Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fate or Destiny?

I have a question about homelessness: Is it fate or Destiny? “Deprived of “Knowing their Place,” The homeless are adamantly “out of place” confusing the boundaries maintained by those who think they know their places Their poverty forced into public view, the homeless remind, everyone of the hypocrisy and greed that underlies a city’s structure.” (Lippard,Lucy, The Lure Of the Local, Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society, pg, 218)

As the world continues to turn with all it’s many diverse levels of existent, it is a possibility that we forget that “Place” needs to be established no matter if it fits in the mainstream or not, bare or full, safe or dangerous. By establishing an individual or group “place” we create many different cultures within the mother culture. In reading the chapter, Home In The Weeds in Lippard’s book, I realized on a deeper level or have uncovered another perspective on how cultures are developed within cultures. One way is by creating relationships that identify, loss, gain, frustration or contentment in the way that “place” connects or disconnects them to society. One of the venues that create these sub-cultures of “place” is personal story. Many homeless people and families who are homeless have had the same “ American Dream,” but with a snap of a finger bad luck strike and they get evicted from their home, loose their job, a fire destroys their home, or an illness develops. These misfortunes can happen to anyone at anytime with different outcomes to their relationship to “place.” As I am writing, my purpose is that “Place” is in constant relationship to and connected or disconnected to change, which can be created or destroyed by fate or destiny, Fate meaning chance and destiny meaning choice. I have been deeply moved by the homeless man that rejected my offering of food to him over the garbage can he was looking through in Grande Central Station. I know that there is a thread somewhere that will connect that experience to the film project (Collective) that I am collaborating with my fellow citizens in different communities and geographical locations. One must find a “place” or create a “place” where they can do



  1. Hi Nancy,

    Interesting thoughts... I remember your story about the homeless man from the conference call.

    I too had an experience with homeless people in San Francisco--where they are everywhere! Homeless people are reletively few (other than in Madison or Milwaukee, probably) because of how severe the weather is in winter. But in San Francisco, where I was visiting with my family for a medical convention, they were everywhere!

    I was only 13, and the experience of seeing so many people living on the streets with nothing really bothered me. At night, we (Grandma, Grandpa, Mom and me) would go out to a restaurant for supper. There was always way too much food. So, one night I said that we should all put our leftovers in "doggie bags" (that what we call them, anyway, even though we don't feed our dogs people food), and I walked right up to a homeless person, in the dark of evening, and said, "Here, this is for you." I don't know, maybe because I was 13 and looked so innocent, but the lady looked shocked a moment and then very appreciative, though she said little. I think that, on another night, I also gave some to a homeless man.

    In San Francisco, the garbage recepticals on the sides of the streets have a top on them, with gaps in the sides to put the garbage into the can. The top is to place unwanted food on for the homeless people, so they don't have to "dig" in the garbage for it. I guess it's another way to do it, as an anonymous thought.

    Things like that, it reminds you how fragile what you have can be...

  2. I was in San Francisco about three years ago and really notice the homeless population as being big. Even coming from NYC. Thank you for your story. Just finishing editing my packet. Mine has to be in by Sept 2. Have a great day. Nancy