Tuesday
Jun182013

Brain, Child, Redefining This, A Charmed Life, And Your Concept Of God

Sometimes you just have to write a post that has no beginning, middle, or end. A post that resists coherence via unified metaphor. A post that begins with a lot of sentence fragments. Because the post itself is a collection of fragments, albeit a bunch of gem like fragments, maybe diamonds or, less cliche, hunks of shimmery black obsidian (oh, obsidian, what secrets do you hide in your resistant black glare?). This is a post like that. Fragments.

First, I am once again writing elsewhere. This time at the highly lauded literary publication, Brain, Child Magazine. If you are so inclined, you can read my first post by clicking here. It's not a happy post, but if all posts were happy, we would soon forget the meaning of happiness and our lives might be one long terrible Khalil Gibran poem and then what? I don't even want to imagine. Feel free to LIKE their Facebook Page, and if enough of you LIKE my posts on that page, I earn millions of dollars. I'm not sure if I was supposed to tell you that, but I don't understand a lot of professional things.

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I hereby renounce the label "Dad Blogger" and anyone caught calling me a Dad Blogger will be hunted down and kicked in the shin so hard that you'll wish that you could go back in time and reconsider calling me a Dad Blogger. Dad Bloggers, a horrible collection of delusional men with questionable writing skills, are becoming more and more concerned with how brands portray dads in the media as they earnestly seek more just representations of dads making salads and braiding hair ON THE TV and I give so little of a fuck, hardly a speck of a fuck, about issues such as these that I can't continue to share the label with these men. In fact, they make me yearn for the security of outworn stereotypes by lapsing into macho processes like challenging them to duels with pistols.

Of course, by renouncing the "Dad Blogger" label , I inevitably sacrifice the distinction of being the Greatest Dad Blogger In The World, a position now occupied by Charlie and Andy from How To Be A Dad. Congratulations, guys. Now there's a couple of real swell guys, on the serious, and not anything at all like the above described whiny hucksters squeaking about gender bias.

It remains to wonder, then, what I am. What is Black Hockey Jesus? I was recently discussing this with the above mentioned Charlie (now 1/2 of the Greatest Dad Blogger In The World) and we both agreed that we hated the word "blog" because, frankly, it's a stupid word. Hence, Black Hockey Jesus is not a "Dad Blogger" nor is the space it occupies a "blog". So much for what it's not. Let's cast the fishing poles of our thought into the seas of what it is. Black Hockey Jesus is a Magical Undefined Virtual Space Where Language Emerges To Language Forth, Speak Its Say, And Vanish (MUVSWLETLFSISAV) and I, no longer a "Dad Blogger", toyed with being a Virtual Oracle or Divine Messenger when Charlie coined the phrase "Digital Prophet", which I liked very well, so Black Hockey Jesus is a blurry mess of the place, a magical undefined virtual space, and the digital prophet through which the language gushes. Both nouns, this dual definition of Black Hockey Jesus jams all logical channels until Black Hockey Jesus is itself the act of flying away and/or escaping: a verb. I/this (BHJ) is a verb. Hope that clears shit up. Again, not a "Dad Blogger". Let the Dad Bloggers fight their own little battles with Huggies and Kleenex.

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Yesterday I spent most of the day writing a new piece for Brain, Child about my daughter and her inevitable transformation into a sex object by the scripts of our culture and when I say "writing", I mean deleting a lot and ending hours with only about 120 salvageable words. I called my sponsor and expressed my frustration about getting so little done and my reason for including this little anecdote is that, man, I was frustrated. With my focus honed in on what I didn't accomplish, I produced an unhappy man whose primary adjective was "frustrated". Eliciting more talk from me in a general conversational way, my sponsor heard me talk about spending my day as a writer (the way I've always dreamed of spending my days), about going on a 10 mile run, about how I see my kids every day, how they're spending next weekend with me, about the incredible weekend with Gwen I just had in Salt Lake City, about being sober 300 days on Father's Day, about talking to my dads, about how I'm here for two more weeks before me and Gwen go on vacation for 2 weeks, and it was here that he said "Man, you have a charmed life. You have one hell of a CHARMED life." And it wasn't like he was trying to counter my frustration; he just interrupted me to state a fact.

And my frustration, composed of shortsighted emphasis on what didn't work out the way I planned on a particular day, exploded into 1000s of pieces of many colored confetti that rained slowly to the ground and I felt charmed. My life is charmed. And the only reason I told you that is because maybe your life is charmed too. It probably is.

