Moniker: Black Hockey Jesus
Online Home: Black Hockey Jesus
Kids: Jackson, 12. Lucy, 7. They're wonderful people to share the world with but they don't listen very well, which is really irritating. I mean. How many times do I have to say "Take a bath"? I don't know why they don't just take a bath when I say "Take a bath". They have no concept of who the boss is. Otherwise, they're great.
There are pockets of the internet where the world isn't candy coated. Black Hockey Jesus is one of those places. In a sense it's the antithesis to the stereotypical mommy blog - the writing isn't a glossy facade to put the best face on life. In fact, the reader is never quite sure what the facade is made of or what lurks behind the curtain. A place where even the untruths are, at their core, true.
Dip your toe into the BHJ pool and you might come away thinking he's crass, irascible and moody (and you wouldn't be wrong). But once you dive in for a longer swim you'll find a fine writer and a father who deeply loves his children. He writes about the often messy experience of parenting with an honesty that most of us don't have with ourselves much less the whole internet.
You may find reading BHJ too dark or controversial...or you may find it cathartic. Because he works as a teacher, online he conceals his identity. Plus, who doesn't love a good mystery man? Here's what he had to share with us:
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I've been blogging for 3 years. I was looking to write some short fiction and a friend said I should write one of those daddy blogs. I didn't even know what a blog was. I read a few, grimaced, and thought it was a stupid idea. That night, I took my daughter swinging - we were SURROUNDED by parents and kids - and she started yelling "Faster, daddy! The Wind! It feels so nice on my vagina!" I thought then that maybe I COULD write one of those daddy blogs. I started a blog called "The Wind In Your Vagina", it got a lot of attention, and it was a damn good time.
Tell us about Black Hockey Jesus and how it came to be.
I'm a teacher and, after a year and a few months, some students found the blog so I shut it down immediately. I started Black Hockey Jesus a couple days later and, essentially, just picked up where I left off. The writing itself, over the last couple years, has moved me away from being merely a dad blogger. I write about my kids sometimes because they're huge aspects of my life. But I also explore my divorce, running, affairs with married women, substance abuse problems, psychology, philosophy, dead hookers, all kinds of stuff. I try to make my blog a collage of whatever's happening and fantasy. Sometimes I joke around. Other times, I inspect the bones of my heart. Sometimes, the stories are true. Other times, I just make stuff up. I write what I want. I've pretty much given up on the blog leading to anything, which allows it to just be what it is: what i want to write when I want to write it.
How do you find time to be a Dad and run a successful blog at the same time?
Blog posts are written on the fly. Something will happen and it will stick in my head for a few days like a stone in my shoe until I find a few minutes between dadding and working and running to slam it down. I love that about blogging. You just slam it down and hit publish and people either dig it or they don't. I don't advertise so I don't have any responsibility to the blog beyond a small handful of people who like to read the things I write. But it doesn't take a lot of time. I usually post once or twice a week and, more than being a time suck, it keeps me on my toes. Keeping watch for things to blog about keeps me more watchful in general.
Where do you go in the blogosphere for inspiration (parenting, art and otherwise)?
Nobody on the internet makes me think like Bon Stewart at Crib Chronicles. The name of her site sends off MOMMY BLOGGER sirens but, the next thing you know, you're reading about the construction of identity via social media and how that impacts 21st c. relationships (smoke pours from ears). Another long time favorite is Kate from Sweet | Salty because she's so talented in terms of walking the tightrope between funny and gut wrenching. (Do I have a thing for Canadian chicks? Apparently.) Of course, Ryan from Pacing the Panic Room is great because his words and images express so clearly that he's the real deal. I have a blushy crush on Ryan. I like blogs like Ryan's (and Kate's) with well taken photographs. I'm currently very interested in The Shutter Sisters and flirting with ALL of them simultaneously, but I can't get Meredith Winn to give me the time of day. I dig Jen Lemen. Breed Em And Weep is a recent goldmine of a find. I could go on and on.
What do you think your kids will say when they read back through your words when they're older?
It's hard to say. I'm proud of the work. But it's not really appropriate for kids. When you add the confusing element that some of it's ABOUT them, it's really hard to say. I think, when they're in college, they'll look at it and think it's funny and thought provoking. It's those puberty, high school years where things might get a little messy. But I don't sweat this issue like a lot of people who wrap their kids in styrofoam and make them wear a helmet to go for a walk. I might piss my kids off, might hurt their feelings a little bit. If one of them asked for a post deleted, I'd delete it on the spot. But, as far as the HUGELY OVERSTATED POTENTIAL FOR HARM TO THE POOR CHILDREN, my kids eat every day, nobody beats on them, and they're buoyed by love from all sides. They're smart, funny, they do great in school, and they're privileged and happy. If the hardest thing they have to contend with is a dad who writes an edgy blog, they had a much smoother childhood than me. And the bottom line is that if you read deep and long enough in the blog, you'll find things I've written about my children that I hope they'll cherish. They might blush here and there but they'll know their dad loves them.
What do you wish you had more time for?
I wish I had more prolonged periods of solitude where whatever wants to happen is allowed to happen. I might read. Write more seriously (I have a completed novel in serious need of tweaks), play guitar, write letters to friends. I also wish I had more time to see a woman who makes my eyes sparkle.
Your blog is more raw and edgy, is there any subject that's taboo or off the table?
I won't write about my ex-wife in a nasty way. I won't write about my job. As my son approaches 13, I may need to avoid speaking about him in a way that would make things hard for him, ESPECIALLY if I know his peers are reading. But otherwise, writing is the only absolutely free place where the only taboo is safety itself. I want to say things that are afraid to be said. Sometimes, I yell at my kids because I feel trapped and mean. Sometimes, I think about killing myself. Sometimes, I have homicidal thoughts and write blog posts that are murder fantasies. I'm a messy slop of contradiction and, rather than presenting a branded sense of confident coherence. I'll write a post about wanting to hit an old woman in the face or how I want to be sodomized by a strap on because, for every person who calls me a sick freak, there's 50 who understand me and actually thank me for voicing the secret dialogue they keep trapped in their heads.
What do you love most about being a Dad?
My children remind me that the fundamental function of life is play. That's all the world does and all it's for: play. The kids are constantly teaching me how to go further in terms of what I'm willing to imagine. I love how spontaneous they are, how impolite they are. I love being a dad because my children live in a place, and they take me there, where what they want is clear and it's stated directly with no shame or apology. I love being a witness and support to the people they're called to be.
Finally, what is one great piece of parenting advice someone has shared with you?
My friend, Randy, told me "Leave your kids alone. They'll grow up." There's 100 ways to hear that wrong, to hear it as neglect and so on. But the heart of what Randy meant undermines the insanity of reading 1000 books in order to do all the right things to manipulate a product: a good, perfect person. I'm not looking for a recipe to cook up the kind of adults I want my kids to be. I'm interested in the miracle of allowing them to become who they're meant to be. That involves leaving them alone, in the way that Randy meant. They'll grow up. There's a lot more than me at work on the children. Of much deeper import than my will is the children themselves and their struggle with themselves and their souls.
Thanks BHJ! Read more about BHJ, his family and life's adventures at Black Hockey Jesus.
Since our inception, we have loved hearing from all of our readers as well as reaching out to several in the blog community. You are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands all writing about your families, style and what makes you tick. To continue fostering this great blogging community, we'll now begin featuring close-ups of our favorite family and design blogs as part of our "Big Blog Family".
(Images: Black Hockey Jesus)