Poetry Culture

Last night at my college, Dr. Eve L. Ewing held a performance and Q&A session. If you’re unfamiliar, you need to educate yourself, because she is an inspiration, super funny and relatable, brilliant and most of all, a complete and total badass. She talked with the audience about her personal journey as a teacher, a socialist, and a black female in America. And what hit closest to home for me, was when she described her feeling of what it meant to be a poet.

Dr. Ewing is the author of Electric Arches and she spoke about how to write poetry is to give permission. Poetry is a way to let yourself feel and acknowledge and most of all move on. In 2017, I published my first collection of poetry, and a part of my soul screams with appreciation when I hear success stories such as Dr. Ewing’s.

I think the society of poets is a secret one. “I’m a closet poet,” I’ve heard many times. The culture of poetry, however, is one of immense support and affirmation. Writing poetry is so emotionally vulnerable and draining that it’s hard to admit you’re succumbing to feelings, of all the wretched things in the world.

Poets can’t be afraid of their feelings though, even on the darkest nights and the longest days. Anxiety, depression, sickness, heartache, grief, and discomfort are unfortunately familiar to us, and creating anything from this pain is a miracle.

Creativity isn’t linear, it will never be the same from one day to the next. But for me, the most consistent work I have ever produced is my poetry. Teenage years are a time of growing, changing, and learning, especially from mistakes and failures. And even though there are pieces of me that are still hurting or broken or paranoid with trauma, I made the choice to plant flowers instead of weeds.

Project 105 (http://www.lulu.com/shop/m-rheinheimer/project-105/paperback/product-23264977.htmlwas the product of these phases, and if I had one wish as a writer and a poet, it would be to remind myself that I’m not alone. That whoever happens to flip through the pages, they know they aren’t alone.

One of the most brave and bold poets I’ve ever met, Andrea Gibson, also recently visited my campus, and in her poem The Nutritionist (http://ohandreagibson.tumblr.com/nutritionist), she says:

I have been told, sometimes, the most healing thing to do-

Is remind ourselves over and over and over

Other people feel this too”

wheat girl

Therefore, in closing about this matter of poetry, I wanted to share the opening poem of my book. The title is Rebuilt.

“I can’t wait to write the words

that have bubbled and streamed through me

for eighteen years

they have been building up

higher and higher

screaming to escape

when they were torn down

letter by letter

striped away every last





i thought my story was over

but the light came

a child hiding beneath a blanket

at 1:03 am

clutching a battery powered flashlight

reading each

and every word

again and again

the words came back

as the light swept over

my empty soul

and filled the book

with more chapters than ever before

I can’t wait for you to read the words

that have been

broken down

stripped apart

cracked at the seams

for they have been



and resurrected

to form my eighteen years of existence.”

Sometimes sharing poetry is scary because expressing vulnerability is scary. But you know what?

So is loving, and so is writing, and so is existing.

And fear isn’t going to stop me from doing all of the above.

With love,

Madeleine Rheinheimer

My To-Do List For February 2018

It is almost the beginning of the second month of the year, and as the time passes faster than bearable, I’ve gotten into the habit of making sure I take care of business. Anyone who knows me or even sits next to me in public is aware that I govern my life solely by the use of to-do lists. I make them for every day, every week, every month, and every year. Also for special events or occasions. There’s just too much to be done in the amount of time given (even though time is an illusion, it feels too real most days), and my lists keep me on top of things. Therefore, I wanted to start sharing my lists in hopes that I can inspire some action or influence for your own life!

P.S: It’s important to keep in mind that not everything will be crossed off the list. This doesn’t mean I have failed, and it doesn’t mean that I am lazy. It means that I am human and time ultimately wins despite our desire to be in control. And especially in 2018, I’m trying to accept this.


1. Send Valentines.

Crucial for the month of February, this tradition has carried on from childhood, and sending out homemade cards to my loved ones is a way to express my love and flaunt my creativity (humbly joking, of course!)


An example of my recent creations. I enjoy a good pun.


2. See my family.

Even though I just spent winter break at my home, it’s been about a month since I’ve seen my parents and brothers, and despite the busy weeks of college, I miss my family.


