Hedgebrook to Self: There’s Always Centrum

Years ago, when Calyx Publisher Margarita Donnelly was still alive, she told self about Hedgebrook. She said, It’s the most magical place. But you can only go once. So don’t waste it.

Self had Hedgebrook, that tantalizing lure, in the back of her mind, for decades. Eventually, she started writing a novel. Then she thought: This could be finally be the project I can apply to Hedgebrook for.

She did not hear back on her application, for almost a year.

Wow, they must have tons of applications, self thought.

Finally, because her landlady was pressuring her to extend her lease, and self didn’t want to do that if she was going to Hedgebrook, she decided to call Hedgebrook.

“Umm, hello,” self said. “Have the results of next year’s residencies already been released?”

Impactful (maybe also painful) silence.

Who is this?

“Marianne Villanueva.”

Another long silence. “The results were announced six months ago. We’ll have someone call you.”

And that’s when self’s gut fell all the way to the bottom of her shoes.

Sure enough, someone did call to tell self she’d been rejected. Not wait-listed. Just flat-out rejected. “There’s Centrum, if you like the area,” said the caller.

“Oh,” self said. “Thanks so much for the recommendation.”

Stay tuned.

More Nostalgia for Venice

More from the watershed trip self took with Margarita Donnelly (founder and managing editor of Calyx Press) in April/May 2013, less than two years before she succumbed to cancer. We rented a small two-bedroom apartment in Ca’ San Toma, Venice. Margarita’s adventurous spirit far exceeded self’s.

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The Bridge of Sighs, April 2013: View From the Doge’s Palace

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San Marco Square on a Rainy April Day

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Self on the Rialto Bridge, April 2013: Margarita must have taken the picture. Even though self’s face isn’t visible, she really likes this picture for the mysterious red umbrella.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Nostalgia For Venice

  • For this challenge, show us what nostalgia means to you — perhaps a moment or scene that makes you feel wistful, happy, sad, or somehow longing for the past.

— Jeff Golenski, The Daily Post

Self went with Margarita Donnelly to Venice in April 2013. Margarita was battling breast cancer. She passed away in December 2014.

What self remembers of that trip was that she was always getting lost. The streets of Venice are labyrinthine.

These pictures have a melancholy feel. Her Venice is more the Don’t Look Now Venice instead of the hectic, tourist-packed place it really is.

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This was self’s second trip. The first time was when she was 11:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“The Decedent Is Initially Viewed Unclothed”

Self’s story, “The Decedent Is Initially Viewed Unclothed,” is included in Calyx Press’s 40th anniversary collection of prose and poetry, to be published 2016 in partnership with Ooligan Press.

She was particularly happy to learn that “the book will feature an excerpt from the memoir of Margarita Donnelly, who was a founding editor of Calyx.” Margarita passed away December 2014.

And that is all self has to say right now, sorry for this extremely short post.

Stay tuned.

All-Time Favorites WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background 6

Oh, WHAT? The Daily Post Photo Challenge is going away?

NOOOOO!

For the final week of the Photo Challenge, we’re supposed to post our favorite Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge picture.

That is an extremely hard photo challenge — the hardest.

Anyhoo, here’s a picture from a trip she took with former Calyx Managing Editor (She was one of the founders) Margarita Donnelly in April 2013:

On the Vaporetto to St. Mark's, Venice, April 2013

On the Vaporetto, Venice, April 2013

Is this an “In the Background” kind of shot, in keeping with WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge theme of the week?

Self has no idea.  She would never have posted it, though, if she hadn’t been looking for a photo where “background,” or anyway the idea of background, was key.

So, it’s all good.

It turns out self’s fondest memories of Venice are not the paintings, not the magnificent churches, but the vaporetto rides.  Which thousands of people take every day, on their way to and from work in the city.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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