It is impossible for me to concentrate. There is the heat, the Southern heat, that makes one breathe differently, carry one's weight differently. Then all these other things keep on coming up. I need to be disciplined and whittled down to a pin of pure brilliance to write, and instead I am sludgy and slow. Today I went to the Behavior Sciences Library on John's campus and attempted to research statistics on women and mental illness, or just mental illness diagnosis in general, epidemiology, that is the word. Ironic in a way since I almost failed social science statistics at university. Anyway. And then John ran into a tall muscular young person on the streets near the Whole Foods this weekend, who wants to be a dancer, who has a bright yellow mohawk and painted gold nails, whose father is a minister who works at McDonalds and kicked him out because he was gay. It turns out he has been homeless for months, and now John and I have been running around back and forth and knocking into each other trying to figure out a way to help him, to get him into a sustainable situation, and last night when it was pouring holy-moly we got so upset at the thought of him sleeping on the streets with the blanket and sheet we bought for him at Target that we drove around the streets looking for him. His 60 days at the shelter expired a month ago and there's no where else to go, really, and he had his identification stolen, which means right now he has nothing, he is nothing. And when you start to help it's impossible to stop, once you realize no one else is helping. And he's kind and sensitive and says he wants nothing more than to be a ballet dancer, and he recited to us a spoken-word poem he wrote. And he's such a survivor, in the way that I know I am not. And tonight we put him up at a budget motel, because he asked us to, because he had not showered in too long and the YMCA wouldn't let him take a shower there, we drove him there and the windows were all broken and it was unbelievably sketchy, and at first we drove away, saying we'd find some place betterand he said to us, You know I'm from the ghetto right? I can close my door, it's fine. This is my life now, worrying about this young person who wants to be famous above all else and be on So You Think You Can Dance. This is what he tells me today. We had taken him to McDonalds even though perhaps hilariously or eyerollingly I tried to convince him to go somewhere else, I didn't want to support McDonalds, but it's what he wanted, he said, I'll get apples instead of fries, and then that made me feel super-awful, like I was proselytzing some unrealistic lifestyle. I say, Isn't it a better goal to be happy? To be safe? To be warm? And he said, yeah, he guesses so. It is a strange situation, I guess only strange because of how we have suddenly inserted ourselves in it. Every night since we met him John and I worry out loud and research possible shelters or programs and drink beer and fall asleep and feel utterly useless and like we're doing too much and also like we're not doing enough, and we're more than a little obsessed with the situation, attempting to find a solution, trying to go through all the processes to rebuild his identification in the world, and we meet him every day and nothing gets done, and it's insane to me how much society can choose to pretend someone doesn't exist, and how our institutions and practices both discipline and demonize.
And, fuck, I have to write this book.