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By Vero González

Rona Jaffe Foundation – 2018 Hedgebrook Fellowship

A Hedgebrook residency is a gift of freedom from duty, from physical and emotional labor, a stripping away of everything nonessential until you—the purest essence of you—are all that remains & you discover that you are not scared of the dark & that you do like dancing taking long walks waking up early & the taste of fennel, hand-picked with love in the lush Hedgebrook garden.

Hedgebrook sisterhood means all the petty, jealous, competitive feelings you have harbored about other writers are replaced by generosity, love, enthusiasm & this process can be painful because you have to confront those feelings in yourself—but no matter what comes up for you in the woods, Hedgebrook can hold it.

After four weeks of relentless gifts, when I thought Hedgebrook had given me all it could, it handed me a final one.

Being awarded the Rona Jaffe Foundation fellowship is a vote of confidence, an affirmation to repeat over and over when self-doubt creeps in, a light showing me I am on the right path, an advance to help finance a dream.

You will write.

But it is not about the word count or your deadline or your ego & its expectations.  It is about the rituals that emerge when your usual structures fall away.  The way the light drops rainbows on your cottage floor.  The way Hedgebrook continues to feed you long after your last dinner.

It is the community you didn’t know you’d been waiting for, reaching out to hold you across the distance.

By Mary Volmer

The Vision Guiding the Bridging Retreat

Can you replicate the experience of a Hedgebrook Residency? In a word, no. We knew that in 2016 when we founded Bridging: A One-Day Hedgebrook Writers Retreat for Women.

What we could do, however, was embrace the concept of radical hospitality by opening the doors of our little campus and inviting women writers of all descriptions and disciplines, from all over the vast network of communities that make up the San Francisco Bay Area. We could offer them a taste of Hedgebrook: hours of uninterrupted writing time, great food, camaraderie and connections, and inspiration to propel them onward.

This was the dream that guided our first year. But it was the generosity of writers like Cherrie Moraga, our first keynote speaker – whose book This Bridge Called My Back lent us our guiding symbol – who offered the support we needed to build the retreat. Ultimately it was Moraga, and Anzaldua and Steinem and Hooks and Fowler and Robertis and a panoply of other feminist writers who brought us, over many byways and waterways to the college. They are all part the bridge on which we now stand. They offered us the language to express our intellect, our love, our outrage, and our hope.

In each successive year, in these terrible years, we have come together to kindle that hope, and to grow hope into action. We created a taste of Hedgebrook in the San Francisco Bay Area to support, as best we could, women authoring change.

By Hedgebrook Guest

In Willow Cottage at Hedgebrook

The past few weeks have been by turns exciting, sorrowful, grief-filled, stressful and exhilarating. From flying to Paris for a two-week holiday, only to find out my younger sister had Hedgebrook, it has been a tumultuous time.

Today is my fourth day among the quiet cedars and oaks of Hedgebrook, a retreat center for women writers on Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest. In January, I was accepted into a Master Class with poet Carolyn Forché, and so far it has gone beyond my every expectation.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Guest

Reflection…

It is truly amazing how much your life can change in one year.

This March was the one year anniversary of my debut novel, The Truth About Awiti. Since its publication I have resigned from my job as a Policy Advisor for the US Department of Energy to pursue writing full-time. I have discussed The Truth About Awiti at colleges, universities, and high schools, and recently the novel was selected as a Foreward Reviews’ Book of the Year Awards’ finalist. Pinch me!   Read more

By Hedgebrook Staff

Hedgebrook, the Verb: A Dual Perspective

I wanted my mother to experience radical hospitality from the moment I started working at Hedgebrook two years ago.

As many mothers do, my mother has sheltered me and lifted me up with unique spiritual fortitude and unceasing generosity. My mother is a songwriter, poet, and massage therapist on Whidbey Island. In her work, the nurturing she offers is not soft and timid.

Like Hedgebrook, my mother’s work is radical and transformative.   Read more

By Hedgebrook Staff

Joining Hands at Hedgebrook

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead.

And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”

(From the play, The History Boys)

 

When I was in middle school, I started a tradition of reading with a blank book beside me. I would hand write excerpts from the books I read that moved me, or seemed especially juicy.   Read more

By Hedgebrook ED

VORTEXT 2013: The Second Gathering

In a couple of weeks, Hedgebrook’s second Vortext Salon for women writers will take place on Whidbey Island: three extraordinary days of workshops and conversation, in a beautiful setting, led by six renowned writers and teachers: Dorothy Allison, Karen Joy Fowler, Elizabeth George, Jane Hamilton, Ruth Ozeki and Gail Tsukiyama.

 

  Read more

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Rona Jaffe Foundation – 2018 Hedgebrook Fellowship
The Vision Guiding the Bridging Retreat