I Need Your Help!

It’s official: I’m applying to graduate school!


I’ve wanted to go to grad school for a long time, pretty much ever since I graduated college, but it’s never seemed to be the right time (i.e. I never had the $).  I still don’t know if it’s the right time, but I have the money for the GRE and for the application fees, so I’m going for it!  There’s no guarantee that I’ll get in anywhere, the programs are very selective, but I’m giving it all I’ve got.

I’m hoping to get into a Creative Writing program so I can earn an MFA.

All that to say: I need your help.  The most important part of the application is the writing sample.  30 pages or less of original work.  I’ve selected the pieces I’d like to include, but I’d like some feedback/critiquing before I send them in.

Here’s what I’m planning on:

The Painting

The Maidening Ceremony

My Pen

Love is on the List, Chapter Ten: Confession

Love is on the List, Chapter Sixteen: Another Confession

Please let me know your thoughts.  Tell me everything: room for improvement, grammatical or spelling errors, or if you’ve read other pieces you think would be better for me to submit.  I want to send in my absolute best work.

Thank you!

My Pen

I picked up a pen one day
And set it to paper
And words flew out
My secret fears and desires
Seeped onto the page
Suddenly I’m looking at myself
With my own eyes
I’m a different person than I thought
No better
No worse
Just different
So I pick up another pen
And set it to paper
To see what else I can teach myself
Where do I want to go?
What do I want to see?
Who do I want to love?
It all reveals itself on the page
Finally I’m living a life worth living
Even if it is
In the pages of my notebook
So I don’t put the pen down
Even when I should
Because when its in my hand
When I set it to paper
I can make the pain go away
Or I can make the pain worse
I can FEEL
So I continue to write
Continue to discover myself
My hidden sexuality
My thirst for adventure
My longing for lust and love and friendship
Because the second I drop the pen
It all goes away
And I know nothing about myself
Or my secret fears and desires
I have nothing to teach myself
No life worth living
No longing or thirst to explore
So I cling to my pen
I cling to the paper
Praying that they are an anchor and a sail
Both at once
My tools for staying grounded
My means of floating away

Young Love

They lay together

Silent, Still

Not talking, just absorbing

Each other’s presence

And she knew.

She could smell his cologne

Woody and Strong


She liked it

And didn’t at the same time.

Liked it simply for its pleasantness

Disliked it for reminding her

He was growing up

Growing away from her.

His hand grazed her leg

With purpose, she knew

But when she turned

To look at him

He snatched it away


She continued gazing at

His friendly, familiar face

The brown eyes with dark long lashes

She loved to touch gently

When he kissed her.

His hand returned to her thigh

As she began studying

His pink mouth

Lips always ready for a scowl

Pointed, almost, sharp

With everyone else

But not her

With her they laughed,

Teased, and smiled

They were soft and

She liked no sensation better

In the world

Than his lips pressed firmly

To her neck.

Now his hand casually drifted up

And came to rest

In that crook where leg meets hip

She didn’t dare move

And scare him off

She loved his hand on her

Anywhere on her.

When she didn’t push him away

He titled his head towards hers

Examined her face like

She had his

“Whaddya think?  Will we

Make it forever?”

She laughed

A painful, heartbreaking laugh

And his mouth lit up

In that smile he reserved for her

“Don’t laugh, I’m serious.”

But she knew he wasn’t

Knew this was their goodbye

Their bittersweet ending.

They’d kiss and hug at graduation

Maybe even make love

To celebrate.

They’d write letters,

Send emails, and place long distance

Phone calls

For the first few months of school

And then they’d gently

Fade Out

Drift further apart.

This moment was the last real one

She’d hold on to him

As long as he’d let her

But she knew.

The Third Wheel

It drags along



Behind its brothers

Wanting to give assistance

But unable to

It squeaks

And rattles

Yet is neglected

When its brothers

Receive repairs

It tries to

Pull some weight

But  is never successful

“Come along,”

Its brothers cry,

“We don’t need your help

So just enjoy the ride.”

