Happy 4th of July!


Dear America,

This isn’t your greatest year.  It’s totally not your fault.  You are, of course, an inanimate object so you don’t have thoughts or feelings.


Anyway, I want to say that I still love you.  I love what you stand for, regardless of what the administration says you are.  I love that one of your national symbols is the Statue of Liberty who welcomes everyone into this amazing melting pot of diversity.  I love that people still have the chance to get that “American Dream.”


That dream is becoming ever more elusive due to the hatred and fear that is running rampant thanks to the new administration.  I hate that people have to live in fear because of their religion or the color of their skin.  I fire3hate that some people might die without their necessary medications.  I hate that the President of the United States condones and supports the hate and the fear.  Mostly, I’m just sad that my country, the country that I would have given my life for, is not the America she used to be.

However, I have faith.  I have faith that this is just a dark spot in what will be a shining future.  I have faith that Americans can pull together to support each other in our time of need.  I have faith that love trumps hate and that love conquers fear.  I still have faith in the country that has found itself countless times after tragedy.

Happy Birthday, America.  Here’s to overcoming adversity and finding the light at the end of the tunnel.




Godspeed, America.

It might surprise some people to learn that I spent many years planning to join the army.  I would work out in my room every night before bed doing 1000 sit-ups, 1000 push-ups, 1000 jumping-jacks, and running in place for 30 minutes.  Even my plans for veterinary school tied in with my dream of becoming an officer with the Army Corps of Veterinarians.  Unfortunately, celiac disease crushed those dreams.

Now, I spend my time researching the best ways to protect the cultural heritage of the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria.  I’m working towards a graduate degree in Museum Studies and Non-Profit Management.  My entire future is looking towards preventing war and working with our allies, and even our enemies, to protect our human heritage.

I consider myself to be extremely patriotic though I’m sure many Republicans would argue with me on that.  On the eve of an inauguration that threatens everything I have worked for and everything I believe in, I am afraid for my country.  I am hoping beyond hope that Trump will succeed, certainly not in fulfilling his campaign promises, but in leading America through a storm of his own creation.

At this time, I implore everyone to reach across the aisle and work together in every way.  We need each other desperately right now.  We cannot be men, women, conservatives, liberals, Christian, Jewish, or Muslim any longer.  We must go forward as humans and do what is best for humanity.



So it appears I fell off the wagon already.  I just have to admit to myself that writing everyday is not going to happen, especially now that the semester has started up again.  Between the illness, work, and school, something has to give and I guess it will be writing every day.  So be it.

In other news, I’ve been feeling pretty good.  The pain is mostly under control but this nausea is for the birds.  Hoping I can get some medication to control it while I wait to see the specialist next month.

I’m trying to think of other things to say here but my brain is mush after all the readings I’ve had to do this week.  Lack of sleep and a 1-cup-of-coffee diet will do that to you.

Until next time,

Overheard in Starbucks

Barista 1: Oh my God, you guys.  I am seriously so tired today.  I don’t know what my issue is.  I don’t drink coffee and I’ve had two shots of espresso and it’s still not working for me.

Barista 2: Hey, all!  I’m tossing this coffee that’s been sitting.  I’m going to make fresh Pike Roast to replace it.

Barista 1: RACHEL!  There are tired people in this world.  Why are you throwing out coffee!?

I love snippets of conversations.  It is one of my favorite things about life.  I don’t people watch.  I listen.  I grab little bits of things strangers say to each other and throw them into the mouths of my own creations when I write.  It makes my characters feel more tangible and real.  But when they say these silly things I hear on the street they also bring me back to a rainy day on the subway or a bright summer morning at the coffee shop.  In a way, they help me remember the insignificant moments that I too often take for granted.

So don’t stop and smell the roses.  Listen to the voices around you and see if you can’t find your character’s next quip.

The Men


Antonio Pollaiuolo, Battle of the Naked Men, c. 1470

Prompt: Imaginatively insert yourself into the picture through one of its figures. Describe the work of art by imagining what is happening from that individual’s point of view.

Men.  So many men.  We are naked and afraid.  We scream and grimace and strain every muscle in our bodies we can hear the sinews moaning.  The commotion is so loud it seems like there must be well over one hundred men, yet we number merely ten.  The battle before me is unspeakable.  It is violent, savage, and strange.  We fight with swords, arrows, chains and axes.  Many, if not all of us, will die today.

I stand on the left flank of the battle field, if you can call it that.  Really it is just a clearing near a field on the outskirts of the forest.  I think the farmer might be growing corn but then again I cannot say for sure as I have more serious matters on my mind.  I just wish to survive this wretched day.  I pray to any and all gods to spare my tormented soul.

I finish my prayer and return my thoughts to the battle at hand.  Shields and swords litter the ground.  I gaze in horror at that which assaults my senses.  Not only can I hear and see the wickedness of battle, but I can also taste it, smell it, and feel it.

I see two men standing in front of me engaged in sword combat.  They appear almost as a macabre pair of bookends the way they nearly mirror each other.  A chain links the two men together yet they both rear back and away from each other.  Swords drawn back each prepares to strike the mortal blow.  The man closest to me closes his eyes in fear; I am not sure if he is awaiting his death or if he is afraid to watch the other man die by his own hand.  His opponent, however, does not shy away from the moment.  He bellows a deep and frightening war-cry as he wields his sword in an arc of death.

My eyes are pulled away from these men, for at the very same moment, three men are engaged in a desperate fight to the death.  One man fights with a sword, the second with a bow, and a third, caught in the middle, brandishes an ax after abandoning his bow.  This third man will never see another rising sun as he has been caught unaware.  His quiver of arrows hangs limp at his side, useless without his trampled bow.  Instead, he raises an ax high above his head; ready to crack the skull of his attacker.  Try as he might, he cannot bring the ax down, for the assailant grabs the ax handle and momentarily halts the attack.  The poor middle man still avoids the sword but in doing so he does not see the bow.  The archer places the arrow, taut in bowstring, at the base of the unsuspecting man’s neck…

An ear-piercing scream draws my attention to two men engaged in close combat on the ground.  Swords have been abandoned for daggers and sheer will power.  One man lies on the ground, back arched with the effort required to stop his would be murderer.  It was this man’s scream that I heard.  In an attempt to save his own life, he has wrapped his hand around the blade of his attacker’s dagger.  His body contorts in pain.  His foot smashes into the assailant’s groin.  The attacker grimaces in pain but does not draw back or abandon his assault.  In his pain, however, he does not notice his victim’s dagger is perilously close to striking a killer blow.

Something moves at my feet.  A man lies dying on the ground.  He might be dead already.  I did not see it happen.  A man stands over the broken body.  He holds a dagger inside the wretched corpse.  I smell the sweat of ten men engaged in fierce battle.  I taste the fear of these men for it is my own as well.  I see the dead man lying at my feet.  I smell the metallic scent of blood.  I see the man holding the dagger inside the deceased.  I taste the bile that rises in my throat.  I feel the rough texture of wood in my hands.  I feel the weight of the ax and the tension in my muscles as I raise the weapon above my head.  I feel the world disappear beneath my feet and the air leave my lungs.  I see the unsuspecting man I am about to kill.

I close my eyes.  I do not want to see anymore.

Written for an assignment in one of my art history classes.  It’s a bit rough but it feels good to be writing creatively again.