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    Run For Your Life, Black Hockey Jesus!
    Main | After Kinnell And The Things He Tells To No One »

    Questions And Answers

    People have been asking questions and I've been answering them. Do you have any good questions? Well then ask them. Questions are good writing prompts and I'm bored.

    Here's an interview I did for Ohdeedoh. Some woman got uptight in the comments about the word "vagina" and it made me smile.

    And then, on someone else's blog, a commenter asked me a few questions about love. I answered here because my last post is so deathy and I just wanted to take it down a notch with some love. I love love. The Beatles said it's all you need and they seem like nice boys.


    CURIOUS COMMENTER FROM ANOTHER BLOG THAT I ALREADY COMMENTED ON: “BHJ, will you write for us what you see love as? How you see love? What makes your heart pound and your body crave another person?”

    Yes. And no. I’ll try. I’m awake and alone, trying to stay sober and wanting to write, so I’ll try. But I can’t begin without stating the obvious. I have no idea. I just got divorced. What the fuck do I know? But I can riff on it. Sound some notes. If only to use love to get me through the night.

    Love, you will have all figured out by now, is a big stupid lie. However, it is of course—by far—the best and greatest lie of the many lies we tell ourselves. The blindness cliché is apt. You’re blind to the flaws of your beloved in addition to being blind to everything else. Love collapses and intesnifies your vision to a single point. It’s a megawatt spotlight that only shines upon and illuminates the object of your love while also distorting the shit out of it. Love lies about what you love. Love creates meaning where it simply doesn’t exist in any absolute way.

    But ain’t it grand? We need to free lies and falsity from all their negative connotations. Being constantly duped is required to be a self in the first place, to even be a you at all. So imagine the massive web of deceit it takes for a lie (you) to love another lie (someone else). It’s completely delusional. A delightful illness that keeps the fire warm.

    Take, for instance, your baby. Nobody cares about your stupid baby. Are all 6¾ billion of us wrong or is your baby really the most awesome thing that ever took a shit in a diaper? Or what about the the things we create, the way—when we’re making them—we block out everything else? Me and my friends are all writing books, steeped in an atmosphere of insane blind love, and for what? To what end all this singleness of intensified vision in a fury of creation? There’s no way to rationally defend love but don’t you dare mistake that for an argument against it.

    Rationality is for people with calculators and long boring lists of things to do.

    So when you ask me what makes my heart pound and my body crave another person, I can’t really tell you, can I? There’s no recipe of characteristics or qualities that create an equation for what I love. Rather, love messes up my equations, smashes my calculator, misplaces my list of things to do, and yanks me off my path. So I guess that. Love changes my path and messes up my plans.

    Time to abandon equations for metaphors. I’m walking down the street with a day full of plans. I see a woman get on a bus and, suddenly, I’m on the bus too. I’ve forgotten everything. I don’t know where I’m going.

    Now why this might happen resists explanation—except it’s fun to imagine past life entanglements or the eruption of gods in the faces of people—and I can only talk about instances of this happening to me in terms of singular events that, of course, are not generalized formulas for making my heart pound and/or my body crave, etc. So after all that hoopla, here’s a collage of events that took possession of me and melted the world.

    She was on her tip toes in the book store, trying to reach a book about gnomes. She brought a pear to bed and ate half by candlelight. I watched her shadow flicker on the wall, delighted that she brought a pear to bed. I heard a waiter—I was two tables away—ask her if she wanted a drink. “Ab-sa-frickin-lutely!” she replied and smacked the table, a tiny woman with a scratchy voice. I saw a woman in a black bikini floating on her back in a salt pool. Her eyes were closed. I don’t know how long I stood there. It could’ve been days. On the phone she said “Mayybee” like a purring cat. My hand’s path up her leg in the back of a taxi, around her hip to her waist. I heard a woman in the grocery store say “You don’t understand. I’m very particular about cheese.” She caught me watching her brush her teeth and smiled. She said she didn’t like popcorn and ate half my popcorn. Once, it was just a woman’s petite wrist as she pushed on a door handle and I nearly blacked out. She sat at her computer wrapped only in a white towel. I watched her fingers intuitively pecking keys. She reached for her glasses. Stopped to look at me. Her wet hair.

    Reader Comments (16)

    Well, since we are up....

    Can I quibble with the spotlight part? Maybe in the beginning it is a spotlight and everything at the edges loses focus and fades away, and the white hot right-nowness of the finding THIS love takes centre stage.... but. the long run kind of love? Blinks in the spotlight. The kind of love I am learning to want (I should add here that this is my theory, my goal. It was not taught to me, not "modelled", not absorbed by osmosis) this for-good kind of love is about communication and perspective. Communication is hard in a spotlight. Spotlights are for monologues and perspective is impossible.

    This though?: " Love, you will have all figured out by now, is a big stupid lie. However, it is of course—by far—the best and greatest lie of the many lies we tell ourselves." this feels about *exactly* right.

