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Hello, dear Hatchery readers.

As you know, I’m not posting to this blog as regularly as I used to — largely because my writing energies have been going into essays and reviews that are being published by others, both online and in print.  If you want to keep reading about “writing, babies, ideas, plans,” please consider following my writing website, www.randonbillingsnoble.com.

My latest news there includes the publication of the essay “Stripped Down and Redressed,” which is about shopping for maternity clothes … as well as figuring out how to clothe the post-pregnancy body.  Hope you take a look!

And, as always, thanks for reading.


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I have just come back from a glorious two-week residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts.

Millay sign

The Colony began in 1973 on the estate of the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, nearly 25 years after her death.  The barn that Millay and her husband built was converted into artists’ studios.  Forty years later, I wrote in one of them.

Millay barn with goldenrod

Studio Barn at the Millay Colony.

If I felt like a change of scene I could (more…)

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Whenever I travel — and stay for a while — I like to visit the local cemetery.

Christian Aid Society Cemetery. Amherst, Virginia.

I don’t do this for morbid reasons.  I just like to know who’s, well, there.

One of many unknowns.

The first woodland cemetery I saw was the Indian Cemetery on Martha’s Vineyard.  Another was on a former plantation outside of Charleston, South Carolina.  Another was the slave cemetery on the campus of Sweetbriar College.  These woodsy cemeteries are much wilder than the newer, more carefully manicured, golf-course-like cemeteries in, say, suburban New Jersey.  But somehow (more…)

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So here’s something new: I’m writing this post (and uploading it) on a train.  To New York.  To attend the BlogHer conference.

OK — that’s three new things.

If this is the first time you’ve read this blog, you might want to click back a post or two to see what it’s usually like.  I suspect that for the next few days I’m going to be writing about this conference, which has the potentially to be really awesome … and really bizarre.

Until now I’ve only been to academic conferences — for writers, for teachers of writing.  There is no swag at academic conferences (aside from a canvas tote, a legal pad, a ballpoint pen and maybe some stickers from a publishing house).  If you got caught wearing a hot pink boa and a sparkly tiara you better have tenure; you may very well be fired anyway.  But supposedly there are such things at BlogHer.  It’s a conference for women bloggers.  Four thousand of them will be there.  I will be one of them.

What to expect?  Will it be (more…)

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A deep breath, and here we go.

I don’t know what, exactly, this blog is going to be.  But I figured the best way to find out is to just … start.

I’m a writer and a mother.  Sometimes I think these two occupations are perfectly compatible; other times I think I’m living a double life — one half often at the expense of the other.

When I first had an apartment with a room of my own to write in, I didn’t know what to call it.  A study sounded too academic.  An office sounded too … officious.  I even tried the acronym ARoMO (for a Room of My Own), but it felt ridiculous (and sounded more like an Italian restaurant than a writing room).  Somehow the idea of a hatchery popped into my head.  A place to hatch things, to incubate, to launch.

Then I had a child.  Two, actually: twins.  And we moved to a bigger apartment, but one without an extra room for me.  I thought I would mourn my hatchery but for many months I found myself too busy with what I had actually hatched.


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