My Favorite Rejection Letter

Posted on January 8th, 2015 by Hedgebrook Guest

I’ve been submitting my writing for publication for exactly fifteen years now. My first ever submission, to a small local journal, wasmidamerican-rvw-2008-2007-2006 mailed on January 10, 2000. On February 1, I submitted a short piece to a local contest. I never heard back from either.

On February 12, 2000, I mailed a submission to another local contest. I received a phone call shortly thereafter that I had won. I still remember playing the message back several times on the old answering machine. You know the kind that beeps and clicks and rewinds the miniature cassette tape, which ceaselessly fascinates the cat?

My 8th submission that year resulted in a Hedgebrook residency. My 14th resulted in being published by the esteemed journal Calyx.

Not bad for a first year. But consider that with three acceptances, I also collected eleven rejections. Read the rest of this entry »

Juxtapositions at Hedgebrook

Posted on January 2nd, 2015 by Hedgebrook Guest

Because I’m a fine-arts photographer as well as a poet, I frequently get asked if my photography somehow illustrates my poems. Do the images and the words come from the same place? For years now, I have known my “photographic” and “poetic” minds to run parallel and close, related but different in a way I can’t quite articulate. My latest chapbook, “Abraham’s Voices,” was my first attempt at marrying the two impulses–but the kudos go to my wonderful editor, friend, and fellow Hedgebrook alumna Lana Ayers, who saw the way for some scant pages of poetry to become a chapbook with the addition of photographs. Still, people tell me how “poetic” my photographs are, and how strikingly visual most of my poetry. Surely there is some connection?

As a photographer who persists in shooting film (and old-fashioned medium-format film at that), I have been dragged to the digital age grudgingly. It was through the film-like images I could get with my smartphone that I came around to digital photography. I now carry my cell phone at all times, not as a communications device but as an ubiquitous camera. So I had it with me every second at Hedgebrook this past October. As I walked through the grounds I took pictures of the trees, the mosses, wheelbarrows by the outbuildings. I took photos of the beach at Double Bluff, the white fences and the changing colors of the neighboring farms’ deciduous trees. I have lived 5 miles away from Hedgebrook for almost 20 years, but that didn’t stop me from photographing everything anew. Read the rest of this entry »

Buy books. Give books. Read books. Share books.

Posted on December 23rd, 2014 by Hedgebrook Staff



What you read matters.

We at Hedgebrook want to wish all of our writers, readers and supporters Happy Holidays and some time this season to take the opportunity to curl up with a good book. Need a suggestion? Keep reading…

Want to make a difference in the life of a writer? Buy books. Give books. Read books. Share books. With more than 1,500 alumnae, we couldn’t possibly compile a comprehensive list of all of their amazing works. Beyond books, Hedgebrook writers author songs, films, plays, articles, poems, graphic novels, and more. The lists below are just a sampling of the amazing work coming from the Hedgebrook community. We’ll be sharing more book lists in the coming year, so stay connected and keep reading. Read the rest of this entry »

A New Writing Retreat in Walla Walla

Posted on December 18th, 2014 by Hedgebrook Guest

I feel oddly indebted to a less fortunate unnamed writer, without whose misfortune I wouldn’t have enjoyed one of the most satisfying experiences of my life: attending Claiming Your Truth, with Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, last year. I’d applied when the class was already full and so I was waitlisted. And then the call came on Sunday afternoon, with the retreat already in progress: A writer had fallen and broken her leg. Would I be interested in taking her spot? My husband had invited nine of his colleagues over for dinner the following night, Monday—associates from all over the world. Cook or leave my husband in the lurch and go off and retreat? I was ready to beg and cook in advance. My wonderful husband quickly assented and lasagnas, appetizers and salads were hurriedly prepared. I was going to Hedgebrook for six days to write. Just to write. To give and receive feedback on writing. In the company of writers. Read the rest of this entry »

Holding Each Other Up Hedgebrook Style

Posted on December 11th, 2014 by Hedgebrook Guest

“We’ll need to hold each other up.” That’s what Anita Gail Jones Roerick (Fir 94) wrote in an email when I informed her of my plan to launch a support group for women writing our first books. I hadn’t met her; all I knew was that she was a Hedgebrook alum (94).

In the fall of 2009, shortly after my first summer residency, Hedgebrook staff spearheaded the formation of leadership councils in a number of cities. I had the good fortune of attending a meeting and becoming part of the council in the Bay Area. The Hedgebrook Mothership, as we called it, was somewhat vague about what it wanted councils to do and gave us space to coordinate activities that grew organically out of the interests of local alums.

Read the rest of this entry »