Lauren Quinn is a recovering blogger, failed poet, former zine-maker and ex-travel writer. These days she’s a non-fiction writer, kindergarten teacher and Contributing Editor for Vela. She’s hoping this works out better for all involved parties.
Lauren’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Believer, The Rumpus, Nerve, This Recording, World Hum, We Still Like, 7×7, San Francisco Chronicle and Best Women’s Travel Writing Volumes 8 & 9, among others. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and used to write the blog Lonely Girl Travels. Her website is here.
Lauren currently lives in Hanoi, where she washed up after an ill-fated attempt at writing a book in Cambodia. She will always be an Oakland girl at heart.
Stories by Lauren:
Paper gown and stirrups, white walls and a tray of gleaming tools: he held the syringe over me and said, “It’s a special kind of anesthetic. We won’t be putting you completely under—you’ll still be lucid—but you won’t remember anything.” Then he slid it in. I stared out of the window at a little pond […]–Read more
You know you’re close when the fog thins out, when the dull pink behind cuts through, when the hills along the highway become vacant and brown. Staples, Starbucks, Target, In-N-Out; casinos and check cashing. The spires of the oil refinery silhouetted and pumping exhaust that smudges across the sky. The last exit before the Carquinez […]–Read more
Warm summer night, window open, leaves cutting the streetlight into pieces that flickered across the bedroom floor. We lay on top of the sheets, him on his side, me under his arm. I said I couldn’t sleep. “Let me show you a trick.” He pulled his arm out from under me and rolled onto his […]–Read more
“There’s this moment of still right before it happens.” The first time, she was in a car. A man came to the window, reached in and held a machete under her friend’s chin. “But I knew,” Melissa told me. “Like, right before it happened. We were sitting in the car and I just kept thinking, […]–Read more
My sister clapped her hands and said, “Let’s get dressed up like sluts and go to the Beverly Center!” This is how it started. For my thirteenth birthday, my parents had gotten me tickets to fly down to LA. It was my first plane ride by myself. “I’m sure you’ve done this a thousand times,” […]–Read more
Author’s Note What follows is a story about my friendship with Dory Ben-Shalom, AKA Dory Tourette, a person beloved by many. The story is very much about my experience with Dory, which occurred during a tremendously difficult period of my life. As such, it is cast through a certain prism of addiction and depression, a […]–Read more
The fog crept past the streetlight, swallowing the clouds of smoke we blew out, skinny or fat or from our noses in dragony tendrils. It was quiet there on the back porch; you really couldn’t ask for a better place to take a break – sweat stuck to your skin; hands stinking like tequila and […]–Read more
I met him when I was trying to get to work. I was walking down the street in the Old Quarter, dodging traffic in my too-baggy work pants, the Hanoian humidity pressing down on me like a clammy hand, like it wanted to suffocate me, like it might actually want to kill me. I was […]–Read more
The girls looked bored. They slouched in plastic chairs, picked at their nails, crossed and uncrossed their toothpick legs. Neon shadows slashed their skin, deepened the dark places, made their bones look sharper than they really were. Men filtered through the open-air patio, Western guys in flip-flops and shorts. They wore the efficient expressions of […]–Read more
We called him Eat Pray Paul. Because there were two Pauls and they were more or less indistinguishable — both red-faced old dudes who’d been kicking out Cambodia for years, smoking ice, shagging prostitutes and losing teeth until there wasn’t a whole lot left. Both Pauls would wash up at George’s house from time to […]–Read more
She flung the plastic bucket in my supine direction. The warm water leapt out, arched through the steaming black room and landed with a slap across my face. I gasped. I lay on my back, sopping wet and stripped down to my panties. I blinked the water from my eyes and stared up at the […]–Read more
Interstate 5 stretched out before us like a flat black stain on a dingy beige carpet. Desert, industrial orchards, slaughterhouses, gas stations, little shit towns with broke-down cars and rusted bicycles in the weedy yards of clapboard houses: it all passed in the periphery. I didn’t bother to look. The tires were bald, too bald […]–Read more
The music started before dawn. I knew this only because the holes in the corrugated tin roof revealed swaths of night. The room rattled each time the music boomed, buzzed metallic with each twinge of distortion. I could feel it in my teeth. Dim lights snapped on, and bare feet padded over the floor, the […]–Read more
Street 182, just past dusk, and I’m moving through air as thick as swamp water. Moving like a swamp creature—Amazonian and dripping refuse, trailing foreign smells in my dirty jeans and hair. The horns shriek and the engines whine and a cellphone shop blares a high-pitched voice. The night is a streak of headlights and […]–Read more
The tin fence is half-collapsed, and the smoke that billows out of the shack might be meat or it might be trash—or by the smell, both. We crunch the rocks and rubbish beneath our Converse to get a closer look. A few mangy chickens cluck around the debris-strewn yard: cardboard and wires and buckets of empty. […]–Read more
“Wait, wait—you’re moving to Cambodia?!” I nod. “I was just out there for a few months earlier this year. And now I’m headed back.” “Ah. So,” leans in, a hushed voice, “did you meet someone?” I feel my neck snap and eyes pinch. “What?” A knowing smile: “What’s his name?” I pause, furl my brow […]–Read more