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Women We Read This Week

Donna Seaman’s "Turning out the lights just isn’t going to do it" in Creative Nonfiction In the movie Bang the Drum Slowly, there’s a card game called “The Exciting Game without Any Rules,” and I think that’s a good description of writing in general. It’s true of nonfiction writing in the sense that you are at the mercy of events. You go out, and you ... [Continue Reading]

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On Running Again

Last Saturday, the first almost-warm day of the year, I went for a run along the river, into town, through the park – a four mile loop in perfect, breezy, sunny conditions. It was glorious for about a mile and a half, at which point I developed a cramp in my stomach. I kept going for a few minutes, thinking it was a kind of test, that I could will myself to be tougher, ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Emily Gould’s "How Much My Novel Cost Me" on Medium I am a fan of reading about other writers’ tortured moments of procrastination, drinking, gambling, and thoughts of delusional grandeur. It is always good to be reminded that people can really fuck up and waste time but still eventually get their shit together. Or even that you can seemingly be successful, get a ... [Continue Reading]

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Vela Writers On: Money

I remember years ago – five years ago, to be precise – after I'd decided not to take another teaching job, I announced to my dad on the phone, "I'm going to make a living from writing." If this sounds like a terrifying decision, keep in mind that my rent in Oaxaca was $150 a month and a massive bean-and-cheese filled tlayuda, paired with a forty of Corona, cost ... [Continue Reading]

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The Storm and the Beast

The morning before the typhoon hit, I sat down for a Skype date with my parents: my morning coffee and their evening wine, the usual football and grandchildren updates punctuated by the cut-outs of the faltering wifi connection. Until my dad said he had something to tell me: for the first time, he was struggling with depression. Or anxiety. He wasn’t sure, really. No ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Kima Jones' "The Aqiqah," in Midnight Breakfast It's always exciting to see a new literary site launch, especially when it includes complimentary original artwork. But when I saw that Kima Jones was included in the inaugural issue of Midnight Breakfast, I was even more excited. I've been following Jones' poetry and Twitter feed for a while, but this is was the first ... [Continue Reading]

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The Tiny Mechanisms of the Gender Gap

The 2013 VIDA count has arrived - it's a mixture of good news and bad - and its arrival has me thinking back to something I noticed over the holidays, as we all looked back over the last year of writing and reading. Best-of lists abound as the year draws down, of course, but this year I also spotted people dodging the difficulties of creating a theoretically ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Ali Smith's "The Human Claim" at Liberty I love the way Ali Smith writes, so I was happy to find this piece amidst 80 author responses to the theme of "liberty." Here she draws a line from the ashes of D.H. Lawrence to credit card fraud to Google Streetview to Harmondsworth to Lawrence again, capturing a certain universal ridiculousness in life through moments of ... [Continue Reading]

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On the Far End of Reality: Jennifer Percy’s Demon Camp

Everywhere he went, he saw them, their burned bodies, watching him. These were the days after the war. Demon Camp is not really about soldiers. Well, okay, it is. Jennifer Percy's debut book revolves around the lives of soldiers who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD, focusing chiefly on the story of Sgt. Caleb Daniels. But Daniels doesn’t believe his ... [Continue Reading]

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A Return to Limantour

The sublet in Berkeley was our last resort. My father and I had been kicked out of the bottom floor of a house in Sausalito for breaking the unstable leaseholder’s plate, and we had traipsed the cold streets of San Francisco for days, looking for an affordable place. That futile mission had ultimately landed us here, just off of Telegraph Avenue, at the threshold of an ... [Continue Reading]