The Slow-Cooked Sentence

And you can call me …

Rachael Conlin Levy
“She actually does write with that thing” courtesy of incendiarymind.

Writer. That’s what I put in the little box under “employer,” and then handed in the medical update form.

“Writer?” the receptionist asked. “That means your self-employed.”


I smiled weakly because honestly I can’t remember the last time I pulled in a paycheck for my words. No, take that back, I can remember. It was an advertorial for a group of surgeons opening their own clinic, a blow-job that left me feeling icky. Rather than be a word whore I quit.

For the longest time I didn’t do anything but write for myself, filling notebook after notebook with rants against my husband (which I won’t share here) and sweet bits of conversation with my children like this:

October 5, 2006 — The little neighbor girl came over in her cheerleading outfit and played. Later Max asked why she was dressed up like a “chili ponpon.” Chaja has a rash that keeps flaring up. She’s had it for about a week and I’m beginning to think it may be bed bugs. God help me. I don’t need bed bugs on top of all the other crap I’m dealing with. Speaking of bed … here’s a great Italian proverb: “Bed is the poor man’s opera.”

December 13, 2006 — Kyna (one of my sisters) asked Max to tell her the names of his kindergarten classmates because she’s trying to figure out a name for her baby.

“Jasmine, Jade, Andrew, Logan, Hot Guy,” he said.

“Hot Guy?”

“Yeah, Hot Guy.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, even the teachers call him Hot Guy.”

Later, after Max is asleep, Kyna’s telling me the story and I say, “Hot Guy? Hot Guy? Ooooh, Hawkeye!”

I was writing, but without an editor, without an audience, I never felt compelled to go any further with the ideas so they just sat on the pages until the life drained out of them.

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out,” author Ray Bradbury said.

For me, the trick has been this blog, which forces me to write an idea to its end and put the finished piece of work out there to be read, if only by fifteen readers (but, oh, how I love you, my fifteen loyal readers!). Why do other writers write? After a lot of asking, author Judy Reeves compiled many of the reasons in “A Writer’s Book of Days”:

This week I’m asking five children why they write. They’re coming to my house to participate in a writing camp — a skill swap between me and my friend Shannon at Arthouse Easel. Every other week for most of the summer our kids will wade into watercolors or scribble stories for a few hours. I’ve never tried to teach another person to write, let alone five kids. Heck, I’ve only now started to publicly call myself a writer and doing so at the doctor’s office makes me feel like a poseur. But I’m gonna snatch that title and run, despite the government classifying me as a dependent, the lack of dimes, and that three of my five students will be calling me “Mom.”

3 responses to “And you can call me …”

  1. chelsey says:

    You are a writer Rach…love your blog

  2. mamapease says:

    I love reading your blog. So, thank you for writing it.

    I didn't know that's how one spells poseur! See, I learn something new every time I come visit your little space in cyberworld!

  3. Rachael Levy says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words, Chelsey and Kyndale.

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