RACTICE DYINGIMG_4846.JPGYesterday I painted kids’ faces at my son’s new elementary school. An experienced face-painter gave me some tips and then I just did my best. Children kept putting their faces in front of me; as soon as one was done, another appeared. I pushed their hair aside and studied their faces. I asked them their name and what they wanted. I held their small chins and drew on them. When I was done I handed each child the mirror to see. I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I had to follow pictures of painted faces. I didn’t know how their faces would turn out. The kids smiled into the mirror showing a lot of new adult teeth, some were too young to have lost a  tooth. They liked what they saw.

It’s hard to know why I’m writing blog posts. Yes, to exercise my writing. To have some writing that I can publish and share without it taking ten years, as novels do for me. There was something about painting unknown faces and trying my best to give a kid I didn’t even know something they liked to see and to feel, and understanding that when they looked in the mirror, the face was them, but a new version, that feels close to why I’d blog. To maybe make a reader see herself in a story I’m only learning how to write as it is written.

Rachel Stolzman is the author of the novel PRACTICE DYING (BINK Books, 2018) and THE SIGN FOR DROWNING (Shambhala, 2008). She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two sons.



  1. I was intrigued on the one hand, and envious on the other upon discovering published novel at the very end of your page. This read more like a blog post rather giving me, the interested reader, an overview of what your blog is about. When I go to an about page and click to follow, I am looking for enough information, and intrigue to want to receive updates on a regular basis. Hope this helps.


  2. You asked for page ideas. Come and have a look, I have seventeen pages. I have a photo essay, pages on topics I am passionate about and have honed into argument in depth, with dozens of revisions, a page of my memes, a page for a longer essay, pages accessible from other pages, going into more detail.


      1. Yes I want the Couples page for the “how you met stories”. Will write my story down a little later… Tempest helped me figuring out how I can give access to my blog to guest bloggers (it’s all so new!!!)… So I am on the way…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Rachel,
    I love your About page. Right away I felt like I knew a lot about you…you are a mom and you volunteered at your child’s school. And you are a risk taker, painting children’s faces. I love the correlation between the face painting and blogging. As writers every day we put ourselves on a page for all the world to see. It is a daring adventure.
    ps I just ordered your book.

    ~ ellen


    1. Hi Ellen, thank you so much for getting my novel! I hope you enjoy the read. I used to have a boring bio on my about page and redid it after taking blogging 101 and doing their assignment on the About page- they give good advice! All best!


      1. Thank you! I was excited when my daughter had a few “space” pictures to offer from her astronomy class (which, on the whole, had proved a disappointment to her).


  4. hello Rachel,
    Good to know about you and read few posts from your blog. Appreciate your passion and interest.

    Just a suggestion:
    Go to Settings>Sharing, and select the checkbox – Front Page, Archive Pages, and Search Results. Or check http://goo.gl/HfMbNK
    Now if someone visits your blog, he/she may like the post without opening the post separately. It will help you get more likes on the blog.

    Glad you follow my blog – http://YourWellWisherProgram.wordpress.com
    Your Well Wisher Program is No NGO setup, No big costs, No team formed, No copyright protected, No solution patented, individual effort in an – Attempt to solve commonly known problems.


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