General

March 20, 2019

Matthew,

In a cold, cold apartment on the water.  It’s one of those spots that have always been for transients, even back in high school.  A big house, with a small house on the side.  That’s where I am, the side.

My host is manic.  He’s an old friend, and I know he’s on uppers.  He does weird shit.  I threw out a bunch of food that expired in 2016, and throughout the night he dug through the trash can and put everything back.  he told me that dates don’t mean anything and that we shouldn’t waste food.

But there’s hot water and a good bed.  I slept a lot last night, and I will probably sleep another ten hours when I lay down again.  My body is screaming that it has had enough.

Everything takes so long to accomplish.  It has taken a lot of patience to get to my stopping points.  It’s just a dash right now between living situations.  I’m getting too old for this shit.

The pot is good, though.  You can’t even find regular weed anymore.  Everything is from Colorado or Maryland.  Everything is like a kick in the head.

And thank God for that, by the way.  It’s tough out there.  I’m glad people have stopped being so uptight about pot, even in the states where it is not legal.

Now it’s balls-thirty in the morning, and I can’t figure out whether to lie down or try and get some editing done.  Either way, it will have to be another after a long, hot shower.

I guess I’ll do some work.  A little more coffee and some hot water should clear the fog and frustration from another needlessly difficult day.  It looks as though I have now entered the kind of schedule I kept in grad school.  It’s oddly comforting.  Maybe now I can finally get some work done.

All smooches, no… pooches?
Pete

Not gonna lie.  First two weeks in-country have been wild.  There’s no point in trying to talk about any of it right now, however.  All I do want to talk about is how much farther I am in the process.

Since there are a lot of things that I have had to do after arriving back in America, writing has been sporadic, and I can’t yet comment on the quality.  I’ve been needing to think about too many things at once.

I think I’m getting back to work later today.  There are things that need to be smoothed over, but the waters are calm with the editor.  Now I just have to smooth things over with other people.  I’m bombing into everyone’s house and I know I’m imposing.  I don’t mean to be.  Sometimes you have to make sure you thank your welcome.

That was effing clever.

I have to order groceries and I also have to try and clean up this new temporary living situation, so I have a short hike before I’m getting back to writing.  I’m going to try and soldier on and not make too many mistakes.

Dude, my nails are long.  That’s so weird.  I think I cut my nails at the hotel.  I’m not even sure now.  I just ordered nail clippers on Instacart.

If I can’t get situated in this spot, I’m never going to finish.  Most of the creation of this book has been delayed by time constraints and a ton of background noise.  Now I might not be able to type because of my fingernails.  Add that to the list of things that get in a writer’s way.

The only way I am going to be able to skate through this is because I handled my money well.  I can’t bounce around forever, but I can make a few saves if need be.  All it does is slow down the book, but whatever.

You have to be charming in these situations.  Living in Thailand has taught me to give people the high ground when they don’t seem to know where you’re coming from.

Seriously, guys.  I have to cut my nails.  Instacart can leave half of my shit at the store, but I need those nail clippers.

I guess I’m going to get on with my couch surfing trash boat punk life.

February 27, 2019

Matthew,

I’m writing this letter from my business class seat en route to Seoul. It isn’t very crowded, and everyone seems to be passed out except for me. There’s a rather obese woman next to me snoring.

Every time a stewardess walks by, they hurry and avoid eye contact. I think I’m supposed to be asleep like everyone else. But I don’t sleep on planes, Matthew. I just don’t. Flying is already weird enough. There’s no way in hell in closing my eyes. I just wish one of these gals would bring me some damn coffee.

They gave me some weird pickled vegetable tart right after takeoff. I keep having to get up and let out my farts in the lavatory. Still, I wish they’d bring me another one. It was actually very good.

I was watching a movie, but the headphones were too tight. They were giving me a headache. I suppose I’ll just read… right after I go release a few more farts.

