"When I write, the world around me stops, and the gears in my head turn at a million miles per second...
Writing gives me my voice. which is why my stories are in a constant state of flux. Even if I don’t change a word or a single letter, they move with me down corridors of memory, through seas of emotion, and into worlds both real and imaginary. As I change, they change, but even after days or months or years I can still find a version of myself (a time traveler from the past, present, or future) sitting there in the text and waiting to speak to me."
Blaze's admission essay to University of Pennsylvania
Blaze was a writer's writer, a brilliant artist committed to his craft. His skills blossomed during his high school years in the creative writing conservatory at the Orange County School of the Arts in Southern California.
Blaze could tap into the most imaginative part of his brain and bring other worlds into being with his words. And words poured out of him... the perfect words to make his larger than life characters feel real and relatable. And he never considered a story to be finished. It was always a work in progress, and it gave him comfort to know he could return to any one of them at any time.
He was so well-loved and respected by everyone who knew him. He was warm and thoughtful, kind and loving, and humble about his many gifts. He loved to learn and to absorb everything he could from the world around him. He had a smile that lit up the room – a smile friends got to see when he wrote something he thought came a little bit closer to capturing his truth.
Part food scientist, part chef and part food writer, Blaze loved exploring all aspects of food with a special interest in the chemical process of creating and cooking foods. Blaze's passion about food and writing intersected in his work for Penn Appétit, the innovative student-run food magazine at the University of Pennsylvania. Blaze was copy editor for the magazine where he wrote articles and cooked many of the dishes seen in its pages.
Blaze had a strong sense of justice. More than just a journalist who covers the story, Blaze was an activist. He fought for his ideas and stood up against what he believed to be institutional injustice.
Blaze loved exploring other cultures, new experiences and the far corners of our world. He achieved legendary status among friends for daring to taste the repugnant Icelandic specialty kæstur hákarl, Icelandic for "fermented shark." Chef Anthony Bourdain once described kæstur hákarl as "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" he has ever eaten.
Blaze was up for all of the crazy adventures of the Bernstein family vacations. Whether fording The Narrows of Zion Park with full-body dry suits, hiking with crampons on a glacier in Iceland, kayaking in freezing rain in a glacier lagoon or driving until 3am to the next AirBnB—he was up for it all.
Blaze experienced life to the fullest. He appreciated the beauty and wonder of nature and as an artist craved to capture and represent the wonder in poetry and photos.
Blaze was capable, compassionate, just, and loving. His prolific writing depicts his curious and benevolent spirit, his desire for unity and justice, and his respect for mankind.
Blaze was full of light, with a smile that was comforting and contagious. He loved to spend time with his brother and his sister. He eagerly prepared feasts taking his family and friends on ethereal culinary adventures. He brought a little more laughter, a little more music, and much love into his home and to the lives of those around him.
Through his various talents, Blaze was of service to others. He wrote and conducted a symphony of kindness and compassion in souls. Blaze left the world a better place because he has lived.
"words move with me down corridors of memory, through seas of emotion..."