Guest

Sonora Jha Interviews Donna Miscolta

We asked Summer Salon teachers Sonora Jha and Donna Miscolta to interview each other for the Hedgebrook Farmhouse Table Blog. Look for Donna’s interview with Sonora next week!

Sonora: You came to writing later in life, after an education and career in everything BUT writing. What part of this do you regret, if at all? And what part do you love?

Donna: Part of the reason why I came to writing late was I had long believed that it wasn’t possible for people like me to write books, and even if I had thought it possible, I didn’t believe that I myself was capable of such a thing. I regret that it took so long for me to believe. If I had come to writing earlier, it would’ve meant more years in which to learn to write and more years to produce work. My first book was published when I was 58. I turn 63 this year when my second book comes out. I’ve just finished a new novel manuscript and am two-thirds of the way through another one. My kids are grown and retirement from my day job is on the horizon. And though I feel some momentum in writing, I also feel the pressure of time. So, is there a part that I love about coming to writing later in life? I guess I just love that I came to it at all.

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By Hedgebrook Guest

AWP: An Opportunity to Exercise Literary Citizenship

Spring is in the air and that means the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) conference is just around the corner. This is the one literary event I bookmark in my calendar years in advance, and for which I schedule everything else around; it’s a must-attend event in my books.

I often speak about what opportunities writers may find during AWP. Yet in addition to the socializing, schmoozing, and general knowledge intake, there are also countless ways in which to exercise literary citizenship. But what is literary citizenship? And why, of all places, would a writer elect to spend time doing activities seemingly unrelated to her own particular writing path?   Read more

By Elaine Elinson

How Hedgebrook Sheltered Me from the Cossacks

I brought my grandmother with me to my last residency at Hedgebrook.  Together we settled into Oak Cottage, lit the fire, put the water on for tea.

Over the next two weeks, with her photo as my screensaver, I pored through her diaries, lovingly handwritten in pencil, in Yiddish, on yellowing paper held together by fraying and chipped brown cardboard covers.

In the comfort of the cottage, I tried to shape a story from her stories.  Should it be about her working until midnight in a Chicago garment factory, wishing she were a poet?  Should it be about a lost love, the one who married another but still slid his hand on her thigh at political meetings?  Should I start with me reading the diaries or her harrowing tale of having to leave Russia after the pogroms terrorized Jews in her shtetl and all around her.   Read more