after the fire destroyed, Art, Artist, Cricket House Studios, cricketdiane, design, designer, disabilities, disability rights, homeless, homelessness, Inventing, new art, new design, new york city, NYC, poverty, Real-life, sculpture, Staten Island, studio
This was the first post made on the new blog for CricketDiane and Cricket House Studios but I’m moving it over to this blog instead because the new blog is going to have other kinds of information on it and this is more personal.
What I wrote a few days ago –
Real life is crazy – that is what is crazy. I’m sleeping on a neighbor’s living room floor. Nobody will take a Section 8 voucher which I have and is still good for about four more weeks and they probably wouldn’t rent to me anyway because I found out yesterday, my credit score is now 74 (since the fire.) Utilities continued charging me after the fire until the final fire incident report could be given to them that only came about a week and a half ago.
My daughters had a GoFundMe campaign which included only them after they lived in my house for nearly three years with my paying all the bills from my limited money and supported them and their children along with doing most of the housework and watching their children far too much of the time. The Senators office in Staten Island that was supposed to reimburse us for staying extra days in the hotel room after the fire while they were supposedly trying to get reasonable accommodation for me – didn’t reimburse us and didn’t get any reasonable accommodation for me from HPD either.
All the resources from HPD (Housing Preservation and Development) that should be available to me aren’t – because they won’t make any reasonable accommodation to me so that I can be where I know and am familiar with the physical space and people and environment. One neighbor put me out of her house after three weeks to keep from me having any rights as a “tenant” in housing court just in case that ever might be something I would do which meant I slept outside in the yard of the abandoned house next door to hers one night and half of the things donated to us are ruined still sitting there at that yard next door to her house.
Another neighbor up the hill is charging me $150 a month plus $20 for electric to sleep on her living room floor with some of my things lining one wall in tubs and crates (things people have donated or I’ve bought since the fire because nothing was recoverable from the fire. ArtLab gave me a scholarship to take a clay class plus sponsored a bag of clay for me to use and each Monday, I’ve been going there to create in clay and have made four pieces – three pretty good ones and one ugly one that probably needs to be thrown away.
My daughters have scattered and are not here “helping” me although I’m not sure how much help they would be anyway since things are so confusing and extremely expensive from bus fare to having to run all over the place and get things done including replacing IDs and trying to find a place to live and getting something to eat. And, getting the final fire incident report to all the utilities and cable service so they’ll stop charging us for a house that is burned down.
The problem is, that because of head injury and PTSD from domestic violence years ago, if I don’t stay where I already know, especially after this extreme traumatic event, I could very likely lose most or even, all of my ability to function. Being able to walk, talk, know my name, understand where I am, write, find my own ass with both hands, know to wipe it myself, understand what I’m hearing and seeing, know where I’m waking up and why I’m there – are freedoms I don’t want to lose on top of losing my home and everything I’ve worked on for the last 32 years that were destroyed by the fire.
It isn’t very likely that I will ever make lots of money because I never remember what all I know and what all I can do. That is a definite drawback of head injury. People around me will say how long they’ve been in business or been doing something – I know somewhere in my mind that it has been a very long time that I’ve been doing whatever it is – but unless I really sit down and take a couple hours to figure it out – I don’t know. I was doing it yesterday – so it has been a while. And, I had always thought that if I’m good at it, then it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing it – whether it is forty-five years or two. But, there isn’t a practical way for me to tell anyone as I’m standing there with them, that there are good reasons that I know what I’m doing in art or sculpture or the business of product design or inventing things or writing or computer stuff or anything.
When one of my clay pieces that I sculpted was being brought from ArtLab to where I’m staying, I stopped off at a little book cafe where a lot of people know me. One of the men saw the piece and tapped it with his keys – an extraordinary clay pottery piece with beautiful glazes and sculpted with leaves on one side of it, a large bowl-like vase for a table centerpiece to hold fall and Christmas flowers. But no, it couldn’t be real art because he knows I’m homeless and has never seen my art. This is ridiculous to an extreme.
I travel up and down the hill of Benziger Ave. where my house burned down with a thirty-lb. plus backpack on my back pulling a small rolling suitcase with my computer in it and my purse slung across its top by the handle every day going to these places. For the past month and a half, every time I’m going out – that is how I look because I can’t leave the computer here and if I was going to use the internet, up until a few days ago, I had to go somewhere else to use it – the ferry terminal or the cafe book store.
The libraries would not let me in because of the rolling cart I had to begin with and then because of the rolling bag that has my computer in it because they decided not to let those things in the library to keep homeless people from coming into the library. Anyway, it has meant that I couldn’t use the internet at the library or the resources at the library during this entire time. About two weeks ago, I hid my computer in this living room space and walked the half-mile to the library without it so I could check out some videos. There was no way to stay the forty-five minutes that the library lets me use their laptops and get online because my computer couldn’t be safe that long where I stay so I had to go back with a few videos in hand to watch.
At the ferry terminal where there is free wifi, it requires spreading my computer and extra keyboard and file folders on the floor over by the windows to do it, because it has been too cold and windy to do it outside where there are seating areas to spread it out. I don’t think the ferry terminal was intended to be any real place to use the wifi they offer, it isn’t practical in any sense of using it except for a quick phone thing which is probably what they meant for it. But I did it anyway a few times, with my things spread across the floor by the windows out of the way of where people were waiting for or getting on the ferry. That was interesting.
I’ve also made a couple trips down to the HackManhattan makers space over the past couple months because the Makers Space in Staten Island charges $250 a month and refused to allow me to trade any time with my skills helping them for time in the makers space. They also weren’t interested in the list of classes that I said I could teach which could have been a bit of money to me for this time that has been so impossible financially and in every other way. The same was true for the nearby Temple of the Arts, where they let me stuff envelopes for a few dollars but have no interest in the classes that I could teach from sewing to piano to art to computer skills. As much as it would help people in these areas and in Staten Island to have what I know how to do available to them, it downright doesn’t matter because the resources that could make it possible are very closed to me by the people who have them.
Since the internet service finally got sorted out and they let me have it here, I’ve been able to create a few products over on Zazzle which are now the only remaining archive of my work since all the digital files, photographs of them, hard drives with the files of them and computers were destroyed by the fire. I’ve also worked on this new blog a little but it has been really hard to gather any thoughts about what to put on it and finally I have given up and put this for lack of a better idea. I really want to add the structural materials libraries that I love and things more in line with creating and inventing – but no, the confusing things around me are too much to get focused and there is no chance I’ll have a home out of all this or an office or a studio or in fact, have any money to do anything at all with from my efforts.
There are also six new video clips that I loaded onto my YouTube channels a couple days ago. They aren’t wonderful, but they are appropriate to the current situation. And, hopefully, I can add some content soon that isn’t about my personal difficulties butt is instead something about painting, creating, making, inventing, doing business online, materials, resourcing, or any number of other nifty things I know a lot about – including some great valuable content among all of it.
That’s it – I’m tired of talking about it now except for this – among the fifty million things that are wrong right now, I am thankful and have great admiration for the many, many people who have helped me, are helping me, have extended the hand of friendship to me, have let me lay my head in their homes, have given me a computer and shoes for my feet, sent me a bit of money to buy food, taken a moment to say hello and give me hugs. Despite everything that has happened, I can say I’ve survived it thus far because of these things and they have kept me going and kept me demanding of myself that I not quit even when things seem so terrible and they are. It is amazing to see that I can write after all this and as that is not something small in my world – for that I’m also very grateful.
- cricketdiane, 11-27-16