Additions and Subtractions

I’ve tried a lot of different subtractions over the years: selling my plasma, going without health insurance, living in a house in the woods with no indoor plumbing, eating a lot of peanut butter, not owning a car. I did these things happily, as experiments that could give me more of what I wanted: time to write, travel, and work on creative projects. I’ve never made ... [Continue Reading]

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A Story About Hanoi

This is a story about moving to Hanoi. This is not a story about moving to Hanoi as an American. This is not a story about eating phở cuốnby the lake where John McCain was shot down. This is not about learning to call the Vietnam War the American War. This is a story about moving to Hanoi, but this is not a story about moving to the capital of a communist country. ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Casey N. Cep’s "The Allure of the Map" in The New Yorker Literary cartography fascinates and guides the way that actual cartography does; that’s why we keep and carry stories in the same places we carry and keep maps: on our walls, in our pockets, and on our phones. Beginning with a map that moves from pockets, to dorm rooms, to Maryland and the U.K., Cep uses ... [Continue Reading]

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On Value

About a year and a half ago I wrote something that I'm really not proud of, for a reason I'm even less proud of: for money. For $60, in fact, which is what makes the whole thing so funny. $60 is not a lot of money to earn for writing a 900-word piece. But it’s also not nothing. Of course, I live in England, where $60 is actually, according to today’s exchange rate, ... [Continue Reading]

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Lives and Past Lives

1. I’ve always loved walking at night. I’ll go anywhere: through the neighborhoods of small towns, through a dozen identical suburbs, through seedy Pittsburgh neighborhoods and seedier Latin American cities. In any location, the impulse is the same: I walk at night to look into the lighted windows of strangers. At night, windows roll by like stills on a film reel, ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Miriam Markowitz's "Here Comes Everybody" in The Nation So I know we've all read more articles on gender in publishing than we can count, BUT. This one does something different, I swear. Markowitz deftly paints the picture with which many of us are familiar--byline gaps, book publishing, those terribly cheesy book covers they give to works by female writers--but instead ... [Continue Reading]

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Documentary: If Images Could Fill Our Empty Spaces

Alice Driver, one of Vela's staff writers, recently completed her first documentary, If Images Could Fill Our Empty Spaces. The film explores the complicated relationship between violence and photography in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Watch it below, and then read an interview with Alice about making the film. Inhabiting the Lives of Others: An Interview with Alice ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Eva Holland's "Wilderness Women" on SB Nation How could we begin the first WWRTW of the year without repping our own Eva Holland? Especially when she's hauling water in snowy tundra in hopes of winning the Alaska Wilderness Woman competition? (Actually.) While she may not win the competition, she proves that she's succeeded in her "humbling transformation from urbanite ... [Continue Reading]

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Hopes and Fears of the Writing Life

Fears Fear that in the end, no matter how hard I work, no matter how many doors I bang on and with what frequency and obstinacy, no matter all the palliative nostalgia of laureled writers reflecting on the mounting failures that led to their breakthroughs, I just don't have enough talent. Fear of not reading enough. Fear of reading the wrong things. Fear of ... [Continue Reading]