Welcome to Lullaby Pit. We launched on or about April 1, 1994, making us one of the 2,000 or so oldest Web brands in the world.
My name is Sam Smith – hence the “Smith” part. The name derives the ancient proto-Germanic word for “skilled worker.”
1. A craftsperson who works metal into desired forms using a hammer and other tools, sometimes heating the metal to make it more workable, especially a blacksmith.
2. (by extension) One who makes anything; wright.
For my entire adult life I’ve been a writer. A wordsmith. Now I’m a photographer and digital artist, which I suppose makes me an imagesmith.
The “winter”part is a slightly longer story, but perhaps one that brings it all home. I was born at 4:27am on Feb 2 – Imbolc, the midpoint between Solstice and Equinox. Midwinter. While many people, if not most, seem to hate winter, I never have. I don’t mind the cold. I love snow. Its bite reminds me I’m alive.
Nor am I bothered by the darkness. Bleakness, overcast, nighttime – in some ways this is my natural element. My art has always sought out the beauty in the darkness, whether in words or pictures.
Then, a few years ago, I discovered Terry Pratchett’s novel Wintersmith. In it the young witch, Tiffany Aching, gets caught up in the seasonal rites and accidentally awakens an elemental spirit. He becomes enraptured by her, obsessed. He sets out to become human and make her his own.
But the Wintersmith has no understanding of what it means to be human. He observes and imitates people, but his efforts to woo Tiffany are instead alienating, terrifying. And his attempts to connect with her ultimately threaten the natural order of the seasons and of life itself.
He wants to be human. To love. To be loved. But he doesn’t know how.
A good friend and mentor once said artists don’t get to live life life, they only observe it. I wish he’d been wrong, but in Pratchett’s misguided spirit I feel more kinship and empathy than I enjoy thinking about.
I was always a smith and was born a child of winter, but finally I’ve come to terms with winterSmith. Perhaps it isn’t the self I hoped to find, but at least there’s peace in the knowing.
Other Voices in My Head
Sidicious Bonesparkle, DLitt, who formerly served as Hell’s Ambassador to the United States, now directs the Pit’s Politics and Entertainment desk. In this capacity he finds very little that needs doing, so he’s able to spend a considerable amount of time indulging his passions: reading, writing, reality television, consuming prodigious quantities of craft beer and watching European football.
An astute observer and analyst of human culture, Dr. Sid earned his doctorate from Oxford sometime in the early 1600s (“the exact date is on the sheepskin, I suppose, but I haven’t seen the bloody thing in aeons”) and first came to America during its formative Colonial period, where he struck up friendships with the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, George Mason, and of course Sam Adams. The latter was overrated as a brewmaster, he says, even back then.
He fondly remembers his lengthy debates with the “Founding Fathers” over the nature of governance and the human character. Although some have tried to credit him with influencing the crafting of the Constitution, Dr. Bonesparkle vigorously denies any role at all. “Oh no,” he says, “you people have nobody to blame for that mess but yourselves. All I did was drink my share of the ale and play devil’s advocate, as it were.”
Asked to explain why he chose to pursue a career in diplomacy, he says, “Slothfulness, really. I was trained for a life of scholarship, but I was simply too lazy to be a good one. I had a great faith in my own theories and lacked sufficient concern for the insights of lesser thinkers.”
Sid shares a loft in Denver’s trendy LoDo district with his two champion Jack Russell Terriers, Rabies and Beelzepup.
Rev. Dickie “Drive-By” Dixon, is a man of many thoughts and few words. He’d have more to say if he had less to do. He drops by on occasion when some story or other catches his eye and he can’t help himself.
The good reverend lives in Winston-Salem, NC, where he’s the owner and brewmaster of the popular First Baptist Brewpub in the Brookstown neighborhood.