Yesterday I had lunch at the luxurious W hotel in downtown Dallas. John had a burger, Terry and Aaron had the pork loin and I had the garlic risotto. We talked about the books we were all working on, and Jon told me how writing his was so hard he cried through every chapter. We had a writer’s workshop – in hopes of talking through the power of putting your life on paper. When we walked in I must admit the staff treated us with dignity, though we all looked pretty rough from our time on the street.
We sat down, the waiter treated my friends with respect and we ate like kings. Aaron acted as if he was in his element. “The entrée has a fine taste,” he remarked with the expertise of a seasoned food critic. Jon picked apart his burger forgoing the bun. “I’m diabetic,” he explained. At nineteen now, he’s lived on the street for a long time after killing too many people to count in retribution for the murder of the love of his life – his mother. (He served time – tried as a child at age 12.) I love this boy as a son, and he’s not very angry anymore. He and the others teach me more than they know about love and life, and we talk about things that matter.
I’m not trying to be Mother Teresa. Just doing God’s work in hopes that we can lift each other up, and maybe even out. Jon has written about his time as a gang member and the death of his mom. Nathan writes about addiction. These are the things that can keep someone stuck – whether you live in suburbia or in Rye Shelter. Sometimes all you need is an angel.
Lowell approached me today in the parking lot, looking disheveled, but happy. “I decided to sell my property,” he said.
I smiled, waiting for the punchline. I knew Lowell didn’t own any property. He slept under bridges, or wherever he could find a spot on a cold night, without the Police kicking him out.
“Know anyone who wants to buy Hedgerow?” he asked. “Cause I’d like to sell it. I woke up this morning by the hedge, freezing. They cut it real low yesterday. Anyhow, I decided to try to get into a transition house.”
This is a big step in our world, the world of my homeless friends. The step from comfort on the street, to moving towards a home, and doing the work required to get there and to keep one. Lowell has some addictions, after a life of hardship. We went to my car and turned the heat on real high. We sat there and warmed up and talked and then went back out into the parking lot with the others. (more…)
I just returned from my New York Publishing meetings. As always, the city was a whirlwind. I don’t really consider what I do as work, because I’m living my dream. And my goal in my writing is to help everyone else live theirs. Traveling to the city was a merging of my two worlds, toddler land and books. As always, I traveled with the two boys in tow. They love the city – especially Times Square. The lights, the stimulation, the energy. We’d experience it all for a couple of hours and then rush back to the hotel, climb in bed, and order room service. I wasn’t feeling well so I had hot tea with honey, and did my best to look human at my publisher breakfasts. McGraw Hill gave me my latest book, which I saw in print for the very first time. That’s always an exciting moment. It’s a gorgeous hard cover of a man in a suit, sitting on the beach in a chair. The dichotomy of that image is great! Because when I was in a suit, in the corporate world, I was always dreaming about sitting on the beach anyways, lost in my head at some fabulous oceanfront resort, in the midst of a sales meeting. Now I get to write about the daydream I had years prior. (Oh, here’s where my publishers want me to mention the name of the book – There’s More to Life Than the Corner Office, and more importantly, The Compass! Please read that one because it will change a lot of lives. More on that later.)
Anyhow, I have escaped the corporate world, so to speak. But now I write about it on this blog. I don’t think I want to escape suburbia, necessarily. I think I should be grateful for suburbia, since it’s a far cry from who I am inside. I’m more of a write in the jungle, write in the woods, write when the kids are throwing ketchup on the walls, write all the time, sort of person, and I’m darn lucky to be accepted in suburbia. It seems no one has discovered I’m an impostor… (more…)
This is a photo of me and one of my closest friends, Jerry. He has touched my life in many ways. I’m lucky he doesn’t have a computer because he would be angry with me for posting it. He doesn’t have a computer, a home, a car, or any of the comforts we all enjoy each day. Jerry is homeless, and this photo was taken in front of my house.
Jerry is a representation of one of my major life beliefs. You are not what you do, you are who you are.
This year, this principle has become more and more apparent in my own life.
I sat with a friend recently, talking. My friend scribbled something and pushed a note across the table. It said simply: “All that matters is love. Expressing faith, through love.”
Now it seemed to me at the time, that my friend was trying to make a point. (stop talking, stop doing, stop reading, stop everything and start loving!) But it was a valid point and one I’ve received a lot lately, from different messengers. Love, is the answer. Not the kind of love that comes from your heart, because your heart lies. “Follow your heart,” is a myth. This is sure to be confusing for most of us.