Skip to content

The Street Lit Authors Club: A voice for Austin’s homeless

Organized by: Barry Maxwell

Barry's Photo
Barry's Photo
Barry's Photo
Barry's Photo
Barry's Photo
Barry's Photo

THE STORY:

…is everyone’s, and each deserves to be told. 

The Street Lit Authors Club helps Austin’s homeless tell their stories, and supports them in finding their voices on the page. Help us bring more stories into the world in 2016 and on into the new year.

                       *  *  *  *

In cooperation with Front Steps and the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (the ARCH), Street Lit delivers books and offers free creative writing workshops in a relaxed and non-judgmental environment. We lend encouragement and mentoring, foster open expression, and honor the strength in those whose stories so deserve a rightful telling.

Our stories and the need to share them are what we all have in common, and through our stories positive new connections are formed; empty pages are filled with art that might have never come to light. 

Your support keeps the words flowing.

Since our first workshop in June of 2015, we’ve had the privilege of welcoming other distinguished guests--rock stars of the writing and teaching community have come to work with us, and I cannot thank enough our friends Elizabeth Cullingford, Elizabeth McCracken, W. Joe Hoppe, Deb Olin Unferth, Vivé Griffith (of the Freeminds Project), and Charlotte Gullick (ACC's Creative Writing Chair) for the time they've devoted to the group. 

We’ve enjoyed a warm response from the press, both local and and in the literary world. If you’d like to look further into Street Lit’s origins and daily reality, please give a read to our friends at:

"Picking up the Pen: Writing group offers escape and expression for Austin's homeless." The Austin American-Statesman (July 31, 2016) Article and photos by Roberto Roldan

"How Books Are Helping Austin’s Homeless Community Street Lit: Finding Hope Through Literature" Literary Hub (May 16, 2016) By Michele Filgate

And we’ve just been chosen by the Austin Chronicle as a 2016 “Best Life Changer.” What an honor!

Such enthusiastic participation from the “real world” is invaluable. 

The Street Lit writers are an eclectic group. Meet a few of our regulars:

  • Jack is working on a digital video story of his childhood family times.
  • Josh is deep into a screenplay, and writes songs, poetry, and essays, too.
  • Cindy creates poetry from the mundane, often hilarious, always a joy.
  • Dezi has composed over 50 poems, and is making the rounds of open mics to read them! 
  • Marcilas writes for the Challenger newspaper, focusing on activism, but comes to Street Lit to concentrate on his more creative work.
  • Thom is a Challenger contributor, and bring to the group his activist works as well as forays into creative expression.
  • Niko writes memoir, fiction, and poetry.
  • Tony is working on a Manchurian Candidate-style spy novel!
  • Randy is working on a long-form piece about the metaphorical ‘life’ of a homeless backpack…

Every Saturday sees a fresh face or two, and new conversations rise about the nature and effect of writing, and how it has become an essential part of our lives.

We don't limit ourselves in genre or style, and every word counts: poetry, fiction and fact, freewrites, memories and vignettes, thoughts on life as it is or might be, or simply hearts and imaginations in action. One point we agree upon is that the writing process not only helps us come to terms with the past and present, but helps us rewrite our future.

Writing guru Pat Schneider, in her classic guide, Writing Alone and with Others, reminds us that “we are all connected to one another … through our strange and marvelous ability to create words.” This human connection is what Street Lit aims to nurture, and like Schneider, we’re guided by the philosophy that “writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.”  

How will your donation help the Street Lit authors?

Immediate and ongoing expenses:

  • Sturdy-backed pads or composition books, and pens by the bushel.
  • Writing texts, such as: This Word Now, The Mindful Writer, How to Write a Poem: a Beginners Guide, Writing Down the Bones, Bird by Bird, On Writing … and the occasional Oprah moment: “This is an amazing book, and you’ve all got a copy taped under your seat!” (Order direct on our Amazon wish list.)
  • Coffee, snacks, and all the accessories. ($30-$40 per week, on average)
  • Printing costs for handouts and “course packets.”
  • Dictionaries. Pocket-sized. Many.
  • Transportation for missions delivering books to the ARCH, donation pickups, etc.
  • Web hosting, design, and domain expenses.
  • Writer’s magazine subscriptions to share amongst the group. (Or funds to buy used copies to hand out.)
  • Contest entry and submission fees for getting the authors’ work into the world.
  • Field trips! Libraries, bookstores, campuses, literary events.
  • Public readings: transportation (Cap Metro passes), petty cash for coffee, snacks, and an order of dignity at the venue.

As Marge Piercy writes in her poem, “To Be of Use,” the Street Lit Authors Club is a “thing worth doing well done,” with “a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.” These newly-inspired authors deserve all the help we’ll give them. I hope you’ll join in this work through your donations, and nurture the Street Lit Authors as they grow.

Thank you,
Barry Maxwell

  

DONATE

To This Fundraiser

$1,835

 

56% Raised of $3,250 Goal

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • Barry Maxwell

    $10

  • Terry Transfer Committee

    $10

  • Tessa

    $10

  • Lavonne Roberts

    $10

  • A fellow writer

    $5

  • Archie Gormster

    $10

  • Elizabeth McCracken

     

  • Anonymous

     

  • Kelly

    $20

  • Anonymous

    $5

  • A Fellow Author

    $5

  • Adrienne

    $5

  • Aubrey Eyer

    $50

  • Edith Frost

    $50

  • Anonymous

     

  • Anne Florenzano

    $10

  • Anonymous

    $10

  • Anonymous

    $20

  • Anonymous

    $10

  • Nancy Mims

    $25

  • Michael Taeckens

    $100

  • Marion D.

     

  • Ashley Van Buren

     

  • Leela Rice

     

  • Joan Kobayashi

    $500

  • Jerry M.Coy

    $25

  • Steven Powell

     

  • Joan of Austin

     

  • Andrew

    $10

  • Anonymous

     

  • Anonymous

    $10

  • Vanessa Serrano

    $25

  • Carson

    $50

  • Anonymous

    $25

  • pamela collins

    $80

  • Joe O'Connell

    $25

  • Mira

    $50

  •  
  •  
  •  
Organized by

Barry Maxwell

This is a direct to organizer fundraiser.

Donor Comments

Mira

Mira

DONATION: $50

3 months ago

Joe O'Connell

Joe O'Connell

DONATION: $25

4 months ago

pamela collins

pamela collins

DONATION: $80

5 months ago

Anonymous

ANONYMOUS

DONATION: $25

5 months ago

Carson

Carson

DONATION: $50

In memory of Howard Terry 5 months ago

Vanessa Serrano

Vanessa Serrano

DONATION: $25

I really believe in this movement and empowering the homeless with words. Beautiful work! So happy to help! 5 months ago

Anonymous

ANONYMOUS

DONATION: $10

5 months ago

Anonymous

ANONYMOUS

Terry's are cool 7 months ago

Andrew

Andrew

DONATION: $10

7 months ago

Joan of Austin

Joan of Austin

9 months ago

Report this page — Let Us Know if you think this page is breaking the law or the CrowdRise Terms