Objectives – To showcase samples of my writing, share ideas and provide the reader with insight and first-hand knowledge on controversial social issues. To network, improve my circumstances, and move towards the goal of having a book published, the one I have been working on since I lost my home, hit rock bottom, and entered a shelter eight years ago. Mind you, while it is biographical, the story is not an autobiography, merely a personal account of a chapter in my life.
The majority of writing on this website is divided into three categories, “Straddling the Curb” “Living in TCHC” and “A Dog’s Eye View”. It will also include quotes, photos, random thoughts, and the occasional excerpt from the book, “Homeless Not Hopeless.”
Straddling the Curb – The main character is Streetgirl, a panhandler who frequents the intersections and express ramps in North York and is based upon my experiences and those of the individuals I have encountered while on the streets; the homeless and poor who literally walk the curb on a daily basis battling addictions, hunger, and mental illness, relying upon the system and the kindness of strangers to survive. The title is also a metaphor for my life, as I have balanced on the edge for decades, consistently deviating from conventional boundaries of good and bad and right and wrong.
A Dog’s Eye View – My dog’s name is Keeba, a loyal companion who has been with me through thick and thin for the past 13 years. Hers’ is a nonjudgmental and somewhat naive view of people, their pets, and the things they do. Inquisitive, naughty, and optimistic, she uses satire and the occasional bark of profanity to get her point across, is not immune to canine gossip and is inclined to break the traditional rules of telling tails.
Living in TCHC – I moved into subsidized housing straight out of a four month stay at a homeless shelter. Despite the never ending challenges and the drama associated with living here, I am grateful to have a roof over my head and the privacy of a place I can call home. I will share snapshots of residents as well as details of incidents and events that take place in my building and how we cope with them.
Homeless Not Hopeless – The book I am writing is a literary non-fiction; a chronological account of the last 8 years of my life, from losing my home, to a five day stint in detox, and then off to the pet friendly Fred Victor Shelter on Caledonia Road. It was there that I met a small group of homeless people who taught me how to panhandle at the intersection in front of Toronto’s prestigious Yorkdale Shopping Centre. I immersed myself in the lifestyle which took me into the Hills behind the mall and through the streets of Lawrence Heights and Flemington Park, otherwise known as the Jungle. And that’s just a third of a difficult journey that took me to where I am today, one I will never forget, nor regret, filled with gratitude, hardship, honesty, humor, spiritual growth, and a touch of romance.