Two Drops of Ink: Noise, Guilt, Muskets, and Time

As the editor, I see so many emails and comments from readers about their love for our site, and it humbles me. The site has a life of its own, and I think Rachel discovered its true essence and describes it well in this post. Thank you, Rachel. To the readers, I think you’ll like this post. We hope that you feel the same way.


By Rachel H. T. Mendell


When I first saw the link for Two Drops of Ink I thought, “What a cool name. I wish I’d thought of it.” Then I clicked for a visit because the name drew me in.

As I pondered the site, the name, the purpose, the pages, the variation of writers, the rich tapestry of words that was being woven, I wondered, “Why? Why ‘Two Drops’?”

Two drops of blood? Just open a vein. Drops of color? Writing rainbows. Two drops of inspiration? Is this what needs to get started. Drops of water? Turn on the faucet.

What I like about Two Drops is the slow, quiet atmosphere, like a dinner party with the very best conversation. I can’t possibly read everything here even though I want to, but I don’t feel rushed to take in more and more like I do at other places. Like the crowded house parties in Milwaukee. No pop ups. No flashy “Don’t miss out!” messages along the sidelines. There aren’t any guilt ridden reminders pointing a finger, making me feel small and insignificant: “See what everyone is talking about,” or “Don’t miss out on this,” complete with headline subterfuge – the lie that never delivers.

At Two Drops the welcoming feeling brings me back again and again because I know it will be there when I’m ready and I know there are more writers to learn from. I can read a few of their things, leave a comment, go to their site, find out what they are all about, and not feel like I have to sign up for the year long course that’s gonna cost me $99.95.

Have not the ancient ones told us the guilt trip leads nowhere?

I have so many more writers to meet. Poets. Novelists. Teachers. Sometimes it overwhelms me. But then we are back to guilt again. Just say no to guilt. Do what you can. Read what you can. Make connections with one here, another there. It’s okay. I’m an introvert that can only handle a few friends at a time. Be at peace with that.

After that first visit, I didn’t go back to Two Drops for a few weeks. And that was okay. I didn’t get the email saying “We noticed you didn’t sign up for blahblahblah” or “Hey! You missed the webinar!” Just a few gentle reminders about new writers joining in, new funny stuff to read when I get time, a new book to consider buying. Slow. Gentle. Accepting. Quiet. Like the best retreat in the world.

After I was accepted for publication I felt honored. I told everyone I knew about Two Drops. Most nodded, “uhuh … did you see that Facebook cat video post going viral?” That’s okay. Few get it. I’m okay with that. Two Drops probably isn’t noisy enough for them, not scandalous or splashy enough. What they don’t understand is that true scandal comes from the deep searching within ourselves.

And most people can’t handle that.

Then I pondered again the meaning behind the name. Two Drops. I can hear each drop hit the paper as I prepare to write a note to my mom, a last of the breed of letter writers. The quiet “splot-splot” as I get the ink moving in my precious fountain pen. Splot. Splot. I get my brain in gear, coaxing the thoughts I had the day before to come back to me. Yes, it’s messy, but it’s also contemplative. That’s by design. Like shooting a musket. Why would you take the five to ten minutes to front load a musket (yes, I know, the really proficient ones can do it in 30 seconds) just to take one shot, a shot that will most likely miss the target because the sights are ancient and crude; when you can pop a magazine of nine into your .22 (with scope and laser) and have done with it? Why would you fight a messy fountain pen, getting ink everywhere, just to write a letter when an email would do … or even a good Zebra.

It’s the process. Writers are the few folks still around that understand the concept of time. Time does not run at the same pace everywhere. Friends who visit us (out in the boonies) say time slows down when they get here. Time stops in other places … the Grand Canyon … on the banks of the Mississippi … deep inside the Apache Indian Reservation. Writers slow down time. We have to. We bend it to our will, adding short Clippy sentences to the action scenes creating tiny microsecond bits. Speeding up the description scenes to bring in aromas and sounds, making them rich enough to savor, urging the reader to read that paragraph again.

Two Drops, don’t change! I know you’ll have to change at some point, perhaps, as you grow, but don’t be a Phoenix. Phoenix in the 70s was still a cowboy town, easy-going, some rich people doing great things, but a slow-steady-don’t-rush-me kinda place. The last time I visited I was appalled that the Phoenix I once knew was now a massive, spreading, rushing thing. The desert where I shot at rabbits was now a mall. The rocky open nothingness for arrowhead hunting was converted to yet another suburb. Sprawling. Faster. Smoggy. Peace-less. Don’t get me wrong. If you turn into the New Phoenix, I’ll still visit. But I won’t want to live there.

So, raise your wine glass (I’ll take a chilled pinot noir, please) to Two Drops of Ink! Thank you for inspiring us. Thank you for noticing us. Thank you for empowering us by reminding us: We are writers.

Can you hear the drops gently falling on the page?

Time to write.

A Few End Notes:

“You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.” – Red Smith

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour

Zebra F-301: my favorite kind of pen, second only to the Pilot 0.38. … am I the only one that notices pens run out of ink much faster now than when I was in college?