3. Go to an art museum.

This has become a monthly resolution in 2018, especially after the discovery of my passion for art history (my minor study in college). There are thousands of art museums across the area, and I hope to find the collection of my favorite pieces some day.


My boyfriend had striking similarities to this Picasso piece at the Nelson-Atkins.

4. Yoga.

Before college, I was in the habit of going to yoga once a week. However, in a new area with a new schedule, I haven’t been able to keep up the practice and there are days my body grudgingly reminds me. This month, I would like to take a few hours to stretch and connect to what I once had on the mat.


5. Contact an employer.

I am looking for a paying job this summer when I come back home, and it’s a bit frustrating to do this when I’m away from home in regards to the whole application and resume process. But I am determined to find a fit (and if you know any positions that you could recommend, please shoot me an email).


6. Pay my parking tickets.

I don’t wish to comment on this.


7. Drink more green tea.

As a coffee addict, it’s nice to give the teeth and stomach a little break every once in a while.


8. Organize my socks.

In the winter months especially, I could care less if my socks match when they are hidden underneath my boots. Therefore, my sock draw (and the area beneath) appears as if a tornado just blew through.


9. Stop making excuses.

In the last year especially, I’ve come up with many ways to justify my resistance to do something. Being an adult means that you stop making excuses and start making changes, and I need to learn how to convince myself to stop pretending to be a victim. Time to wake up and make the magic happen rather than sit around and wait out of fear.


10. Treat myself.

One of the most important items on my list, because in 2018 I want to show more self love. As a young woman, I’ve undergone series of insecurities and negative self-talk, but as a 19 year-old, I’m learning to love everything from my green-polished toenails to my blonde hair.


My icon, Donna Meagle from Parks and Rec.

11. Read 5 books.

As a writer, reading is both enjoyable and necessary to succeed in this field. My goal every month is to read at least 5 books outside of my class work, so if you have any suggestions please leave a comment or email me!


 12. Reduce distractions.

In the month of January, I spent every Monday free of social media. This cleanse helped me catch up on work and refocus my attention to what matters in my life, and I recommended this to anyone who is looking to clear their head of any unnecessary thoughts.


13. Address my fears and worries.

My anxiety has caused me far too much stress recently, and in the month of Feburary, I am going to address the underlying matters and try to understand what exactly I am so afraid of. To quote my idol, Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s:

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?



14. Make brownies

I have truly been craving some rich, mouth-watering, chocolate cake squares, and without a kitchen and an allergy to bakery products, I am holding out until my next visit home (unless my mom can somehow send brownies in the mail?? I might have to Google that possibility.)


15. Check my to do list but don’t let it control me

In conclusion, I will attempt to wrangle everything on this list, but life doesn’t follow any list or rules, so if all else fails, I won’t make an excuse and rather accept what is.

Wish me luck in this upcoming month!


Yours Truly,

Madeleine Rheinheimer


Why Write?

Preface: This is a short essay I wrote for a class recently. The prompt was titled, “Why Write?” What follows is my response.

When I was six years old, I went on a vacation to the beach with my family. Despite the sand rashes and peeling skin, the salt water cleansed me of everything I had never known for the first few years of my life. Raised with humidity, corn crops, and endless dirt roads, I fell in love with the unfamiliar sting of the ocean.

It was then I decided I would grow up to be a marine biologist. I would study seashells and fish migratory patterns and of course, have a dolphin as my closest companion. I would essentially be a mermaid, that was my dream profession, but marine biologist sounded a lot more impressive to adults.

But then, the balloon burst as I was dragged away from the shoreline and thrown into the backseat of the pickup truck once again. As a six year old with a short attention span and a quick-moving mind, I soon forgot the taste of salt and my desire for a friendly dolphin. This may be in part due to the next progression of elementary classes, and partly thanks to a free writing hour once a day.

