The Writing Life

"Each time my Mexican-American family returns for a stretch to Oaxaca, I start a blog. During our first week here on my Fulbright grant, I spend all day on the street, eating tacos, taking photos of topiary depicting Jesus on the cross, following the whine and bang of firecrackers to the nearest roving banda."

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Women We Read This Week

Megan Stephan on rediscovering books as a mother; Elissa Washuta on the similarities between mining and writing; and Suniya Luthar and Lucia Ciciolla on why mothers of tweens are the most depressed.

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Bookmarked

"I’ve always been drawn to writing about the natural world: nonfiction that engages with a particular geography, explores wild or backyard landscapes, travels into the mysteries of medicine, the animal brain, the limits of the solar system."

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Body Of Work

"I first noticed the robin one day in early June, as she swiped dead stalks from one of the two potted lavender plants on our deck. The rear of our row house faces a landlocked square of backyards, untroubled by the noises, foot traffic, and the predatory rats of an alley."

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Placed

"During monsoon in Nepal, when Shree Gograha Secondary School, where I taught, was not in session, I would visit an elementary school in the area, which was housed in a cramped concrete building half a mile from Shree Gograha."

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Outlines

"I grew up in a family with very little spoken memory. Growing up within an atmosphere of silence just left me wondering: Who am I, where did I come from, who are my ancestors? I believed even at a young age that I needed to have some sense of answers to those questions to really have a future."

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Milestones

"In mainstream culture, motherhood as an institution and a decision doesn’t need any defending. No one has to stand up at a PTA meeting or a political rally and say, 'Hey, being a mother is a transformative, powerful act! Mothers are the beings at the core of our lives!'"

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Recent

Photo: naosuke ii

Rich Country

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During monsoon in Nepal, when Shree Gograha Secondary School, where I taught, was not in session, I would visit an elementary school in the area, which was housed in a cramped concrete building half a mile from Shree Gograha. I did not particularly like to go, but its principal, S. Niroula, had asked me, and nothing feels more useless than being a Peace Corps Volunteer on vacation.

Photo: Jorge Santiago

Everyday Geography

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I have never been good with my hands. By this I don’t mean, “Oh, I can’t handsew little cat ornaments to gift at birthday parties,” or, “I could never make my toddler a homemade dinosaur costume for Halloween.”

Photo: Jorge Santiago

A Wilderness of Waiting

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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.

Written by Women: A Manifesto

By Sarah Menkedick Read the story