excerpts
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"Let Me Tell You What I Think of Bicycling": Nellie Bly Interviews Susan B. Anthony, 1896

Nellie Bly, born Elizabeth Jane Cochrane in 1864, arrived in New York City at age 23 in 1887 and talked her way into a job with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World by accepting one of the first stunt journalism assignments ever: she went undercover at New York's Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell Island. The ensuing story gave her a foothold in journalism's boys' club and established her career: "Bly made herself into the most famous newspaper reporter in the United States," writes Jean Marie Lutes in the introduction to the new book, Around the World in Seventy-Two Days And Other Writings, "by embracing the idea that a woman [...]

26

Why You Should Buy the Hairpin Kindle Serial Thing

I’ve been dreading this day for quite a while. And looking forward to it. But dread, mostly dread. Today's the day my piece from the Kindle travel thing comes out. I feel good about it, I think it turned out pretty well. I had to buy and re-read Strunk and White because the Amazon copyeditor made me think I totally didn’t understand what a comma was anymore. Or a semi-colon. What are those for? I grew up in New England, and we have these "merge" signs everywhere. But nobody merges, we just keep on plowing through until all traffic everywhere is permanently snarled. Semi-colons remind me of merge signs. [...]

2

The Hairpin Travel Serial, Part Three: "The Last Great Adventure"

Episodes One, Two, and Three of The Hairpin's eight-part Kindle Serial "An Experience Definitely Worth Allegedly Having" are now available in full via Amazon. Excerpts from the first two episodes can be found here and here

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1. The guy sitting next to us on the plane to Mexico looked like he’d been dropped in a pot and boiled — his face and chest bloomed in a glorious bouquet of pinks and reds. He was a mess of peeling flesh, so sunburned that when he rubbed his cheeks and chin, long strips of skin came off, and he rolled those pieces between his fingers, making little pill-shaped balls [...]

13

The Hairpin Travel Serial, Episode 8: That Witch Is Tied Up

From The Hairpin's eight-part Kindle Serial "An Experience Definitely Worth Allegedly Having."

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My friend Carrie and I were in an open-air market in Mexico City when an old man tried to lick her shoulder. She jumped, we turned around to look at him, and he held out a clear plastic bag filled with liquid. The liquid was brown and opaque, and we backed away but he followed, extending the bag toward us, and at some point we started nervously referring to it, in English and to each other, as a “bag of shit,” although it was probably just a drink. I’m not even sure what [...]

31

Hairpin Travel Serial, Part Five: Real City

Episodes 1-5 of The Hairpin's eight-part Kindle Serial "An Experience Definitely Worth Allegedly Having" are available via Amazon. Excerpts from the first four episodes can be found hereherehere, and here. (And: more info here.)

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During the summer of 2003, just after my sophomore year of college, I spent a summer living in London while writing for a budget travel guide. That it meant anything at all to me developmentally is relatively silly; London is one of the cushiest gigs you can get as a budget travel writer. There isn’t a rampant culture of extortion or government corruption (depending on how [...]

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The Hairpin Travel Series, Part Two: "An Escape From Untenable Circumstances"

Episodes One and Two of The Hairpin's Kindle Serial "An Experience Definitely Worth Allegedly Having" are available in full via Amazon. Episode One, by Carrie Frye, is excerpted on The Awl

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One romanticizes the idea of traveling to a distant country, but in my experience the romance-novel version of travel occurs rarely, if ever, in an ordinary person’s life. Even if one manages to plan everything out, with gorgeously tempting color brochures and guidebooks lovingly marked up in advance, the likelihood is that unforeseen circumstances will interfere with even the most carefully laid plans. Far more often, though, travel is inescapable, the result of disruptive, oppressive, [...]

7

The Hairpin Kindle Serial, Episode 7: Madame's Cane

From The Hairpin's eight-part Kindle Serial "An Experience Definitely Worth Allegedly Having."

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You’ve heard this story before. Clarification: you’ve heard this story before if you reside within the not altogether rarefied demographic of middle- to upper-class students who studied abroad at some point in their college or postcollege career. Sometimes the details are slightly different—one of my friends went to Vietnam; another spent at least a month in the backwoods of Ecuador making pottery with an eighty-year-old master.

But the reason so many people undertake the voyage that so many others in their place have before—that’s not too difficult to understand. Studying abroad in Europe [...]

15

The Hairpin Travel Serial, Part Four: Paris Is [Lonely/Lovely] When You’re Alone

Episodes One through Four of The Hairpin's eight-part Kindle Serial "An Experience Definitely Worth Allegedly Having" are now available in full via Amazon. Excerpts from the first three episodes can be found herehere, and here. (And: more info here.)

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I’ve been a dating writer for the past three years. It’s not something I set out to do, really, but I liked writing, and had been on dates, and those are apparently the only real qualifications you need.

Being a dating writer consists mostly of encouraging people to date: spurring them on through their pursuit of love, and acknowledging that, yes, the process is [...]