Monday, August 29, 2011

Blog-Free Monday

Due to the unavailability of the author, there will be no blogging from Hedgebrook today. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sugah Spotlight: Poet, Writer & Yoga Master, Margi Shindler

Date: 08.28.11
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Mood: Honored
RE: Sugah Spotlight

Today I dedicate my blog to a dear friend who moved far away, but stays close in my heart and in my email :). Margi lived in Tacoma for a very short but crucial time for us to build a friendship after we met through a transitory writers group. We walked Wright Park all through the rainy, freezing winter while I was writing my first book. She was a constant source of support to me outdoors in our terrible mismatched warm weather outfits and runny noses. We cried and laughed and dished and dreamed. She's also an outstanding cook. I scammed many free dinners off of her at her beautiful house. Thank you for the best beet salad and the pie, Margi!

She commemorated me in her blog this week, so I'm giving her center stage in mine. Miss you Margi!

Click here to visit her blog, Heaven Now:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Diary is in the Details

Date: 08.17.11
Time: 9:03 p.m.
Mood: Content
RE: The Diary is in the Details

The first day I got here, I was introduced to the fantastic journals on my cottage bookshelf. The cottage journals are known for being a total Hedgebrook tradition. Each writer’s cottage has backdated diaries to read, with entries written by the women writers who have stayed here before you. They are full of musings, quotes, photos, dried flowers, poems, tears, coffee stains, smiley faces, parental rants, break up woes, travels, fears, and overall great and sage advice. I read 3 years worth of entries just today….by the women who have all stayed at Willow Cottage. There’s a type of simple magic in the advice they each impart in their own distinctive ways, while staying here. Here are some important pearls of wisdom I took away:

Pick fresh flowers each day
Search for lucky rocks
Take naps
There is a dark spot in Willow’s main room hardwood floor that looks like a slug (I found it; it really does)
Even on days you don’t write, don’t feel bad; you will be a better writer just for being here
Build a fire every night
Host a party in someone’s cottage, play music, drink wine and read poetry out loud
Open the windows
Read Wolfs Room of One’s Own while you’re here
Read Gloria Steinem’s journals (she stayed in Fir Cottage) while you’re here (where's that?)
Two girls who stayed here in this cottage were pregnant
My favorite college lit prof stayed here one summer (JT Stewart: thank you for making me fall in love with poetry. Especially with writing my own.)
Well water makes your hair shiny

In the farmhouse tonight, where all of the women gather to eat a more formal dinner together that the chef has prepared each evening, some of us gals stayed late to shoot the breeze and I mentioned how one of my journals suggested someone throw a party while staying here. The idea was WELL received! So, I named Saturday night at party night. Poet K, a cool African American woman (near 50), offered up her swanky cottage as the party pad cuz she has the biggest space at H—-plus she is leaving next week so it seemed fitting to me that she was in on it. We can say goodbye to her in style. Fiction Writer E was TOTALLY into it too. She is 24 and I really like her. She’s like having a younger sister around that actually wants your advice and you can make her laugh quite easily. Oh, and she plays the guitar, sings and writes, so I told her she was a triple threat, and that means she could get a lot of stage time. Looks like a party is underway…we will go into town this week to buy Wine, but Poet K calls it “hooch.” I like the ring of that word. Which reminds me... I better close now and get to writing. Sounds like there will be an audience Saturday night.

Willow Cottage Writer

Date: 08.16.11
Time: 4 p.m.
Mood: Humbled
RE: Willow Cottage

Upon arrival, a staff member (I’m sorry I don’t remember your name!) gave me a tour of the farm and then took me up to my new home, Willow Cottage. I was so profoundly humbled by the beauty of the cottage that I cried. It has been made with such great care and loving attention to the detail of what a writer needs to be creative: Beauty. Solitude. Inspiration.

I am quietly taking it in, but wide-eyed with joy. I feel like Snow White must have felt when she stumbled upon a charming cottage in the woods after having been lost. She walked in the door, and immediately, she knew she was home.

Maiden Voyage to Hedgebrook

Date: August 16, 2011
Time: 2:15 p.m.
Mood: Expectant
RE: Departure

I headed for Hedgebrook today by way of water.

Once the grinding stop and go of I-5 North gave way to a smooth descent into Mukilteo, I sailed myself away to Whidbey Island on a ferry. Mid-August in Washington couldn’t get much better to pave my escape with its perfect blue skies backdropped to a beckoning island in the horizon.

As the azure water washed up against the side of the ferry and the wind swept through my loose hair, I thought to myself, “How poignant are these slapping waves?” I am cleansing myself from my life as I know it. With each ebb, I am erasing any constraints I have to concrete, to strip malls, to gridlock, to errands, to debit cards, to matching my shoes to my purse, to television sitcoms that can’t make me smile. I have to say, indifferently and selfishly and wickedly, I won’t miss a single urban thing.