The Writing Life

"I am nearing the end of my first writerly—read, sedentary—summer ever. Recently, a detail from Julia Alvarez’s writing life came back to me, one I read a long time ago, although the context of when and where is long gone. Each morning, before she sits down to write, Alvarez fills a bowl on her writing desk with cold water. It is her daily bow to the mystery of life."

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Women We Read This Week

Aubrey Hirsch on men who suddenly discover feminism once they have daughters; Eileen Favorite on miscarriage and fertility; Rachel Stone on memoirs that lie.

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Karrie Fransman recommends eight graphic novelists: "Open a graphic novel, and you’ll look down on a page filled with little windows into the artist’s world: worlds of painted mythology, inky noir or scratchy penned autobiography."

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Body Of Work

"While riding my university shuttle, I used to stare at women’s hair. They were mostly young white women like me, who would sit in rows facing each other at the front of the bus, compulsively checking their phones."

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Serbia. "For me: baklava, sarma, palacinke, family, roots, the old country. For the uninitiated: a small landlocked country in southeastern Europe separated from the rest of the continent by the Danube river in the north, and from the Mediterranean by the Alps in the west."

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"The Internet loves a particular kind of history. There’s a very specific set of concerns and aesthetics that are really popular. And I’m as guilty of that as the next person. Stuff like mustaches, artisanal apple cider…or the morbid anatomy kind of history, the history of death."

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Photo: Stephen Driver

The Jagged, Gilded Script of Scars


I am drawing at the kitchen table, tracing the outlines of a dinosaur, when I find that my hand, in defiance of the vision in my mind, makes a line that ruins the dinosaur. There will be no dinosaur. I begin to cry. My mom, who is a weaver and works from home, comes over to see what I am crying about.

puja debis

Homage to Nepal


This morning, a 7.3 temblor rattled the already-ravaged nation of Nepal. More buildings have crumbled; more lives have been lost in the rubble and…

Patrick Bouquet

Not Travel Writing


Last week in Mumbai, trying to recover from some respiratory bug that is clinging like scale to my throat and lungs, I stared at the brick walls of my room, and listened to the barks and yells and mumbles from the street against a background of near-constant honking horns.

Photo: Jorge Santiago

A Wilderness of Waiting


In the eighth month of my nine-month human pregnancy, I go on a binge-Googling of animal gestation periods. Frilled sharks, I discover, gestate for 42 months. Elephants take 22 months. Sperm whales: 16. Walruses: 15. Rhinos: 14.


The Lifecycle of Butterflies


In Michoacán, the migrating mariposas appear with November, as if trailing the marigolds trucked in for Day of the Dead. They come by the fragile millions, fluttering a few thousand miles from el norte to the transvolcanic range of their own origin.

Written by Women: A Manifesto

By Sarah Menkedick Read the story