But it doesn’t

Enjoy the ride

It’s miserable

Feels left out



A Blank Page


A blank page

Full of possibilities

Like my life

What will I do

With it?

Will it go to waste

Like my life?

Or will I

Create something beautiful

Something meaningful.

The pen hits

The white canvas

Smearing ink

Forming letters



Will it become

Anything worthwhile?

How often have

I done this

Very thing

Sat quietly


Whether I’m enough

If what I write

Is enough,

Good enough.

How often have you?

The words

Are repetitive

Filling the page

No longer blank;

A full page

Loses possibility

Is that why

I’m afraid?

Afraid to ruin it

With mediocre ramblings.

I don’t want

To lose

The possibilities.

What am I

But full of options

Full of ideas

Full of promise.

What is the page

When I can

No longer

Add ink?

What happens to

Its possibilities

If I rip it up,

Toss it in the trash,

Burn it?

Do I die with it?

What has happened

To my possibilities,

Where did they go?

I don’t remember

Ripping them up

Throwing them away

Burning them.

Yet, I can’t

Find them.

I’m afraid

They’re gone

And no amount

Of blank pages

Can bring them back.

Giving Back, $10 At A Time

My mother and I went to the charity book sale at our local library today.  They were selling tote bags for $10 and you stuff said tote to the gills with as many books as you can.  So for $10 I got 18 books!  Score!

Here’s what I snagged (in no particular order):

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Fiction: A Longman Pocket Anthology Edited by R.S. Gwynn (a collection of short stories)

Somebody Else’s Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage

Lost & Found by Jacqueline Sheehan

Possession by A.S. Byatt

The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Poetry U.S.A. edited by Paul Molloy (a collection of American Poetry)

Selected Poems of Thomas Hardy edited by John Crowe Ransom

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them) by Jack M. Bickham

Listen to Their Voices (20 Interviews with Women Who Write) Edited by Mickey Pearlman

Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman


I’m very excited to start tackling this stack, but I do have a couple of other stacks of books waiting to be read as well, so who knows when I’ll get to them all.  I’d really love to hear everyone’s opinion- have you read any of the books on this list?  Did you enjoy them?


My Spot on the Shelf

I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I last posted!  I’ve been busy, which is nothing unusual, and I just haven’t given much thought to writing the past two weeks.

I hate that.

But sometimes I don’t have control over everything in my life.  It kinda sucks, but it’s kinda okay too.  Okay because I’ve been working with a lot of wedding clients and I’ve been hanging out with some friends and, you know, actually having a life!

I thought about writing today, though.  First, at work, I had a minute or two of downtime here and there and I started created a family tree for my next project (A serial story about Family Dynamics- get ready for it!), then, I was in Barnes and Noble for a brief second and I couldn’t stop myself.  I went to the Fiction and Literature section and glanced at the titles.  I found my way to the H’s.  I found the spot where my book would be if I ever get published.

Is it weird that I do this?  Because this isn’t the first time I’ve looked for where my book belongs in a bookstore.  (And just for the record, I’d be to the left of Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond- in case you don’t know my awesome last name.)  It’s motivating to me.  The idea that maybe, possibly, someday I could walk in a bookstore and when I find that spot on the shelf my book will actually BE there.  It’s a pipe dream, I know.  But maybe.  Just possibly.

I got a review on TNBW the other day for my poem “Observations in Ten Minutes” in which the reader/reviewer asked if I’d ever thought of publishing my poetry.  Of course I have!  I’ve thought about it and dreamed about it.  But I haven’t really done much to make it happen.  I know I need to.  I need to send out queries and letters and let the publishing world know that I exist.  But when?  When’s the right time?  I don’t think I’m ready.  I want to be.  But I don’t think I am.

I read a few poems I wrote in high school last night.  Oh my God were they awful.  TERRIBLE.  I can’t believe I ever thought they were good (which, PS, I did).  What if I think the same thing about the stuff I’m writing now, the novel and short stories and poetry I’ve written over the last year and a half?  I want my best work out there.  I don’t want to put my name on something that isn’t perfect.