Break wind,

Pete

February 26, 2019

Matthew,

At the Suvarnabhumi airport, traveling alone. I haven’t traveled alone in over five years. I haven’t really done anything alone in quite a while.

I’m in the prestige lounge. I still have a little bit of inheritance left over, so I am far away from the riff raff. Personal space feels nice after five years in Southeast Asia.

My wife is staying back to sell the house. We’re starting anew in America. There’s no plan as of yet, but I’ve got people waiting for me when my plane touches down in Atlanta.

What brings me back to Georgia time after time? Loyalty? Stupidity? The desire for closure? I don’t think I will be staying long; this will merely be my starting point.

Maybe that’s what this is. Maybe I will symbolically leave it behind for good this time.

These are strange circumstances under which I am returning. My parents are dead, I still have no career direction, and I somehow managed to get married along the way. Life is fucking crazy, man.

I don’t even know what Americans do anymore. This is going to be weird.

But I remain assured that it won’t be boring.

So, on that note, I’m going to pour out this warm, shitty beer and prepare another espresso.

See you soon,

Pete

Whatever’s about to happen, it’s going to be a long road.

Thank the Good Lord for legalized pot.

Flying Out

For those of you who haven’t heard / seen already, I will be boarding a plane at the end of this month and leaving Thailand… probably for good.

I’m not leaving angry, but I am leaving frustrated.  I worked my nuts off out here to barely make a livable wage, and at every turn I was harassed by stranded expats and browbeaten by administrators.  There’s no reason why I shouldn’t still be at one of these schools.  I have the drive and the work ethic.  Sadly, they just don’t want people like me.  My motivation is construed as a threat to all who like things just as they are.

And that alone isn’t the problem.  The problem comes when they start gossiping about you.  When they start suggesting that you’re fucking the students or when they start telling the parents that their child is not safe with you… one cannot help but take those things not just personally, but damn near as an act of violence towards you.  Certain people need to be glad I left when I did.

That’s why I changed my Facebook page, by the way.  I’m sick of the kids sending me messages complaining about the state of their school.  They had a chance to speak up for me, and they didn’t do it.  Now I don’t care.  I’m severing ties and leaving before I get any colder and meaner than I currently am.  I hit a guy two weeks ago, now I go out looking for any excuse to do it again.  I was never this way.  That was the final indicator that it was time to get up and go.

I’m leaving knowing that I did my best, however.  Thailand certainly served its purpose in that it certainly showed me what it’s like to be on the other side.  What do I mean by that? Oh, I’ll tell you, but only when I’m a safe enough distance from this place.  I won’t feel like I’m in the clear until my feet hit the Georgia ground.

I think I’m better socially equipped now, too, and I think my outlook is significantly different as well.  For all the negative that has transpired, this experience certainly has smoothed down my rough edges and made me a more compassionate person who observes and communicates a little better than he once did.  That’s not to say I’m a hundred percent confident in presenting myself, but I am ready for something new.  I think that alone should get me where I need to be.

And for all the shit that went down over the years with my family, my mother certainly managed to set her firstborn up for a better life.  I’m leaving with a decent amount of inheritance left over, so if I need to pick up a used car and drop a deposit on an apartment, I can do it without worrying.

Also, I can’t wait to try CBD.  And some of that legal pot Matt Ross is getting in Amherst.  Holy shit, I’m so stoked.

Sasi and I are going to be fine.  She’s sticking close to home and pushing through for another semester or two.  She’s also going to take some extra work and try to sell the house.  That alone would ease the transition immensely.  She actually has friends out here who can probably help with her immigration process, but because her work visa is actually still valid for another year, I’m thinking it won’t be anywhere near as annoying as the shit I had to do every 90 days… not to mention all the other extra shit I was required to do for immigration.

