Descriptions of Race Have Been Omitted From This Post

I closed the front door behind me and went down the few steps to the grass. There was a soft and steady rustle beneath my feet as I moved my tread away from the small petals of little flowers. I was mindful of where I stepped, hoping not to crush the precious view I love to spy at from out of my dusty picture window.

Safely at the asphalt, my speed did not increase, but waned in a way. I was enjoying the morning sun, the last degrees of the day just shy of 9am when humidity begins to have its torturous ways with us. The air was still fresh and cool, the dew drops dutifully dotting every lawn with a dash of glisten. The sharp sun came at me from the east, as I lowered the brow of my hat, but lifted my head to catch some of its rays.

I noticed this neighbor’s lantana. The house next to them is growing broad beans on their chain link fence. A few houses down I catch the ghostly note of jasmine in the air, though I can’t see from which eden it calls from.

I wasn’t going very far. Just up to the 7-11 and back. And in those short 4 blocks I realized that I had said, “good morning,” or had been told, “good morning,” about 6 times. There is a steady stream in my neighborhood of people walking or biking to where they need to be, even if they don’t need to be anywhere at all. You don’t see many cars darting through here. You only see….people. Not many of them seem to be in a rush, not many of them seem that different from day to day.

Once I was at 7-11, I waited my place in line and when it was my turn, I was met with the largest squint of smiling eyes. I have become a regular, smiling face in the morning. I tend to do that. I’m old fashioned that way. If I see you on a daily basis I’m going to love you every second I can, even if that span is only 60 of them at best. You just get to know something beautiful about someone if day after day your brief encounter is just filled with a blessing in the form of a big, so-nice-to-see-you-again, friendly faced, “Good morning!”

(I will confess. I have never seen her face. Only that bun on her head and her big brown eyes from behind a mask. And when she’s not working? I get a little sad that I didn’t get to see her….I didn’t get to tell her “good morning.”)

I strolled home slowly and thought so long about neighborhoods, about communities, about how these people that I see on a daily basis all live here, they all shared that same eastern sun that I did, dazzling us with dew drops with the crack of a solar flare. “Brighten, I say! BRIGHTEN!”

There is a comfort a neighborhood finds in a familiarity with someone. And that familiarity is based on daily human to human interaction, no matter how simple or extended the interaction is. We need that as people. We need to feel that those around us (if not validate) acknowledge us. And in a gorgeous twist of irony, you learn that there is a more soulful peace in acknowledging someone else.

That kind of comfort cannot be found in group mobilization. The only rewards and riches that you find in life are found in a basic love in the familiar stranger you see everyday, the individual. Basic love: kindness and best wishes to a stranger.

And it was nice to smile my way back home thinking that everyone I met today agreed with that, voting with eye contact and a smile.

I bounced up those few steps, walked in the front door and Phillip was awake, getting ready for work, watching the morning network news.

The famous anchor on the tv blared warnings of racial division, injustice, and the fight for equality, warning me of the racial hostility that is brewing and shredding the country apart, pushing cities to the breaking point.

I closed the door behind me, walked past him, remarking as I left for the kitchen, “From the morning I’ve had, I’m going to say that man is lying to you.”

Because from what I’ve gathered on my own day to day treks, the media and society at large may be pushing us into groups and selling tickets to eager people who want to see us battle it out, but the majority of people I see on a daily basis are more interested in the promotion of peace through one interaction at a time, person to person, with only the best intentions.

The people I encounter aren’t interested in chaos and destruction. They’re interested in the absolute opposite: peace. They inherently know that submitting to chaos would cause peace to perish. And none of us want that. To keep peace from perishing, you don’t wait for someone to offer you a blessing. You offer them one first. And what better blessing than the simple acknowledgement of another person with a friendly face. Don’t know nothing about you, but I wish you well….Basic love.

Demands for outrage or apology on my part, will not serve you well. Because it is a beautiful day. Every person I connected with today agreed. By being kind to lives that we only brush by says so much about how you truly care about people in general. If you’re arrogant to the store clerk, but a champion of the oppressed on social media, then you’re missing the point of what peaceful activism means.

Yes, you can mobilize groups, start campaigns, build funding platforms to keep you employed as an activist, pay for lawyers, rent a sky high Manhattan office building, burn everything else down around it, then cry about how you need more resources for “awareness.” Or you could just be kind to the people you see everyday.

But, those are old fashioned ideas that will probably be socially outlawed soon.