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This last fragment was supposed to be about my developing concept of God, but BORING, and this post is already too long. But I will say this and then ask you a question: the major revolution achieved by my particular brand of substance abuse recovery is the inclusion of the option to CHOOSE your own conception of God and, though this is the most liberating approach to God EVER, it's still been a tripping point for me over the last 20 years because, no matter how hard I try to believe, God is stupid. Nonetheless, despite myself, a concept, and indeed a relationship, is developing but, rather than bumble through trying to articulate it here, I'd rather ask you: How do YOU conceive of God? What God means to me can be evoked by the process described above in traveling the distance between frustrated and charmed. But what's God mean to you?

Email me at blackhockeyjesus at gmail dot com. Comments are for blogs.

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I think you are a good person worthy of love and good things, but your vision is clouded by deluded thoughts that revolve around yourself. Forget everything. Climb a tree. Seek council from the wackiness of birds. _bhj

Wednesday
Jun052013

Nothing's Free

Hello Black Hockey Jesus Reader and consumer of absolutely free internet content with no ads. Why are you here? What do you want from me? My heart? My soul? Blood! Guts! Addiction! Sordid Tales of Infidelity!

What? Tell me. I’ll write it. Send me an email. Ask me a question. Give me a topic. Do you want a poem to read at your grandma’s funeral? Send me some details. I’ll write the damn thing. Don’t you see? The Black Hockey Jesus Internet Extravaganza Page (blogs are dead) is for you, Black Hockey Jesus Reader. I’ve got nothing to sell you. Nothing to promote. There’s no big splashy My Real Name across the top to convince you I’m some bigger deal than I am. This is where I have the pleasure to not be “the real me”. This is where me comes to die. I write on the computer. It appears. It vanishes. It’s a metaphor. Think on it.

When I’m writing for fun and for free, I forget to worry about taking. When I forget about taking, I forget about my self. When I forget about my self, I’m paradoxically introduced to my self and—GUESS WHAT—knowing my self is a lot like knowing nothing, and it is, but it’s also more than you ever imagined at the same time.

If you’re confused, then just give me some money. Or if you’ve ever read something here for free that you enjoyed, then give me some money. Please. It’s not for me. If it is for me in any way, it’s a roundabout way for me to inflate my charitable ego and feel good about myself, but at least I’m aware of it. Isn’t copping to a residue of selfishness in my front of selflessness worth something? A measly 5 bucks?

Here goes.

I’m still planning to run the Chicago Half-Marathon on July 21st and I’m still trying to raise $1000 to help cure juvenile myositis. It’s this weird fucked up autoimmune something disease about muscles. I’m not a doctor, man. I’m just a guy who met a guy who has a daughter who has JM. Her name is Megan and this is her:

I raised some money for her in 2009 and then I got to have breakfast with her and I thought things like Man, you can actually do things that are bigger and more important than provoke Internet controversies about obesity and broken marriages. And also, selfishly, it occurred to me that, hey, I have a daughter and, if she was sick, wouldn’t I want people to run half-marathons for her and raise money to help cure her? Of course I would.

So I’m going to run fast, Megan—as fast as I can. So far I’ve raised $495 and that’s really cool, but the awesome part about maybe making it to $1000 is that some Saint named Patty (not that St. Patty) will match my $1000 in reader donations—that’s $2000 for Megan, the kids, and a cure.

If you can make a contribution, no matter how small, please click here and click the blue DONATE button on the next page’s upper right. Also, feel free to promote the next page by spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter.

And I promise to keep writing here for fun and for free with no hidden motives apart from possibly alleviating loneliness and giving some comfort, to break through my readers’ excluded encagement in the self (purpose of literature copped from DFW).

Again if you want to make a donation, CLICK HERE. Thanks ~bhj

Tuesday
Jun042013

Emotional Residue

I’ve told some stories about my old friend, Skip, in two meetings during the last week and it’s been going something like this:

I was sober for around 5 years when my best friend, Skip, relapsed. I spent the next 2 years doing everything in the scope of my limited power to help him regain a footing in sobriety. We toured all of Michigan’s treatment centers, often driving for hours only to have Skip get us kicked out within minutes of beginning an intake assessment. We disappeared into the woods of northern Michigan, to let him dry out up there, only to watch him drink again in less than 30 days. And, as a last resort, we tried more than a few times to detox him at home, weaning him off alcohol slowly in conjunction with using benzodiazepines to keep his nervous system depressed so he didn’t have a heart attack and die in the goddamn living room.

