I learned a few days ago that three more of my stories have been published in Street Spirit. This makes ten short pieces I’ve had published in the past six months, in Street Spirit, and in Classism Exposed. I find this astonishing, especially because I never expected to have anything published at all. It brings a new sense of purpose, with a connection to fulfillment in life — something I can always look towards pursuing, at times when I might be tempted to ponder that my life is without meaning or reason.
The above link is to the full 12-page issue. I think it’s an unusually good one, if you want to leaf through it. Or, if you just want to check out my own work, I’m on pages 8 and 12. Terry Messman the publisher again gave me the entire p. 12, which is the back page. He gave me the whole back page for the posting of The Revelation of Humanity, which I’ve gathered from reader response to be one of my better recent pieces. Other pieces published from my blog were On Disorganization and She Called Me Dad, both on p. 8, the former having had its title changed appropriately for the February issue: “Scrambled and Scattered by 12 Years on the Streets.”
Now, I trust Terry’s editing in general. Sometimes, a title change in particular will draw the reader toward a particular point of view the selected article might espouse. There can be no doubt, for example, that I was indeed “scrambled and scattered” throughout my twelve years of sojourning on the streets of the City of Berkeley and elsewhere. In many ways, it has been indisputable hell trying to readjust to a set of procedures that, while crucial to the more mainstream modes of living here in today’s America, is entirely inapplicable to the drastically altered set of conditions governing the lives of street people and of those who inhabit the Great Outdoors.
But there was also evidence of some pretty amazing grace that surfaced during the perplexing period when for years I drifted about the outskirts of what society holds to be acceptable. There were even recurring gifts of a nature that I’ve been hard-pressed, while living indoors again, to replace. This is why I know that my life has meaning. It would be one thing if my task were only to report the sordid horrors of extended homeless living. Some of these may surprise, or even startle or shock. But we can be startled and shocked by sordid stories any day of the week, anytime, anywhere. It’s the stuff that was good — that seems almost irreplaceable — that often goes unreported.
The challenge to find sufficient replacement for these blessings is something that adds new purpose to my path. Anyone who’s been reading me throughout the past year and a half will know that my path toward accepting and positively managing the details of indoor living has not been a straight line. It’s tempting at times to want to default back to a homeless situation, despite the inherent dangers thereof. To address that dynamic, it makes sense that I would be about discovering what it is that certain redemptive aspects of the homeless experience were providing for me, so that I might regain their provision, in a different form, in my new story of indoor life.
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