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From the Hearth in Périgord

When I first approach the five-hundred-year-old farm, I am not sure I’ve come to the right place. The address Danièle Mazet-Delpeuch had given me a month earlier when I called her for an interview was simply “La Borderie,” the name of her French home and cooking school sewn into the fringes of a diminutive village in the rolling hills of the Dordogne, a region of ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Meaghan Winter's "My Abortion" in New York Magazine “I remember growing up and hearing how an abortion was carried out. It seemed like everybody was talking about it. I think you hear your older sisters and women talking, and you hear snippets of what goes on,” said NoViolet Bulawayo, author of the novel We Need New Names when I interviewed her in New York ... [Continue Reading]

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Learning to Float

It was gray, raining, but a narrow ribbon of cornflower blue ran between the stormy patches to the north. The ribbon ran over the long rolling hills around Zanesville, over the Love's where the old men in Arby's were talking about bad weather, over the damp flat fields outside of Columbus, where corn stalks were bare and bent with November. "You've always had goals, and ... [Continue Reading]

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Fire Ants

  In those first months living in El Salvador, had I walked down a village street and seen young men leaning against gaping doorframes, their eyes steady upon me, I would have read the wrong story. Then, I could barely speak, let alone interpret what signs I might have seen: a flash of black ink on skin; aerosol piss scrawled across cinder block walls. I might have ... [Continue Reading]

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Writers Respond to Typhoon Haiyan

On ordinary days, this is a magazine of creative nonfiction, inspired by travel, written by women--by which we mean that Vela publishes writing that endeavors to express what is real in a manner that is both curious and connection-seeking, and we do so in the spirit of solidarity. And when but in the wake of faraway disaster does such work matter most? As everyone knows, ... [Continue Reading]

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Goodbye to All This

So, I’m balking on my grad school apps. It’s not because they seem arduous—in fact, they seem surprisingly streamlined. It’s not because I’m unaccustomed to writing 500-1,000-word personal essays. It’s not because I’m unclear on my motivations. It’s not like I’m about to give up a good life in Hanoi and move back to the States and take out *terrifying* ... [Continue Reading]

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Women We Read This Week

Amy Wallace's "A Very Dangerous Boy" in GQ The theme of this week's reads for me was Nazism, or rather the insidious way Nazism infiltrates, persuades and is perceived in a culture. Amy Wallace delves deep into the story of Joseph Hall, who shot and killed his neo-Nazi father when he was merely ten years old. Wallace portrays the complexity of the case; of legally ... [Continue Reading]

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On Change

And yet, if everything is moving where is here? - Doreen Massey A few months ago I started swimming in the morning. I used to think I hated swimming in the morning. I thought: I'm not a morning person. I'm too hungry, too heavy, too slow. No way. But then, one day, trying to find a way to give my days a better structure, I thought, surely it’s worth a try. It ... [Continue Reading]

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A Digital Notebook on Invisible Borders

Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it? Why do I keep a notebook at all? - Joan Didion Were it ten or twenty years ago, these notes, perhaps written on scraps of paper, would represent all that held together my life experiences at the age of 31. However, ... [Continue Reading]

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The 99

“Her dad’s a playwright, her mom’s a painter,” my daughter said, referring to a friend whom I hadn’t yet met. “But everyone in Vancouver’s an artist. Even the bums are artists.” “Then how do you tell the difference?” My daughter liked when I asked theoretical questions, and I liked to encourage her critical thinking. She turned her nose to the ... [Continue Reading]