Ear­li­er this week, Slash Cole­man wrote about the first Jew­ish super­hero in his fam­i­ly and being a Walk­ing Jew­ish Exhi­bi­tion­ist.” His mem­oir, The Bohemi­an Love Diaries, is now avail­able. He will be blog­ging here all week for Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ing.

When I was writ­ing my mem­oir, which is sort of a chron­i­cle of all my failed love rela­tion­ships, each morn­ing when I sat down to write it was like spin­ning The Wheel of a Shtuken Nisht in Harts.” (This is a Yid­dish phrase that means a painful, mis­er­able mem­o­ry that stabs the heart and hurts like hell.)

It was a lit­er­ary smor­gas­bord of cupid’s fail­ures. For instance, when I sat down, I’d think, Do I write about the time my wife and I shaved our heads three days after our wed­ding and I no longer found her attrac­tive? Or the fact that my cousin end­ed up mar­ry­ing my old girl­friend so now she’s like a bug­ger on the fin­ger of my life? Or my unusu­al courtship rit­u­al that involved giv­ing girls I had crush­es on elab­o­rate and large card­board box­es that only ever end­ed in even­tu­al and awk­ward singledom?”

I assumed that once my book was pub­lished that I’d have purged myself of those mem­o­ries and the sub­se­quent need to write about failed love. Instead, my book has giv­en me even more oppor­tu­ni­ties to par­take in this rit­u­al. I now blog about rela­tion­ships for Psy­chol­o­gy Today and write a dat­ing advice col­umn at how​doi​date​.com.

Hence, I get to con­tin­ue to push on all my rela­tion­ship bruis­es — usu­al­ly writ­ing about one expe­ri­ence until I am too over­whelmed and then mov­ing onto the next — some­times hav­ing as many four­teen mis­er­able mem­o­ries open at once in my brows­er win­dow. Such mis­ery is my quin­tes­sen­tial stereo­typ­i­cal Jew­ish experience. 

It reminds me of when my grand­moth­er, who was tem­porar­i­ly liv­ing with my fam­i­ly, decid­ed to get off her pre­scribed meds – about 22 of them in all. She had to get off them because they were destroy­ing her body. She was a Leo and she took them so she wouldn’t remem­ber the bad parts of the Holo­caust. (Leo’s are ruled by the heart, but it was iron­ic that the first thing the meds destroyed was her heart.)

The doc­tors end­ed up replac­ing one of her heart valves with a pig’s heart valve – which says a hel­lu­va a lot about kar­ma. Well, the pig valve didn’t like her meds any more than her old valve and so she start­ed going to Nar­cotics Anony­mous meet­ings. She would sit around with a bunch of crack­heads and hero­ine addicts and she even­tu­al­ly endeared her­self to them. She had friends that wore leather and had deep pro­found scars just like her. 

I only took the meds the doc­tor pre­scribed,” she would say.

Even­tu­al­ly she kicked her meds, but the mem­o­ries came back. One night, an imag­i­nary Chi­nese man in a cape flew down into her room and took her hand. She called him The Yel­low Goy.” TYG led her to the edge of the stair­case. He told her to fly away with him. I imag­ine it was all very romantic. 

She end­ed up crum­pled at the bot­tom of the stair­case, bloody, cry­ing, and won­der­ing why all the love in her world had sud­den­ly evaporated. 

I think about her flight some­times when I write. How, for at least a few glo­ri­ous sec­onds, there must have been some mag­ic in being pro­pelled through the air with a Chi­nese Super­man with­out the aid of a mechan­i­cal motor. How, let­ting go of such a great restraint must have allowed her to feel true free­dom for the first time in her life, no mat­ter how short the dura­tion of that free­dom actu­al­ly was.

I think often about the rit­u­al and riga­ma­role I put myself through to avoid the painful parts of my life. I’d like to believe that one day I’ll have purged myself of all my wonky love kar­ma and at the end of my own stair­case there will be my own Chi­nese Super­man wait­ing to whisk me away with the ulti­mate reward — a few moments of flight with­out mechan­i­cal motor. Until then, I spin the wheel and purge and dream about flight. 

Slash Cole­man is the author of The Bohemi­an Love Diaries, the per­son­al per­spec­tives blog­ger for Psy­chol­o­gy Today, and an advice colum­nist at how​doi​date​.com (Ask Uncle Slash). He wrote, pro­duced, and starred in the PBS Spe­cialThe Neon Man and Me, which also won the Unit­ed Solo Award for best dra­ma and is cre­at­ing The New Amer­i­can Sto­ry­teller for PBS. Vis­it his web­site here.
Slash Cole­man is an award-win­ning sto­ry­teller and per­son­al per­spec­tives blog­ger for Psy­chol­o­gy Today. A reg­u­lar Sto­ry­telling mag­a­zine con­trib­u­tor and per­former on the nation­al sto­ry­telling cir­cuit, he appeared most recent­ly on the NPR series How Artists Make Mon­ey. He lives in New York City and is cre­at­ing The New Amer­i­can Sto­ry­teller for PBS.