It was during one of those home detoxes when Skip woke early in the morning and asked me to put my hand on his head. It was POUNDING and “pounding” is not just a fancy way of saying I could feel his heart beating. I could feel his heart beating but his head was fucking MOVING—it’s like his pulsating veins and arteries were damn near exploding. It was insane. Ever the teacher, he instructed me to keep my hand there as he drank half a beer and, as he guzzled, his throbbing head began to slowly relax until my hand no longer detected any movement at all.

Blew my fucking mind.

And, at the same time, it undermined the way I understood myself in terms of being an alcoholic because THIS—Skip’s physical withdrawal was alcoholism (an outright victory of my own alcoholism—I understand now—but nonetheless, that’s how I, age 26, sober since I was 20, eventually thought myself out of having alcoholism). I was drunk within 6 months and Skip eventually stabbed himself in the femoral artery with a buck knife and, full of spite and malice, painted the walls of his apartment with his own blood before he bled out and died.

So look for similarities; not differences.

That’s the advice lingering in that little parable and it’s sound advice. But here’s the deal. I’ve told this story twice—three times now—and something gets lost in translation when I use that story simply as a utilitarian means to instruct. Something is missing and its residue clings to me and makes me want to scream.

And I think it’s as basic as wanting people to know that Skip is more than a prop for me to illustrate 12 Step clichés. I loved that guy. I miss him. I think about him every single day and I just wanted to yell that somewhere and be heard. I was a witness to his life and worth on this inexplicable planet. And I hate him too. And there is something both constant and unstable about a mad rushing river that engenders comfort as one hurls profanities at the moon.

Saturday
Jun012013

What Missing Can Find

When you miss someone you might perhaps find some solace in remembering the cliché that the world, after all, is a small small world and the distance between Las Vegas and Chicago can kind of sort of in a roundabout way be reduced to merely a mental construct, just a chasm in the mind, and there’s a quirky kind of closure that can begin to occur when you imagine what she’s doing in Chicago—reading a book, watching TV, carefully folding thin crisp paper into an origami crane—because she is doing something in Chicago, as far as you know, and so you too are doing something in Las Vegas as well and, due to the simultaneity of this mutual doing of somethings, in addition to the insight that all the world’s phenomena are shot through and bound up with interconnection to all the rest of the world’s phenomena, you are together. It’s like you’re writing in one room and she’s reading in another and the rooms are different cities, but you’re together, in the world, each at the same time doing something in concert with the entire phenomenal world of doing as it does. 

Or perhaps you can use your imagination to, as thoroughly as you can, imagine who she is and what it might be like to be her. Remember every biographical detail she’s ever told you, everything you know about her, combine that with the totality of your experiences with her—the process by which she translates her thoughts into words, her word choice, what makes her laugh, how she laughs, how she walks, chooses dresses, uses a fork, chews—and really really imagine that you’re her. Then grab the book of poetry she left in your apartment and slowly, cautiously, read each poem but do not read the poems from the perspective of your own subjectivity. Be her. Read the poems the way she would read the poems and pause for a long time to think when you find a page she folded or you see some words she underlined. Recite her underlined words out loud until the words get inside you and change you and you miss him so much that your eyes mist over as you jot down notes in the margins.

Find some solace in remembering the cliché that the world, after all, is a small small world and the distance between Chicago and Las Vegas can kind of sort of in a roundabout way be reduced to merely a mental construct, just a chasm in the mind, and there’s a quirky kind of closure that can begin to occur when you imagine what he’s doing in Las Vegas—reading a book, writing a story, standing outside and talking to the moon—because he is doing something in Las Vegas, as far as you know, and so you too are doing something in Chicago as well and, due to the simultaneity of this mutual doing of somethings, in addition to the insight that all the world’s phenomena are shot through and bound up with interconnection to all the rest of the world’s phenomena, you are together. Hell, you’re more than together. What is missing but forgetting the truth that you are him and he is you?

Saturday
May042013

I Said I'm Charming, I'm Dashing, I'm Rental Car Bashing

 

Wednesday
May012013

All The Gossip You've Heard About Me And Keep Googling Is In This Post And So Is Snoop Dogg

Sometimes being a dick catches up with you and you have to do something nice to balance the scales of justice or the scales of justice balance themselves and then it’s your ass.

So.

I’m going to run a sub 1:40 half-marathon in Chicago on July 21st to raise money for Megan McKeever and other kids with Juvenile Dermatomyositis. Afterwards, I’m going to be sore for a couple days and then my muscles will heal. But Megan’s muscles won’t ever heal until we find a cure and that sucks.

Read more about Megan’s story here.