Ya’ll go ahead. While you remain constantly woke, I’m gonna grab a teddy bear, plop in the grass, pillow the earth, take a nap and not feel guilty at all about being at peace.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siding With The Oppressor

Please do not confuse my lack of outrage as a disinterest in your cause. But, then again, do not confuse vandalism, arson, looting, shooting, censorship, or fear mongering as the only viable weapons of outrage. Simple, written words can be just as galvanizing.

I passed a shop window earlier this morning. The shop owners had scribbled in a hazardous, in-your-face font, “Taking no side means you side with the oppressor!” (I think they might sell $15 subs, or $15 pints).

Siding with the oppressor.

I simply must disagree with that statement. It demands something of you even if you don’t have a dog in the fight. It actually goes even worse than that when you think about it. The statement warns that if you do not take their side of the fight, then they’ll destroy you, too.

And the first thing you do is ask, “What is it I’m fighting for….or against??? Who are you, by the way?”

It doesn’t matter what the fight is. You are culpable if you don’t chose their side. You wanna talk about oppression….? Ok, THAT sounds like oppression.

I’m sorry. But, I cannot commit to a fight I know NOTHING about. I cannot commit to a side if I have no personal interest in what the fight is even about.

To my knowledge, the actions I have taken in my life have never done harm to anyone, my actions never enslaved anyone. To the best of my recollection, none of my actions ever imprisoned someone. But, I will take a low credit score for saying I’ve done all those things to myself.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I’m doing my best to make a few bucks off my hard work, pretty up my home, and spend a day off with my husband crouched between cushions on a couch watching crappy cult classics. I’m itching to find a moment where any of those actions or desires left a segment of the population oppressed.

As far as I can tell, none of that ever marginalized anyone. As a matter of fact, I’m going to think that old friendships between different races have only grown stronger since we were suddenly given permission to despise people publicly.

Like many people, I’m just trying to find peace in the simple things in life, hoping to have something of my own, at no expense to someone else, and due to no fault of another.

You’re asking us to give into an anger that many of us didn’t feel before…..corralling us into compliant camps.

And that pretty much tells me everything I need to know: your fight isn’t with me. It isn’t even with you….it is whatever oppressor tells us to choose a side and hate each other.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White, Middle Aged, Southern and Hated

This must be the first time in this decade long blog that I have been terrified to say anything. And oh, what a hellish place that is to be for any writer, for any artist for that matter, to be afraid to express yourself in your own cozy artistic choice, in the place where you’re able to find your own freedom. When cautious of your craft, you find yourself locked in a cell of censorship and fear. You grow hesitant to pick up your creative tools, you feel locked into silence….

There is this half baked notion running around right now that says in order for one person to express themselves everyone else must shut up and listen. No one else may speak, then you must agree with them. And if you don’t….you’re going to pay heavily.

And I was first going to write that I simply can’t afford that price. I’m a broke nobody. It’s easy to have an opinion now….when you have money, the media, and a mass of social media bobble heads at your disposal. I don’t have those luxuries. As a matter of fact, my face in the arena does me more harm than good. Or, rather, whatever words of peace I have ever written are glossed over when you take a look at my matte face.

I already look like the enemy. I reek of Southern tradition. I smell of it.

I am an apparition that haunts those still clinging to stereotypes. I look of moonshine and confederacy. I appear like a ready attendee with ticket in hand to a big, muddy truck event. I stink of men who say “ma’am,” and cause a wretch with my offering to hold a door open for a lady. (“I’m a feminist! I don’t need a man’s help!”)

I make knitters vomit when I tell them I love my president, and cause crocheters to keel over when I proclaim a love for my country.

I look like I should smell: covered in a haze of mud and musk, perfumed in the aroma of working the land and of the sweat of labor. I look uneducated….therefore, forced to live filthy and rural.

I look like the man everyone is hunting to make an example of right now. I look like the middle aged, southern white man we’ve been shown pictures of and told, “This is the face of the man you are supposed to hate…..”

So, you can see why an artist like myself would be so hesitant to say something, anything. One false move, one poorly written blog post, one dig into your past for the something that was socially acceptable at the time, but is disgraceful now, and you’re done for.

I have never made decisions that would further my career if it meant I had to sacrifice the talents I have to even MAKE that living. I don’t sacrifice these words for commerce. God knows I struggle daily just to keep a roof over my head and my life would be helluva much financially better spent just “complying.”

But, I somehow chose this road as an artist, instead.

