On August 1, 2001 I became a statistic. I was officially homeless. My daughter was thrown in a truck, I was beaten and left there to figure it out. I owned nothing except a suitcase fiilled with photographs of my daughter, as many of her clothes as I could pack, two pairs of underwear and a T shirt for myself. I felt I could survive with just the clothes on my back and actually, I didn’t really care, I was just too traumatized and absorbed in the search for my child as well as the monumental task of staying alive. I will admit to being exceptionally grateful to be out of the filthy rat infested shack my daughter and I had been forced to live in for five years of our lives. I would be sleeping in a house with a roof overhead that wasn’t full of holes and that in itself was a marvel. I didn’t expect my child and I to get out of there alive and my ability to write about all things related to this period in time is miraculous indeed.
I have to fight each and every day to focus and concentrate because the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that clings to me like a hungry alligator is a constant companion and foe that challenges my every attempt to function and write. So far, I’ve endured. At the time of these events in my life, I lived in a state of urgency and the present, with no thought of tomorrow being a viable truth. When the shelter system spit me out with the rest of the women and children who’d used up their sixty days, I had no idea what to do but my survival instincts kicked into high gear pretty damn quick. Living on the street is not something anyone can write with cogency, unless they’ve spent time in that particular gutter, isolated and desperate.
One reason I wanted to write this post, is that in my travels around the internet, I’ve come across two separate items about homelessness. Each one was written by people who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about and it is insulting to those who do. One is about exploiting the poor for money under the guise of helping them overcome their plight and it is a scam and utter bullshit. The other is written as observational poetry by someone who’s work is mediocre at best and ridiculous at the worst. This particular poem was bending down the ridiculous end like spaghetti until it snaps. I had an enormous “How dare you!” moment, I admit it and after reading this crap, I sat and cried. Yep, I did. I sobbed a tissue soaker, because here I am, with a million stories to tell, stories about real people with the authenticity that comes from suffering and guess what? No one wants them. I won’t delve into my submission history, but it appears, if I write fluff for print magazines and take a few cutesy photos, an editor will lap it up like a cat does cream. However, if I produce something real and valuable, with my heart bleeding on every word, they won’t even give me a glance. I’ve been having some serious doubts recently about whether I should continue with what appears to become a fruitless endeavor that is completely related to the corruption and politics that is inherent in the publishing industry. I want to be proven wrong about this, to be given the opportunity to give someone a memoir that would make us all a lot of money, but no takers. I clearly don’t know the right person/people, or possess the degree necessary to make me palatable to those who can give my words to the world.
As it stands, I have two books in various stages of development and a third is completed, although I’m tweaking it and polishing it, (thank you Bryan, your input was very important to me and priceless.) It will be ready to submit this week and I’m facing the prospect of that inevitable editorial boot in the face, with such despair and trepidation it is crushing my soul. I’ve survived so much and I made a promise to some very broken people, to write this book and sell it. I’ve written it, but the selling it isn’t up to me and once again, just like those days spent in hell, living on the streets of Bellingham Washington, I am at someone else’s mercy. It isn’t a good place to be because in my experience, there isn’t a surplus of mercy among the rich and powerful. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it over the next little while and if there happens to be, by some quirk of fate, an editor or agent cruising by this blog, I have this to say to you: I have a best seller in my hands, it’s entitled, The glass Tulips. please, email me and request partials, full, a proposal, whatever, just ask for it and it’s yours. Of course, I won’t hold my breath because this glass is not only half empty, it’s been drained.
Okay, off to do the usual grind, be good to yourselves and have a Happy and safe July 4th to everyone south of the border.