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.


Jim said...

My Mum Kathy, in my eyes is a saint....pure in mind body and soul...growing up in the 60's she said she never took part in any of the substances ...I believe her. But to this day she still refers to alcohol as "hooch". So funny.

Margi Shindler said...

That is what I love about you.... you create a party wherever you go! I wish I could be there...:)