Yarn Talk Show

I was on twitter recently (rarely there! Busy! Sorry!), but I was made aware of this really cool trio of ladies with a rather impressive online talk show about knitting. They did a really wonderful, and I do mean lovely job, of talking about my work, my life, my history, in such a way that I had to find the girl who did the piece. Found her! Her name is Heidi, and without sounding ungrateful, I think she did a better job than Channel 13 did. (ouch! Now, that wasn’t supposed to sound like that….but, Heidi’s version of MAD MAN KNITTING was more of what I was hoping for.) When I was sent the clip, I was beaming from ear to ear.

vlcsnap-2015-08-02-22h01m39s857“Yarn Talk Show” does an excellent job (in just a few minutes) of pulling this yarn community into conversation. And I respect that more than you can understand. Quite a few yarners out there that want to be cliquish. Not interested in that sort. Love the ones that pull us closer as a group and hold us to our commitment of using our hands, with love, to shape and shift good in the world with our craft.

Do a rather good 10 minute favor to yourself and watch their latest episode on youtube. And smile with me at 5 minutes and 30 seconds into the program :)

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

 

Book Order Update

For the last month we’ve had books shipped in, signed, then mailed back out in a rotation of 20 to 30 per day. They would arrive, I’d sign them, pack them all up and have them picked up the next day for delivery.

And then it all stopped…I figured they were going to my old apartment, and some did, but the lag time seemed off. Then I received an email from the printer:

“Dear Lulu Customer,
As luck would have it, we had a number of machines malfunction last week that put our print delivery times behind. Unfortunately your order is late in printing and shipping.  The machines are back in business and we are working double shifts to catch up.  You can expect your order to ship by next week.
If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Voice team at www.lulu.com/support or contact us at (844) 212-0689.
Thank you for your business and your patience.
Rachel Braynin”
So, I finally got a confirmation from lulu that the last of my books were heading here and would arrive on my doorstep by Wednesday. We already printed out the postage, smacked them on envelopes and are just waiting for the books to get here. So, Wednesday night, Phillip and I will order a pizza, I’ll sign all of them, hand them to him, he’ll put the in the envelopes and seal them and they’ll be out Thursday the 6th and should be in all of your mailboxes Monday. WHEW!
Sorry about that, everyone. I guess in the course of the move I didn’t realize that days had gone by with no boxes being delivered. I should have paid more attention. But, at least lulu is back up and running and we’re a go!
Thanks for being so understanding.

The Dusk Just Shy of August

I was outside a few minutes ago. Dusk at the end of July calls upon a remembrance so great, I couldn’t resist sharing it.

Sometimes you have to relive the past, because that is where the majesty of where your spirit lives. As much as you want to push it toward the present, and a hopeful future, you have to willingly tread into the back waters.

Some years back, in May of 2007, I randomly met a man online. And I can’t even remember how, but it was so far ago, I think it might have been myspace :) But, we met, we exchanged emails. And a friendship was born. We found ourselves writing to each other daily, and before long, we began talking on the phone.

BM1747810Our talks would begin in the early AM, before the sun woke. One of us would call the other, groggy talk and coffee in hand,  we’d face east, wait for the sun, wait for the new day. There is a powerful moment in this. Each day the sun greets you can be construed as a blank canvas, a tabula rasa. Night, the moon, the stars, all allow you moment of deep reflection….but the sun brightly blasts all of that clean….and you can step into the world given another chance, another moment to make right what you recall hindering you at night.

With our work schedules we found ourselves calling each other just about at dusk in the late summer.

As the humid haze touched the strumming ligustrum leaves, we’d talk about whatever in the world God wished us to hold onto. The bats would dance in the air. Bouganvillas bloom, and crepe myrtles show their foliage, but it was the random vine moving wayward in its step holding as a prize her brilliant blooms for someone who was not there, reminding with each nettle that life blooms indirectly sometimes, not where you can see it, nor hold it, nor feel it….but, sometimes there in the corner where you least expect it.

It was a summer’s coming to a close that all things new in life became real. It was the time in my life when my spirit opened to new ideas, to new adventures. And I took them, ran with them, where the troubles of the mind were ceased, and in the stead of trembling, communion and connection brought release. It was the time in my life where all those ideas and concepts of spirituality finally made themselves actual.

We can pray, but are we prepared truly for when our prayers are answered? I needed a friend then. And I prayed for one.

He carried me with him on the phone through the Moab desert, and I carried him with me on my move back to Savannah. Every step of the day, every minute of the day, we carried each other over the phone on our journeys through life.

