Preorder Quarter Life Crisis or Live a Life Full of Regret

preorder

 

So, apparently the pre-order links for Quarter Life Crisis are going to be coming out one by one, which only slightly makes me want to grow my hair to the point that I can grip it just so I can yank it out of my goddamn head.

But that’s just me.

Here’s the link for the print version of QLC at Amazon. Eventually, there should be links to preorder the ebook version on here, along with the ebook and print versions at Barnes and Noble, the ebook version at Apple, the print version at Lulu, and wherever else my distributor decides to offer the thing for sale. Right now though, Amazon’s what we got, with an exclusive sales price for preorder.

So click the link and buy the book before it comes out on August 5th, because it’s just what awesome people do.

And if you haven’t yet, check out the sample at GetOverCollege.com so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Happy Monday to all (hopefully).

-PAJr.

My Obligatory 30th Birthday Post

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Heh heh…puppies…

So, another year, another notch on that birthday belt (I don’t actually own a birthday belt—that’d be weird—I just like the image…I picture it having balloons and streamers and candy and other shit hanging from the buckle…)

The big 3-0. No longer in my 20’s, I guess it’s time to start acting like an adult.

Or not (pssshhh, fuck that nonsense).

On this day (which started with 60 happy birthday texts from two of my friends; love you guys), I can’t help looking back at the last 10 years of my life to take stock of where I’m at now in relation to where I wanted to be back then (because I’m the first person who’s ever done that on his 30th birthday, right? Right).

There’s not very much I remember about turning 20. It didn’t start out a very good year; I didn’t start it out a very good person (for you mathematically challenged individuals, this was back in 2004). Spent a lot of time demonstrating exactly how stupid a 20 year old can act when he has absolutely no idea what he wants to do with his life. That streak of unfettered debauchery only lasted the first half of the year though, as that summer was the summer I decided to go back to school and pursue writing as a career.

Since then, I’ve done a few things with my time:

Spent seven years getting an AA, BA, and MFA.

Published a bunch of short stories and a short story collection.

Lived in Tallahassee, Orlando, Manhattan, and last year embarked on my second stint in Miami (totally different than the first, let me tell you).

I’ve dated a lot, been single a lot, made friends, lost friends, resumed friendships with people I thought I lost.

I’ve fought, loved, cried, laughed (often maniacally), and had a grand total of 11 different jobs (six of which were in the restaurant industry).

Yet today, I woke up and all I could think about was not these past achievements and failures, but rather what my future holds.

Full disclosure: I’m not where I wanted to be when I was 20, looking forward to this new decade. Which isn’t to say I haven’t achieved anything (my expectations at that age were lofty, to put it mildly). I just remember thinking that, at 30, I’d be there.

You know where there is too, dammit. That dream life.

I thought back then that, at 30, I’d have the house, the wife, the kid(s), the dog with a backyard. I’d also have one—if not two—published novels, with enough attention from them to warrant becoming a full-time author. I’d be fully safe and sound in my life and career path, and I’d have everything figured out already, ready to approach the future with a confidence that can only be derived from security.

None of those things exist in my life right now though.

Except the only one that matters: confidence.

Through the support of friends and family, my students and colleagues, and everybody who’s read my writing and been vocal about their opinions, I’ve managed to end up exactly where I wanted to be at this age because of you, even though I haven’t checked off a single item on that list. Which is why I can honestly say I’m happier today than I can remember being on my last five birthdays.

Funny how shit works like that.

So, I’ll raise my imaginary shot glass (I have classes to teach ‘til later tonight so, yes, imaginary; don’t worry though, it’ll be a very real glass when I meet up with my friends in a few hours…no tequila) and toast to my friends, family, future, and the futures of everybody I love and have the privilege to be loved by.

I’ve got momentum now, people. And experience.

A combo like that?

Shit…I’ll just let Kanye and Jay explain it:

Short Story: The Simple Life

Patrick Anderson Jr

Park Bench in Toronto

Tom starts the last six months of his life sitting on a bench next to a woman in a white dress.

Staring at the sky, cloudless and cool, Tom notices a draft blowing in from the south, smelling faintly of pine. Tom smiles at this and glances at the woman in the white dress as she chastises a young boy. She does this sparingly, with much care, and ends the encounter with a pat on the back and a light shove towards the playground. Tom splits his attention between the woman and his own daughter, hanging from the jungle gym. Eventually, he turns to face the woman.

“Hi,” Tom says, and the woman glances up at him as he holds out his hand. “I’m Tom.”

The woman smiles and tells him her name. After a pause, she adds “That’s my son, Carl.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Tom says.

The woman, taken aback, says, “Do what?”

“Tell me that’s your child. I know he’s your child. It’s obvious he’s your child.”

The woman immediately scoffs, stands, says a curt goodbye and walks away.

Tom tries twice more that day–in between trips to the store, and a quick stop back home–with two more women with sons playing in the park near his daughter. And both of their reactions are the same: scoff, stand, walk away, repeat. And it is understandable, in a way. To Tom, at least. He knows what’s happening even as he’s trying to deny it, knows that the women see him as a simple, explainable man: rude, probably a pervert, potentially psychotic. Someone to get away from.

What these women don’t know about Tom is what he will never reveal to them anyways. That Tom is a father, one half the genetic code of the little blond girl with the pale skin and curly hair doing somersaults in the sand. Tom is the husband of a woman who is a mother and a wife and the most prestigious real estate broker in the area, a woman who has more than likely sold these other women the homes where they themselves are mothers and wives. Tom is son to a father who has drunk himself into an early grave, and a mother who has resorted to bingo and bridge groups for social contact in the aftermath. Tom is brother to a cokehead senator and a journalist sister who sees no problem in habitually sleeping with powerful men for the inside scoop on breaking news. Tom is a failed lawyer, a failed carpenter, a failed artist, and now a failed cancer recovery patient. Tom is all of these things on a day-to-day basis, every day except today.

Today, Tom just wants to be Tom.

Tom watches as the many kids on the playground dwindle to a dozen, then three, then two. His daughter walks up to the only other child—a little boy—and gives him a rock. The boy smiles and gives her a handful of sand. The boy’s mother sits a few benches down from Tom and he stands and approaches her slowly, smiling and holding up a hand as a greeting, a move that suggests the phrase, I come in peace. She smiles back and removes her earphones, placing her book in her lap.

“Afternoon,” Tom says. “I’m Tom.”

She glances at her son and Tom’s stomach drops.

“Sharon,” she says. “Nice to meet you, Tom.”

Tom waits, but that is all Sharon has to say.

“Mind if I take a seat?” he asks.

Sharon scoots to the side, giving him room to sit. Tom hesitates a moment then settles down onto the bench. They sit in silence, the awkwardness of the chance encounter growing until it seems to cover the entire area, blocking out everything, even their children.

“Beautiful day,” Sharon says, finally.

Tom glances at her and nods, smiling the warmest, friendliest, most genuine smile he can remember having in a long time. Because it is, indeed, a beautiful day. Because words can’t describe his agreement.

-PAJr.

Washington Pastime Interviews This Guy About “Boiling Point”

Washington Pastime
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The Washington Pastime (which originally published “Ace of Spades”, one of the stories in Boiling Point) recently interviewed me about writing and short stories and Boiling Point and the meaning of life and all that stuff.
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They posted the interview on their site this morning. Click on the link to see me give way-too-long answers to simple questions, as is typical.

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And again, pick up Boiling Point when you get a chance.
Deuces.
-PAJr.