John Mellencamp Records PSA for World Homeless Day!

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Check it out:  John Mellencamp has recorded a PSA for World Homeless Day, the brainchild of my good friend and esteemed colleague, Jon Glackin (aka “Beat on the Street”).  Congratulations, Jon (and thank you to Mr. Mellencamp)!!!  World Homeless Day, an international initiative “thinking outside of the cardboard box”, is coming to a city near you on 10-10-10 (catchy, huh?)  Learn more and find out what you can do to help at!  It’s truly astounding; the people that Jon has somehow been getting on board.  I’ve been told that HBO and Oprah picked up on it and will be broadcasting a show about WHD.  My mind is blown.




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An existential metaphor for my futile existence. Or, you know, just an adorably heartrending turtle. "Almost there...yeeeesssss...FREEEEEEDOOOOOM! (Aw, fuck)."




Also, I sold my engagement ring today.  I was lowballed for much less than I’d hoped (and my asking price was already waaaaaaaay below the appraisal value), and it made me a bit sad to watch the guy walk away with it, but at least I’m unburdened of it and it’s on to greener pastures with somebody who will love and cherish it (I hope).  Now I just need to sell my ex’s Georgian ring, and it’s all outta sight, outta mind.   *adds mental note to the to-do checklist*  What can I say?  Beggars can’t be choosers.  Times are tough.

But right this moment (caution: vanity full-steam ahead), the first thing I want to do is color my hair.  Finances have been tight and since I’ve practically been a shut-in while finishing the book, it took the backseat to more pressing, if less fun, issues…like, you know, food.  My poor hair; falling casualty to practicality  :-\  I don’t think I’ve ever gone 3 months without coloring my hair since I started dyeing it when I was 9.  So to me, my roots are disproportionately horrifying and must be vanquished at all costs, but the friend who cuts my hair assures me that it’s not all that noticeable, since there are red tones in my natural dirty blonde hair.  Sage said the same thing, so I guess that’s consolation.

I’m also a bit puzzled, since my stylist friend said she spotted several gray hairs this time around.  I’m kind of hoping that she’s wrong and mistaking “blonde” for “gray”, but she’s adamant.  So, great.  Stress has driven me to premature aging!  Seriously, 25-year-olds are not supposed to go gray.  What am I, Steve Martin?  In any event, it doesn’t really bother me as much as you might suppose.  I mean, I’ve been pretty damn committed to my redheadedness for over a decade and a half.  Other than this isolated incident, when do I ever get the chance to see my natural hair color?  NEVER.  I’m on that shite almost as soon as it sprouts, even if I’ve had to hide in a gym bathroom for an hour to do it.  Actually, to be perfectly frank, up until now I wasn’t even completely sure what my natural hair color was anymore.  So who gives a fuck if I’m secretly a little old lady underneath?  Nobody will ever know, not even me.  I’ll be rocking the red hair all the way to my grave.  Even if it comes out of a bottle, way too much of my self-identity is wrapped up in my Titian tresses.


  1. Hey Bri~ Thanks for the update! So cool about Mellencamp!!! I just mailed out a personal “thank you” note to his office address. I had no clue about the Oprah, HBO connections- FABU!!!

    In case you haven’t seen Jewel testifying before the House concerning her own life, as a homeless teen, check out this clip:
    I hope she’ll be involved w/ World Homeless Day as well.

    O.k., let’s see a photo of your newly colored hair…

    Mystery, Magic, & Miracles…

  2. You are a fabulous redhead so rock on, girlfriend. Rock on. ;)

  3. Hello, I read your blog every now and then. I was wondering why you never went to a women’s shelter.

    • Hi Christine,

      That’s a good question. I’ve addressed it a couple of times in interviews. There are many reasons that some homeless people choose not to go to shelters: lack of privacy, high risk of theft of personal belongings, danger of rape or assault, high risk of sharing contagious diseases, they work hours which do not allow them to be back at the shelter by curfew, religious differences, stereotyping and lack of respectful/dignified treatment by staff, many homeless people have pets and 99% of shelters do not allow them, and just general overcrowding – sometimes you can stand in line for hours for a shelter and never make it in because they’re full up, and then you’re sleeping outside anyway, etc. etc.

      I’m not saying that ALL shelters have ALL of these issues, but they ARE very widespread and the vast majority of shelters are likely to have at least a few of these problems. Some of the above were concerns of mine, some weren’t (but may be for other homeless people).

      The main two issues for me were:

      a) My dog. We’ve been through a lot together, I love him, and while I was prepared to rehome him if it came to that, I wanted to keep us together if possible – this would not have been allowed in a shelter.

      b) Homeless shelters are already so overcrowded and turn away many each night. These people will end up sleeping on the curb or in the bushes. I would never feel at all comfortable taking a bed from someone needier than I, if I already had a more viable solution at my disposal (which, luckily, I did!)

      Hope this answers your question :)

  4. ~Bri, I just want to second what you had to say about: “high risk of theft of personal belongings, danger of rape or assault, high risk of sharing contagious diseases.” Although current TB tests are usually required to get into shelters, I was in one a few years back, where a woman was constantly coughing up blood – definitely not a good thing! And, during graduate school, while unhoused & staying @ a woman’s shelter, one of the women there had just gotten out of prison and was sleeping with the biggest knife I’d ever seen under her pillow (no, weapons are not allowed, but…). Because she didn’t always make sense, I was concerned that she’d go off in the night & none of us would wake up the next morning. There were women & children in that shelter – it could have turned into a horrific blood bath – Terrifying! Because it tends to be dangerous on the streets or in the shelters, it is a “pick your poison” sort of experience.

    Your point about there not being enough room is also quite true. Here in San Luis Obispo, in 2009, there were 3,800+ folks, who were homeless in the county and only 200 shelter beds. So, that’s at least 3,600 people, who would be turned away at the shelter door.


  5. Lori Richards says:

    What do you do for a car (did u, immediate to moving out) what about mail/moneywiring service? You have got to be kidding aboaut buying kiwi and macaroni where do u cook? (mayube that was another indiv. how do u get gas.?
    I am trying to avoid going into tiny sr. housing, and need a patch or container of garden, very attached to having “walls”. Anyway, used to not cooking, oong story no decent sink, but have always had a “place” gained a lot of weight. do you keep/carry ice? ever go to a focus group if they don’t now u are homeless? partic in a church or community group? just wondering, I suspect i will be helped by being around employed ppl, altho i have no prob. with sr.s I am 57

  6. Hi Lori,

    I’ve written quite a bit about several of these questions. I had a vehicle when I became homeless (as many do). For mail I used a P.O. box and when I needed to cash work paychecks (having worked on and off) I used check-cashing services at Walmart and other supermarkets.

    Not kidding about buying kiwis and spaghetti. I shop most often at the 99 cent store. They have a lot more there than you might think!

    I didn’t keep/carry ice (nowhere to freeze it), but I did do a lot of refilling of jugs of water.

    I am not religious, so I didn’t go to any church services, but I was in therapy (a clinic that based fees on a sliding scale – when I became homeless, my therapy was free) and that helped a great deal.


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