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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]

Photo © Itzel Aguilera.

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]

Photo: Richard BH

Lilac Stitches

I met my future stepmother in a Leningrad subway when I was eight. Luda was a twenty-year-old transplant from a small Ukrainian town, painted with shiny scarlet lipstick and heavy eyeliner and hanging out with her best friend, prowling for adventure and male generosity. Instead of finding easy fun, she got hit on by a single father in a fake fur coat, thirty-five kopecks ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Year: 2013

It's that time of year, the time of Bests and Mosts and pretty much any superlative you can think of that will fit in a quick headline. At Vela, we've scoured all of our Women We Read this Week posts from 2013, and have compiled a list of our favorite nonfiction featured this year in our weekly column. And it turns out we've got a lot of love for these women writers we've ... [Continue Reading]

Photo: Dr. DeNo

Walk It Down

I caught my first salmon off the seawall in Kotzebue, Alaska in the very early morning of August fourth. I used a snagging hook: a three-pronged weighted beast of tackle that bent my rod backward when I cast. I worried about those standing by and what a rogue hook this size could do, how it might catch something on land instead of in sea. Snagging is illegal in most ... [Continue Reading]