I knit socks for him. He wore Birkenstocks….so we called them Birken-socks. (clever, eh?). And in turn he sent me a yarn bag he had crocheted, some Nag Champa soap, and a copy of WREATHTHU. And inscribed on the front page? The testament that we had been learning. “As above, so below.”

Yes, that all you put in the mind will form itself into reality.

My knitting took off that year. Because the knitting wasn’t for me, it wasn’t for my own self gratification. My hands worked the needles for someone else. I was showing affection, care and concern for someone else. Not myself.

And I saw greater projects, better movement in these hands of mine. I saw all that I hoped for come real.

And life moves on. As it should. Things happen, situations change. We move on….Life plays itself as a burden sometimes, doesn’t it? Incidences like homelessness and constantly moving pull you away not only from material things, but from people, too. Hard to keep in touch when no one can figure out where you are sleeping that night.

And we lost contact.

I miss my friend. I truly do.

And all of this was brought about because I was sitting there on my front stoop, just as the dusk just shy of August descended upon me, reminding me of back waters, of old hopes, of an old friend that carried me with him through the desert….reminding me that I would not be the man that I am had it not been for a single voice heard through the dripping dusk of late July, of the contact made with a kindred when so desperately needed.As another day ends with the dusk just shy of august I’m reminded that new things are beginning in my life, my spirit is learning again, seeing all sorts of new possibilities. And I’m reminded of that voice on the phone from so long ago.

I wish him well, I wish him only love and joy.

Before I came inside to write this I faced west instead of east. And wished my friend all the best as the sun set into night….

“Until the day that 8x8x8 is 4″

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

 

It’s OK to Want More

Phillip and I have officially moved. As a matter of fact, I started moving out of my little 10×20 apartment last Saturday. The electric wouldn’t be transferred from the old place to the new place until Monday. So, we spent the weekend moving my books and yarn into our new apartment. The only thing left in my old apartment Sunday night was a mattress on the floor…..which is exactly how it looked the first night I moved in 3 years ago. Me, Mario, and a mattress on the floor.

When I moved in there we had been homeless and had nothing. But, we had a place to live and that was all I wanted. And that last Sunday night in that little apartment I was allowed a moment to regress, think about the past, the future. I was afforded the moment to think on how far I had come in just a short while. Five years of praying, of waiting, of hoping…..And it all came back to a mattress on the floor. And I told myself Sunday night that I wouldn’t go back there again. I wouldn’t be homeless again. I wouldn’t want for a meal. I wouldn’t WANT.

With head comforted on a sweaty pillow, I lay in bed with bright eyes headed toward the heavens and said, “It’s over….For good.”

And it took an awfully long time to feel, TO FEEL, that I deserved more than I had. I felt guilty for wanting a better life. I felt guilty for wanting a couch to sit on, a new desk to write on. I felt guilty for wanting more.

But,  not anymore. :) I had always said that I wanted to do more than survive. I wanted to thrive. I wanted to be successful. We all know that it isn’t material things that make a man successful, but rather, his desire to do right by the world, to protect his family, and to follow his heart to the fullest. And what made this leap so cleanly was that I wanted to take care of my family. My big franken-freak of a husband and his new best friend, Mario. I wanted more than anything to take care of them, give them a great life, a safe and spacious place to live, and a good meal on the table every night. And I did it. I sleep at night realizing THAT is what has made me successful. I am taking care of my family.

IMG_2088So, we’ve moved into a very nice apartment in a posh part of town. And now it’s my job to keep it, hold onto it…..and accept the gifts the Universe, God, have given me. A loving partner, a best bud in a cat, a great career, safety….and all of you.

Thank you all so much for this amazing life. I’ll never stop thanking you for that. So get used to it!

I think I’ll do 100 more signed copies of “Will Knit For Food” then I think my “virtual” book signing tour will be over.

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

Wait….Did You Say Marriage????