As the teacher instructed us to sit back with our pencils and notebooks and jot down our current thoughts, my hand couldn’t move fast enough. It was really quite irritating. It was as if there were so many ideas and thoughts and feelings and words and stories just bottled inside my five-foot self, and they all had to escape at one time. The teacher noticed how frantically I wrote, how hard my pencil pinned the paper against the desk. However, as a writer herself, she could only sit back and watch the magic unfold, knowing full well that this gift was the most wonderful blessing and the most infuriating curse.


The freedom I felt from writing was incredibly liberating, energizing, and yet, exhausting. I would come home each day with my notebook tucked under my arm and collapse onto my bed, staring at my ceiling and feeling deep in my bones that there was more to be said.

Nearly ten years later, my bones still ache with that feeling.

And if I had to guess, as people ask what I want to be when I grow up, that the feeling will never go away, because as a writer, there will always be more to say.

That’s why I write.




I’m Dating My Best Friend

If the title didn’t make you roll your eyes in disgust and you kept reading, I would like to say thank you. If the title made you gag and laugh out loud and yet you still kept reading, I am okay with that too. I hope that by the end of this post, your heart may expand and smile, like that one scene in The Grinch.


I have written two pretty personal posts now, and it’s not even the first month of 2018. If you haven’t noticed, this is the year I dedicate my time to this blog. Because I have a purpose, and it involves spreading my writing in hopes that another pair of eyes stumbles across it and feels something. Just one pair of eyes.

But that’s enough about other people, because this post is dedicated to my best friend in the entire world, who doesn’t get nearly the amount of credit the deserves in my writing. However, the humble man he is, wouldn’t like me to talk about him and how much of a blessing he is in my life.

Let’s just start out by addressing the fact that 90% of the time he is my best friend, and the other 10% he’s my boyfriend. What this means, is that every time we’re together, life is really really awesome. We were friends nearly a year before he worked up the nerve to ask me to be his girlfriend, and we have remained friends above all else. As said in the famous wedding of Parks and Rec., I love him and I like him.


Still not sure what I mean? Let me explain.

My best friend and I love to go to concerts and celebrate good music, but my boyfriend loves to take pictures of the way my eyes look in the stage lights.

My best friend and I love to go to sporting events, but my boyfriend tends to buy me popcorn because he knows I won’t admit that I want it.


My best friend and I love to get ice cream together, but my boyfriend drives an extra 20 minutes to go to the restaurant that I can eat at (allergies!).


My best friend and I love to work out together, but my boyfriend does cardio next to me so I’m not lonely.

My best friend and I love to bake together, but my boyfriend always insists on doing the dishes afterward, and I don’t stop him.

My best friend and I love to be adventurous and run through the rain, but my boyfriend carries me over mud and puddles because my shoes are just too cute to get wet and dirty.

My best friend helps me decide on living room decor, but my boyfriend holds me on his shoulders so I can string the lights across the ceiling.


My best friend and I love to talk about our music preferences, but my boyfriend and I love to talk about our hopes, regrets, dreams, childhood, success, and greatest accomplishments.

My best friend and I love to watch movies together, but my boyfriend lets me pick every time. (Another children’s animation? Yes please!)

My best friend and I love to go to the nail salon together, but my boyfriend likes to watch the process and choose the brightest shade of pink.

He is the first person I call when I have good news.

He is the first person I call when I have bad news.

He is whom I share my food with (and I’m not a openly willingful sharer).

He holds my coffee when it’s too hot/cold.


He gives me his spare change and tells me to put it in my adventure jar.

He takes the stairs because I don’t like elevators.

He keeps a spare jacket in his car for me.

He carries my purse when it just gets too heavy.

He knows how I like my coffee, my favorite cupcake flavor, and what shade of lipgloss I wear.

He knows my secrets, my plans, and what I’m thinking before I say it.

I hope and pray that there is someone who knows what I’m talking about, because having a two-in-one package is double the fun and double the joy. My boyfriend is my biggest fan, greatest hype man, and also my best friend. I couldn’t be more thankful, inspired, or in awe of him.





Letter to My Future Child: A Series

Dear Future Child,

I’m not sure if you’ll ever read this on here. I’m not sure if this blog will still be around by the time you’re able to read, digest, and understand all the ways that your crazy mother expresses herself.

