Salud, El Salvador!

I’m at the airport in San Salvador, preparing to vacation in the States after a year of teaching in Central America. I can’t recall a year in which I’ve learned and been challenged more: a new job, culture, language, lifestyle, relationships. At times, I traveled so far out of my comfort zone I couldn’t remember its coordinates, which, of course, was part of the idea.

Salud, El Salvador, to an amazing primer año! I’m already anticipating the second one!

Vegas, baby!

Yet another Vegas paradox: that you can be so anxious to visit a place you don’t really like that much.

Book update

I finished and printed out a second draft of the tunnel survivors book. It’s solid, I think, and around 90,000 words, which is close to its “fighting weight.”

I’m in the process of editing the hard copy. I hope to finish the book in the next week or two and then start shopping it around. #ShineALight #TwoCopsAndACricket

Lessons learned

“I take the time to praise people who need someone or something, because that’s what they’re really lacking. People wanta come down on those who are in a bad spot: ‘You suck! You’re a junky! You’re a lazy piece of shit!’

“Everyone’s yelling stuff out of car windows, but no one’s pulling over and trying to find out what caused the situation and how they might be able to help. If you ask questions and show some concern and provide encouragement, it may give them the fuel they need to find that inner passion to get better themselves. Sometimes that’s all it takes.”—Ned, in the drains from 2010-2012 #ShineALight #TwoCopsAndACricket

Summer plans

I’ve solidified my itinerary for the summer: Las Vegas (June 18-23), Atlanta (June 23-July 1) and Ambergris Caye, Belize (for the month of July). (I’ll return to San Salvador around August 1.) Let’s get drinks, play blackjack, practice Spanish, workshop over coffee or tea, do outreach in the drains, go on a run or hike, play team trivia, snorkel or something!

PS- When you live behind towering, razor wire-topped walls guarded by vigilantes with guns, posting information like this isn’t a concern.

Book update

I’d planned to edit the first two chapters of the first draft of Two Cops and a Cricket: Surviving the Las Vegas Storm Drains, then use them as the sample in a book proposal and to apply for grants and fellowships. However, the first two chapters aren’t really representative of the book and I’m in a groove, so I think I’m going to finish a solid second draft and go from there. I’m almost halfway through the draft, and it’s now under 100,000 words, and I should be able to finish it in the next month or so.

As always, I’ll keep you updated. #TwoCopsAndACricket #ShineALight

Book update

As promised, an update on Two Cops and a Cricket: Surviving the Las Vegas Storm Drains. I’ve finished the first draft of the book. It’s 107,000 words. My task now, begun this morning, is to edit and streamline the first two chapters and make them more narrative and cohesive. I then plan to use them as the sample in a book proposal and to apply for grants and fellowships.

I will continue to keep you updated. Thanks again for your support of me, this book project and Shine a Light! #TwoCopsAndACricket #ShineALight

Reflections

“I loved Las Vegas. I wouldn’t trade those years for the world. I was a big kid—still am—in an adult playground. The tunnels were just a resting place. I never felt weird or guilty when I stayed or hung out in them, because I didn’t have any responsibilities. I didn’t have anyone to take care of or to worry about. I stayed in them till I didn’t need to anymore. I was always in and out of places. When you’re doing drugs and gambling you’re a prince one day and a pauper the next.”—Zero, in the drains from 2009-2011 #ShineALight #TwoCopsAndACricket

Con amor

You’re gone? Just like that? When I was preparing to send you another poem for your feedback? You slimy bastard!

Shaun, I learned so much about life and poetry from you, despite the fact that you were 20 years my junior. I wish I could’ve done more for you. Wish I would’ve been more persistent, more of an asshole. (At the time, I convinced myself that was not what you wanted or needed.) Wish I would’ve driven from Vegas to South Bend and dragged you to where you needed to be and stayed by your side.

I’m so confused. So many memories, but I assumed there’d be so many more.

The rainy season returned to San Salvador this morning. Miss you madly, mi amigo!

Con amor. Siempre …

PS- You would’ve fucking hated the poem, but provided positive, insightful and constructive criticism nonetheless.