The problem with asking people to cough up dough for charity is that you think you need to cough up $100 or whatever and you don’t. Snoop Dogg donated $5 earlier today and that’s awesome. $5 is way better than seeking self-knowledge, loving yourself, healing, and finding your Truth. It’s helping little kids.

Some woman named Patty said she’d match me $1000 if I managed to raise $1000. When I wrote this, I had $130.

Help me, Patty, and Snoop Dogg find a cure for JM by clicking here. Five bucks. Balance the scales. And, while you're at it, please use the buttons on the right side of the page to share on Facebook and Twitter. ~bhj

Give up dem Lincolns.

Sunday
Apr212013

Not A Bowl Of Fruit

I can't think of anything to write tonight. The moon is a locked door, something you can't remember, a dream letter written in a foreign language. I want to say something that is not language but is the way you see a field of shocking purple flowers, all at once, like a fist to your jaw or a woman wearing a yellow dress. I know I'm writing like this because I read her Neruda in the bath last night and the candles and the cautious cat keeping her secrets and the flickering shadows. Neruda. Now that guy wooed some ladies. Because the moon and cherry trees and the green knife, the lines of poetry, coming and going like waves crashing in the dark. I am the first man ever to see the moon undressed on the water's surface, quicksilver, her three-colored eyes, fireflies. It is just this slow opening of the window and singing, the way she dries herself with a white towel, lit by candles, in the mirrors, infinity. I want to do to her what the thunderstorm does to the dark quiet sky. No. I can't think of anything to write tonight. Because these words will never be a bowl of fruit. Watching her walk across the room and disappear into the big white bed will never explain who she is or what she means. For meaning only ever truly resides in music, painting, shadows, and the infuriating silence of cats.

Friday
Apr192013

More Rambling On My iPhone As I Fly To Chicago

I fell asleep immediately on this airplane and I missed the free Diet Coke and peanuts so I don't know why I even try anymore.

I'm on my way to see Gwen and if you don't know Gwen then that's your problem. Maybe Gwen will stop somewhere so I can buy a Diet Coke and some peanuts, but it won't be the same. Is there no end to the pain of being sentient?

Everyone on Facebook is all "Yeah! We got you, bitch!" about the Boston Bomber but there are still people in the world who sleep through the free Diet Coke and peanuts. Somewhere, a bunny is squealing in the talons of a Hawk and a clown is getting fired from the circus. Can you imagine a clown getting fired from the circus? He will no doubt succumb to his taste for bourbon and pedophilia. Man, fuck the world.

I just woke up. This is how it is. Bob Marley says it'll be alright.

Maybe I should pray. God. Free me from the bondage of my self so that I can be useful and help me not hate everybody because resentment creates separation while trapping me in the perspective of my ego. God. Free me from my own perspective so everyone's not an asshole and life isn't just one long torture chamber with no free Diet Cokes or peanuts. Amen.

There. That's better. I hope you feel better too. I need somebody to help. Do you need a sponsor? Give me a shout if you need a sponsor and we'll do the Steps and there will come a day when the things inside of you that make suicide necessary are put to rest. Promise. They're resting in me and I was very recently almost dead.

A guy came to work drunk and it wasn't me. I felt really bad about it. Guys are coming to work drunk. People are blowing up marathons. And the pedophilia clowns? Mercy!

But I mustn't dwell on the negative. Soon, this plane will land in Chicago and me and Gwen will be freed from the bondage of our clothes. For today, that's my contribution. You guys can get revenge and argue about guns and make everything equal and fix the world. I just want to make out like crazy and do it well. Is that selfish? Man, you are full of shit. Just imagine if everyone shut their fucking yaps and made out like crazy. There's redemption in abandoning yourself to the mania of kissing.

I still need someone to sponsor.

What else? I've been running a lot again and feeling good. My little sister got married today. Bless her. All my sibs are married now. Looking forward to the summer and being with the world the way me and Gwen are when we're with the world. A lot of people still bug me about the novel so I'm 80% sure I'm going to dick around with it one more time and self-publish it with Amazon. I've lost a lot of ambition in terms of being A Writer. Makes people ugly. Enough about that.

The plane's beginning to drop. Hope it does so safely. But even if it doesn't, I could die with an easy conscience. I have done what I can to see and reveal beauty in the world. I've struggled, crashed, died, risen. I continue to conceive of my life as an art project on the canvas of soul.

Forget yourself. Grab every hand that reaches out to you. Find someone to kiss and kiss them hard and there will come a day when the things inside of you that make suicide necessary will be put to rest. Take it slow. Take care of each other. Take care where you can get it. Take care. And give it back. ~bhj