You may ask yourself as your cheeks redden, “Why does my mom have to say this to the whole worldwide audience?” and I’d reply, “Don’t worry, small one, I only have 400 followers.” You may also think, “Mom, this blog and this series is embarrassing,” and I’ll say, “Sorry honey, it’s what I was born to do. And no one is safe when a writer is present.”

Then again, this conversation may never happen. You may love what I do, or you may never get around to reading these. I am okay with all of the above.

Either way, I wanted to publish this series on my blog, because what I must write to you about might be something someone else wants to write to their children about. The thought process behind blogging and writing and simply creating is to share ideas. Finding similarities and connecting.  That’s what I love so much about being an artist.


Source: alannatalu.tumblr.com

Future child, I want you to know that you don’t have to paint pictures or take photographs of the weeds in the garden to be an artist. All you have to do is create. All truth be told, I want you to be an artist. I’m not sure what your father will have to say about that one, because he might want you to be a doctor or an athlete. We will love you either way (but Mom is always right, and also has the last say. Remember that).

But I want you to be an artist, because I know firsthand the feeling of freedom that comes from letting your thoughts escape the jail cell of your mind. And while I pray that some of my genetics remain within myself so you’ll never be cursed with fear, worry, or sadness, I also pray that you end up somewhat like me. God, if you’re reading this, please give her the artist’s imagination.

I say her, because I feel that I am writing to my daughter at the moment, but then again, God, if you’re reading this, I know that you’re very persistent in everything you do. I guess I’ll have to just trust you on this one.

Future Child, lastly, I want you to know that it’s alright. Whatever you feel is okay. If someday you desire to create, I will support everything you design, build, and utter. This series is a lot for your purpose, to help you grow and develop into the person you were meant to be.

It’s also a teeny bit for my purpose. I am a planner, and I want to be ready someday to be your guidance. And for the ease of my slightly unhinged nineteen-year old mind, I need to be prepared many years in advance. Therefore, for my readers with wide eyes, this is not a declaration of child bearing.

I am simply making sure to document and record my every lesson, piece of advice, and story so that someday, my child may learn from my successes and failures, my trials and tribulations.

This is the beginning of my series to my Future Child, and hopefully somewhere along the way, I teach her (or him?) how terrifyingly glorious life can be.



My Fifteen Winter Necessities

Today it is cold. Yesterday it was cold. And I just checked the weather for tomorrow, and do you know what? It’s still going to be cold.

Me and the cold aren’t exactly the best of friends.

After being diagnosed with cold urticaria (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_urticaria) two years ago, I have spent the months of November to March in pain, anger, and frustration. Now, in 2018 I’ve made a resolution to look more toward the sunny side, and living with annoyance for life five months out of the year just isn’t going to cut it. And for that reason, as soon as my four years of undergrad are complete, you can catch my permanent address being somewhere in Arizona. It’s doctor recommended, after all.

But… that’s in four years. So what will I do until then, besides complain and freeze? I have a few necessities to get me through, and I’ve decided to share them with you.

  • Uggs:
    • You know what Uggs are. Some call them “ugly” (get it?), but frankly my dear, when the wind chill is below 0, I don’t give a damn what I look like. These boots are fur insulated and make the cold mornings a little more cushy and bearable.


  • Ugg Mittens:
    • Basically, boots for your hands. Highly recommend.


  • Beanie Hat:
    • My newest winter find this year was a brand called “Love Your Melon”, known for the fur ball protruding from the top of the head. That may not sound as cute as it looks, but it’s very nice.


  • A scarf the size of a small blanket:
    • Anyone can wear a small scarf and hope to be warm, but it takes a scarf that is roughly the size of a small blanket to truly protect you from the frigid elements. You may waddle a bit from the extra weight and bulk around your neck, but it’s all part of the heat exchange.


  • Warm Skin” cream: (https://www.warmskin.com/)
    • My mother found this product online after I was diagnosed, and somehow, it works! Created for people who work outdoors or engage in winter sports (one word.. why?!), and basically it’s a thick lotion much like sunscreen. You apply it all over your exposed skin, and it creates a thermal layer between you and the wicked temperatures. Thank you, Science.