And therein lies another problem.  It will never be perfect.  Even books I LOVE have moments of terrible writing (Jane Austen being the obvious exception).  So do I take the chance now that someone will see the brilliance in my work (not that my work is brilliant by any means, but I think you know what I’m going for) and overlook the horridness?  Or do I spend another year or so editing and perfecting, making it better?  I feel like life is too short for that.  I need more time though!  I started a round of edits on Twenty-Five, but I think I only got through chapter 6 or so.  I’ve been so exhausted in the evenings and busy on the weekends, I haven’t gone back to it.

Okay, seriously Rach.  Enough whining.  Just do it!

It’s the only way you’ll ever get anywhere- you can’t move forward by standing still.

So I guess I’ll be getting off my ass now.






And a little thing that makes me happy: Getting comments from People who read my blog! (HINT HINT!)






Quick Update on the Trifecta of Milestones approaching:

This is my 92nd post.

I’ve had 4,895 views to date.

And there are 6 weeks and 4 days left until my One Year Blogiversary!

You Know I Love to Write Poetry

Observations in Ten Minutes

I’m the only one

eating alone tonight

Not the only one in the world

but the only one here

in this restaurant

Everyone I see around me

is paired up

with a friend

a mother

a father

a lover

I see them all

but they don’t see me

They sip their waters and sodas

spear lettuce with their forks

gesture with their hands

and talk about their days

or politics

or family

I see a hug

and the door being held open

Kindness and laughter

love and conversation

A little girl stumbles

and her father lifts her up

A young woman finishes her meal

and her boyfriend clears her plate

Everyone unaware

of the gift they’ve been given

Time and simplicity

They don’t see it

they don’t feel it

But I do

And I see

an empty chair

across the table

A desire unfulfilled

life slipping away

and yet moving so very slowly

An employee finishes his shift

and walks out the door

He’s checking his phone for messages

wondering if anyone

cared enough to leave one

I’ve turned my phone off

no one ever calls it

Yet I feel happy

Sort of

Happy to be breathing

and watching and seeing

and wishing and hoping

and knowing that

there will come a time

when I’ll be just like

everyone here

Missing out on

the wonders of humanity

Consumed by the presence

of a friend

a mother

a father

a lover

Finding joy in simple conversation

the taste of a good meal

the warmth of a touch

Maybe I’ll know then still

that life isn’t perfect

Or maybe I won’t

But it will not matter either way

because I’ll be happy



Sort of, at least

And a little thing that makes me happy: A movie that makes me cry (I know that doesn’t sound like it should make me happy, but I love a tear-jerker) and the novel that was at 5962 two days ago is at 7549 tonight!

Let’s End This

I’m not perfect

A fact I know too well

So there’s no need

For you to rub it in my face

To make me feel bad


To antagonize me

With hateful words and accusations

And try and pretend

That I’m the one

Who needs to apologize,

Take on all the blame

Because you’re not perfect, either

Far from it, in fact

You’re mean



And I don’t think

You even realize it

So maybe you should

Point that finger at yourself

Analyze your behavior

Acknowledge that I did my best

Tried my hardest

Gave you as much as I could

And maybe you asked for too much

I’m not a magician

And I’m not a mindreader

I can’t be expected to do everything

And I can’t be expected

To know what I haven’t been told

Get off your high horse

Accept responsibility for yourself

I’ll accept responsibility for me

And let’s call it quits

Because I’m sick of torturing myself

Of going to bed

With the words I should have said

Stuck in my mind

Haunting, taunting me

I hate hating myself

And having someone out in the world

Hating me

But you don’t hate yourself,

Do you?

You have righteous anger,


I’m so mad I want to pull my hair out

You think I should be groveling at your feet

But I won’t

Even though part of me wants to

Because there’s a part of me

That hates this feeling so much

I’d rather do whatever it takes

To make you forgive me

For something I didn’t even do wrong

Than go on feeling so shitty

All the time

It’s not fair

It’s not fair

It’s not fair