You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘jungle living’ category.

1. Vacuuming is not negotiable. Do it or get ready to meet 1000 new friends every night.

2. Stock up on the foods you like. When it’s raining so hard you can’t see the road down the mountain from the mist and steam coming off of it, you’ll be grateful for the economy size box of Fruit Loops.

3. Pack your rubbish out nightly and shower before bed. Everything has a smell, including you. The ravenous bull-cockroach swarm coming out of the trees thinks you’re food. Don’t fulfil their expectations by leaving your burrito wrapper in the bin and smelling like it yourself.

4. Make friends with the local dope farmers. They’re the mafia in these parts. The teenage gangsters and drug mules you see on the roads (easy ID: nervous eyes in a minivan over 10 years old? Ah so, signor drug donkey) answer to the old dope farmers who typically look like heavily armed Pai Mei in overalls. Befriend the old man on the mountain and you will never be messed with. Plus, he’ll get you anything you need, but you might have to dig some holes for him in the swamp. It’s only fair.

5. Be careful with the human turkey vultures. That nosey lonesome woman from suburban Steubenville, who wants to know what you think of her tramp stamp and whose bank manager husband just bought the 20-room villa on the old cane plantation, keeps showing up at your door in Daisy Dukes and mini skirts. Uh huh. Offers to let you use her husband’s weight set when he’s not there? Uh huh. Mentions that he lives back in their Ohio home half the time, but she’d rather just stay here? Uh huh. Don’t. Just don’t. If you need an explanation why you shouldn’t, it’s probably too late. But don’t, okay? She’s looking for a Divorce Pry Bar. Before a year goes by, there will be a blow-out fight. There will be tears. And you don’t want hubby showing up at your door on a rainy night with a bush machete looking to sublimate his emotions (“Uh, Bob, I think you’re projecting a little . . . Bob? BOB NO!”).

6. Make friends with the Buddhist monks in the forest temple. They’re wonderful.

7. Get ready for a lot of weird-ass job opportunities you wouldn’t normally take. Night carpentry? Check. Cutting banana trees in 108° heat? Yesum. Helping your affluent neighbor from Steubenville move her husband’s weight set to the unoccupied maid’s quarters (she’ll provide the sunblock, even put it on you)? Uh . . . Get offered money by random millennial tourists spending their trust funds for (a) tarot readings; (b) guided trips up to the volcano; (c) lessons in things adults should already know when they invite themselves over to dinner (OMG this is the BEST Caesar salad—can you teach me? I’ll pay you $100); driving a panel truck with 800 lbs. of chemical manure down the mountain in a thunderstorm with a guy named Jeff who spends the whole time explaining his facial scar? Yes. These are the golden years, lad. Savor them.

8. Corollary to #2 above: factor in the reality of the local elderly Japanese and Thai ladies deciding you’re okay and wanting to feed you. In one week, they might bring over banana lumpia, spring rolls, various curries, mung bean pastries, edamame, hummus, papaya salad, and an entire strawberry cake. They’re always polite, never stay long, sometimes bring a good-luck plant for your yard, and often say, “I pray for you! Good! Be happy!” on their way to the car. They and the monks will restore your faith in humanity.

9. The dude who’s always high and likes to shoot at anything moving on the valley road is not your pal. Think good thoughts for the feral pigs, dogs, chickens, mongeese, and random birds because they don’t deserve a bullet in the head. The upside is that Dwayne is usually so stoned most of the time his aim sucks.

10. Spray the windows with tea tree oil or it will be termite apocalypse in May and June. And you don’t want that. Nobody wants that.

Now you’re ready to move into a hut with a corrugated steel roof and write that novel you’ve been planning. Let me know how it goes.

Welcome . . .

I write fiction and nonfiction for magazines, work as a freelance writer / editor / journalist, and teach composition and fiction writing.

This blog is mostly dedicated to writing about politics and media, travel essays, creative non-fiction, discussions about books, the MFA experience, publishing, and work I’ve already placed in magazines. But I might write anything.

Sign up for my newsletter.  Also take a look at my Pressfolios pages, where my writing is archived.

Click on the keys to subscribe to my free newsletter.

“To educate is to seek meaning in everything. It is to teach others to seek the meaning of things. This means mixing the dreams of children and young people with the experience of adults and the elderly. This exchange must always take place, or else there can be no humanity because there would be no roots, no history, no promise, no growth, and no prophecy.”

— Pope Francis, 5 June 20

“I write it myself, edit it myself, censor it myself, publish it myself, distribute it myself, and spend time in prison for it myself.”

— Vladimir Bukovsky

If you enjoy my free content, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi allows me to receive income from fans of my writing.  Anyone who clicks the link can support me with a with a 'coffee' (a small payment that is roughly equal to the price of a coffee).

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery—isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”

― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

“La lecture est un acte d’identification, les sentiments exprimés sont déjà en nous. Autrement, le livre nous tombe des mains.”

— Madeleine Chapsal

“Time is said to be irreversible. And this is true enough in the sense that ‘you can’t bring back the past’. But what exactly is this ‘past’? Is it what has passed? And what does ‘passed’ mean for a person when for each of us the past is the bearer of all that is constant in the reality of the present, of each current moment? In a certain sense the past is far more real, or at any rate more stable, more resilient than the present. The present slips and vanishes like sand between the fingers, acquiring material weight only in its recollection. King Solomon’s ring bore the inscription, ‘All will pass’; by contrast, I want to draw attention to how time in its moral implication is in fact turned back. Time can vanish without trace in our material world for it is a subjective, spiritual category. The time we have lived settles in our soul as an experience placed within time.”

— Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time