Archive for the ‘Alum Experiences’ Category
Thursday, January 8th, 2015
I’ve been submitting my writing for publication for exactly fifteen years now. My first ever submission, to a small local journal, was 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. (more…)
Thursday, December 11th, 2014
“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.
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
My son pulled the nipple from his mouth and Coke shot straight up his nose. He snorted, and coughed. I shushed him. He was barely heavy enough to hold the movie seat in the down position. Before 6pm a movie cost two dollars; my son got in free since he was still in diapers. The movie was Purple Rain. We were watching it for the fifth time.
In the middle of my first year of high school, I became pregnant with my son. I was fifteen, and amazingly, knew everything. Nobody could tell me how to live my life. I planned to leave school, have my baby (who would adore me at all times) get an apartment with a hammock for a bed, and a fancy job at an office. There, I would wear cat-eye glasses, and a pencil skirt, while taking dictation. First, I’d need to learn dictation, but that was a technicality. (more…)
Thursday, November 6th, 2014
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The truth is, I resisted writing this blog. Not because I don’t love Hedgebrook — in fact I do, with every bone in my body. Not because the experience isn’t transformative — I cherish it as life-changing. Not because I don’t carry the feeling of writing in Cedar cottage with me— it’s in the blood pumping from my heart, braided into my double-helix, the DNA of who I am becoming.
Lying on a couch made of nine cows, home sick under a blue blanket, at high noon I realized I’ve resisted this. I can feign shock and pretend I don’t know why. I can make excuses about being swamped with preparing to go abroad, long hours selling fruits at the farmers market, the strain of reading statutes, the stress of moving across the country. But we are all too smart for that. (more…)
Thursday, October 9th, 2014
Last night, I was talking to my mother, who I hadn’t seen in a while, since before I left for Hedgebrook. She asked me how it was, and towards the end of an unbroken monologue (the figs! the llamas! the beveled glass in the cottage windows!) I told her that it was there I was able to start a daily yoga practice again: every morning, I woke, dozed and read in bed for a little while, then clambered down the stairs and did some postures—nothing fancy or extensive, just enough to remind my body of itself. (more…)