Year: 2017

BRAVERY & THE POWER OF FINGERPRINTS

The best ideas are born from a desire to ignore convention and embrace instinct. It is a move toward fresh and exciting possibilities instead of forcing fresh and exciting upon what already exists. Speak with your voice and people will hear you; mimic someone else’s voice and your tribe will keep walking. © 2017 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

CONSTELLATIONS & NARRATIVES

a constellation exploring something new to teach something’s story We explore the stars to narrate our origin and at times, to document our existence. Although science can explain the mechanics of the heavens, it’s our humanity that interprets the past and charts the future here on Earth. We are the ones who tell our story. Let’s illuminate our narratives. Through those discoveries, we can reveal the true scope of life. Blackout poem and writing © 2017 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

COFFEE, AS SEEN ON WEB MD

A coffee a day will keep the crabby away. That’s because countless observations have revealed coffee’s ability to help maintain personal balance, focus, and outward contentment by eradicating all malaise of the attitude. From the element of caffeine to the abundant flavors and their complimentary nature to a variety of settings, coffee is, without a doubt, medicine for the soul. DIRECTIONS: Consume one 8-ounce cup of black coffee (no sugar) within 30 minutes of your morning alarm’s cheery chimes. Additional cups may be consumed throughout the morning as needed, with or without food. Warning: Do not exceed five cups in a 24-hour period. Please consult a physician if, after consuming coffee, you experience heart palpitations, day sweats, or nonsensical babbling. Consuming no coffee at all could result in fits of irritation otherwise known as the Jekyll-and-Hyde Effect, an unpredictable malady affecting those around you by rendering the lottery a safer bet than not getting yelled at. If you discover that your coffee supply has been depleted, find the nearest coffee shop posthaste: do not eat, do not stop for …

A DARK-ROAST DICTIONARY—121417

CACOPHONY / ka-ˈkä-fə-nē / n. harsh or jarring sound : dissonance; specifically : harshness in the sound of words or phrases — Origin and Etymology: First Known Use: circa 1656. Merriam-Webster, s.v. “cacophony,” accessed December 14, 2017, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cacophony Sentences elevate minds when words are chosen with care. A thoughtful combination of words can wake up the brain space by revealing new perspectives in clever ways, thus challenging readers to investigate further through the lens of their own life travels. In that spirit, I want to regularly share the definitions of words I think exemplify dark-roasted language, i.e. the bold, rich, and flavorful ingredients necessary for engaging prose. My hope, dear readers, is that you find these words most agreeable and will pocket one or more of these gems to help infuse your personal or professional writing with an extra dose of caffeinated thinking! (Click on the tag dictionary at any time to view all the journal posts in this series.)

On Shakespeare and Hallways | A 2-oz. Read | Joe Blend

ON SHAKESPEARE & HALLWAYS

“Pardon me…I know I am a meager office peasant but thou cluelessly standeth betwixt me and fair hallway. Would thou care to move thy hind carriage so I may venture onward to Cubicle-shire?” Many years ago, I worked in an office and like many professional environments, it was adjacent to a lobby and accompanying elevators. What I found most frustrating was the idle chatter that seemed to always develop just as an elevator reached its next stop. Because that chatter would sustain itself, despite the elevator doors opening and more people attempting to enter. Of course, there I was, just a simple office minion trying to make his way back to the cube farm…and there they were—gabbing away—even though elevator doors do not wait forever, and time stops for no one. I was a writer then too so naturally, I turned a negative into a positive, ergo, the short and slightly snarky jewel of prose above. Enjoy! © 2017 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

Skipping Class, En Masse | 2-oz. Read | Joe Blend

ON SKIPPING CLASS, EN MASSE

Sense is a stalwart companion on the journey of life. It tells us to dance in the rain but only sing in the shower…because a slippery tub and disco moves are not good bedfellows. Sense implores us to walk before we run…because an ability to run doesn’t mean we should panic. It begs us to think smarter, not harder…because brick walls won’t let us pass, no matter how hard we try. That is sense, and it’s learned. Unfortunately, some people skip that class…en masse. Those individuals strip function from form thinking form doesn’t need to function. They think road rage is all the rage, and they stand tall thinking mere height means they’re taking a stand. Those individuals don’t think less is more because they still seek more even though it’s less. And they take advantage of their excuses, but they don’t excuse those who take advantage of them. There is nothing common about sense. Stay in school. © 2017 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

