A Happy Surprise. And A Bit of Groveling.

A Happy Surprise.  And A Bit of Groveling.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Becker; www.jbeckerphoto.com

I know.  I know.  I know, I know, I know.  I have been terribly remiss in my posting duties. I feel awful. There’s no excuse. (But I’m gonna make excuses anyway.)

There was lots of travelling and speaking and signing with libraries and homeless organizations and literary conferences and stuff. (And there’s quite a few more this month, but I’ll post those under upcoming events for you guys). On the bright side, I got to see some amazing places and have crazy awesome experiences that I never could have afforded myself, all thanks to my publisher sending me out to these events. I’ve now been to New Orleans (ate alligator!), San Francisco (hung out with one of their literary treasures, Tony DuShane, who was kind enough to put me up on his couch), New York (saw a taping of The Colbert Report, which was up there on my list of top 10 greatest experiences ever, so special thanks to the Audience Coordinator Stewart Nurick, who read my book and offered me front-and-center VIP seats…and congrats to Stewart and his lovely wife Alison on their beautiful newborn son Gregory), and Alexandria (met some brilliant young homeless advocate who are working hard to change the world).

In addition, South Coast Repertory’s new season just started, so it’s been madness for weeks at my 9-5 job, running around getting prepared.

And last, but certainly not least, I just became rehoused.

That’s right, I’m writing this to you now as a fully rehoused, not-even-technically-homeless woman in a legal residence. No more code enforcement saga. No more 80+ mile round-trip commute per day. Fez and I just moved into a very tiny, but perfectly respectable, little studio guesthouse/backhouse in Santa Ana, only three miles from my job. This was made possible by my publisher purchasing the rights to publish The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness in two foreign countries (so keep an eye out; the book is coming to an Australia and a Germany near you). It wasn’t a large advance, but it was enough for first month’s rent and deposit.

So I’ve spent the past month-and-a-half preparing to move out of Riverside, and then the past two weeks moving, unpacking, finding Craigslist/thrift store furniture, lifting heavy things, and generally buckling under the mass of about ten jillion conflicting emotions, as you might imagine.

I love the new place. I love being close to work. I love having more time to spend with my dog. I love that it’s about 30 degrees cooler here than in the desert. I am, of course, so grateful to those who put me up in Riverside for a low price and were kind to me, but there’s an overwhelming sense of relief to not be spending four hours per day in a car.

There’s also survivor’s guilt, and a readjustment period – I was warned there would be and prepared, of course, but it’s still not fun. My moods cycle up and down a little more than usual; I’ve been stressing a lot, sometimes over things that would normally seem petty to me. There’s the fear that homelessness could happen again, that something could still always happen – maybe I could lose my job again and not be able to pay rent. Maybe this will happen or that will happen. Maybe maybe maybe. So it’s been a little exhausting, and of course I’ve felt guilty every time I’ve almost picked up my laptop to write a blog post and then went…nah. I’m just too drained. I can’t face it right now. I’ll deal with it later.

But overall, I’m trying to soak in the joy of it. This place feels like it could be a home. It’s very private and feels like my own little niche, and I’m doing what I can to kind of nest and make it my own. Fez seems to be loving it as well; he gets to hang out with me for an extra several hours per day and while I’m at work, the people in the main house have a little dog that likes playing with him. The people in the main house seem very kind so far and they pretty much let me be so again, it all feels very private. And they clearly adore Fez, also.

So now, obviously, it’s time for me to get up off my arse and get back to blogging. I want to keep this blog going and focus on homelessness/poverty issues in the media – I’ve been following several stories very closely, particularly the Kelly Thomas beating/murder, which is particularly significant to me because I grew up in Fullerton, and it makes me extra angry…That’s my hometown, things like that aren’t supposed to happen there, etc. I’ll post more in-depth about it later, but the one small silver lining to it is seeing that it has finally begun to receive national coverage, and that the people in my hometown, who are normally very quiet and content, have really risen to the occasion. They’re angry, and rightfully so, about what happened to Kelly Thomas, and they’ve been protesting about it constantly, and I find it heartening that very few of them have been spouting the vitriol towards the homeless and mentally ill that you normally see in news comments sections.

Anyway, right now I’m in Tucson, about to speak at the Wings of Hope gala tonight, and next week I’ll be opening the TEDxSA-Artists Villiage event at the Yost Theatre in Santa Ana.  So obviously I’m really excited and honored and terrified. Over the coming weeks I’ll probably be doing events in Cortland, NYC, Florida, Irvine, Tustin, and San Diego. I’ll post more detailed info over the next couple days in the “Upcoming Events” section and on Facebook, as soon as I have more concrete details.

I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL. I was a little burnt out and needed to get it all out of my system. I’m gonna try to be less of an absentee blogger from here on out.

Love you guys,


  1. It is lovely to hear that things are going so well for you! Over the summer I read your book and it was an amazing eye-opening experience. It makes me think of things differently–about the homeless and to be more thankful for what I do have. So happy that you and Fez have a real home! Plus that it is 3 miles from work; way perfect! I wish nothing but the best for you and very glad to see your book will be going International. Hope you’re able to make it to the south one day for a speaking event because I’d definitely be there.

