I had been homeless in a couple of cities when I decided to move to Washington, DC, where I knew some people. I started looking for work and was eventually hired to be a literacy teacher at a program for older homeless men.Then I broke my ankle while I was carrying coffee into a movie theater and had to stop working.

My financial circumstances required that I resume working as soon as I could. The city Department of Rehabilitation promised to help me as soon as my ankle got a little better. They told me about jobs that were available and they said that they could get me clothes for interviews.

Then I saw people selling a newspaper. The articles were interesting and the poems and creative writing were impressive. One day I asked one of the sellers how he had gotten to sell the paper. He gave me his card and told me where to go.

After an orientation, I started selling Street Sense. Many of the customers were supportive and friendly. I also got to write articles for the paper. I like creative writing, and I studied it in school.

I’ve written poems since college. A poem, in a few words, can express strong emotional responses and be insightful. I had a poem of mine published in my college newspaper.

In college I took a class in short story writing. I enjoyed the class and did well in it. The stories about Gayle Tyler, published in Street Sense, are somewhat about me. My customers have often asked me if they were.

Gayle’s college is based on Penn State University, where I graduated. I have enjoyed exploring her character’s life. She is a woman starting her adult life, who has anxieties, but also dreams that she is trying to achieve. She is not a perfect person; no one is.

I plan to write a book about her, maybe even a sequel. I hope people will buy the book when it is available, maybe in a year’s time.

Street Sense has also given me the opportunity to write articles about poor, homeless, and disenfranchised people. These types of writing are important.