The city of Salem has a problem with the homeless shelter. Well, guess what Town of Salem, we don't like being homeless.
The shop owners don't like "mall rats" hanging out in the mall. Those same shop owners hold seances and "cleansing rituals" for celebrities who make the slightest offensive remark towards "warlocks". Tell me it wasn't for publicity and try to keep a straight face as you do it.
And the thing is, yes, there are people who are just lazy. They know they're getting three free meals a day and that if they played their cards right they were going to get a bed that they wouldn't lose. So long as they pretended to fill out a job application every day, no one is going to kick them out.
Then there's the mentally ill who have no other place to go because those homes got shut down ages go. You can't exactly kick them to the curb, can you?
But what about the rest of us who are struggling? I saw a family in the shelter yesterday who had stopped by for dinner. It made me so depressed and angry. The parents probably weren't much older than me, maybe mid thirties. But the kids were four and three, the same age as my nieces. These people were struggling and they just needed to feed their kids.
Some of the residents who are "permanent fixtures", the people I mentioned up top, wouldn't give up their seats until a staff member had to coerce them. And I can't tell you how many times I've willingly surrendered my seat to an elderly woman, just because the "cliques" in the shelter have to act like high schoolers. (And some of them have the mentality of high school teens, but I digress)
The point is, while the rest of you (general population, not anyone specifically) look down on those of us who are struggling, you fail to realize one thing.
People like me are here because while I could have been making thousands of dollars this Halloween by doing tarot readings without a lisence, I decided that following the rules was best. So I've been waiting a year and in the meantime, my bosses at Staples decided to play with words and throw some people under the train tracks, myself included.
So my only legitimate means of supporting myself was gone, and for three months I struggled to find a job.
But, who gives a rat's ass about me? My family, sure, but they're in Vermont. And no, I don't feel like trudging back to Vermont to become a burden to them. The going gets tough, the tough gets running back to their mothers? Is that how you make it in this world, by allowing people to kick you in the ribs and get away with it?
Hell no. I came to this revelation when I saw a hawk kill a pigeon recently. The weak little prey bird's neck was crushed between the hawk's claws as the hawk looked at me, almost daring me to try to take what it had earned.
The point is, I have earned the right to live in Salem. I will do what I came here to do and if I do leave, it will not be because a bunch of money grubbing publicty mongers drove me out with pitchforks and torches.
If you want to be a bunch of overstuffed pigeons and get in my way as I try to carve my niche, well just remember, I'm the hawk.
So, inspiration struck me yesterday, when I found a monthly newsletter in the college library. I'd seen it before in the lobby of the hospital cafeteria.
It's one of those free one page rags with a bunch of nonsensical crap written there.
I'm doing some reaserch today about how to get a newsletter up and running. I want to have it mass produced so I can have a wide distribution.
The newsletter will be geared entirely towards people who are either homeless and trying to find a job and home, or people who are just struggling financially where homelessness may be the end result.
Advertisers will be able to pay for space in the newsletter, which helps local business. And the demographic I mentioned, which is probably a lot bigger than you can imagine, will have the opportunity to submit articles, poetry, and information that is important to them. For this they will get paid a set amount, which will be a plus for them because not only will people hear what they have to say, but they will have a little cash for whatever they happen to need.
We could post job ads, the shelters and soup kitchens can submit mealtimes and other announcements.
In the long run, it would serve a very large niche market while keeping people aware that yes, we are homeless. But we're human beings who have a voice and deserve to be treated as such.
I'm tired of people lumping entire groups into a category. I'm tired of shelter staff who think they are above it all, and think they can get away with abusing their power just because they were having a bad day.
I'm tired of potential employers turning us away at the gate because we fell on hard times and, stupid us, we decided to be human beings who need a place to eat and sleep.
So, in anticipation of some minor chance of success, I have decided to call the newsletter The Morlock's Voice.
It's a reference to HG Wells, The Time Machine, wherein an evolutionary divide of the upper and lower classes leads to two distinct species. The Eloi, who are basically beautiful cattle that eat, sleep and reproduce. And the Morlocks, who still work underground, but also farm and harvest the Eloi for food.
I really don't think that's so far off. Quite a few people in that shelter have jobs that are pretty menial, but serve the higher purpose of making the world of the "wealthy" a better and more efficient place to live.
And eventually, people are going to become so dependant on us, that the natural course of action will be to act surprise as we approach them with sheering knives and dinner forks.
Okay, maybe that's a logical extreme. But the metaphor is there. Thoughts and comments are appreciated.
I have some experience working on newsletters and I have shadowed editors before. But any advice and support you may have would be invaluable.
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