Just The Depression Talking

The world is a mess. People hate more readily, more broadly. Life is a chore. It’s hard to find any reason at all.

That’s just your depression talking.

I’m lazy and procrastinate. I’m unmotivated and squander my potential. I’m unremarkable and of no use to anyone.

That’s just your depression talking.

I’m inconsiderate, a bad friend. I’ve hurt people. I’m not good and shouldn’t be around others.

That’s just your depression talking.

So… what? All my thoughts are just my depression? Is that all anyone sees when they look at me? My depression? I have become defined by an illness. Nothing remains of me. My every thought, word, action is attributed to my depression.

That’s just your depression talking.

Unless it’s a happy thought, a positive word. If I act happy, people say that is the real me, even though I know it’s fake. The act lets other people feel comfortable, let’s them believe everything is alright. It’s necessary because if you show them how you really feel,

That’s just your depression talking.

So I lead a double-life. The life I fake for those around me, and the depression eating away inside. But neither is me. One is a fake, and the other is an illness that keeps me from trusting anything in my head. I don’t exist anymore. It’s all a lie. But I shouldn’t worry about it because

That’s just the depression talking.

Learn and Live

“I can’t believe he cut you off!”

The line at the coffee shop drive-thru was long and moving slowly. We had already been there ten minutes. The waiting cars had squeezed in wherever they could, making for a rather haphazard queue. In the barely controlled chaos, another car, which had just arrived, slipped in front of me when I didn’t pull forward fast enough.

I threw the car into park and opened my door.

“Where are you going? What are you doing?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it,” I said over my shoulder as I closed the door.

I walked over to the drive side of the dark grey SUV that had jumped the line. A man, a few years older than me, sat behind the wheel. At first, he pretended not to see me, so I knocked on his window.

He rolled it down and, in a gruff voice, said, “What?”

“You just cut in line.”

“You weren’t in line.”

“Yes, I was. And see all those cars, they were in line behind me.”

“So what? You can’t wait a few extra seconds to get your coffee?”

“That’s the point! I have been waiting. You just got here. You need to wait.”

“Forget it.” With that, he rolled his window back up.

“Back up!” I kicked his tire. He just stared straight ahead. I could feel my face getting hot as my anger grew, and I knocked on his window again. I must have hit it harder, though, because it shattered under my blows.

“Oh crap. I’m sorry…” I began. I looked up to see the end of the barrel of a gun pointed at me. “Okay, listen…” A gun shot interrupted me, and the world went black.

“Honey? Did you hear me?”

“What?” I tried to shake myself alert.

“I said, I can’t believe that guy just cut you off.”

“Yeah. People are assholes.”

“Aren’t you going to say something to him? At least honk?”

I thought about it only for a moment. “No. Not worth getting bent out of shape over something minor.”

“Hmm. That’s different for you.”

“Is it? Well, learn and live, I guess.”

A Ghost Story?

The security guard squinted against the headlights of a car that had pulled up to the backdoor of the warehouse. Two men got out and headed to the door. Hand on his gun, he spoke quietly into his radio, though no one acknowledged him. Then he turned his attention back to the intruders.

“Hey! Who are you? What are you doing here?”

Neither of the men paid him any attention.

“I’m talking to you! Identify yourselves!”

They kept working on the lock and ignored him. His nervousness gave way to irritation, and he walked closer to the men. One kept looking over his shoulder while the other concentrated on the door.

“Will you hurry up,” the first said.

“Just give me a sec. This is tricky,” the other replied.

They still acted as though they they hadn’t noticed him. With his gun drawn, he walked to within a few feet of them. “Hands up!” There was no reaction.

At his wits’ end, he put his hand on the lookout’s shoulder in order to force his attention. His hand passed right through. Startled, he accidentally pulled the trigger on his revolver. Luckily, the shot missed both of the men, but they did jump.

“Holy… What was that?”

“A gun shot. Sounded far away, though.”


“Yeah. Hey did you notice anything just before it happened?”


“I felt a chill. Now my shoulder’s numb.”

“You think this place is haunted, like they say?”

“I don’t know. But this got a lot creepier.”

“Yeah. Let’s get outta here.”

Still pretending he wasn’t there, they quickly got back in their car and sped off.

Had they been ghosts? How else had his hand gone through one of them? He didn’t know what to make of the encounter. Ultimately, he shrugged his shoulders and returned to his patrol.

Thread Magic

Threads permeate reality. Connecting everything to everything else, they are too numerous to count. Indeed, they cannot be separated without much concentration. Or a lot of practice. And that’s only if you can see them in the first place.

The weave is what matters. How you wrap the threads around your fingers, pulling things together or pushing them apart. The number of things that can be made with them is limited only by skill and imagination. After you learn to see and understand the connections, you begin to understand how they might be modified.

They’re not real, of course. Every mage has her or his own way of seeing magic and, thus, manipulating it. Each method is difficult to describe, and even now I am painfully aware of how inadequate my own attempt is.

Different approaches to magic lend themselves more readily to different types of spells. Run magic deals in knowledge and divination. Potions are useful for affecting the body of an individual. Incantations help focus more aggressive energies. And thread magic is best suited for protection. It can bind things together to prevent separation, or keep things apart to avoid injury. The threads can even be woven together to create a shield of sorts.

As you begin your own journey you will need to train. The point of training is not to see the threads. As I said, they aren’t real. The point of training is to find how magic manifests to you, how you will interact with it. No one but you can discover that.


The sky was grey, and there was a chill in the air. Winter was not going away easily, which made a perfect setting for a cemetery visit. The stone in front of me listed a name and two dates, all the evidence that remained of a single life.

I know I could talk to her anywhere, but it always seemed important to come back here. I didn’t really believe that she remained in this place, but the tradition, the symbolism, was not easily ignored. Rituals become rituals for a reason. They have meaning. We imbue them with meaning. As much as I resist many rituals, this is one I still felt compelled to follow.

So I stood there, expecting snow or rain at any moment, and stared at the letters and numbers that had been carved in granite nearly thirty years ago. As I spoke, I found myself saying things I had said many times before. Apologies. Regrets. Even the occasional lame joke. Whatever came to mind to strengthen a connection that had lasted years.

I wondered, not for the first time, nor for the last, if she bothered listening, if she still cared. In the end, I decided it didn’t matter. If there was even a slight chance she heard, I wanted her to know she was not forgotten.

When the rain finally came, I said, my farewell, promising to return once more.