HUMOR

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

illustration by christian svanes kolding

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. …


Humor

illustration by christian svanes kolding

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…


Humor

The Queen of Superba Avenue

agave americana — illustration by christian svanes kolding

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…


Humor

Fist Pumping For Baby Boomers

By Christian Svanes Kolding

illustration by christian svanes kolding

One of my very first film jobs was working for Yanni. It was a night I’ll never forget. Let me put it this way, the man knew how to fist pump.

It was in Marin County, at the Civic Center Auditorium (which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright — where Gattaca was filmed). Yanni put on a concert that night. A full house. I was one of 20 production assistants shuttling magazines of film back-and-forth between camera crews and film loaders. Whenever a magazine was spent (that is, when there was no more unexposed film left…


Pandemic Journals

Chance Encounters During Lockdown

By Christian Svanes Kolding

illustration by christian svanes kolding

7:03 PM

Rituals

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…


Humor

A Newbie’s Guide to Scandinavian Midsommer Bonfires And Burning Witches

By Christian Svanes Kolding

illustration by christian svanes kolding

In olden times we burned witches on this night, every year, but nowadays it’s just an effigy. Why do we burn witches, you ask? Why do we burn women, that is?

Well, there’s always one person at the party who slowly but surely commandeers every conversation within arm’s reach to talk about all the things, which should depress us and instill us with fear and paralysis.

The rising dominance of totalitarian China, for example; the chaos of Putin; the inevitability of climate catastrophe; the arrival of the next pandemic; the resurgence of the extreme far right…


PANDEMIC JOURNALS

Chance Encounters During Lockdown

By Christian Svanes Kolding

illustration by christian svanes kolding

Deliverance

Her phone flashes on and off.

On screen, a message: “DOORBELL ACTIVATED.”

She taps the screen to open a security app with a live feed of her front door and intercom. No one is there.

She gets dressed.

From the living room, Ronnie looks through the peephole of her apartment door before carefully opening it.

She peers out into the hallway. There’s no one there.

She looks down. On her welcome mat is a pint-sized cardboard package. She pulls out a napkin from her pocket and uses it to pick it up.

In the kitchen…


PANDEMIC JOURNALS

Chance Encounters During Lockdown

By Christian Svanes Kolding

illustration by christian svanes kolding

Sundown 7:58 PM

Applause from the streets echo off the buildings as Ronnie steps out onto the fire escape to a sunset that illuminates the rear courtyard in vibrant swaths of reds, oranges and gold.

She sees the neighbour across the way — the man in the cotton jacket. He waves to her and makes a gesture of washing his hands.

She smiles modestly in return.

He points to her, attempting to communicate his approval of her technique, finishing off with a thumbs-up.

She shakes her head and shrugs.

He then gestures for her to wait…


PANDEMIC JOURNALS

Chance Encounters During Lockdown

By Christian Svanes Kolding

illustration by christian svanes kolding

“We Create Our Own Biomes”

Shears in hand, Ronnie sits at the dining table in front of potted herbs and baby lettuces. She prunes a jade plant that usually sits on her nightstand — a succulent with thick, shiny leaves a rich and darker shade of emerald green.

Her iPhone propped up against a stack of books on the table, open to Facetime as her friend, Marie — on screen, sitting on a couch — looks up from a magazine and signals to Ronnie, whose phone then flashes.

Marie signs, “Where do you think it’s worse…


PANDEMIC JOURNALS

Chance Encounters During Lockdown

By Christian Svanes Kolding

Sunrise 5:48 AM

In the morning, a metal wind chime can be heard in the rear courtyards where Scarlet Tanagers chase off Bluejays by a withered birch tree. A tabby cat creeps across a backyard then hops the fence into the deserted lot next door, where string lights are suspended above a slowly decomposing hammock.

Elsewhere, a woman in a garden smokes a cigarette by herself, ashing into a battered metal bucket.

. . . . . . . . . . .

At the kitchen counter, Ronnie prepares her daily elixir. Half a lemon squeezed…

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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