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By Hedgebrook Guest

Will summer heat bring hope again?

I sometimes feel guilty when I wash dishes. I live and work in a rural town in a developing country in Central Asia, and there are people living near me who often struggle to feed their families. Wouldn’t it be better to always have a person who needs money wash my dishes, and I could be free to do something else such as writing? Work hours here are long: there is much need, and accomplishing tasks takes extra time. [We say: if it would take two weeks at home, it will take two months here.] I know that the efforts of my colleagues and I have real impact in the lives of our neighbors, so my work is meaningful. Sadly, writing often takes a back seat to donor deadlines, community projects, and trying to time laundry when both water and electricity are available.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Come for the Community

What’s special about the 3-day VORTEXT writing salon? Here’s some insight from workshop leaders for the upcoming 2015 session (May 29-31):

“Watching the weave of relationships created at Vortext, and the creative power generated and moved along into the world, is essential to re-charging my psychic batteries. It reminds me that the best creative work arises from collaboration and a sense of collective purpose. At last year’s open mic readings, hearing the women cheering each other on because they KNEW how hard it was to get up there was one of many truly moving moments. It reminds me how little (and how much) is needed to create a responsive environment for creative work. It’s all about intention, and Hedgebrook’s Vortext brings me back to everything I genuinely believe and value.”   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 Holly Atkinson

Your Greatest Success

Each year at Christmas, my husband Galen and I perform in a reading of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”  Bob Crachit utters my husband’s favorite line in the story when Mrs. Crachit brings to the holiday dinner table the steaming plum pudding, which Dickens, a line or two before this triumphant moment, points out smells like a washrag. After tasting the pudding, Crachit says, “My dear, I regard this as your greatest success since our marriage.”

This line never fails to make my husband laugh.   Read more

By Rachel Gallaher

Validation at VORTEXT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hedgebrook changed my life. I know that may sound hyperbolic, but it’s true. Two months ago I had never heard of Hedgebrook. Started in 1985, the organization supports women writers by providing them with residencies on Whidbey Island, allowing them the time and space to work on their novels, their poetry, and their craft in distraction-free cabins on acres of gorgeous wooded land. A writer’s dream transformed into exquisite reality.

In May, due to the perfect mix of luck, opportunity and a generous offer, I received a full scholarship to attend Hedgebrook’s first annual VORTEXT conference—a weekend on Whidbey with a few dozen women writers, organic catered meals and heavy-hitting authors giving lectures and leading workshops. Jane Hamilton, Elizabeth George, Dorothy Allison. I was excited but nervous. Who else was attending? Would the other women look down at me as being too young, too naive? Was I a real writer? I had been writing since I was seven years old. I loved writing deeply. Passionately. But was that enough? Was I enough?   Read more

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