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Positively Speaking

Most everyone was horrified, including me. What was I thinking? But ‘fool me once’ had extended itself to five unstable rentals.  From the couple who was going to go to Europe for a year, but forgot to tell me they only had a six month visa, to tenancy purposefully intended to act as counselor to the other mentally ill tenant (only once again forgetting to include me in the plan), my desire to find stable, long term rental so I could establish my writing career was thwarted time and again.

The last time, when the landlord insisted (above my protests that his situation was exactly what I wanted even though I told him ‘furnished six months’ was the opposite of wanted I wanted) that he would accommodate my need for long term unfurnished rental, I said enough. I listened for the thin silence. Caught also in that realtors feeding frenzy that happens every year in the Spring when everyone is promised a sure sale in ‘the best season ever’  and renters are booted out for homes to be staged, one disastrous experience in a lease option, the idea seemed radical, but the only practical way to take my destiny into my own hands.

I would throw everything in storage, parce out the necessities of moving forward and not waste anymore time paying for a room to sleep.  I would live without a house.

What I needed was an office where I could work on writing every hour I wasn’t working my daygig and    do it the old fashioned way. Left with a difficult financial situation brought on by moments of incredible courage to speak truth in places where truth was not spoken, I was going to have to imitate my family predecessors and cut back everywhere I could, make the most use of what I had, and generate product to take to market and then gather wealth together penny by penny.

My body was incredibly crippled. I was old. And I was determined. I made a commitment to listen only to myself or about a dozen trusted friends. I was not going to put myself in the hands of people who were trying to work the angles, overextended in credit and eager to waste my money. I had enough people of esteemed work, with integrity, telling me the world outside my village was waiting for my words to believe in my work. I had enough vantage of my own history to know I had the courage to do it.

I also knew succeeding was going to generate some real resistance from a small group of haters.

Five moves in seven years made sleeping in my car, the single necessity to make it all work, seem a positive. Never quite able to unpack or settle or get to my work, as opposed to waking up, going to work and then returning to an office where I could focus on writing to my heart’s content made giving up fun evenings entertaining friends, the comfort of seeing my furniture and the love of my kitties, who would have to go in foster care, seem more viable.

Within the first week, one friendship had blasted apart. They were insisting my plan was foolish, and I countered with a reflection of their own lifestyle which was buried in debt and longing for more.  I was to find out who my true friends were.
Within the first six months, I had published and released my first book, to amazing critical acclaim. The plan was a winner. I had proven to myself I had a future as a writer with a broader audience than that of my wonderful followers of the bi weekly column I write. By golly the algorithm of the United States of Capitalistic America still worked.

In June I ‘retired’ from caregiving for special needs families and threw myself into full time writing. I was in heaven. And then it began. The opposition. The people who didn’t want me to succeed and threaten the lifestyle of garnering as much credit and living as much beyond your means as possible, began to use the ‘h’ word. Homeless. Again and again, even in the middle of the night when they would interrupt my evening reverie and come to my car window to scream at me, I would explain I was houseless, true. I had a membership at the Athletic Club, all my things in storage, ate out a lot, used the kitchen at my office maybe four times a week to cook a veggie egg scramble or cuts pieces off a cold precooked chicken, and my total social life consisted of a Bridge game every week.  I was living without a house. That did not make me homeless. I slept in a parking space I paid for. Even legally, I could not really be considered homeless. Call me a workaholic, but homeless, no. A house is not a home.

The details of The Grand Adventure, as I came to call it, will be recorded in a book. Eventually the naysayers demanded I leave my office and, as always, God surprised me with the next provision for me to be able to continue generating words for people to read.

It’s been a remarkable experience with it’s own routines and challenge and perks.  The most memorable moment? Waking up in a snow covered car. Magical. The most surprising moment? Discovering all the illegal activity that goes uptown in the little village at night. There is one car prowler who, I swear, will never try to steal another car. I think he thought he hit the zombie jackpot. The most surprising twist? Finding out sleeping in the car was good for my health. I am the most refreshed I’ve been in years. With my hip condition from a childhood car accident, in a bed I toss and turn all night. In the car, I’d pull the blankets up and nestle into, what amounted to, business class sleeping pod, and not open my eyes for four to six hours at a time. It was remarkable.

To those who wanted to label me homeless, it was beyond comprehension to make the sacrifices or work as hard at one new thing as I did all alone. They had families and husbands’ incomes that supported them and spent enormous amounts of time watering lawns and gardens and cleaning and cooking big meals and having people over.  And they mostly were not listening to the thin silence about what to contribute to the world.  

Today I will wrap some fragile chotchke and bag up my books and friends will carry out the seven totes that include all my writing projects. The next scene of My Third Act will somehow unfold itself.

My goal is to own my own home, create my own financial independence with honestly earned dollars as soon as I can. I’ve a long road to that goal, but I have confidence in my ability to sacrificially work towards it. If I can do The Grand Adventure. I can do anything.