  2. yay! recently read your book and was wondering what you have been up to as of late. so glad to hear this! congrats to you and the fezzick.

  3. Congratulations! I think you have proven to yourself that you can survive any situation and any occasion, so remember to sit back and enjoy your new place, girl. xo

  4. Congratulations Brianna! You truly continue to be an amazing girl an inspiration. I’m so happy for your current situation (and dog!) May good fortune (both tangible and on the inside) stay within your reach. Your life sounds so full of interesting people, places and adventures. Enjoy~ I’m sending positive and happy vibes.

  5. I’m glad to hear the good news! I look forward to reading more of your blogs! Good luck in everything you do and remember to keep your head up!

  6. Bri,
    I purchased your book several months ago, and then never got to read it, but before I even read it I purchased SEVERAL copies to give to some of the homeless girls I love (and work with) they loved the book. However I read it in one day, I couldn’t stand to put it down. Thanks for being so real and open with your life. I am inspired by your strength and beauty.

  7. Yay! Congrats! :)

  8. so happy to hear that things are picking up for you, as they have for me (a paying roommate, a permanent part-time job, and a temporary part time job!) both of the jobs working from home which is way cool because i no longer have transportation other than the bus (they only run ever 40 minutes during the week) or walking.

  9. I’m relieved for you to have a place to call home again, Brianna. One less person having to tough it out on the street. I can see why you might feel guilty, but you can do as much good being housed as not. In fact, you’ve already done a lot thus far. So if you decide to take a deep breath and sink into the space that you now call yours, don’t be too hard on yourself. Write when you can, be silent when you need to be. You’ve been through a lot and will likely need time to readjust, to unpack without wondering if you should leave things in their more portable form.

  10. Brianna, we are always here, even if you just want to say hello. I know it is overwhelming to be living in a place to call your own, and I love it even more that it is welcoming to Fez. Just take it one day at a time, and I know you will do well. The emotional rollercoaster you are on, will end soon, and you will find comfort. You’ve changed the path of your life, and most likely can continue on this path.

  11. Brianna – your determination and grit has, in a small but important way, been a source of strength for me. It makes me happy to read that things are moving in the right direction.

    And I understand the fear you speak of. I’m sure it will pass.

    Again, congrats.

  12. Hi, congrats on your rehousing. I was thinking that if you build a “tiny house” you would never have to worry about being homeless again. Check out tiny houses on google. I think you would like them. I’m getting ready to film the whole build of a cool bungalow style one so people can have a how to guide for building their own – if they are into DIY. Anyway, I’d be glad to give you a copy – actually I’m thinking about making it free on my website. It’s a work in progress. Let me know if I can help. dinkydigs.com

  13. I read your book some time ago and have been a believer in you for a while (since K-Mart).I’m happy that things are in your favor right now. One of the things I’ve come to learn is that to appreciate the good you unfortunately have to experience the hell. Someone once said that if it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger, damn you would think we would be super heroes by now with all the strength we have.

    Well my old boss gave my job to his Grandson (his wife was in his ear for quite some time) and I was unemployed for 2 monthes, I took a position at a diner and make 1/2 of what I used to, and there are more hours to work for that.

    I’m on the right coast and people are demonstrating and camping out near wall street protesting big banks and the such, The economy is going down faster than a hooker at a bachelor party, and I can’t take another stretch being unemployed. But I have a place to live, health is good, family is doing ok.I know others have it much worse than I do or did, I try to remember that whenever my attitude perks into negativity

    So you take care and maybe Sammy (Coton de Tulare) and fez can meet and play someday, until than keep on keepin on….Chuck

  14. I know what you mean about still being nervous. I refuse to unpack all my boxes because we’ve moved 12 times in 9 years. Please let me know if you come to the Thousand Oaks area!

  15. Congratulations — it has been great ‘watching’ your journey and your successes! Never feel guilty for what you have worked so hard to earn but also never forget those you met getting there. Break a leg, girl! :)

  16. I’m glad to hear you found a place! Out here in Ohio, it’s VERY challenging to find a cheap apartment that will allow me to have my American Bulldog, so I’m glad you and Fez have found some good accommodations. Thanks for the update (and the reminder to buy your book:)

  17. Congrats on the rehousing! You’ve worked hard to get back into a home and be successful, don’t let the guilt get to you too much. You deserve it… enjoy it!

  18. Bri, I am SO HAPPY ot read you have found a home. I have been worried about you since I read your book a few months ago (it is the Mommy in me :) . Take care of yourself!

  19. Robbie Probasco says:

    Just finished your book last night. I worked inner city for many years and thought I had seen and heard it all from homeless folks that I nursed back to health as a nurse. Your book took me back to those years when my friends lived in box cars and in boxes under the bridge. Stay strong. Your job is so important. I am looking forward to your next book. I wonder if Matt is preying on you now that you are famous. He is a bad man. Like I said “stay strong”. Hope you get to the Mid West. I would love to see you.

  20. I loved your book! You are sooo very strong! Glad to hear you have real walls around you now! And I bet Fez is loving it too! Congrats!

  21. Hi Bri,

    I’m from Perth western Australia. I just finished your book I couldn’t put it down.
    I think you’re amazing and I am so happy you have found a home and fez is so cute!!

    Good luck honey : )

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