So that’s it right now.  All my ATL people, prepare yourself.  All my Savannah people, you can forget about it.  You’re just gonna have to come see me.  Everyone else, I’ll probably be making my way up the east coast once I get some shit figured out.  Nothing is really off limits or out of the question.  Well, nothing except for any place south of Atlanta.

So, with a week to go, I’m going to finish proofing this dissertation for the school, and finish all of my last minute preparations.  I keep thinking of other things that need to be taken care of, so I’m trying to get as much done up front as possible.

Netta, Erin… hope you gals are doing well.  Add me on my new FB.  Erin, I’ve got a response to one of your posts coming, but I’m a little busy at the moment.  However, I’d love to have lunch with you guys and stroll down memory lane at the Arundel Mills Mall.  Netta, you gotta tell me where to eat.  I’m mostly vegetarian, so you gotta tell me where the hippie spots are.

Aree, with a bit of luck, I can come out and see your release party if you’re having one.  Any other shows in the area, let me know.

Alright, darlings.  I need to get some cardio and start my day.  Talk soon.

Chad – if you can figure out a way to nullify my angst against RH, then I will most certainly come and smoke a cigar with you and your dad.

Severing Ties

I’m not even going to try and preface this letter with a great deal of context.  It’s to my aunt in response to an email about money refunded to my deceased mother.

For those of you who know what has been going on, you will understand.  For the rest of you, it’s still pretty self-explanatory.

 

Aunt *****,

I don’t know what to say about stuff like the water bill check.  It doesn’t really seem worth the effort to cut me a check for $11 and mail it over, if I am being perfectly honest.  I know you’re trying to be fair and impartial, but I’ve needed this to be over for a long time, and things like this only dredge up issues that renew sour feelings.  I want no further involvement in the estate in anything under $1,000.  My brother thinks it’s all his, anyways.  Let him have it.  I’m serious.

And I really don’t need an arbiter in our quarrel, either.  He is trash, and he will always be trash in my eyes.  He keeps doubling down on being a terrible human being, and he is well past the age where anyone can say it’s just a phase.

That being said, I am going to take steps to un-involve you with my own affairs.  All due respect, but my supposed family has not done very much to try and claim me or keep me around, so I think a clean break is best for all involved.  I have an uncle who hates everyone, another uncle who isn’t even remotely curious as to what my voice sounds like, and a flock of uptight crackers in South Carolina who routinely try to sue each other over property lines.  Repeated attempts at being involved and maintaining relationships only serve to further emphasize what a screwed-up life I’ve had.  The whole point of me moving out here was to make my own way, and I will never be able to do that if I keep hanging on to the remnants of a family who never seemed to want me in the first place.

And I want you to know that I’ve thought about this a lot.  This isn’t a drunken email or a random emotional outburst.  It hurts every single time I think about my family.  It’s easy to redeem a person who is deceased if you’re not the one who was constantly hurt by them, and I’m well past the point of sanctifying and applying sainthood to my mother.  I know she was your sister, but you have no idea what it was like to be an unwanted son.  You could never know.  Just observe Shawn’s attitude towards me, and the indoctrination he went through that still dictates that he should treat “the other” like garbage.

Again, all due respect, but these correspondences do little other than remind me that I will never have a family, and if I do, it will be purely one I create on my own.

So I am going to take steps to redirect my mail from your house.  These emails are becoming more and more forced, and I’m running out of ways to mask my own disappointment with everything.

I thank you for all that you did during what was arguably the hardest stretch of time I have ever endured (and I have had plenty).  However, you could have tried much harder than you did.  I literally don’t know anybody else who is so hopelessly estranged from their entire family the way I am.  It’s made worse by how hard I tried over the years to stay in touch with you all, with those efforts largely thwarted by my own mother.  If this sounds like bitterness, then understand that me walking away is my Hail Mary.  I have tried for years to shed these feelings, and this is the only thing I can come up with now.

