* I really have nothing better to do

(Transcribed from a letter to my mother dated 25 September 2007.)

This conversation yesterday with a co-worker astonished me.

“Peaches” is a 42-year old, very short woman, certainly a grandmother and very likely great-grandmother, who has about half her teeth. She works principally as a cashier, and is a really good worker and co-worker. She constantly teases me by pretending to flirt with me.

I was stocking the trash bags shelves, and became aware that she was in quite a pickle. Her shift was over, and she had appointments she had to keep at a certain time across town; but she also had assembled this bag full of items she needed to buy at once and before leaving the store. And the line at the cash register was quite long. (Long lines at cash register are a constant, intractable problem at this store.)

I told her facetiously, “Just go down there and push ’em all out.” She said, “No, that would be unmannerly, and that’s not like me.” (Conduct that can be called “unmannerly” is a big, big issue in this community, and a big issue for me personally since I see so much of it and find it offensive.) She went on: “Now, I like your manners. You speak to the customers …”
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Marketing strategies, part 3

Every month I send my brothers an e-mail to catch them up on the latest news in my life. The quote below comes from the one I’m sending them today. This is definitely not the last word on the matter. The detailed response I promised at first is still to come.

Brian and others have suggested I rebrand myself online as “The Homeless Blogger.”  Then my work might get more of the attention they think it deserves.  But I don’t want to be “The Homeless Blogger.”  I want to be William Tell the talk show host (New idea: a homeless talk show host?), William Tell the secretary or cashier or grocery store clerk.  I want to become one of the 53%, and a.s.a.p.  Ironically, once I do enter the 53%, I’ll probably still be homeless.

Previous post: Marketing strategies, part 2: Streams in the desert

talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

Marketing strategies, part 2: Streams in the desert

I may be taking this too seriously.

Sometime between 1982 and 1985, Isaiah 35 was given to me as an icon of my vocation.  My understandings have changed so much since then, that it might be good to reconsider now whether this text still reflects my heart’s desire.
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Marketing strategies, part 1

Reader Brian Wright e-mailed me this response to “Guilty as charged:”

Bill – You have some very good points in this article.  I wonder how we can increase readership of your blog?

Two ideas come to mind:

  1. Consider changing the name of your blog to something like “The Homeless Blogger”
  2. There are a number of newspapers that are by homeless people for the broader community.  We have one here in Columbus called Street Speech.  You could submit a weekly blog there.  Here is a partial list:  http://www.homeless.org.au/directory/news.htm

I plan to post a detailed response to Brian here in a few days. In the meantime, I’m wondering what ideas others may have? PLEASE COMMENT!

Subsequent post: Marketing strategies, part 2: Streams in the desert

* Jacob’s ladder 06/19/13

Prayer for myself often takes the form of imagining myself climbing up a ladder out of a pit, the pit being my current circumstances of poverty and homelessness.  Getting out at the top represents a return to the normal life of the American mainstream.  I didn’t start with a ladder in there, but I decided to add one to symbolize the various structures and tools that others have made available to me — and eliminate the possibility of clawing at loose earth.

Here begins a list of “rungs” on the ladder that I’ve become aware I need to “overcome.”  Each one takes effort, exertion, to get over. I will update this list from time to time as I learn of others.

  1. Fear of the unknown.  See From my diary: Learning to pray.
  2. Jealousy of others who seem to be prospering more quickly than I am.  In particular, at the shelter in recent months have been several guys who just “came home” from doing “hard time,” and within days had found jobs.
  3. Times of despair.  I guess, from time to time, they’ll happen.  The question isn’t whether I fall down, but whether I’ll get back up.  A moment of despair doesn’t rule out faith long-term.  It can be OK for me to lie there and have a little pity party, as long as it’s reasonably brief.
  4. Incidents of utter selfishness.  (I may rename this if I think of a better name.)  Several weeks ago after church, I became impatient waiting for the person who had promised me a ride downtown, and waiting also for my principal patron, who was tied up in conversation with others.  I became disgusted with myself over feeling that way; and disgusted that I was hanging out there long after I would otherwise have left, having feelings all about obtaining favors for me, me, me.

That’s not a pretty way to end this just now, but in the long run I do think I need to be candid in admitting what it takes to climb one’s way out of poverty.

on air talent, talk show host, radio talk show, the homeless blogger