SO! Let’s start with a much needed topic. It’s time to move. BUT! Don’t let that be a phrase that once haunted us with despair. Now, it’s a good thing. An incredibly good thing. This is the first time since I was homeless that I made the decision to move on. I’ve been in this apartment for the last 3 years, loved it’s tiny little nooks and crannies, and felt cozy comfort in it’s close shell. But, changes are on the horizon, good changes, and it’s finally time to make the move, not because I was asked, but because I decided more space was needed. Phillip and I will be living together. So! I found the perfect spot today, thanks to Danielle who follows my blog! I met with the landlord, filled out the application, was as charming as I could be….and now we wait to see if we’ll get the spot. It’s a charming place just a few blocks from here. And if we don’t, we continue looking. After all, discussion of marriage has been tossed about ;) So, pray I get approved for the apartment. IMG_2071My books have been arriving in shipments of 50 to 100. YAY! Last night I signed them, handed them to Phillip, who put them in envelopes and slapped postage on them. I have a pick up scheduled for tomorrow. And all 300 of my books and t-shirts will be shipped out! YES!!!!! I’m still hoping to sell another 100 more to reach my goal. That would settle my life just nice for the next year. No fear of homelessness. And the occasional treat for myself. Like new shoes! And a new ball cap! IMG_2079Nice, pic, isn’t it? I love seeing that! It’s the manifestation of positive thought. Dreams come true. Every time I sign another book, I feel…..Hmmm. What’s the word? No, what’s the state of mind? Ah! I know. My friend Giovanni said it best. Euphoric.     IMG_2036I promised I would post the link to the news piece that ran on television, and here it is! Forgive me for looking scrawny and a little ill in it…..it’s been a rough five years :) And thank you all for the great advice on hiring a publicist! I’ll be working that out on Monday. The minute I spoke with a producer from ABC News, I knew I needed to hunt down some help. And what are we doing right now? Phillip is in the corner watching his favorite anime on his laptop. I have a stick of Nag Champa burning, a pinch of frankincense on my wrist, listening to Mercan Dede, writing to you. There with his Naruto, me with you. It makes me smile. We are both exactly where we want to be. I could not have a better life. Thank you all so much for making this possible. willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here. If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

How DO you do that?

So, how does one go about hiring a publicist?

The last two weeks have been an interesting parlay into all the hard work we’ve done….and I don’t wanna screw it up. I truly don’t. I’ve had interviews coming at me from left and right and I love it! I love being able to get my story out. But, I’m not sure how you should do it properly, so that I don’t stumble, fumble up words, sound robotic when I answer the same question again and again. How does one handle attention?

I’ve always shared on this blog this world of mine, this life of a male knitter, who knit up teddy bears just to buy groceries, then turned it into a life long dream of having a home. And this is where we are. I’m a pinch shy of being a little bit famous. And to be truthful? I don’t want to screw it up.

To be absolutely honest, I’m a little nervous. Not scared. I’ve stared down enough madness in life to not be scared. Just nervous. I want to do this right. The world is now taking a closer look at me….and I just want to do right by all of us.

I’ve cataloged my life’s ups and downs with this blog since my very first post. This is a wonderfully high up!…..and I don’t want to see it crash down without knowing what I’m doing.

So, how does one proceed? Whom do you call? And what is their going rate anyway? (I had to laugh when I wrote that. Not sure why, but laughed, nonetheless).

300 books arrive tomorrow in multiple boxes. Can’t wait to take a picture. We’re up to 400 copies sold of “Will Knit For Food.” And I’m itching to push 100 more.100 more copies and I’m good for a year and that would be amazing.

I’m having to move again. But, more about that on my next post tomorrow.

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

Wow. What a Week.

Whew!  HA!

Yes, it was an interesting week. Sorry I haven’t blogged this week, but…..I’ve been a little busy :)

I’m fine! Ok, ok, ok, I slept for 2 days. Was wiped out. A bit like after you’ve run a marathon and you just huff, you puff, and you fall on the pavement.

Where do I begin? My teddy bear pattern was number 1 on the hot list on ravelry! NICE! My book sold 300 copies! NICE (the full 5,oo0 copies would be even nicer, but NICE NICE NICE!), Herman Cain spoke very highly of me on his radio show. And I have to tell you, this REALLY had me in tears. It was one of the kindest, most gracious things he could have said.(Audio link coming soon).  News 13 did a story on me that (as far as I know) is still in rotation (link to that soon!), and a morning show (shhhh! can’t tell until I do it) would like to have me on to talk about “Will Knit For Food.” I have had 100,000 hits to my blog in 2 days, and thousands of emails from people asking me if I’ll knit them a teddy bear. I’m doing my best to respond to all of them, and I WILL! It just might take a minute, but I will respond to all of them :)

VERY nice.

It has been a wonderful week, thanks to all of you. And as I’ve tried to explain in every interview I’ve given, that this whole journey has been about us. You and me. All of us. I say “we” in my interviews, so that everyone knows I didn’t come here alone. I was carried with the kindness and generosity of caring people who would not allow a man who believed in his dream to let him fall. You picked me up, carried me, held me, comforted me  in your arms and I will be forever grateful. This has always been more than a teddy bear. This has been about connection between people, a dismissal of the daily disasters that fuel our world in ways that turn us against each other. This journey has always been about kindness and hope…one teddy bear at a time.

oh! I have a new page for those of you that have received your copies of “Will Knit For Food,” read it, and want to review it.

