Honest Affirmations I Swear By Each Morning When I Sit Down To Write

1. Don’t get it right, get it written — unless it’s wrong. Then don’t write that. In fact, don’t write anything. Neil Gaiman says ‘One is allowed to write or one is allowed to look at the wall or out the window and do nothing at all.’ Since it’s inevitable you will get it wrong, resign yourself to the grim reality that on most days, you’ll do nothing. At least no one will notice.

2. Tell yourself everyday that people rely on you to write well, to create meaning out of chaos and bring beauty into this wretched world. …

Select your lemons carefully. They’re going to be your companions for quite some time.

Do not rush. Appearances may deceive. Evaluate your candidates by the pure intentions of their scent and depth of character. Don’t name check or patronize. Be thoughtful.

Cut the lemons: there’s no need for pleasantries but do go easy on them for they have a long journey ahead. Don’t cut all the way down through the core: you need them to maintain their dignity otherwise the whole thing falls apart. Be gentle and live in the moment.

Think of the salt as an embodiment of the…


The Queen of Superba Avenue

Not far from the traffic circle on Superba Avenue is an enormous agave that’s taller than the tallest human, wider than most cars are long, and has elegant, extended arms, which unfurl like a creature from the sea.

It attracts wildlife and onlookers from miles around.

Monarch butterflies flutter above its rows of teeth on the elongated leaves, which radiate from its core. Birds occasionally rest on the spiny outer reaches of its arms and squirrels find shelter from the sun upon the cool pebbles in its shadow.

There’s no shortage of human passers-by who look up from their phones…


Chance Encounters During Lockdown

By Christian Svanes Kolding

A New World

Sunrise 5:49 AM

Daybreak brings sunlight over sycamore trees and poplars in the rear courtyards. There’s the call of mourning doves and songbirds as a robin with a beak full of twigs and grass sits on the railing of a fire escape.

A cleaning woman emerges from a nearby apartment onto a patio to wipe down an outdoor dining set as squirrels run along a telephone line and a seagull glides across the sky.

This is the new world Ronnie greets from her dining room window each day. Instead of a city whose…


Chance Encounters During Lockdown

By Christian Svanes Kolding

Mind Games

Sundown 7:56 PM

In the kitchenette, face masks dry on a clothesline in the window. Next to them are their home-made liners for insertion into the masks, cut and sewn from HEPA certified vacuum cleaner bags, which act as filters.

Stepping away from the sink, Ronnie washes her hands like a doctor before surgery, a methodical routine that’s now commonplace for her during this time of COVID-19.

Absentmindedly, she stares out the window. Her view looks out onto courtyards and the rear exteriors of other brownstones. She can see buds on a branch on…


Chance Encounters During Lockdown

By Christian Svanes Kolding

The Outpost

Ronnie now lives in two different worlds. One exists inside her home that is free of most of the horror and anxiety that many New Yorkers have been experiencing during this pandemic and then there’s the world outside her apartment — vast with uncertainty — that on the surface doesn’t look perilous yet is fraught with tension and risk.

When she’s inside, she feels “normal” — at home — but outside, her priorities have been re-calibrated these last few months, thanks to precautions she now takes whenever she leaves her one bedroom apartment. This…

Pandemic Journals

Chance Encounters During Lockdown

By Christian Svanes Kolding

7:03 PM


The local inhabitants are in rapturous applause. It’s early evening on a sun-drenched street in Brooklyn and they’re clapping from their street-level patios, their stoops, balconies and open windows, the vast majority of them in protective face masks (though some are worn casually, hanging loosely below the chin).

Starting just before 7 PM in a neighborhood with brownstones up and down the block, many of the residents bang on pots and pans, using kitchen utensils like serving spoons and whisks as improvised mallets against cast iron skillets and stainless steel saucepans while others…

Pandemic Journals

Fumbling Towards a “Good” Grief

I am a hopelessly inept griever. I know it exists, I know I’m supposed to be experiencing it right now but I won’t make room for it other than to be annoyed by its inconvenience.

I’ve discovered that my family is terrible at grief as well. We go through it each on our own, none of us connecting with each other. We won’t even put a word to it.

I guess I don’t know how to grieve. I’ve had many opportunities but I still haven’t succeeded in having a “good” grief.

I sit with it. I wait for it. I…


A fable about fragility

“Without morning routines, what is there?” Omar says to himself as he brushes his teeth.

“We’d be lost, wouldn’t we?” he surmises as he spits into a stream of water pouring out from the faucet and watches it circle the drain.

“Yes, we would. All of us.”

Even inside a radius of five blocks from his home, there’s a spectacular range of routines for Omar to witness. Daybreak starts with a nearby resident who blows their nose as hard as they can four times in agonizingly slow succession, so emphatic that all of the neighbors can hear it. As loud…

Pandemic Journals

There’s a New York that now exists more in imagination than in reality — a New York where friends didn’t scatter with the wind, where bookstores, theaters and restaurants stay open late into the evening, and the night air is filled with chatter and electricity.

That’s the New York I know but haven’t experienced since last autumn — when the summer of 2019 finally faded from view, before any of us knew that winter would transition into an endless cold spring, like a passing, bringing with it a pandemic that decimated communities across the city and exposed a failure from…

Christian Svanes Kolding

Filmmaker, Writer, Artist. My work has been in MoMA. On Medium, I write speculative fiction, humor and the occasional essay. From Copenhagen, lives in NYC. 🇩🇰

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