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by Hedgebrook Guest

December 19, 2014:

Dear Katarina,

Thank you so much for applying for a 2015 Hedgebrook residency.

We received 1,466 applications for 2015 and are able to offer 40 residencies. Though your application did not advance into the final round this year, we want you to know that your work resonated with our reviewers.

Sending your work into the world is an act of bravery, and we appreciate the opportunity for our reviewers to experience your voice.

We’d like to share our selection process with you, so you know the thoughtful time and attention your work received. Two Hedgebrook alumnae, who take their role in this process to heart, read your application and collaborated to select applications to continue further into the adjudication process. All applications are anonymous, and any reviewer who recognizes an applicant will recuse herself. Applicants who advance are reviewed by a three-member committee of readers in cities across the country, and then by a five member selection committee in the final round.

We ask reviewers to consider the quality of the writing, the strength of the proposal, and clarity of answers to the ‘Why Hedgebrook, why now?’ question. We are committed to supporting a diversity of voices: cultural, generational, geographical, LGBTQ, by genre, published and emerging.

You are a member of Hedgebrook’s community simply by sharing your work with us. As our global community grows, we are offering more opportunities for women writers to experience Hedgebrook in other ways. If you choose to stay on our mailing list, we’ll share opportunities to write, network, take workshops and engage with writers from around the world. We are committed to advocating for all women writers to gain equal voice in the cultural conversation.


So why is a NO from Hedgebrook a YES?

Because I dared to apply for the 6 week retreat.

Kat_blog_postTo allow myself even the possibility to focus fully on me shows me that my mindset is changing.  I am opening myself to opportunities.

I have worked on my project, Molly, since 2003 through all the blood and guts of life.  Working on Molly is my refuge.  Now I need to give myself the QUIET that she needs.

I was empowered by the application process- empowered by the NO, for it showed me that I am ready to allow myself to now strip away distractions in my life that do not serve me, that do not reflect my value nor feed my life’s work.

I want to give myself to the experience of Hedgebrook- but that need not be at Hedgebrook.

I am expanding my community.  I will eat well.  Walk.  Take time.

Retreat frame of mind.

Hedgebrook state of mind.


About the Author:

Katarina (Kat) Thorsenis an artist, craftivist and therapeutic art facilitator, passionate in her belief that art can heal and build connections.  Kat specializes in arts-based programming for at-risk youth and young offenders.  Her interactive art events and street art encourages participants to become part of the creative process.  Kat’s own artwork can be found in private collections in North America and Europe.  She published her first book, Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art, in 2013.  Her next book is a true crime analysis in the form of a graphic novel.  Kat resides in Vancouver, Canada.

Kat’s mission statement:

My mission is to awaken creative expression through local and global art initiatives.”

Kat’s website: katthorsen.com


This piece originally appeared on Kat’s blog and can be accessed here.


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Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Hedgebrook, its staff or board members.

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About Hedgebrook Guest


  • Petra
    9:21 PM - 19 February, 2015

    Awesome… just awesome. For me, the ‘No’ is like not winning the lottery. The odds are slim. Hedgebrook has become an idea of what we should do for ourselves. Find women writers to join in their community. Make a meal together. Share writing and go for a nature hike. I have done this. It is empowering, comforting, satisfying. It’s not the longer term cozy cabin in the woods with nuturing networking, solitude and tasty meals… but its an approximation. Warm wishes.

    • Katarina Thorsen
      2:40 AM - 20 February, 2015

      Thank you, Petra! Yes- I am loving the “idea” of Hedgebrook- or the way of life, if you will. I love the connections we build in our own communities and here online. So much work is done in solitude. But it truly becomes more rich as we connect to others throughout the process. Inspiring each other. “Comforting” you write- I like that word! Love, Kat

  • Amanda
    7:49 PM - 3 March, 2015

    And, yes! I have felt similarly about my “no” from Hedgebrook. And from the process. Applying was the most muscled movement towards finishing work I have had yet. So good to be connecting here, even without the physical cabin. 🙂

    • Katarina Thorsen
      5:35 PM - 4 March, 2015

      I LOVE “muscled movement”! Thank you, kindred spirit!

  • Angie Riley
    3:12 PM - 5 March, 2015

    I did not think of my no as a yes until I read this. Thank you for helping me move passed my sadness. Today, I received another no for a project which I believe is some of my best work. I needed to read this today. thank you Hedgebrook for being supportive without the yes and physical space. Thanks for sharing Kat.

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