Rachel Pollon wrote an essay entitled “Change for a Ten” that appears in TNB Books’ new collection, The Beautiful Anthology. Here, Pollon reflects on what she has learned about beauty.

Two-part question: What do you hope people learn for themselves about beauty? What have you learned?

Accept yourself and enjoy your smooth legs while you are young, girlies.  And also wear sunscreen.  I did not. I like the feeling of lying in the sun. I would still lie in the sun, but I’d put on the screen beforehand, instead of the baby oil. Heed my words.


What is the most beautiful thing you ever created? What made it beautiful?

I recently made a chocolate flourless cake. I was scared shitless to make it because I don’t cook or bake much, though I love to eat. I decided to try my hand at it for a big family dinner I was invited to.  It came out perfectly.  It looked great and it was delicious.  Everyone loved it and, I think, was surprised that I actually made it rather than bought it which my reputation generally leans towards.  I felt proud and was glad I challenged myself.  I suppose I felt beautiful on the inside.


Other thoughts on beauty?

A good blowout can change the entire trajectory of your day.

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TNB Nonfiction features some of the web's best essays, excerpts of up-and-coming books, self-interviews, profiles, and humor from a wide range of authors. Past and future writers include Emily Rapp, Mira Bartók, Nick Flynn and Melissa Febos, among many others.  Our editorial team includes:  SETH FISCHER is the Nonfiction Editor. His work has appeared in Guernica, Joyland, Best Sex Writing, and elsewhere, and he was the first Sunday editor at The Rumpus. His nonfiction was selected as notable in The Best American Essays, and he has been awarded fellowships by Jentel, the Ucross Foundation, Lambda Literary, and elsewhere. He is also a developmental editor of nonfiction and fiction, and he teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles, UCLA-Extension, and Writing Workshops Los Angeles.

12 responses to “Beautiful Views: Rachel Pollon”

  1. Rachel Pollon says:

    Oooh, this seems like a perfect place to plug the book!

    It’s currently available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Beautiful-Anthology-Elizabeth-Collins/dp/0982859848

    (It’s on back-order because it sold out so quickly, but you can put in your order and they will send it straight to you as soon as it’s restocked which should be any moment now…)

    It will also be available on BN.com, Powell’s, and, I believe, Indiebound very soon.

    I wrote a little review on the Amazon page so you can check it out, see what you are in for. Two words: tasty treat.

  2. Marlene O says:

    Rachel, I love the way you think and I love the way you write and you are beautiful. Can’t wait to get a copy of The Beautiful Anthology. As your mother I want everyone to know I am not prejudiced on your behalf, but that flourless chocolate cake you made for Passover was incredible!!!!!

  3. James D. Irwin says:

    I’ve been drinking a little, and I write this having broken into my university… I somewhat misread the answer to the final question and burst out laughing.

    I’m really looking forward to going home, tearing open my (author) copy of the anthology and reading your essay… but for now I should probably get out of here whilst I can and go home…

  4. Rachel Pollon says:

    James! 😉 But here’s the thing, not to be too provocative, your misread sentence and my piece are not so far apart. Not exactly, mind you, but you know, they live in the same cul-de-sac.

    Please get home safely.

    Oh, and I believe your essay is right after mine. I’ve been being all goody goody and reading in order so I’m not to yours yet. (Why must I shackle myself in these self-imposed chains?) I’m looking forward to reading yours, too!

    • James D. Irwin says:

      Well, now I’m very excited to read the anthology… (That’s meant jokingly, and I’m sort of terrified that it just seems creepy and weird.)

      I have walked home this way many times before, and it’s quite nice to do it again for what will probably be the last time. My only concern is that ‘they’ have locked the cemetery gates and I’ll have to go the long way around…

      Convinced I’d have moved home before it arrived, I had the anthology sent to my parents house so I haven’t even looked at it yet. I keep forgetting about it, and remembering it exists is always quite a thrill. I can barely remember my essay, and only remember that I’m surprised it got in. From what I recall I largely ramble on about Diane Kruger and, in a related tangent, masturbation… Yes. I’m very surprised that ended up making the cut…

      • Rachel Pollon says:

        Wait, broken into your university and cemetery gates– what gives?

        • Rachel Pollon says:

          It just hit me — you’re trapped in a Smiths song.

        • The university is opposite a cemetery. It’s also right by a hospital, police station, and prison…

          Anyway, the cemetery is a footpath across the hill, but sometimes they lock the gates. Usually when I’m really drunk at 4am. They didn’t though. I didn’t have to break in. It was 3am though, dark, and the whole cemetery was smothered in fog. I was convinced I was going to die at the hands of a ghost…

  5. Rachel Pollon says:

    I’m not convinced it’s not a ghost of you I’m writing with right now…

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