  • Peppermint Hot Cocoa:
    • Because plain hot cocoa is so 2016.


  • Phone background of a desert or beach:
    • As many times a day as I complain or moan about how I can’t feel my fingers, I am reminded that there is a much better, happier, sunnier place somewhere in the world, and it’s certainly not here.


  • An actual trip to the desert or beach:
    • And when your phone background just isn’t satisfying enough anymore. Treat yo self. Get away from it all, escape while you can.

What I woke up to two weeks ago in Phoenix, Arizona

  • Soup:
    • Whether you’re a homemade or can brand of person, it really doesn’t matter, because most of the time, I eat soup when my mouth is numb and my taste buds can’t sense any difference. A good way to warm up for sure.


  • Heated seats:
    • We can’t all drive luxury cars, but I’m telling you, heated seats is one way to know that you’ve really made it somewhere in life. There’s nothing like driving down a snowy road with icicles hanging from the branches while your entire backside is a flame. Can’t beat the feeling.


  • Coffee:
    • The hotter (and darker, in my preferences), the better.


  • Lotion and chapstick:
    • These two go hand in hand, and every crucial space in my life contains the duo. My writing desk, my car, my purse, my backpack, my bathroom, the kitchen, next to my bed, probably even in my closet. I refuse to let my personal beauty succumb to the dark nights of winter.


  • More meditation and positive thinking:
    • I have been doing this for a few months now, and I would like to think there is some improvement. Visualizing the sun and a beach and cactuses and sweat is one way to make the season a bit more bearable.


  • Heated Blanket:
    • I received one for Christmas, and it beats me how i survived 19 years without one. It is also much harder to get out of bed, thanks to it.


  • A higher tolerance and patience level:
    • I’m going to be real honest: the winter makes me very anxious. Very antsy, from being cooped up inside with all this stale air. Very mad, that I can’t plant a garden or take my dog for a walk without suffering from frostbite. Very, very sad, from the lack of natural light. And most of all, just very TIRED. I am tired of living in the cold climate and a place that makes me miserable, so I am hanging on to the thread of a desert backyard in the next five years. It is very necessary for me to develop a higher tolerance for the many annoyances I face in the winter, as well as a patience level to help me put up with all my whining.


If you’re looking for me, I will be curled up in my blanket with a cup of peppermint hot coca, daydreaming of the warmer times.

Yours, Madeleine


Furry Therapy

I have been spending the last few weeks sleeping in my childhood bed, organizing, baking (oh how I missed an oven and a stove), catching up with old friends, reorganizing everything again, and reading so much I forget what time it is.

It’s good to be home.

Another thing about coming home, besides the automatic cleanliness and good food, is that I get to see my dogs again. I wouldn’t want to keep all their joy and shedding to myself, so I figured that finally, I am going to introduce my dogs to the Internet.

The first thing you should know about my dogs is that they are the biggest suck-ups, especially when you have food in your hand. They will follow you for hours, even after the slice of toast you were carrying around is long gone. But their puppy-dog eyes and persistence is tough to resist, and they will more than likely receive the entire loaf in exchange for their love.

Yes, I admit it. I bribe my dogs to love me with the use of food.

Processed with MOLDIV

Cooper: A work of art 

And I have to admit something else. I have a favorite dog out of the four. My baby, Cooper, is a white golden retriever, and never quite grew into his full size. He’s much better that way, because he’s the perfect size for any bed. He also has abounding energy, which makes him to ideal dog for morning runs and after-dinner walks.

I also understand how impactful therapy dogs can be, because I truly believe these animals have a sense of emotion, and can easily pick up on human feeling as well. I recently went through a sad/anxious state of mind, and during a particular blue moment, I heard a scratch on my door. I typically don’t like the big dogs to come into my bedroom, due to the amount of dog hair I’ve pulled out of my mouth, my makeup, and my sweaters, so they’ve been trained to avoid the often-shut door.

But Cooper could feel that something wasn’t right in the room, and I opened the door a crack and he came flooding in like a white-streak with wagging tail. He didn’t shed, didn’t jump onto the bed, didn’t move from my side until I recovered, and then he left the room as if nothing had happened.

