Saturday, October 24, 2015

Jamie Blaine's "Midnight Jesus"

Jamie Blaine is a licensed psychotherapist and crisis interventionist who has worked in mental hospitals, megachurches, rehabs, radio stations, and roller rinks. His writing has been featured in such outlets as Salon, OnFaith, Bass Guitar, Drummer UK, The Weeklings, The Nervous Breakdown, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Midnight Jesus: Where Struggle, Faith, and Grace Collide..., and reported the following:
This is my personal test: I pick up a book and turn to a random page, reading wherever my eyes happen to fall. Does it hold my attention? If so, I turn to another random page and repeat. If a book makes it through three random glances, I’m in. You got me. The gist is this: If you truly love a band? You love their B-sides, their outtakes and demos. You love the worst song on the record still. If I like your style and voice as a writer – I’ll like it on any and every page.

Here’s page 99 from a few of my favorites.

Rami Shapiro’s Way of Solomon says, “I do not want a true me to live forever, I want to live forever.” As philosophical time traveler Ted “Theodore” Logan might say, Whoa.

From Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs: “Watching modern day pro basketball is like watching my roommate in college play Nintendo.”

Don Miller’s Through Painted Deserts tells a great story about being starving but too thirsty for peanut butter at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Neil Strauss’ hard-hitting book on relationships titled, The Truth reminds me: “fantasizing is a defense against intimacy.”

And my book, Midnight Jesus? I have no clue what lies on page 99 but I’m hoping for the best as I flip to that spot, like a Vegas craps addict waiting for the dice to lie still.

Here’s what we get.
David flinches, looking towards the slap as Softball storms in from the other door, flattening him with a thin mattress while I step on his right wrist. He tries to pull away but I lean my weight against his arm until he drops the knife.

Softball pitches the mattress and knife to the side, straddling David, her knees on his shoulders, her hard face close and tight. “You really think we’re gonna let you stab yourself?” she growls. “This is the mattress trick.”

David looks past her to me, hurt and confusion over his face. “You lied?” he asks in a pitiful tone.

“Of course I lied.” I pick up the blade and turn it in the light. “Wouldn’t you?”
Is this my finest moment? No. Is it accurate for the book? Indicitive of the whole? A glimpse into this memoir of misfits and psych ward conflicts? I’d say yes, I think I pass the test.
Visit the Midnight Jesus website.

--Marshal Zeringue