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by Yvette Heyliger

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:

After settling in, the first order of business was to call Hedgette Sue Frause and schedule a tour of the Whidbey Island wineries. (You may have seen her blog about it.) I was excited to hear that some new wineries had opened up since my last visit. After running into Hedgebrook founder, Nancy Nordoff, during our excursion, I remembered fondly the Woods Walk she had given a group of us during my previous visit.  I longed to see the Twisted Tree again, and to sit for meditation on the log bench at Cedar Deep, so, I promptly organized a Woods Walk with Kathy. I was inspired once again by this reconnection to nature—so much so in fact, that Hedgebrook’s garden was calling to me! In 2008 I had spent a lot of time in the garden and loved it. Gardening is something I never get to experience living in a big city and Kathy had the perfect task for me, harvesting grapes to make jam!

I also took a long walk along the beach at Double Bluff, hoping that on this visit I would finally get to see the illusive Mt. Rainier (no such luck!). Closer to home, I visited Deer Lagoon and our next door neighbor’s llamas and horses. The only playwright in residence, I gave a mini-workshop in playwriting to two memoirists. To see the delight in their faces after writing their first “play” is a memory I will always treasure.  On my last night around the farmhouse table, Julie made grilled turkey burgers with pear chutney and sweet potato fries! And for dessert— Grand Marnier chocolate cake! (Note to self: start diet upon returning home!) The residents then retired to the living room where we read our work around the fire.

As you can tell, I am all about community, girlfriends! But, the time I spent in my cottage working on my book, a collection of my plays, was sacred time; time which began first with offering up a prayer of gratitude for the gift of Hedgebrook. Oh, yes! And while I’m on the subject, I want to give a shout out to our new research librarian, Evie. Her input and insights about aspects of the book I had not thought of, and the crash course she gave me on doing research on the internet, were invaluable!

To those who will be coming to Hedgebrook for the first time and to those returning, I wish you a joyous and fulfilling response to exit question #4!!!

Yours in solidarity,

Yvette Heyliger
Willow 2011 & Oak 2008
NYC Alumnae Leadership Council


Yvette Heyliger
About Yvette Heyliger

1 Comment

  • Ann Hedreen
    6:31 AM - 7 December, 2011

    Yvette, I’m so glad you were able to come back to Hedgebrook. Reading this brought back wonderful memories of farmhouse read-throughs of your play in 2008!

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