So! I guess we know move to the next chapter in this interesting experience. Both of us. You and me. And I can’t wait to see where this journey leads us.

 

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

 

 

 

Could This Be It?

I can’t thank Jessica from Yahoo enough for running the article about me on Yahoo Makers. And to Vogue Knitting for picking up the bungalower.com article and rewteeting it. I have my fingers crossed right now. Mario in my lap, knitting needles in hand, I’m patiently waiting to see if this will be the moment, finally, that we’ve all been working so hard for all these years: that I’ve finally found security. That I could finally be safe. And tears quietly fill my eyes and as I think that today could be the day that the struggle with homelessness comes to a close.

What a long and hard road this has been. And what a definite and wonderful moment in life where I feel such a great attachment to all of you, to love. No more loneliness, nor sadness. That life from hence forth can only get better, because of kindness, because of the clutching of a teddy bear….because, first and foremost, because of all of you. :)

Waiting for Phillip to arrive. We’re going to celebrate with blacked eyed peas, collard greens and corn bread. (It’s comfort food.)

This could be the most important day of my life….And I can’t thank all of you enough for it.

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

A Teddy Bear for Everyone

If you’re looking for a teddy bear, I knit them up and list them here when completed. Sometimes I knit about 3 to 4 bears a week. I pretty much knit, list, then ship. They don’t last very long! Usually about 30 minutes! So you have to act fast :)

IMG_1778But! If you’re looking for one special sort of bear, I can always custom make one for you! (Or a tiger, or a lion!) Just send me an email at madmanknitting@gmail.com and we can work out the details on what kind of yarn, what colors, and for whom the little bear is for. Cheers! And thank you all so much for your support!

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!

Blessed-American

The fireworks last night were amazing.

53866679There is something about the fountain at Lake Eola that most of us in Orlando are drawn to. Lake Eola is a central identifiable icon that is in no way visually associated with Disney, Universal, or Sea World. While the rest of the world comes descending onto our town, (happily and thankfully!) we who live here spend very little time enamored with the visions of Mickey, Spiderman, nor Shamu.

We look at our fountain. Our little monument of local life. And last night it could not have been more beautiful, as the fireworks were bursting above it, exploding with bombastic, thunderous pulse just beyond the palm trees, just a stone skipped across the lake towards the fountain, towards the heart of this city, you could feel a pervasive and sudden calm around this city’s citizens. No one felt left out. No one felt alone. We were all American.

I was once and foremost so very proud to be an American. But, that’s easy to say, isn’t it? It’s different to actually take it, hold it, enjoy it, and remind ourselves of it without the brilliant display of pageantry….day after day. But, that is something that we MUST do. For being an American needs to become more of a state of mind, a contemplative endeavor, a daily reminder.

We’ve spent so many recent weeks in division, pushing away each other, categorizing each other into groups that require  validation, and respect. But last night, I saw my little town squarely pulled together around a fountain of light, a beacon of us, a trumpeting call of triumph, that for one moment we were reminded that we were without hyphens. We were one, devoid of past transgression, holding closely to the present, bright eyed with smiles looking hopefully towards the future. We are here, we are now…and we could be one America.

So, one day later, I saw it begin again. The definite call from one side of one argument to another. And I shook my head, knit my little heart out, thought about it, and decided, yes….weaken those divisions.

Don’t allow arguments of the past to divide us now. We are America. Each morning we wake, we are blessed with the brilliance afforded us not allowed in so many places in the world. Our demands can often make our grievances look silly.

Our lives are so better lived here than many in other nations can hope to claim, and the more we allow arguments from yesterday to hinder how we speak to each other today, the less promising our future becomes. Any one of us can bury our hands deep into the soul of this great nation, pull out the dirt from under us, hold it in our hands and say, “I am of THIS land. THIS land gives me power. I can do anything.”

It’s ok to say goodbye to the past. If we hold the past as an argument for our own injustices, then we won’t see the beauty of what we can be. If we stop separating ourselves into categories, then we could finally be a unified nation. Only as one people with monikers of race and sexual orientation dismissed, could we finally be one country.

It’s time for this country to let go of it’s desperate, daily need for titles that recognize separation, and cling closer to the concept of communion. One blessed people. One blessed America. I’m gonna get back to knitting now, not as a Gay-American, not as an Irish-American…..but, as a Blessed-American.

 

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

If you appreciate this blog and would like for it continue, please donate. Every dollar helps!