Interview with J. Peters: Small Fingernails Even Less Love

Interview with J. Peters: Small Fingernails Even Less Love

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Interviewer: I am here with J. Peters, author of University on Watch and Small Fingernails. Mr. Peters, can you say something about the difference between these two books?

J. Peters: These two books couldnt be more different, and yet, in the end, they are the same book.

Interviewer: Can you say more about that?

J. Peters: No.

Interviewer: Well played, Mr. Peters. How has the reception been so far for these two books?

J. Peters: University on Watch seems to be getting more exposure in literary circles. The book is sparking discussion, and has truly had an impact on the mental health community. I cant say the same for Small Fingernails. I’m not shocked, given the target audience was a small clique of people I knew personally from eleven years ago


Interviewer: Pardon? A clique? Eleven years, Mr. Peters?

J. Peters: A very small clique. My friends from college. At New London University. These are the people I characterize in the book. The book is about my experience interacting with these kids, about six or seven of them. Some of these people were given more airtime than others. The people I really thought weren’t even worth talking about, I didnt. Others, that I spent more time with, got some air time, and others, who I liked, were given praises in the book. You’ll know who I dont like, and my favorites, quickly, when reading Small Fingernails.

Interviewer: You wrote a book about these people? Why Mr. Peters?

J. Peters: Vengence. This is my V-book, or “Vengence Book“. Small Fingernails is very much a hydra of spite, retribution, and unresolved anger towards people in college I never felt had the last word. With Small Fingernails, I do. This was all catharisis. Every page, another excuse to attack, reposition myself over these people, and do it publicly. As far as I am concerned, the world can judge them like so many of them judged me years ago.

Interviewer: Did you achieve your goal? Do you feel a sense of justice?

J. Peters: I feel great.

Interviewer: I had asked you, Mr. Peters, if you achieved your goal and about justice? Instead, your answered with how you felt. Was that what was important here? is that the real reason you wrote Small Fingernails?

J. Peters: My feelings aside, this book’s first goal was the hurt the feelings of those who hurt me so much. I wanted the audience, my readers, to laugh in the faces of so many of the characters in the book. The second goal, to rid myself of all guilt associated with the psychological and physical abuse I inflicted upon my ex girlfriend. Next, I wanted to let go of all personal grief I experienced years ago from inflicted the aforementioned harm. The final goal, in the process of doing all that, ruin as many lives as possible or at the very least, the life and marriage of my ex girlfriend. If this book doesn’t plant the seed of doubt in her marriage, the image of my seed in the book will do just that.

Interviewer: Mr. Peters, why?

J. Peters: Because I can. Small Fingernails was just an exercise in the politics of friendship in the wake of unrequited love. The challenge wasn’t writing the book. The challenge was living out its pages years ago and living to write about it years later. I survived Small Fingernails only to put New London University on Watch weeks later. What will be your fate and reaction to Small Fingernails?

Interviewer: This was J. Peters, author of Small Fingernails: Even Less Love. Thank you, Jacques, for this opporunity. I encourage you all to go out and read the book today.


J. Peters

J. Peters

Max Guttman '08, MSW '12, is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a 2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10 award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association. Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression, but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes on his lived experiences with schizophrenia. "I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery," Guttman says. "After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my 'break,' I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others." "In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing to a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients."
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