This isn’t a middle finger or a “screw you.”  This is me shaking my head sadly and telling you that I want this to be over.  This former life keeps clinging to me, and shedding it will be the final step in me finally becoming who I was meant to be:  a person who loves, a person who helps others, and a person who actually smiles (and not just when he is under the influence).

I’ll let you know how it is going.  I apologize in advance if the changes do not immediately take effect.

Pete

 

Honestly, I think I’ve taken a pretty big step in getting on with my life today.  I feel strangely liberated after doing this.  I am completely unable to justify any further contact with anyone who is a drain on me.

And yes, this forced back-and-forth with my mother’s sister has been just that.  Though she is not prone to emotional outbursts like my mom, she has the same familial sabotage streak in her.

I’m just over it, people.  It’s time to do my own thing.

That being said, it’s business as usual.  I will be making some new posts soon.

 

 

“Failure to Adapt” progress

As some of you probably know, there has been a wave of things to me to take care of.  I started strong on this project around April of this year, but after smashing out a very rough draft of the second half, I slowly lost my momentum.  What was accomplished, however, was that I had finally constructed a timeline of events.  That was very important because that’s what was preventing anything else from being written.  Not much happened after that, however.

I submitted the draft for editing, with one half being well polished and the other being a literal first draft, but the feedback was a lot more forgiving than I thought it was going to be.  A lot of the second half had come out as cathartic gibberish that had no real direction, so I have to tip my hat to a very patient person reading through.

I’m back to work on it again, and it’s going better than I would have imagined.  I had a very hard time bridging the two halves of the story together, but after fighting with it for five days, I was finally able to put enough in place to have a more complete second half.

The first half needed some minor shoe-horning because of some larger points that I try to make later in the book.  One of the issues with the second half was that I was saying a bunch of things and not substantiating them.  It forced me to dig a little deeper into the memory banks, and I actually spent a few afternoons hand-scrawling any and all ideas that popped into my head until I was finally able to create a cogent timeline of events.  Furthermore, I was able to identify what needs more detail, at least for the next few chapters.

I’m almost to the point where I’m back to editing.  There are two kinds of revisions that I do:  editing and writing new material.  I never go a day without re-reading a previously written or edited portion, but the story is finally coming together well enough that I can veer back into the main story.  I’m also getting to the point where I can zip through a few chapters that only need minor corrections or details included.  Editing is so much easier than writing new stuff.

So for the moment, I’m back at it.  I can’t speculate for how long, but I’m smashing into some new territory and enjoying it very much.

At the Mega Bangna mall, and I have already seen two different people with dogs in strollers.

Sometimes I just say to myself,

“Where the fuck do I live?”

Hooray

After a ton of background noise and getting knocked off of my hot streak half a dozen times, I have finally gone through and fully edited the first half of the sixth draft of Failure to Adapt.  I’ve had a lot of helpful suggestions along the way, so finally getting in and implementing the changes in just the right spots to strengthen the overall narrative has, for the moment, got my confidence in this thing at an all-time high.

Sasi has one more day of her fertility treatments, then we go in on the 5th for me to do my part.  After that, she goes back in another two days, and then we wait another twelve to see if she is pregnant.

Here’s to hoping!

So once we get through all the stuff on Monday, I can begin committing myself to longer stretches of writing.  If I am able to have blocks of sustained writing, I can definitely have this thing done by the end of November.  I don’t need life to go perfectly, but I do need things to chill out.  We’ve had to deal with a ton of shit from immigration, and while I’d rather not talk about any of it (just because I don’t want to get mad all over again), I will say that the worst of it is behind us.

That’s all for now.  I know I haven’t done much of anything else lately, but shit has been so crazy and I have found myself needing to just relax on the few days where nothing is going on.  Looking forward to a productive November, followed by an even better December than last year.

I’m gonna go play FF12 now.  If you beat the game, you can start again with your characters at level 90.  Now I’m gonna go in and get all the cool shit I didn’t have the patience to get the first time around.

Just in case any of you were wondering…