Rachel H.T. Mendell



Rachel H.T. Mendell writes freelance from home in her office that she grabbed when her sixth child moved out, which is much nicer than the converted closet she wrote in for almost 20 years. Rachel writes novels, poetry, plays, essays, columns, articles, short stories, long letters, devotionals and experimental allegory. She has been published in various magazines as well as the Galion InquirerThe Morrow County Sentinel, the Crestline Advocate and online at Richland Source. You can find a few of her articles in Heart of Ohio Magazine and floating around cyberspace. She keeps a blog, Domestic Mobility (, and has recently started a website ( Rachel happily answers emails at She is married and has seven children and one grandson. When Rachel is not writing, she’s gardening, caring for chickens, rabbits, and cats. She lives with her family in Morrow County, Ohio.

Published posts on Two Drops of Ink:

1) The Reporter Life

2) The Reporter Life: Writing the Press Release

3) The Reporter Life: Writing a Letter to the Editor

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    • Thank you! It was one of those special pieces that just kept coming … very enjoyable to write! Blessings!

  1. Rachel – Thank you so much for sharing your lovely writing and your oh-so-true description of Two Drops of Ink! There is a real community here, and it’s not intimidating at all. It’s wonderful to bump into somebody else, even online, who loves fountain pens! I really smiled as I read, ‘The quiet “splot-splot” as I get the ink moving in my precious fountain pen’! 🙂 Yep, it’s a special thing! 🙂 Thank you again and blessings to you and yours, Rachel.

    • Thank you! Love your handle: Empty Nest Momma … I got about three or four years and that will be me. I rarely meet people who actually use fountain pens … it’s more an art now. Once upon a time, I had this awesome set my mom gave me with three colors of cartridges and three different nibs – for calligraphy. What fun! I only have one fountain pen now and … it’s time to renew the habit. Going online to see what I can find! Thanks for the visit!

  2. Rachel, what a lovely post capturing the essence of Two Drops! It is a place that quickly become near and dear to my heart. It isn’t just another blog – it is a COMMUNITY made up of editors, writers and readers. Approaching an editor has always been a bit intimidating to me – but that all changed with Scott and Marilyn! They are not only skilled at what they do, but are warm, welcoming and always approachable and encouraging!! The writers here as just as awesome – I love connecting with them and reading their work and learning from them and they are always quick to read, comment and encourage me! Even the readers here seem to be different – engaged, insightful and encouraging!
    The fact is – everyone is here because they WANT TO BE!! I certainly count being part of the TWO DROPS family among my greatest blessings!!
    I don’t always get to read each post the day it comes out – but I look forward to reading them as soon as I can!
    On a side note, I have a non-writer friend who regularly asks me “When is your next post coming out on ‘TWO DRIPS'”!?
    She doesn’t get the whole blog thing – read, leave a comment, etc. but at least she is reading 🙂 And I have to laugh – because sometimes is does feel like more like drips than drops coming out of the pen!

    • Yes! I agree with everything you said … and I, too, have friends that don’t understand the whole blogging thing … “So, what are you doing these days?” “Oh, I’m blogging … doing guest blogs, you know …” They nod and smile, nod and smile, or they say they don’t read blogs online (but they probably do without realizing it) or they ask me when the book is coming out. I love that! Yes, I need to get back to my book, thank you! … And about the editors, you are spot-on. After sending and sending and sending it was so awesome to actually get a reply! And a nice one, respectful, none of this “*sigh* we are so so so busy and we’ll get back with you as soon as we can, um, but don’t hold your breath” … The editors here treat us like gold. Love it!

  3. Rachel,
    This is such a wonderful insight into this place we all love so dearly! Your descriptions of the “other” sites are so accurate, and why I avoid those places! I think most writers are introverts and we have old souls…no matter our age. Therefore, the sense of community is important to us. We like the feeling of being encouraged and accepted instead of the idea we are fresh meat to sell things to! We are sensitive to things like that! Thank you for so beautifully putting into words a description of our safe haven here at Two Drops.

    • Thanks, Michelle … I will take a lesson from you and avoid those places … I tend to get sucked in, and then it’s too late! **insert caught in the vortex of doom music** … hmm … old souls … I’m going to have to think about that one. I have been told I have an old soul, but I haven’t explored what that means. Blessings!

  4. Beautiful writing, Rachel. Your thoughts plopped down on “paper” made me stop, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the moments I was reading.

  5. Hi, Rachel. Thank you for this post. Scott and I wanted Two Drops of Ink to be the “other library”, where people would write about writing, review books, delve into their lives through their words, give poets a platform, and provide an atmosphere that did invite people and created a community.

    It is people like yourself that saw, as you put it, ‘Slow. Gentle. Accepting. Quiet. Like the best retreat in the world.’

    We all need such places. Informative, but not intimidating. Interesting, but without cats, funny, but not at someone’s expense, and perspectives from non-American writers and poets.

    Just as important, we wanted a place that wasn’t afraid to feature new writers alongside those who have been publishing for years.

    However, creating and sustaining are two different things, and it is only through the contributions of people like yourself that the creation continues.

    Thank you for your participation and promotion. While it may remain, Two Drops of Ink, we know it’s more than two drops that fill the pages.

    • I love that: The Other Library! Yes! … I do mourn the loss of REAL libraries … all books and no talk … but it’s still one of the quietest places to go – like here. I can only take a little online reading at a time (I prefer print) but the format of this site makes it easy on the eyes. … I’m encouraging my fellow writers in this area to submit to Two Drops – they are a timid bunch, but that’s okay. I can wait. Blessings on many many years of success!

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