Hedgebrook isn't a retreat. It's an advance.
I bet you've forgotten that last year I was awarded a three-week writing residency at Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island. I haven't forgotten, but I do admit to thinking it was a dream and that June would materialize and I would be doing the usual June kind of thing which I write about ad nauseum here on the old blog. The thing is, it isn't a dream, and in a little over a month, I will be flying to Seattle and then to my little cottage to write and walk and read for three whole weeks. I met a poet the other day who had just completed a residency there. She was also a judge for the grants, and while the applications are anonymous, she told me that the nearly 1500 of them were of very high quality. She said, You must be a really fine writer, and I demurred and then wondered why I couldn't just accept that I'd gotten one, that I had worked hard for it and that this three weeks is deserved. The place is magical, she said. You will write and you will rest.
Again, a dream.
I told a friend that I write now whenever I have a free moment and certainly for hours and hours each night. There's no writer's block for me, to tell you the truth, and the writing is a pleasure, not work. I write under pressure, the pressure of life, in the spaces around life -- a life of teenagers and the minutia of extreme parenting (the seizures, the diapers, the wrestling with systems of care) -- and it will be quite an adjustment to just write with space and life merged. Does that make sense?
This place expands time.
It's still a dream, I realize, as I type it out.
I'll be working on a project that I've longed to shape into a book. I'll be drawing on some of the How We Do It posts and hopefully weave them into meditations about disability and identity, about what makes us human or Other and so forth. It's inchoate and also pushing to be written. I have my old manuscript as well to shape up and finish, a memoir that has never been given a proper story arc and that demands an ending. I think I have an ending in our cannabis story and hope to gain some of my juju back and finish it up.
Check out who is on the Creative Advisory Council at Hedgebrook here.
Good lord. I told you it was like a dream, and I half expect to get a peck on the shoulder at some point with an apology for what was, apparently, a mistake. Oh my goodness, they might say, the Elizabeth Aquino that we chose is doing cutting edge work about poverty in the Phillipines! We are so sorry! Then they'll hand me a basket of food and a kayak to make my way back to the mainland, back to life and writing in and of the spaces around that life.