Today’s Brew: Free Starbuckian Goodness. It always tastes better when I don’t have to pay for it.
I just moved into a new apartment. I’ve been away from the blog for a bit trying to get everything organized. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and there was no way I could have boxes everywhere for weeks on end. I’ve been working really hard to make this place home. Maybe a little too hard. Everyone who’s been over says it looks like I’ve been here for months.
Making everything just right is important to me more for just the visuals. It’s peace of mind. Every good book deserves a sob story behind it, and here is mine: A good portion of Immortal Dilemma was written while I was functionally homeless. I say functionally because I always had a roof over my head, but I was never with my stuff, and I never knew how long I was going to stay.
If you told me a year ago I’d be telling you this story, I would have never believed you. So how did this happen to me?
I lost my mom at Thanksgiving. Even though she’d had a tough go of things in the health department for as long as I can remember, neither of us saw this coming. She had a sudden, serious illness. Because she had needed a little bit of help, I lived with her in a handicap accessible apartment. She was good company and I would rather do all the little things she couldn’t then have some stranger do it. Unfortunately, the apartment was astronomically expensive, even between the two of us with decent incomes, it was a stretch. For just me, it was out of the question. Because she’d been sick and in a hospital in Boston during her illness, I hadn’t worked in three months. Thankfully, I’m a freelance independent contractor, so I could take that much time off. But I had nothing to show a new landlord in the way of paystubs.
I had to go, but I didn’t know where to go, or what I wanted. I put most of my stuff in storage and moved in with some friends.
As much as I love the people I moved in with, I picked the absolute worst time to go from having a 1200 square foot apartment to a 200 square foot back bedroom. I needed space, not just physically, but mentally. So when another friend offered to sublet me the rest of his winter rental lease, I jumped ship. The winter rental was another tough adjustment, because I wasn’t ready to distinguish that not everything was going to be the way I wanted it. Once I got used to the place, I liked it. The interior decorating looked like the Gorton’s Fisherman puked in it, but it was beachfront property. I had room and Julie and I got some great writing done there. Most of Immortal Dilemma came to life at Captain Bill’s house.
My time at Captain Bill’s was drawing to a close, and I needed to find a new place to go. I reconnected with an old neighbor was remodeling his condo and wanted to sell it. I wanted it! We had talked about a rent to own, which sounded perfect. Only problem: It wasn’t going to be ready in time. I was willing to wait a few weeks for a sweet place like this. I rented a spot at an extended stay hotel. The old neighbor wound up being full of hot air, and it became apparent he had no plans of getting this place ready for me any time soon. The hotel was getting old. So after 3 months at the hotel, I decided it was time to give up on him, and here I am. Across the street from his condo.
Around the time I was moving to the hotel, I saw someone with one of those signs at an intersection, proclaiming homelessness. I drove by thinking, yeah, me too, buddy. Then it hit me. I really was homeless. And at a time when I was at my absolute lowest, I managed to pick myself up by the bootstraps and make things happen. I’ve had my best year professionally with makeup work, and was able to function normally in the face of adversity.
I think my mom would be proud. I never had a chance to tell her that I was writing a book, as Immortal Dilemma was still in utero when she was well. You never think you’re going to run out of time. But I can guarantee she’s running around in heaven telling everyone I wrote a book just like she used to tell everyone around here that I was a makeup artist.
Phew. I got through this post without crying.