    Keep talking BHJ. Keep writing. I would have quibbled more in my early cynical 20's, but now, as I hope for good lighting and the ability to keep my eye on the horizon, I believe it is possible that love is the only thing truly worth writing about.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterearnestgirl

    love? or lust and like and want and need all mushed up together?

    i agree with earnestgirl about the spotlight...

    to me love boils down to a feeling of being understood, and of understanding. Acceptance and understanding. yeah. that and no deceit, thanks. the rest is the smoke and mirrors of pheromones and desire.

    maybe i'm too cerebral...maybe i just need to get laid.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:01 AM | Unregistered Commentera work in progress

    no, love's not a lie, but it's a very hard thing to carry around for a lifetime, so most people prefer to deny its existence. love is when you can still stand the sight of your half after a fire defaced him/ her. love is when you would stil face death to save your kids, even if your kids would break your skull :D. love is a choice, it's a living thing that grows or dies, as the "owner" decides, and it goes beyond reason, logic, hormones, aesthetics and so on. when you chose to love someone, you should not rely on that person's ability to melt your world, but rather on your strong decision to have your world melted by him/ her, no matter what comes up on the way.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:11 AM | Unregistered Commenternoa

    I can't be bothered to make a commenting account at Ohdeedoh, so I'll say it here. It is, in fact, a vagina. It's a VAGINA. Well actually, maybe it's a vulva, or labia or a clitoris, but whatever. For the most part,we all know what we mean by vagina. What do they propose you call it? Do they think that children will somehow be safe from abuse if they are sheltered from the word vagina? I would suggest that the opposite is true. Clear language and shared understanding can only help keep our children safe, surely? If anything can.

    I found your thoughts on love more nihilistic than your thoughts on death, BHJ. I like that.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterafteriris

    Mmm hmm....

    And then? What happens next?

    July 1, 2011 at 4:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterslouchy

    i was afraid of dying for the first time in my life when i thought she felt the same way about me as i felt about her.
    what does love make a person??

    July 1, 2011 at 5:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterwhite crow

    If writers' writings were ice creams yours are all the Ben and Jerry's flavors and even some wild exotic flavors we never heard of before while mine are vanilla. Nothing wrong with vanilla, mind you, an old standby should never be denigrated or disregarded, but I just love digging into those other flavors sometimes and yours are some of the best flavors out there. Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing.

    July 1, 2011 at 7:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterConnie

    "when you chose to love someone, you should not rely on that person's ability to melt your world, but rather on your strong decision to have your world melted by him/ her, no matter what comes up on the way."

    After 27 years of marriage...this resonates. We were apart for our anniversary (we often are) and I got a card in the mail. The cover art was a closeup of a big, cute, goofy dog, tongue hanging out, eyes looking off to the side. You have to open the card to get to the caption. It reads:

    "Thinking of you.

    You're naked, of course."

    I keep it next to the bed. Mostly because it makes me laugh, but also because it stands for the best of what we have, which is what "noa" touches on.

    As for questions, I'd like to see you elaborate on one you've already asked:

    "Or what about the the things we create, the way—when we’re making them—we block out everything else? [...] To what end all this singleness of intensified vision in a fury of creation?"

    July 1, 2011 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterClare

    Thank you. Thank you for your response to my questions. You opened my eyes to several things I had never given much thought to. You also have some fabulous readers who also opened my eyes.

    This is beautiful and honest and raw. I love it!

    Do keep writing and if you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods, don't hesitate to let me know.


    July 1, 2011 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterForgotten


    July 1, 2011 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAmelia

    holy christ.
    please tell me you're not drunk when you write this shit.
    you're my hero regardless, lol

    July 1, 2011 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterkc

    I like the collage. No. I love the collage.

    Who am I to write about love? Who are any of us? I've got a love which is just about as good as it gets, but even this love has its deficiencies. The lie is that there is only 1 person who is out there who will complete you entirely. That's too much pressure for one person, and that's not love. I like that my love knows he's not going to fill me up entirely .... that I need other sources of nourishment .. and that he encourages my complete satiation.

    July 2, 2011 at 12:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterellie

    I was wondering about the wind on your vagina story, When she said it how did you react? I don't think i could have stopped myself from laughing.

    July 2, 2011 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered Commentermanda

    I like the thought of love as something that melts the world....but like anything else, I am convinced that it usually fades, except in the rarest of circumstances. How does one become that rare bird? I am aware of all of the cliches...but I'm not sure I buy any of them.

    Someone once told me that the only way marriage works is if you are lucky enough to not fall out of love at the exact same time. Maybe that's it...just luck. Maybe not. One thing you are right about... love certainly does mess up equations.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterNatalie


    You excel at answering the tough questions, Black Hockey.

    July 4, 2011 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterYou can call me, 'Sir'

    Dude, stop doing that to me.

    July 4, 2011 at 6:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterCramitsucko

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