Rachel Is

Please take a moment to check out this moving trailer for the documentary by Charlotte Glynn called “Rachel Is.”

Jane, the mother in this documentary, was one of my creative writing professors at Carnegie Mellon University, one of my favorites in fact, and I’d like to think she’s my friend. I made a point of not reading any of the work of my professors while I was taking their classes, because I didn’t want to color my opinion of their teaching. After I graduated, I finally and happily let myself read Jane’s memoir Bereft: A Sister’s Story, which recounted her sister’s murder and its effects on herself and her family. It’s a sad subject, to be sure, but Jane’s writing was beautiful and her journey profound. I can only imagine how that gift for storytelling and evoking emotions was transmitted to her daughter, and translated into film.

Jane has also written about Rachel, in Loving Rachel: A Family’s Journey from Grief and Rachel in the World. I haven’t read them yet, but I plan to. I can only imagine that they are as genuine and lovely as Jane herself.

(Cross posted at Just Between Us.)


  1. Jon says:

    This looks really cute! Thanks for sharing this. Can’t wait to see the documentary, but don’t know when it will come out. I love when at the end someone asks Rachel if she’s happy and she goes “a little bit.”

    .-= • Recent post by Jon: At Last! The Dog Walk! =-.

  2. Kristan says:

    Hehe, I knew you’d comment on this. If you click on the first link, it takes you to the website which lists the 3 screenings this film has had so far. I don’t know if they’re planning more, or to distribute it — I emailed Jane to ask so I might have an update for you later — but you could contact Charlotte directly too (email at the website). She’s in grad school for film in NYC right now.

  3. Pseudo says:

    Timely post for me Kristan. My project I am working on for nano is a memoir. After November, I want to slow down the writing and read some memoirs for inspiration…
    .-= • Recent post by Pseudo: Three Year Old Random Thoughts =-.

  4. Kristan says:

    I definitely recommend Bereft if you can bear the topic (it’s not all murder, but it’s definitely not puppies and rainbows) and Amy Tan’s Opposite of Fate if you haven’t read it already. I’m hoping to read Jane’s other books soon-ish too. Also, there’s a pretty controversial book called Expecting Adam by Martha Beck that I thought was beautifully written, even if I didn’t necessarily believe everything in it.

  5. Sonja says:

    I was an English major at Penn, but I don’t recall that any of my teachers had published creative writing (fiction or nonfiction). At least, they never mentioned that type of work to me. Mostly, they talked about their academic papers and theories. Granted that, while I was an English major, I took theory, genre, and period classes – I never took a creative writing course there.

    It makes good sense not to read your teacher’s creative writing while they are your teacher. I don’t know that it would have occurred to me not to do so – I doubt I would have been so wise. :)
    .-= • Recent post by Sonja: Thoughts from sesshin =-.

  6. Kristan says:

    Oh I didn’t know you went to Penn! My parents both went for their Masters in architecture (at different times) so we went back to visit once when I was a kid. :)

  7. Deanna says:

    I saw a poster for this up at PGH Filmmakers and recognized it immediately. Hope to have a chance to see it…

    On a secondary note, after graduation I finally found the time to read Loving Rachel and Rachel in the World. They are both excellent and extremely captivating, I highly recommend them.

  8. Kristan says:

    Oh good, I’m glad to hear that! Not at all surprising — I admire Jane and her writing so much. But that’s even more incentive to buy them ASAP! ;D

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