All To Whom This May Come Greetings:
I suppose it is God’s will that I am still here at the Writer’s Well— having supposed to have left on Friday night January 3rd. Due to the weather conditions back East (and human error) I am still in Georgia. With no pilot for my plane (which had been delayed twice due to weather) I found myself “depending upon the kindness of strangers' ' — taken in by Adilah’s friend Russle who prepared a room for me to sleep at 3am.
Upon arriving back to the Writer’s Well the afternoon of January 4th, Adilah commented that I had not signed the book- and now I was back, and I had a chance to do so. She said I shouldn’t leave it to the last minute – and so here I am writing my ‘morning pages’. When I told my husband about how Russell had taken me to the airport – only to come back in the wee hours to pick me again and prepare the place for me to sleep – and that I was unused to such kindness from a stranger, he said ‘that says a lot about Adilah’. And it is true.
She is surrounded by good people here in Georgia and I am very touched by the generosity of spirit and the willingness to assist when asked. Adilah herself is generous and kind, easy to co-exist with in this setting.
I really love the Writer’s Well – I love my room, my solitude (for the most part). It is unlike my experience at another woman writers retreat – Hedgebrook in that I am under the same roof as others so there is more social component to the experience. I am grateful Adilah makes it clear that you should be unapologetic about going to your room and shutting the door. That helped – otherwise one must find oneself going into feeling like you are being rude otherwise.
There are other aspects of being at Hedgebrook that I think would be great for the Writer’s Well and I have mentioned them to Adilah.
A library – we had books written by all the women who had stayed at Hedgebrook in one place, and we would check them out during our stay.
A blog – we are encouraged to send in our writing to the Hedgebrook blog. This is great in that it helps build a writing community online once you are away from Hedgebrook – the writing can be on anything. Twice now they have ‘reprinted’ articles I wrote for other publications.
Places to sit and write or for meditation in the wooden areas of the property.
Community relationships – we had a group of women who volunteered to pick us up and take us on day trips, shopping, writing to us etc. This group gave themselves a name – the Hedgettes, I think. During my stay I did a winery trip because I wanted to learn about how wine is made.
Postcard for notecards –it was great to be able to send a note home in cards with picture of my cottage so my family could see where I was and share the experience with me that way.
Each cottage room has a blank space. When you entered the cottage at Hedgebrook there was no trace of the person who had been there before – same for this book (I had one in each room as well) Each cottage was a blank canvas for each woman who came.
Once a week after Sunday brunch the other women and yours truly would share our work after critique (gentle – respectful and only if the writer asked for it) other than dinner this was the only time to gather together as a community of women. It was not mandatory, just if the women wanted to.
So, there are just a few things that went on at Hedgebrook I shared with Adilah. I can never pay her for the time I have spent in this wonderful place – for the time I have been given to finish my book – away from the hustle and bustle of my life in New York, so I can share something that may be of value to the Writer’s Well, then it’s my honor.
Speaking of hustle and bustle, I was sharing with my oldest daughter last night that what had been great about my stay has been that she had the space in my brain for new thoughts and ideas to occur to me. Things are coming to me in this open setting that did not have the space to come to me in New York. I don’t know that I am expressing it well enough, but it is as she should have had the space for new ideas and inspiration to come to me here and the essays in my book have been entranced by this.
To this end, I have added The Writer’s Well to the credits in my book, along with Hedgebrook. I hope to pitch and write a story about the Writer’s Well so that other women will learn about it and come.
With great love and respect
Simcha and Writer’s Well it seems that a home I did not prioritize my writing. I wrote for a while but I did not push through the hard parts that would take me from one part of the story to the next. Here I had nothing to do but push and I covered some ground. I can see my way through to the end. I have a fire in my belly. I want it. This time here has got to mean something. It does mean something. While here I found out my dear friend Granville Walker is terminally ill with lung cancer. I prayed for him here. But we ran the literary magazine at Cornell “Watu” together. We went to Columbia University together and became editors in New York together and have never been out of contact. I know he would be happy for me if he knew I was at such a place as the Writer’s Well and would be cheering me on. Thank God for this place and I hope to be published soon and make this place proud.
Adilah & Writer’s Well
Barolyn Duke Alexander
My week here at the Writer’s Well has been a much needed respite from my life as a wife and mother.
This retreat allowed me the opportunity to rest, relax, read, explore, and research my topic.
With no one else to care for except me, I enjoyed 10 whole days of silence, yoga, walks and meditation. I cannot thank you (and Florence JaRue) enough for this opportunity to re-connect to my Artistic life.
Yours in Art,