Mary Andrews writes science fiction—Psionic Science Fiction—which encompasses the inevitable fusion of man, machine, and the paranormal.
For over two decades Mary has sought out and studied writing from too many mentors to list. She is an unconventional thinker who thrives ‘out of the box.’ Her favorite question is: WHY, since that answer, enables all solutions. She claims little fear of change: in fact, she has adventured through multiple career choices, testing many waters and distant horizons before finally realizing a love for writing.
Currently the director of the Write Right Critique Group in Lubbock, Texas, Mary continues to follow her muse, or rather, document its whereabouts, from a recreational past through the Society for Creative Anachronisms to the barely unfolding universes in her mind.She heartily invites one and all to visit her website’s writer’s resources page as well as read samples of her work at http://FirebornChronicles.com
By Mary Andrews
Everyone has times when life and circumstances can become overwhelming. (In these hard times, for many it’s becoming a common place thing.) Quite a while back I found myself in an insurmountable position. I’d lost my job, rent was almost due and there was no hope in sight. I had an old Honda Civic and a dead Skylark in the yard.
It did not take any imagination to realize once I fell behind one rent check, I’d never be able to catch up. Every night I waded into and wallowed in a sea of inescapable doom. I was miserable, and prone to enough stress related ailments (allergies, asthma, ulcers in my eyes) to realize I would have to find a more unconventional way to deal with my financial problem before it manifested in my deteriorating health.
During one of my usual sleepless nights as I was staring at where the ceiling should be in my darkened room, I had an epiphany; if I weren’t weighed down by my bills, I would be able to get back up on my feet and reboot. Strangely enough, a million pounds of worry began to melt away as the pieces of my plan fell into place. The next morning, I began the process of closing up shop. I gave notice to the landlord, the utilities, the phone company and I began to pack up my three bedroom house.
Surprisingly enough, I found that a 10x10 foot storage room contained more than enough space to hold all my precious possessions—especially if packed to the ceiling. At the front of the piles I placed a couple of wardrobe boxes where I could reach them.
I’d decided to go ‘light and lean.’
I got rid of the dead Skylark and turned my attention to my little Honda Civic. It had a fold down back seat which provided me with enough space to take my act on the road in relative comfort. I folded and stacked all my blankets together to form a makeshift mattress and threw my pillows around as well. With the addition of a simple piece of cloth it remained inconspicuous.
Next, I went to a store and bought the darkest tinted roll of window tint I could find. This I applied to all the side windows. Then I positioned an old trunk alongside my bed and viola, my new dresser was born.
Now, I don’t know how it is in other parts of the country, but Lubbock, TX is a college town and it did not take me long to realize that across from every major park there would be some sort of apartment complex from which parking would overflow so there were always assorted cars parked there. It was perfect. All I had to do was wait until after dark and I had a place to sleep. Mwuahahaha! It all fell together.
A friend offered to serve as a message phone and address for work applications but a post office box worked for mail.
So each day convenience stores provided morning and evening pit stops as needed. I had planned to use truck stops for showers but, as it turned out, several of my friends offered theirs and by rotating each visit, none of them felt put out. In fact, some of them actually wined and dined me so I wouldn’t head back to the car. They offered me couch space or temporary shelter but in my experience, the old ‘fish and company’ rule is irrefutable--both start to stink after three days.
I suppose most of my friends thought my month-long homeless stint was a horrible, horrible feat of desperation, but in truth, each night right after dark when I slipped into the back of my car and safely locked myself in for the night, I leaned back and looked out across a pristine park full of trees wafting in the breeze under a silver moon before the man-made pond…complete with ducks.
I slept worry free knowing eventually there would be a new start somewhere.
I discovered that people only see what they expect to see. The early morning joggers never noticed me as they passed by. Even the late night group of partying college boys, drinking beer and telling tales while sitting on the hood of my car never realized I was there.
I worked temporary jobs, visited the library, checked out the mall, wrote in the park, visited friends—all things I never seemed to have time for when I lived in a house. I targeted a place I wanted to work and every Friday at three P.M. I would call and ask the secretary if they were ready to hire me. Eventually, they told me yes and I went back to work and normalcy.
Hopelessness and frustration can be debilitating. Perhaps I was lucky, but ‘out of the box’ thinking definitely set me free then and, just to be sure, my next car was a van. I believe I resorted to variations of my light and lean way of life a time or two afterwards—once accompanied by my two very well trained Dobermans.
So when things start to get you down, think of me and my wacky adventure then take a step out of your box and look around with fresh eyes. Have you missed something?
(c) 2012, Mary Andrews