Cooper is the best therapist I’ve ever had, and he gets every food scrap I can find in thanks for his services.

Our other dogs, two other golden retrievers, Rosie and Bear, and an excessively overweight Maltese named Ellie, make up the clan of Rheinheimer pets at the moment. Maybe when my youngest brother moves out and my parents feel a midlife crisis craving, we’ll get a few more puppies to lift spirits and fill the clean carpet with dog hair, but until then, we’re doing just fine.





Sometimes, as I read through my old blog posts, I curse myself for being so creative, for writing so well. Though this may sound like a blessing in disguise, I am sad to confess I’ve looked at many things through a negative mindset in the past year. Instead of thinking, “I wrote breath-taking posts, and I still write wonderfully!” I think to myself, “Damn it. I am one year older than I was at that time, and I can’t even compare my writing today to then. All momentum is gone. There is no sun. I cry so much. Why am I like this?”

Alright, this may be a bit of an exaggeration, but some days this is my complete train of downward spiraling thoughts. I was trying to correct myself just an hour ago as I read my New Years post from 2016: https://illiterateblondes.com/2016/12/31/live-on-purpose/. I visibly cringed as I read: “My advice to you in this upcoming year is to take control. Grip that damn steering wheel with both hands and white knuckles, because this is your life. Live it on purpose.

Reading my own obliviously cheerful advice put me in the worst mood, because do you know who never listens? Me. I don’t even take my own advice, and I feel like this is a major betrayal to all who read this.


But I’ll let you in on a little secret: sometimes, writers write for their readers. And this causes us to turn a blind-eye to the words we preach. However, I don’t look at this as a waste of my breath. Because as long as what I’ve written, said, or shouted at the top of my lungs is heard and received by one other soul, my goal has been accomplished. Even if 99% of the time that soul is not mine.

One year ago, I summarized 2016 as five words: “I got my shit together.”

Today, my 2017 can be summed up to just two: “Just kidding!”

I hate to sound pessimistic in public, because generally I reserve the sass for closed doors, but I had a bit of a collapse at the end of this year. Too many months of worked up stress, anxiety, worry, nerves, and new adjustments brought my tower, the strong foundation I had been building endlessly for so long, came crashing down in flames. I began crying for no reason, my stomach aches lasted for weeks, and I craved nothing more than to be alone and sleep.

Unfortunately, my once-sharply focused vision line of my career, my hopes for the future, and my writing goals became blurred. I lost interest in writing for others, and eventually interest in myself. The endless tears ruined my eyesight and made my sadness to center of my life. In 2016, I decided that I would live on purpose, but on 2017, I defaulted to just trying to make it through the day, week, month, semester, and finally, the year.

And here we are.

But I forgot that in 2017, I published my second book.

I celebrated my one year anniversary with my high school sweetheart.

I went to the gym nearly every day.

I got two tattoos.

I graduated high school.

I raised and owned five chickens.

I sat in the audience for a TED talk.

I donated and cleaned out nearly 50% of my possessions.

I left toxic relationships behind.

I did a lot of yoga.

I attended church every sunday

I went to a Twenty One Pilots concert.

I went to a Coldplay concert.

I made a new best friend and long-lost sister.

I visited Arizona twice and California once.

I stopped eating red meat and chicken.

I tested my limits.

And most of all, I survived.

2017 may have brought down a few levels from the woman and writer I once was, but as I sit here and look out at the color of the sky, I am thankful. I am thankful for my lowest points, because it made the high ones oh so much sweeter. I am thankful for my weakness, because it showed me my strengths.

And most of all, I am thankful for the opportunity 2017 gave me: a new beginning.

Because if I only keep one resolution, it’s to take my own advice and write for myself as well. With this in mind, I’d like to speak into existence the focus of 2018: reawaken what you thought was gone. Refresh your mindset. Redirect your thoughts. Revive your life, because you’re only nineteen years old once.

Best of luck to you, and me.

Yours with truth,

Madeleine Rheinheimer