A DARK-ROAST DICTIONARY—120417

KERFUFFLE / kər-ˈfə-fəl / n. A disturbance or commotion typically caused by a dispute or conflict — Origin and Etymology: An alteration of carfuffle, from Scots car- (probably from Scottish Gaelic cearr wrong, awkward) + fuffle to become disheveled. Merriam-Webster, s.v. “kerfuffle,” accessed December 4, 2017, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kerfuffle Sentences elevate minds when words are chosen with care. A thoughtful combination of words can wake up the brain space by revealing new perspectives in clever ways, thus challenging readers to investigate further through the lens of their own life travels. In that spirit, I want to regularly share the definitions of words I think exemplify dark-roasted language, i.e. the bold, rich, and flavorful ingredients necessary for engaging prose. My hope, dear readers, is that you find these words most agreeable and will pocket one or more of these gems to help infuse your personal or professional writing with an extra dose of caffeinated thinking! (Click on the tag dictionary at any time to view all the journal posts in this series.)

EVERY DAY, CRYPTIC

Every day is a puzzle. We embrace the glory of progress as much as we’re flummoxed by stray pieces that litter the table. We’re psychologists because we live the human experience, but in the same breath we’re students because growth is only born from education. Mystery always leads to discovery, but answers usually create more questions. Therein lies the beauty of existence. Life, dear readers, is lived one day at a time. And every day is cryptic. © 2017 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

The League of Librarians | 2-oz. Read | Blog

THE LEAGUE OF LIBRARIANS

Deep in the nooks and crannies of society lives an organization, a dedicated movement, defined only by the unique ability of its members. I discovered the organization years ago and began to follow them, studying their every move. They have no handshake nor do they wear any sort of identifiable insignia. What’s most peculiar is they do not occupy a joint headquarters or secret lair but instead use their homes or public spaces as a base of operations. Despite that public presence, they operate in whispers and nudges, although they always use their abilities for the greater good. These extraordinary citizens—these devoted individuals—are known as the League of Librarians. The League of Librarians has been around for as long as stories have existed. It was formed in the distant past by the first person to ever tell a story. Regrettably, the League’s archives have no record of this person’s name or background so it appears that his or her identity is lost to the ages. Members of the League have a single magical ability: to …

Humanity | 2-oz. Read | Blog

A LAMENT FOR CHEESY ROBOTS

Social media tried to connect us. And before that it was computers, which followed landline phones and so on. And those technologies were successful, to a point. That’s because they hurt us as well. Those achievements gradually lowered us into a virtual reality that, over time, evaporated what it means to be human. You see, digital is fake. It’s 0s and 1s that, with the help of light and electricity, create objects and experiences we recognize from the physical world. We think we’re pressing keys, we assume a notification is tantamount to a human voice, and we decide that pixels mimic bricks. It’s an elaborate magic trick—”smart” stuff—because what we’re participating in is nothing more than a series of taps on a flat screen. Remove the bells and whistles, turn off the light, and cut the power, and what remains is a flat surface that is no more magnificent than a table top. But most listen to the dings and pops; many are glued to the glow; a multitude refuse to cut the cord. And …

Torch and Pitchfork | 2-oz. Read | Blog

ON TORCHES & PITCHFORKS

A carrot was dangled. It baited the hate and uncaged the rage, trading lives for votes using a soul with a hole. And now there’s noise that tries to drown the sound of the fears and tears about being selected and collected, rejected or ejected, blamed and shamed. You see, that noise does not bother with a founding father since that was then and this is now, so who cares about the “how”? A beast was unleashed—that much is certain—but it did not come from the heart of a nation. It came, instead, from the bowels of a station. But that collective force is finally seeing its claws slowly clipped, a growing effort to stifle the trifle that values characters over character and con-fidence over courage. In that spirit, let’s open the windows to vent the fears and dry the tears, to embrace fresh air because we care. Let’s take our steps together, in the same light and under the same sky…toward the same horizon. your voice is a spark igniting truth and belief— let’s …

ON SILENT HEROES & THE DARKEST OF FRIDAYS

Most of us will spend Thanksgiving evening enjoying semi-accidental food fatigue alongside desperate dreams of elastic. However, there will be, in fact, a specific group of individuals who are mentally bracing for the tempest to follow. That storm of materialistic proportions is what’s commonly referred to as Black Friday and as with any disaster, it too has its heroes. Go to any large retail store during Black Friday and you’ll see how the path of least resistance is a knee-jerk choice for the human mind; it’s in our nature to avoid obstacles and minimize struggle. That’s why the average customer—when given a choice between straightening their own mess or leaving it for a hardworking brand minion to fix—will often look the other way and keep on truckin’. Guess who is left to clean up aisle 7? Yep, that’s right, the retail employee. You see, retail employees are silent heroes. After John and Jane Customer plow through aisle after aisle, pawing at price tags and thug-handling random merch—thus treating the store like Times Square on New …