The Writing Life

"Each time my Mexican-American family returns for a stretch to Oaxaca, I start a blog. During our first week here on my Fulbright grant, I spend all day on the street, eating tacos, taking photos of topiary depicting Jesus on the cross, following the whine and bang of firecrackers to the nearest roving banda."

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Women We Read This Week

Kate Shellnutt on making friends after 30; Lily Gurton-Wachter reviews the literature of new motherhood; and Elizabeth Yuko delves into our obsession with Lizzie Borden.

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Bookmarked

"Flash fiction. Also known as short shorts, or—my least favorite term for them—small fictions. If the short story is seen as the bastard of the literary world, then the flash fiction is its saddest child, the runt of the litter."

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Body Of Work

"Lunch at the Fournets is just as I imagined it would be. Their apartment is tidy but stylish, colorful but understated. The two girls, aged three and six, wear matching navy blue jumpers from Petit Bateau. The children eat the same meal as the grownups and are expected to sit at the children’s table and wait until the adults finish lunch before they can have their dessert."

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Placed

"During monsoon in Nepal, when Shree Gograha Secondary School, where I taught, was not in session, I would visit an elementary school in the area, which was housed in a cramped concrete building half a mile from Shree Gograha."

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Outlines

"I’ve been covering the BP Oil Spill for six years. It’s not something I planned to do and it became a huge part of my life; it continues to be. Basically, I have to be prepared to be able to go where a story takes me. "

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Milestones

I was driving a winding Ohio country road while my husband was at his mother’s funeral in Mexico. I was driving by myself, listening to a live recording of Natalia LaFourcade’s “Aventurera.” On either side of me, fields shone bright green under July sunshine.

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Recent

Photo: naosuke ii

Rich Country

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During monsoon in Nepal, when Shree Gograha Secondary School, where I taught, was not in session, I would visit an elementary school in the area, which was housed in a cramped concrete building half a mile from Shree Gograha. I did not particularly like to go, but its principal, S. Niroula, had asked me, and nothing feels more useless than being a Peace Corps Volunteer on vacation.

Photo: Jorge Santiago

Everyday Geography

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I have never been good with my hands. By this I don’t mean, “Oh, I can’t handsew little cat ornaments to gift at birthday parties,” or, “I could never make my toddler a homemade dinosaur costume for Halloween.”

Photo: Jorge Santiago

A Wilderness of Waiting

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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.

Written by Women: A Manifesto

By Sarah Menkedick Read the story