I cannot imagine ANY artist siding with a group of people that wish to SILENCE ANYONE. How on earth can you claim to be even noble in your creative endeavors? How could you ever even empathize, nor even understand art if you keep dismissing it, banning it, and even removing it from view???

You’re only interested in art if it’s a party approved, propaganda poster. So, I refuse to comply with this absurd notion that what you really want is equality…

You’re all tyrants masquerading as liberators. You want superiority. You don’t want a level playing field, you want complete domination of the entire course of human history. You want to erase reality and scribble in fallacies. You want to decide who should economically live or die. You want to determine who society will accept and whom they won’t, and all under a warm, cuddle of a mob mentality that has already predetermined who will survive based on ancestry, race, geographic traditions, and social media presence.

That goes against all human rights: the pervasive crackdown on anyone who says ANYTHING the mob disagrees with.

My face is like a mugshot for some. The now determined middle aged, white man. Nabbed, convicted, most wanted. My face tells the story of a million men that have committed atrocities, but, none of whom are me. Doesn’t matter. I fit, deservedly, the profile of everything wrong with someone else’s life.

In some strange (and even acceptable) fashion, society has forced me to question sins I did not commit, from people I never sinned upon.

So, I guess I do have something to say. I’m going to be more honest in my work, more honest than is “socially” allowed. I’m going to be louder about your censorship and vile definition of equality.

And I urge every single artist to do the same.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Honeychurch

The ligustrum has a fungus on its old bark. The tentacles of ivies have embraced the cottage out back. An old Bird of Paradise has grown so tall that it rivals the height of the power pole out on the corner. A kudzu spirals around its thick stalk, choking that famous beak of a bloom.

Birds screech in gossipy symphony as they dive for the cherries on the hedge. With yell and gawk they swoon in chatter, dining on the delights of delicate, rotting berries.

Bees frenzy themselves into a state of panic as they zip through the rays of the sun looking for a petal to rest on.

No-see-ums nip on you as you stroll the property.

And there, at that broken front gate (crowded by grass that has grown ankle deep) purple shamrocks and green daisies peek through the green, basking in the yellow sun for as long as they can….I tread timidly as I step through them to reach the front door so as not to crush a single one of them.

A random dandelion roars before shaking its mane, sending pellets of feathery petals into the wind. They shimmer like faeries out of the corner of my eye.

This little acreage is plush with tales told by tiny insects, petite flowers, gabby warblers, and gargantuan trees. And I can hear all of their stories just as plain as day.

There is no question about it.

Welcome to Honeychurch.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

An Ode to a Fence

Two days away from moving back to Washington Street. We’ve booked the U-haul, started packing, cleaning away any history of us being here, which has been strangely effortless. Because, we never really unpacked when we moved in. It’s odd, as if from the first day we moved in we could sense that this was only a place to stay. Not a place to call a home.

Don’t get me wrong. Years of homelessness taught me to be appreciative of any roof that protects me. But, the quest for simply a dwelling has done me no good. I need to plant roots. Stability. Homestead. I have always had this strong desire to warm a house into a home, and to firmly give honor and respect to the land on which that home stands….

We move on Saturday. All the back and forth moving our things will probably tire us, so I’m set on us just grabbing a sandwich for dinner. But, Sunday….oh, the plans I have for this Sunday.

While we finish hanging our clothes in the closets, while we move my desk to the brightest window, the stove top will be simmering with black eyed peas. As we decide which corner should boast the presence of memorable knick knacks, as we carefully consider if we should put a chair here or there, collard greens will be soaking in pot likker. And as pictures are hung, and mugs are placed into cupboards, the aroma of buttery, sweet cornbread begins to permeate the air, trailing the smell of hot rice.

If I had my way, I’d have you all over, demand you grab a ladle and get some supper. I’d insist you gather around the table as the heavy humidity begins to dim and the late summer storms begin. We’ll laugh and share stories as we shelter from the afternoon monsoon.

I’ll spy over your shoulder on occasion, peer through those big windows and take a peek at that twisted, wrecked picket fence and its bony frame as lightning cracks crazy smiles across the sky.

The flashes catch the silhouette of that old fence, leaning and worn, inviting with the smile of a Southern, dowager debutante just anxious to be gracious.

And all I can think right now is, “Damn. Haven’t even moved in yet and I’m already writing some really good shit.” 🙂

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Absurd Absence of My Own Smile

I’ll start by saying that this blog post gives a nod to my mother who made me realize the absurd absence of my own smile.

