The Writing Life

"'The comments are a shit show.' This from a friend on Facebook, a warning perhaps or an expression of vicarious disappointment. I read the first one and threw my phone across the room."

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Women We Read This Week

Michelle Robertson on the season of recovery; Ann Friedman on the limits of branding; and Lacy M. Johnson on mercy.

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Celeste Ng recommends seven short story writers: "The short story might be the most “literary” form of literary fiction—okay, maybe after the novella. There’s an air of refinement around a short story collection that, for some reason, intimidates people."

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Body Of Work

"What comes out of my mouth is the cry a dog makes after being hit by a car, a shrill whimper. It’s the sound you go searching for in the dark, shining the flashlight into corners. What is making that terrible noise? For a moment, I chase the sound in my mind, wondering, and then I’m startled to realize: it’s me."

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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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"This voice came out, ready to chat. I got to give voice to a really dark side of my personality. I didn’t want to do anything else. We had houseguests, and the whole time I was like, aaaaaaah, get out. I was in love with this project. I’ve never had that experience before. I don’t know if I’ll have it again."

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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