My now-obsolete summer job

A vintage car parked in a gravel driveway in front of a house.

In the early 2000s, digital cameras existed, but not everyone had them. People needed to sell their cars. People wanted to buy cars. Auto Trader magazine was the solution, and I was one of their photographers.

“Sell your car fast! …We’ll take the photo!” — Copy from the cover of a 2005 issue of Auto Trader magazine

In one of the summers when I was in college, in 2004, I applied to be a part-time field photographer for Auto Trader.

Auto Trader still exists as a website, but it used to be a magazine filled with ads of people’s cars…


The horses didn’t like it

a horse extending his nose to the person taking the picture

When I was a kid we had two horses. Part of being a horse owner was that you occasionally had to worm them. What was worming them? It was squirting anti-parasite paste into the horses’ mouths to keep them free from worms. What was that paste? Ivermectin.

Ivermectin came in a big white tube with a pointy tip and a plunger for squeezing it out, similar in size and concept to a caulking gun you would use to redo your bathroom grout.

Horses are beautiful animals but they aren’t magically maintenance free. Dog and cat owners deal with worm prevention…


Even though you aren’t here

A small, clear cube with colorful light shining through it.

There is a space where our friendship lives even though you aren’t here. You got COVID-19 in March 2020, and you went into the hospital. You were one of the people who needed a ventilator. I had to say goodbye to you on a phone that our friend held up by your bedside before you died. I don’t know if you heard me.

Inside my heart is a small cube, maybe 1” by 1,” and that’s where our friendship lives. …


My three recent trips to the cinema after a pandemic hiatus from moviegoing

a Polaroid picture of a movie theater

Movie theaters are an escape and sanctuary. For two hours, real life pauses and your mind can fly with the film, above, and beyond it. I used to go to a movie every couple of weeks, sometimes every week.

It was strange not going to a movie for over a year during the worst of the pandemic. Life was quieter and darker. I got used to renting movies or watching through a patchwork of streaming services.

I’ve seen three films on the big screen in 2021: Black Widow, Roadrunner, and The Green Knight. I still love the movie theater as…


I have to remind myself that taxes exist when I read these

I’m sure you’ve seen headlines like this, which pop up like cheerful, helpful weeds on Medium:

  • “My Blogging Income was $2,000 in March”
  • “Here’s How I Made $3,000 Last Month as a Freelance Writer”
  • “I Work 6 Hours Per Week, Spend the Rest of My Time Playing Hacky Sack and Walking My Dog, and Make $4,599 a Month by Writing”

Here’s a question that I ask myself when I see the income number listed in these types of articles:

Is that after taxes?

If not, then the number can be a little misleading. The author may have brought in that…


A journal-like dispatch with small and soon-to-be-forgotten incidents

This week I went on a hike in Shenandoah National Park. I had been on this trail once before, and its lovely river and waterfall views drew me back. I got to the park early, around 7 a.m., which is an ideal time for avoiding the crowds, and parked in a refreshingly empty parking lot at the trailhead.

I started the hike slowly, not wanting to make my shin splints flare up by gallomping too enthusiastically down the trail like I did the last time.

I was hiking along, looking down at the trail, thinking, and a swallowtail butterfly startled…


How I wish it had gone

In March 2020, we realized as a nation that the novel coronavirus was going to be a dire threat. The president came on television and told everyone that this was a serious situation but we would get through it together, as Americans. We would rise to the challenge. He said that the number of cases would surely grow. He asked us to do our patriotic duty to wear masks and distance from each other to slow the spread of the virus.

That spring, he and his team would update the American people most evenings. One day, they said that if…


It was an unsettling distraction from an otherwise mostly good documentary

When I found out that they used an AI-constructed version of Anthony Bourdain’s voice for several lines of voiceover dialogue in Roadrunner — the new documentary about Bourdain’s life — I was upset. I didn’t want to hear a fake digital voice woven into a movie about a guy who seemed to be the very opposite of fake. I thought about getting a refund for the tickets I had already bought.

I decided to still see it, though, because I wanted to support the local movie theater that I hadn’t been able to visit in more than a year.

I…


Debunking harsh thoughts that can keep us from writing

We all have an inner critic. Mine can be especially jaded and brutal when it comes to my own writing. In order to write anything, I need to push past the doubts. It’s not easy.

Every time I write something new, I face one or more of these untruths from the critic within.

The inner critic says: “No one will read your writing.”

Response: Untrue — even my least popular story has been read by someone. Most of my stories have been read by a few someones.

I don’t know why the idea of no readers should be so scary, anyway. When I had blogs floating freely on the internet…


In “Loki,” he’s on a journey to who he was meant to be

Marvel movies, and now TV shows, aren’t about action, superpowers, magical abilities, or world-threatening events. They have those things, but they aren’t about them. They’re about characters being human and sometimes being heroic. That’s why we’re still watching more than 10 years after Iron Man. We love these characters.

Loki is one of the most mercurial, many-shaded characters in the Marvel universe. He’s fascinating because he dwells in the gray area between good and evil. In Loki, he tells Mobius that he knows something children don’t: that no one is ever truly good or bad. …

Vanessa Resler

Writing about life, movies, and other things.

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