In my move this week (amazing how less expensive it is to live riverside rather than beachside), I ran across a book that reminded me that being a writer is solely about having something to say – no matter what the subject, and no matter who you are.
About a year ago, I was at setting up a table for my writer’s group at Panera and noticed a guy at a table close by who was folding and stapling and binding what looked like small pamphlets. I went about my business, but a couple of times we glanced at each other and he finally came over and asked if I was a writer. I said I was. He introduced himself as Mike Robson and he also was a writer. I invited him to join our meeting, but he pointed over to his table and explained he only had a short time to finish up his task. Curious, I asked him what he was doing. He went back to his table and returned to hand me one of the books he was putting together.
I looked at the title, Sleeping Among the Sea Grapes (A Guide to Reside & Hide Beachside). Our conversation was brief, and the $20 I paid him (he offered me an inscribed copy for $5, and when I gave him a $20 he wanted to go to the counter and get me change – I told him no way – writer to writer, his work was worth much more and to make sure and get some good food that day). I admired his determination to write, print and self-publish this illustrated guide to help other people in a similar situation, and without him ever knowing it, he spurred me on when I was at one of many points when I thought I’d never finish my novel, Oldsters.
Sleeping Among the Sea Grapes is clever and thoughtful. Robson writes without judgement about those who don’t understand why people ‘like him’ wouldn’t just go to a shelter for help. His insightful, and often humorous writing includes chapters such as ‘What to do when it Rains’; ‘Where to Lay your Precious Head’; ‘Where to Hide your Treasures’, ‘Investing in a Bicycle’; ‘Don’t be Doomed – Stay Groomed’, ‘What Not to Wear When You’re Down and Out’; ‘Escape from the Heat Wave’; There Might be Bugs on Some of You Thugs’; ‘Cell Phone – Friend or Foe’; ‘Loitering Laws’; ‘Loner Tramp or Bum Camp’; ‘Money Managing’ and ‘Volunteerism is Soul Food’.
He includes song titles and quotes that inspire, and lists resources for agencies that help those who are homeless as well as those who suffer from addiction.
It was just a brief interlude, but finding this book in my move made me smile. I hope Mike is doing well and just wanted to put out there in the world a moment of gratitude for meeting a fellow writer that day.