Photo credit: Jeffrey Clark Grossman
Rachel Rabbit White is a writer living in New York, and her work has appeared in many places, including The New York Observer, Jezebel, Playboy, Vice and Thought Catalog. With sleeves rolled up, Rachel explores the more taboo things in life, reporting back with her unapologetic flair.
Your work spans from sex and relationships to death and spirituality. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I never wanted to do anything except live a passionate sort of life. As a kid I wanted to be a ballerina, an artist, or a writer because those were the things that made me feel engaged with my life. As a kid, I loved visual art, hiking in the woods alone, reading and making up stories in my head, which is probably all I would still do as an adult, if I were given the choice. This whole business about having to work is such a cruel joke on humanity. I don’t really recommend writing for money as a way to get by, but I don’t really feel capable of doing much else.
What’s your writing process like? Any specific habits?
A typical day as of late: I get up around 7:30 am, usually in my boyfriend’s bed. I wake before him, get up pee, brush my teeth and then go back to bed to cuddle until he decides that it’s time for us to start the day. If it were up to me, we would stay in bed all day touching and being touched, but he has a better sense of self-discipline.
We dress and go to the little coffee shop where we sit and chat for about another half hour. We part on the corner, making out like we’ll never see each other again, and then I go to my apartment, which is only a half block away from his.
At home, I make more coffee and then begin the long process of not moving from the sofa for as long as possible to write whatever I am writing. My body goes sore from it. I sit for hours, chain-vaping, my facial expression looking all kinds of serious. If a story is long and involved, I’ll work on it for maybe seven days. I’m writing and changing things right up until the moment I file.
When the sentences stop coming out right, I take a break to lay in bed and read. I go back and forth like that: reading in bed, and then going back to write on the sofa.
At around 8 pm, I’ll often go out to dinner or to see a film with my boyfriend, and then we’ll hang out at his place and I’ll try to remember all of the clever things he says so I can steal them for my writing. We maybe fall asleep around 1 am.
You mentioned in a Vice interview that you draw inspiration from your childhood journals. Where else do you find inspiration?
Whatever I’m reading at the moment and the people around me. I steal relentlessly from everything I take in and I feel no remorse. Good stealing is good writing. Bad stealing is plagiarism. Surely someone has said this better.
Using your blog, you founded Lady Porn Day and No Make-Up Week. In what other ways did your blog affect your life?
I got my start as a writer through a personal blog which helped me then get paid gigs, but I haven’t blogged on my own site for years. Blogging is great for building an audience and a platform, though it doesn’t lend itself as well for honing a craft as a writer. I miss blogging for the direct interaction with an audience, but can’t imagine going back to frequent blogging with no pay.
Your story, ‘Latina Glitter’, was selected as ‘Best Sex Writing of 2012’. Have you ever found it challenging to discuss these taboo topics?
I don’t find anything difficult to talk about. With me, it’s rather the opposite. I find it difficult to not talk about everything. I want to talk about all of it, all of the time, occupying each angle at once. I keep no secrets and I don’t understand why everyone else isn’t so open. I’m always hoping people I meet will just meet me on this level. To me, it just makes sense to be this way.
Your writing takes you to many places, most recently being a hotel room with the ATL twins. What have been some of your most memorable moments as a writer?
My life and my writing are so completely connected. All journalism is solipsistic and I’m really not trying to pretend otherwise. But it is nice when you get paid and flown out to do wild things. Thought Catalog and Playboy magazine have been great about flying me out and putting me up in Las Vegas and L.A. for stories. I’ve gone to raves for stories, I’ve been to high end sex parties… I recently went to the AVN porn awards. I always have fun while traveling for work – I’ve given handjobs to bellhops, I’ve skinny dipped in all the hotel pools, I’ve cried alone in my room after a ten day trip in LA because I didn’t want to go back to New York… mostly because that meant writing the story and not living it.
Of all the stories you’ve ever written, which do you most enjoy telling others about, and why?
Whether it’s journalism or not, all of my stories are about me, but I like the ones that are purely solipsistic. I’m eager to let my readers to the mega-changes that have recently taken place in my life. To put it bluntly: I recently fell in love and left a marriage and a polyamorous lifestyle. I’m so in love that it’s made me a possessive crazy monogamous basic bitch… and I’m really into it.
You give a lot of advice to your readers. What advice would you give to someone looking to also become a writer?
Be rich or have a rich boyfriend. And when you leave your husband, make sure you get that alimony. Or, I guess… like…. get the right internships and land the job as a staffer at a big blog or magazine – but that life never appealed to me. At least, I’ll fight it off for as long as I can.
Rachel is currently writing on a regular basis on Thought Catalog and you can check her articles out here.