Hi Blake, can you tell us a bit about what you are up to lately?
I'm doing stand-up around town, promoting sometimes on the gram. I teach elementary school during the day, so I've got a new group now I'm pretty excited about. Gonna spend the year brainwashing them into loving Bob Ross and Orcas.
What is most important to you at this moment?
Conversation! Conversation where people aren't afraid to help each other by saying some things that may feel hurtful on the surface. I know this is a "writer" saying this, but I think we do our best thinking out loud, in speech. Or better said, we reveal our thinking to ourselves by speaking something out loud. We get to notice all the messed up and surprisingly caring things we really feel.
Can you remember the first words ( poem, story, lyric) you fell in love with?
I wanna say it was something by Sandra Cisneros. But if I'm honest, it was probably some Michelle Branch. Like, everything by Michelle Branch.
But…here's some sick Cisneros stuff, if you're down:
"Okay, we didn’t work, and all
memories to tell you the truth aren’t good.
But sometimes there were good times.
Love was good. I loved your crooked sleep
beside me and never dreamed afraid.
There should be stars for great wars like ours."
What is your earliest memory of writing?
I used to write down animals facts a lot. I subscribed to this thing where a company would send you a new pamphlet every month on a cool animal. And I basically just rewrote those facts on another piece of paper.
Is there a certain mantra/poem/song that has stuck with you through your life?
Sarah Mclachlan's song "Adia" has this part: "Believe me Adia, we are still innocent
It's easy, we all falter.
Does it matter?"
It just reminds me that we really gotta be generous with ourselves. I think all my favorite writing points to this idea that if we could just look at ourselves from the outside, like we were somebody else--anybody else--we could finally be generous with ourselves. We'd think of ourselves as less guilty, less broken, and straight up, sexier. We should see ourselves as sexy. Sexy people are forgiven all day. We're patient with sexy people. They can't do much wrong. Just like the innocent. Kids are innocent and sexy people are forgiven. We gotta see ourselves as kids or sexy. Or we're doomed.
What does it mean to you, to be tender?
Tender is bending. Bending in honor of someone. I have people in my life I just want to bend for. My girlfriend, for instance. I remember reading this piece of psychology about how it really matters how you greet someone. How you walk into a door. And the way you walk into a door really determines the genre of your interaction with a person. When I walk into the door, to see my girlfriend, I really think about bending for her. No matter how awful the day was. I wanna bend around my present problem and meet her at an angle that feels like love, and respect. Does this even make sense?
How does poetry connect us as human beings?
Poetry is just pure connection. It's connection through words. It reminds you that the better our relationship is to words, the better our relationship is to each other. More understanding of words means more understanding of the angles by which we can see each other. Uh oh, I'm talking angles again. I'm a regular anglerfish.
Where can we find more of your work?
All the most recent stuff is on instagram and of course for stand up, feel free to come to a show. So many good comics in this town. My favorites these days are Ramy Yousef, Aparna Nancharla, Drew Michael, and Keith Kelley.
Who would you like to see interviewed on We The Tender Hearted?
Kyle Martindale and Aly Wisekal.