What would happen if we spent more time listening to each other? 
Our Secrets Are Safe Here: The Vault
August 2018
"Nowadays I know the true reason I read is to feel less alone, to make a connection with a consciousness other than my own."
- Zadie Smith, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays 

Sometimes I wonder if the reason I’ve embarked on projects which champion (mostly other) women’s stories is that it's easier than sharing my own. That by convincing a larger community of the value of these stories, I am slowly starting to see that my story might have value, too. Almost every time I start working with a writer, I see them experience that same kind of doubt. Even the most talented, experienced wordsmiths rarely see how special, how interesting, or how moving their own story might be to someone else. Indeed, this collective doubt helps demonstrate why our stories are so valuable: the familiar feelings, ways of processing memories and experiences, and enduring questions that show us how we are interconnected despite our differences. We don’t have to understand someone’s life to be able to hear them. We don’t need to have shared an experience to hold space for someone else’s.
The more I do this work, and meet people who believe in the power of a single story, the more I feel these stories are capable of changing the world for the better. What if we simply spent more time listening to each other? And by doing so, what if we learned to listen to our deepest, innermost selves?

Today we’re launching The Vault, a monthly digital zine featuring intimate stories and exclusive illustrations from emerging writers and artists. Why an online magazine? The answer is simple — we wanted to make more work, more often, and continue to collaborate with a community of fresh, unique voices. We wanted our work to be accessible to readers, and viable to produce. Independent publishing can be a mysterious mama, so in an effort to be transparent about the people and processes it takes to make this baby run, we created this sweet infographic.

I know you value the kind of writing and art we've made a home for in The Vault. The stories you’ll read here will acknowledge our dark secrets and untold experiences. This kind of fiercely uncensored work often doesn’t find a home or an audience, and with your monthly support, we can continue this project in digital and print forms, long into the future. Choose one of three membership options, as low as $5 per month.

If you need more convincing that The Vault is something you need in your life, click here to download the first story about losing someone close to you, for free.   

And thanks, as always, for listening.

Who do you feel safe to share your secrets with?

Erin Klassen is a writer, editor and the founder of With/out Pretend. She loves to think about the future and convince talented artists to collaborate with her.

follow her on instagram 
It Takes a Village
I’ve never been prouder of a project than I am of what we’re doing here, in The Vault. I’m working with an incredible team of folks to pull this off, and I can’t go on enough about their incredible talent, passion, and dedication. Meet three of the women who make this project possible:
Erin McPhee
Creative Director Extraordinaire

Bio: Amateur dancer and caretaker of two hearty houseplants.

Erin is responsible for every detail of The Vault's stunning design, and it's hard to put into words how lovely she is to work with. If you're a visual artist who wants to chat about working with us, we'd love to hear from you!
Elizabeth Polanco
Associate Editor of my dreams

Bio: Easily excited and a textbook Virgo.

In her previous role as Editor of Sophomore Magazine, Elizabeth gave young contributors the space to speak for themselves. Elizabeth is an excellent listener, a generous teammate, and a talented writer in her own right (read her introduction for "Islands").

Jessica Kasiama
Social media magic @vaultzine

Bio: Willing to split her heart open for connection.

We hired her last Spring as an intern and then we couldn't bear to see her go, so Jess became our first ever Publishing Coordinator. Jess is highly creative, empathetic, and one of the most hard-working young people I've ever met. Follow her magic at @vaultzine
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