I recently posted a photo of myself holding a huge bag of green peanuts ready to be boiled with this enormous grin on my face. It was a photo from so many years ago, in a blog post cataloging my joy at something so wonderful and simple. (Yes, I am an ardent fan of fresh boiled peanuts in the summer time….Covid 19 had better not screw this year up).

But, my mother commented on that wide, delightful smile. She said, “I love that photo. That is the Gregory I know. Always with this big smile….”

And for reasons of vanity, we never saw that smile again.

Over the years my teeth have suffered, medically and aesthetically. We’ve tended to the medical part. No longer worried about that. The appearance of my teeth always bothered me, though.

So, in recent years, every time I post a photo of myself, you see these big, reflective eyes, or a mad, but enjoyable expression. But, you never saw me with a toothy, honest smile. Because, I was embarrassed by how my teeth looked.

But, when forced to contain a smile for reasons of vanity, you lose a certain exuberance in your own joy. You are held back by some ridiculous notion that your smile is appalling.

Eventually, not being able to express joy can hinder being able to experience joy. They are, pretty much, one and the same.

You don’t want to enjoy something too much, because you fear showing too much of your own malady. You don’t laugh as much….As rich, smokey, and as warm as that guffaw may be, it is covered with a hand, or forced into a pressing of the lips held firmly together.

And again, if you don’t allow yourself to express joy, then you’re robbing yourself of even experiencing it.

Then my mother reminded me of how it is doubtful that anyone even noticed the wear and tear of my teeth. They saw a man who had been through so much, but was so hopeful. He beamed with cheerfulness. That smile told a story whenever it flashed. My imperfect smile revealed the history of not the best experiences, but the desire to move past them….toothy scars and all. That cracked splash across my face has decades of stories written in them.

This smile is a record of the history I have lived. Beautiful with the number of stories it can tell, poignant as it recounts the days that I have seen. That smile says so much about days that have been, while anxiously grinning brighter for days to come.

As I look towards my future I am adamant that I won’t allow that smile to be held back anymore. I want that smile to truly express the joy in my experiences to come. Otherwise, the pursuit of my own happiness is for nothing…especially if I can’t even bring myself to smile about it.

Thanks, mom.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Was There Ever Such a Clamor to Go To Church

I doubt this blog post would influence anyone who isn’t of faith. But, I can’t imagine that would be my intention anyway. I’ve never asked someone to be convinced of my beliefs, for their own sake. I’ve never been a fan of someone who demands that you live your life according to their morals….whatever those morals may be at the time.

So, this post isn’t intended to sway anyone who doesn’t think going to church is important anyway. I will firmly warn you that I don’t believe in going to church either.

I think that springs from my own monastic inclinations. I don’t need a building. I don’t need other people. I need only the presence of God in my heart, no matter where I may be, nor whom I am standing near. I am content being alone with God, in silence.

But, that is my method of worship. At this point in my life, I find my fellowship with friends I have yet to meet in person.

(Wow. Friends I have yet to meet in person….)

Though so many of us have never had the privilege of a hug, it doesn’t mean we don’t hold each other any less than people who congregate in a church do.

But I understand why being near someone in a time of crisis can be more healing than a vaccine.

Now, I wrote a blog post a few months back (seems like an eternity now) where I begged churches to shut down. And I don’t regret that. Most religions (if not all) have had to worship in either secrecy, or separation since the beginning of time. All methods of worship are always under the glaring eye of (again), what morality fits the fashion of the times.

And right now? Science is the new religion.

“Don’t you dare question science!”

“But, I thought science was nothing BUT questions and theories!”

All methods of worship (not just Christian), are being treated as devilishly evil because of that.

“They will spread contagion through their congregations with misinformation and will ultimately destroy the rest of us! They shouldn’t even be in the same room!”

If different religions haven’t been able to find common ground before, then this should be the moment now. Because the morality of the media has changed its message. They used to hate Christians, defend Muslims. Pagans were “friendly, but weird,” and Jews were “greedy.” (Don’t give me that look when I say they said Jews were “greedy.” That was, after all, the message of of the failed “Occupy” movement a decade ago). The media can be finicky and fair-weather when it comes to friends.

But, with the closing of mosques, synagogues, churches and even covens, the media essentially said that people that worship someone, or something, other than scientist and politicians are flawed, primitive….even stupid for not believing in their paramount, righteous plea to bend to something we cannot see. (They used to laugh at religious people for the very same thing).

The return to places of worship in this country is being marked as a protest. Many feel it should be.

Please, go to church, but please don’t go to protest.

