Extreme Hospitality

Posted by
on June 27, 2013

Hedgebrook has an amazing reputation. For hosting some of the finest women writers from across the U.S. and the world for writing residencies, and for something they call ‘extreme hospitality’. Nestled on lovely Whidbey Island, just off Seattle in Washington State, Hedgebrook is a haven for women who are struggling to juggle their writing with a full life, allowing them a period of concentrated time to focus on themselves and their work.

I had come through an incredibly difficult year when I took up fellow playwright Leanna Brodie’s suggestion to apply for a residency. To put it bluntly, I was emotionally burnt out and creatively blocked. When I found out that I had been chosen for a two week Residency in one of their beautiful Amish built cottages, I was thankful, shocked, excited and… if I’m honest… more than a little nervous.

There was no need. The staff truly exemplified their brilliant idea of extreme hospitality. They welcomed me into my beautiful, tiny little Amish built Owl Cottage. Nurtured me with organic, homemade, delicious food, the epitomy of the 100 mile diet. Chatted when I need social interaction… and left me alone when I needed to do what they told me would happen… confront myself in silence. Without the distraction of TV, cell phone service, a landline and internet, I have discovered come interesting things about myself. I am a voracious reader. I enjoy Public Radio almost as much as my beloved CBC. Bicycling on a hilly island is harder than it looks. Most importantly… when given the time and space, I can write. A lot. Serenaded by frogs and the occasional owl, I have made huge strides on reworking Nisei Blue and The Tofu Wars and finally getting a chance to really dig in and start in earnest on Makepeace, my play about the first election in Iraq after the invasion. I also had the opportunity to spend time with an inspiring group of women who helped me remember why I wanted to write in the first place: Olu, Annie, Sharon, Elin, Claire, Lorraine, Karen and Sue…

Thank you Hedgebrook.

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