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

Suki Kim on journalism vs memoir; Rebecca Altman on the American petro-topia; Stacia Brown on Alton, Philando, and justice.

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Bookmarked

"I’ve always been drawn to writing about the natural world: nonfiction that engages with a particular geography, explores wild or backyard landscapes, travels into the mysteries of medicine, the animal brain, the limits of the solar system."

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Body Of Work

"When my oldest son is the size of an apple, my belly begins to push out against my overalls. It is late summer, and the monsoons have brought a week of night rain in the Arizona desert. The water sounds like stones being thrown against the tin roof."

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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

"When you lose something you want desperately to find, you begin to see it everywhere, just before you actually turn to look. These visions are an attempt, both impossible and compulsive­, to will the lost back into being.'"

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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