“I hope we can get out of here before we get arrested,” David Peters said to me as we walked out of the graveyard. It was 9:30 p.m., an uncommon hour to visit and take pictures of the dead’s resting place.
I didn’t wince when David asked me to go with him that night. This isn’t uncommon etiquette for our relationship, and going to a graveyard in the middle of the night isn’t the craziest place I have gone with him.
Although most of the residents of MC may not find themselves visiting a graveyard with him, most will recognize David as a near-permanent fixture of the campus.
With his long beard, fire-red hair and exceptionally extroverted gregariousness, David is an easily identifiable character on the Maryville campus.
David Peters was born in upstate New York in the village of Carthage, nearly 50 miles away from the nearest highway as well as an hour and a half away from Syracuse.
He was thrown into adulthood early, and this led him into a variety of experiences that affected his perspective uniquely and greatly.
Over the last decade, David has lived nearly everywhere, from Brooklyn, New York; Costa Mesa, California; Seattle, Washington; and Cincinnati, Ohio. He has lived almost all over the United States.
His journey across the nation has not always been a happy one, though. In some of the cities he stayed, he would find himself without a place to live, forcing him to move on to another area, if not another state.
While visiting a relative in Maryville two years ago, David enrolled in two classes at MC, an experience that had such an impact on him that he left his high-paying job in Seattle to relocate and become a full-time student here.
Always wanting to be a novelist, David, now a junior, chose to double major—which he tells me has been tough—in Writing Communications and Design.
However, writing for David serves as more than just a career choice or pastime. For him, it is a therapeutic and purgatorial exercise to help bring himself into the ethical life.
“I was living a very unethical life while in Seattle,” David said. “I made a lot of money doing morally questionable things. I was a hustler. It made me feel terrible after a while, and I knew I had to get out of it.
“Life has to get in focus or you don’t understand it,” he said, reflecting back on his life and experiences at MC.
Moreover, he now wants to make a difference with his writing. He tells me that he wants to use his abilities to lull the effects of capitalism on developing nations and educate children around the globe about the excesses of the capitalist system.
In what free time he has, David likes to cook, be in love and play music.
For me, David isn’t an academic piece to be studied, but rather a good friend and colleague. We differ in our opinions on many different topics, and we can sometimes be found debating the merits and demerits of our positions.
I will say that David is an easy person to have as a friend, he is thoughtful and full of good conversation.
I’ve stood beside him while reporting at a White Lives Matter rally, and I have stayed up with him until 6 a.m. working on creative writing portfolios.
If you see him across campus, reach out to him–that is if he doesn’t reach out to you first.