Please go to church, if that is what your heart wishes, if that is what you feel in your soul. But, please do not go to church because you feel obligated to protest and (going colloquial here) raise holy hell. Listen to what you’re own soul needs to make life work for you, not just now, but at all times in your spiritual life.

I find this whole discussion about whether or not you should go to church (or not) kinda funny. Because, never was there ever such a clamber to go to church….until you were told you couldn’t go.

Please, don’t go to church to prove a point. Leave that malice at home. Bring nothing but joy with you when go into God’s house.

I think some of you know what I mean by that.

Listen to what your heart tells you. Stay home or not? Protest and go or not? Find fellowship or not?

Be with God wherever I am, or not?

Just, be true to yourself….or not.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When You are Hugged by a Home

We’re not moving into our little house until the 30th of May, but that’s quite ok. I’ve lived there before. I can peruse my huge, back catalog of blog post to see many photographs of me smiling brightly inside it. Here is one I just shared with a friend recently. Look at me….ready to boil some peanuts. Those comforting beams of sunlight coating me with warmth.

So, I’m being awfully nostalgic at the moment, reminiscing about the special prominence this place has in my heart.

While strolling through memories, I recall the first day I walked into this little haven of mine. But, it wasn’t until today that I remembered meeting the landlord for the first time and hearing the most delightful story about how we were both the first tenants in that little spot.

A gay couple owned the house, had renovated their carport to be a source of income. She was the first tenant. She loved it so much that she lived there for years and eventually bought the whole property. It took her three years to close on the deal. Three years. But, she really wanted that house. Once the deal was sealed she took to renting the little studio….and I was the first tenant to live there.

I had forgotten that the landlord and I both shared that prestigious claim of being the first tenants of that wonderful little studio, one little spot that we would both come to love.

It feels like I am supposed to be there, to care for it. And somehow just being there is all that the house asked of me.

Because, in the crazy years that have passed since I left there, I have often felt that I would live there again. I just felt that.

Here I am, moving back there in 10 days….oh, the healing that happens when you are hugged by a home. Perhaps that is why the landlord said, “I see great things happening with you coming back here.”

(“I mistook you for Ruth Wilcox. You have her way of walking….’round the house….”) Double dog dare ya to tell what book that is from. But, if you know me, you can identify it easily.

I’ve always been hunting “Honeychurch.” Seems I had been there already, (but, not smart enough to know it) and left in search of bigger and greater things that should suit the stature of a “world famous knitter.”

Foolishly, I didn’t realize that “Honeychurch” was under my nose this entire time….and has been waiting for me ever since.

I can’t wait to go home.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

Because I Am That Little House

Simple, concrete, southern gothic, and strange….with room to play croquet.  That should be the listing for this house.

It is so wild and wonderful to me, that seven years after leaving this house, that I would return. Only because some of them most amazing moments of my new found life as “Mad Man Knitting” began there.

Under the chiseled, box cut cherry shrubs that clung to the fence, I found a new life for myself. Beneath the shade of darling old oaks with pruned, knotty, faces, I began to discover my voice for the first time in my life.

Set to the side of a house, my little studio did me just fine. In that little space I began to find a “clarity” through my written word, began to really explore my own story with blog post after blog post about nothing more than my own life; my simple, but strange, southern Gothic way of twisting sorrowful moments into something eccentrically hopeful. And you found me….

This was my first place, post homeless. I had fought my way out of the most difficult time in my life. I had spent years knitting my butt off, just wanting a place to live, a place to sleep quietly, without my boots on, without a pillow case at the ready to toss my cat in should we have to dash quickly. (Mario is still here, perched on the top of my chair).

This little comfy was a place to rest. A place where I could finally sigh, and come alive. That little place meant so much to me.

So, it seems as if all the stars are aligned, and the Universe has said, “You left there far too soon….”

And for years I have often speckled my day with peeks at zillow. In the seven years since I left that little house, you have seen me climb, you have seen me stumble. You’ve seen me be braggadocios; you’ve seen me be humble. Always trying my best, but sometimes showing up at my worst.

Throughout these many years there would be many an occasion where I would look up on google maps the address of my little, old abode, go to street view, virtually stand at the curb to see if I could capture whatever it was that beautiful, broken shelter bespoke to me that actually made everything work; before my agoraphobia kicked in, before my recklessness began to overpower my own talents.

And just when I needed that little house, it called to me.

A little peg on a craigslist map…..

This little house may seem to some as a little battered, a touch bitter. But, this little house invites with a fence that needs mending.  It wants to be friended, wants to be kept alive by only the stories it can tell of those that have once loved it. It isn’t the prettiest, but it was hoping you wouldn’t mind.

