Ray of Light

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You are afraid of the sound of your own heart.

You whispered this over dinner, a secret you had only told a few men in your life. You would wake suddenly when your head was sideways on the pillow, you would hike with your headphones in and rip them out when, in between songs, the timpani of your pulse would pound in your ears. It’s not the sound, you explained to him, it’s the fear of it suddenly stopping. You’re afraid you will hear the moment your heart just stops.

You explain this to him, you drop it like a cat dropping a dead bird at his feet. This is what you do, you play the clown so often you may as well have a red foam nose. Maybe he laughs. Maybe he nods solemnly, understanding completely. This beautiful bearded one tilts his head, his lips purse. It is not you, you say to yourself, and offer to get him another beer when you get up. “I’m not good at giving compliments” he says later, handing you the most beautiful red flag you have ever seen. This cruelty is a kindness. Continue reading Ray of Light

The Compassion Crisis

 

I made my first YouTube video! Wow I’m only like, 10 years behind the trend. In this video, I talk about the “empathy void” we seem to have found ourselves in lately, and what we can do about it in the future. Please take a look, and let me know what you think. The transcript of the video is below the jump. Continue reading The Compassion Crisis

A Better Version of Me

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I’m slogging through the holidays, like I do every year. They’re a combination of sweet and hectic: this is my busy season at my day job, and it makes December rush by in a blur. It’s colder than usual, so cold that when I walk and fart I’m scared people walking behind me can see it billowing out, a beautiful white cumulus smelling of my colon that expands forever, slowly engulfing Portland. I’m lonely, too. All I really want is a boyfriend for the winter I can cut open like a TaunTaun and nestle inside wait not that.

I spot the guy on social media, he is my type, maybe even My Type: tiny. Bearded. Professional. We hit it off, follow the steps, I follow theĀ  script to the tee. “Super handsome, how’s your week? I’m Mike.” “Wanna get off this app? I don’t get notifications, text is easier for me.” “Want to grab grub sometime? I promise I’m not a psycho.” The joke is on him, because I am actually a raging psycho. I make sure he is truly single: the hot trend is guys on social media who are in super committed relationships who pretend to be single online just to be more popular. Continue reading A Better Version of Me

Making Spirits Bright

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So a busy day turns into a busy week, and then a busy week turns into two, into three. And then you realize that you’ve forgotten to tell your readers that you’re taking your usual December off to recharge and focus on friends and work, and that you’ll be back in January and that there are really great things in the works for the BLCKSMTH blog. So then you finally do tell them this, a couple days before the New Year.

A sincere Happy New Year from Ned and I, and it’s my wish that 2017 is a better one than this year. Onward and upward!

How to be Okay

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Set the story in the winter of 2015, in Portland. You will have just been broken up with by a dude you were bonkers in love with, in a way that rattled you to your core. Go grocery shopping, feel it coming on, leave the grocery store before you burst into tears on the way home. Think to yourself, Can we all agree that grocery stores should not play slow, sad Christmas songs any fucking more, please? Or at least have a trigger warning beforehand? Imagine it like that, fully: a red and green-striped rotating light descends from the grocery store ceiling, spins silently. Shoppers look up: some keep shopping but others abandon their carts, drop their baskets. Eggs shatter, a ball of iceberg lettuce rolls down the aisle as they leave the store in a row: the lonely old cat lady in her housecoat, the gutter punk in the pleather jacket, the middle aged bearded gay man wiping back his tears. Behind them, the beginning strains of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” start playing in Safeway. Continue reading How to be Okay

This ends badly.