I understand that little house. I am that little house.

And when I contacted the owner she said, “I’d love to rent to you again.”

I give my utmost thanks to all of you that read and appreciate my work. Because of you, we are moving back to the little house at the end of the month.

And I have to confess….this is the first time in my life where I felt I was going backwards in order to move forwards…as it should be.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

My Refusal to Sign Leads to Eviction

Like many people, Phillip and I were unable to pay our rent in April. Now, I notified the apartment complex the moment Disney and Universal were shut down on March 16th. I was adamant that the complex know that were willing to up with a plan and do whatever we can to honor our obligation for whatever we owe on our apartment. I didn’t hear anything back. Finally, I saw people leaving in droves at the beginning of April and I finally heard back. “Don’t worry about the rent right now, we’ll take care of things as they happen….by the way, if you could sign this piece of paper, we’ll defer April’s rent over the next 4 months.”

Ok. Sounds fair. Sort of. Well, what happens on the first on May? “Don’t worry, we’ll worry about May when May gets here. By the way, could you sign this piece of paper? We’ll defer May’s rent over the next 4 months.” Now, I signed the first contract, left the second one to sit on my desk for a minute….something felt odd.

I may be instinctive, but I don’t tend to think that I’m naive. However, I guess in hindsight, I am.

On the 5th of May I got a phone call from the leasing company asking if were able to pay rent. I explained that I had made the payment already under the paper I signed, the “National Emergency Payment Agreement.” (Sounds official, doesn’t it? The title, and what I read, gave me the impression that I was asked to pay at least one fourth of my rent over the next four months, while they would be getting the remainder from whatever legislative program they were getting help from. WRONG!)

“Oh, no. You’re mistaken….that is in addition to the rent that is due for the month.”

“Wait, you mean to tell me that you want me to pay my rent plus an additional amount on top of that for back rent? RIGHT NOW? Phillip has just gone back to work, thank God. The April agreement, plus the May agreement, plus the upcoming June agreement would have me paying almost $3000 a month in rent! Are you insane? I’m not signing anything.”

I suggested we start fresh on June 1st. We pay June’s rent. Our new lease with the complex starts then. Why don’t we deduct what I have already paid up to date and divide the balance over the next 12 months, over the extent of our lease for what we owe for the remainder of April and May. Roughly $150 extra a month.

“No, we can’t do that.”

“Unfortunately, I won’t be signing anything else. If you wish to reconsidering negotiating, let me know. Otherwise, thank you for your time.”

Now, I’m not sure what kind of situation my refusal to sign has put me in, but at this point, Phillip is livid. A server that Phillip works with lives in this complex refused to sign and has left on his own. I’ve peeked around on craigslist and our complex has about 80 units available for lease right now….they usually have about 10. And they’re offering one month free rent for new tenants! But, won’t extend that courtesy to current tenants. WHAT????

But, while I was peeking around craigslist, I saw a little blip on the map in my old neighborhood. I clicked, just to see, and lo’ did my nostalgic heart skip a beat. My first little apartment after being homeless was a renovated carport apartment, this tiny little 200 square foot thing that I simply loved, adored. (See that little door to the far left? That was my first apartment coming out of homelessness. So many wonderful moments happened there). The studio was attached to a simple little two bedroom house with the biggest back yard you ever did see. The house is for rent….for a few hundred dollars than what we pay now.

I quickly text the number asking if the landlord remembered me. After all, that was seven years ago. She promptly responded. “Of course I remember you! The knitting guy! Yes, the house is for rent, have had multiple showings, but I would love to rent to you again. You were an excellent tenant.”

You have to close your eyes and smile and praise God that a former landlord thinks highly enough of you to not only remember you, but would love to rent to you again.

Phillip tends to think that our new lease is probably going to be considered null and void by the end of the month, since I refused to sign the papers. The government is allowing evictions to proceed on the 2nd of June, which is only 14 days away.

So, whether we like it or not, it seems that the complex will go ahead and start having us evicted in the courts in 2 weeks. Takes a while to evict, but do your damndest to find a new place while you have an eviction in process.

I’m not sure what to do. The best answer is obvious, rent the little house. Find a way. Make it happen, and do it before anyone else with cash, ready to spend, is able to take it from me. I want to be able to call her tomorrow and say, “It sure is going to be nice seeing a friendly face again.”

I need to make this happen.

If you appreciate my work and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.