Monday, December 14, 2009

Oakland Love

A friend of mine got mad at me the other night because in the past I have been negative about Oakland. Dissecting my negativity I realized that while there are many things I love and many things I do not love about Oakland, I really just don't want to live here anymore and I'm trying to convince myself it's ok by being negative about it, when I really could just be ok with not wanting to live here.

A short list of things I love about Oakland:

My friends: some of the worlds best artists and musicians live in Oakland. Also some of the world's best friends.

The soup bus: a converted city bus on which a friend makes and serves soup to his friends once a week.

Art: an interesting, and vibrant art scene that thrives on exploration and interaction.


Projects like this:

The cute boy sitting opposite me at the coffee shop this morning: he asked me to watch his laptop while he went outside. He has a really nice smile.

There are things to be negative about in every city, and I have some criticisms about Oakland that are useful and some that really aren't. I am ready to move on, but having a hard time because my friends and family are here.

And who knows? Maybe I will live here for the rest of my life. I don't have plans right now beyond the making of my album. I love Berlin and can see myself living there but right now I can only focus on one thing.


I start to rehearse with a band today. Strings at my show tomorrow! Really excited! Yay!


And this is a conversation started by my last post: Pretty Cute for a Homeless Girl

wakingdreaming ( has left a new comment on your post "Pretty Cute for a Homeless Girl":

"I kind of feel like you're trivializing homelessness with all of this. You're not really homeless, in the sense that kid was probably homeless. You were staying someplace, whether it was in a hotel, motel, or someone's house or apartment or whatever. You have money to do what you want and need to do. That kid didn't.

I'm annoyed you didn't help him out to get a shower just because you have a "list" of things to do. I'm really disappointed you couldn't take time out to help someone for real. I'm a fan of you but I won't be buying any of your "cute for a homeless girl" shirts because you're not really homeless and pretending you are isn't cute or funny."

I suppose it might sound like I am trivializing homelessness though it certainly was not my intention. All I meant to do was talk about my experience, which is that of being without a home. I never stated, or even implied that I sleep on the street. I do have places to sleep, shower, be warm, safe, and loved.

I related that story because to me it was an intriguing pick up line. Not that I thought it was coming from a place of sexual desire - more from a place of human interaction. I do not feel obligated to give anybody a shower - certainly not when I don't even have a shower at my disposal. I can't afford hotels and friends are lovely and tolerant of my wandering nature but not so keen on me bringing other people over to shower. I do not feel obligated to talk to people, or spend time with them. When I talk to someone it is because I want to. Sometimes I might seem aloof for not talking to people but I think obligation cheapens human interaction. I had a very nice conversation with a homeless man the other night, because I wanted to.

I will continue to say things off the cuff, let things fly. I will also continue to write what I think of, even if/when it trivializes, or potentially offends. Better than than silence. Even if I get a comment about how someone is annoyed with me. I'd rather an honest communication than none at all.


This has reminded me of one of my very favorite books: Down and Out in Paris and London - by George Orwell

"Down and Out in Paris and London, published in 1933, is the first full-length work by the English author George Orwell. It is a story in two parts on the theme of poverty in the two cities. The first part is a picaresque account of living on the breadline in Paris and the experience of casual labour in restaurant kitchens. The second part is a travelogue of life on the road in and around London from the tramp's perspective, with descriptions of the types of hostel accommodation available and some of the characters to be found living on the margins. Orwell gives it an autobiographical feel by interposing chapters presenting his personal opinions."

George Orwell is a truly fantastic writer, I love his mind. Great read!

Buy the book through Alibris


And you can still buy a t-shirt, if you want. But I get a temporary home in three days so get them while they're hot (or at least while I'm hot.)


  1. For the record, I don't think you're trivializing things. I was homeless, but much like you, I didn't sleep on the streets. After leaving home at 18 to escape an abusive situation, I lived in my car for 2 weeks. I never had to deal with not having transportation, and I had friends good enough to let me use their showers, and I kept my job (they even let me park in their lot overnight so I wouldn't be towed). After some other family members found out where I was sleeping, I was offered a place to stay. I'm also a very generous person, but if someone had asked me for help during that time, I know I couldn't have.

    I'm rambling now, but even though you and I might not be "as homeless" as the poor people who have to sleep on the streets, it doesn't seem to me to be "trivializing" homelessness.

    Travis & his roaches

  2. I certainly didn't think you were trivializing homelessness. As someone who has had family who has lived on the street and currently lets his brother live with him so that won't happen. I feel like I am a pretty good judge.

    I have had several times in my life where I bummed around friends houses while I was looking for a place to live, I get the shirt. I also moved out when I was 18 because of a bad home life and there were times I was scrambling to make it.

    Talk to who you want to. You are under no obligations to the world. It makes those of us you do talk to feel so much more special. I am rambling, see what happens when I have a migraine :)

  3. Your blogs seem to inspire us to ramble on. I might have to hijack your comments page ;)

  4. I believe there are different types of ways of being homeless. Just because you have a place to sleep for the night, doesn't mean you're sleeping at 'home'. It's not your place and therefore it's not yours to give.

    I considered myself pretty damn homeless before. I had a house but was rarely ever there. I found myself sleeping on people's couches a lot because I was always traveling about. If someone were to ask me where my "home" was... I wouldn't know. There's no place that felt permanent or warm like I believe a home should.

    I'm sure Oakland has many great things about it, but that doesn't mean it's the place for everyone.

    Good luck, Kim.
    I'll be seeing your SF show soon.

  5. Loved your show at the Climate theater last night. I too experienced the guilt put on you to just hand money over to anyone. Most of the time the person weighs more than me and is wearing new shoes. I actually supported a kid until he could get on his feet. The truth was he never got on his feet. He was able to show up for work, then sleep on my couch. But he was simply unable to save money at all. he just got high and kept sleeping on my couch. I ended up putting him on a river boat. They fired him for being high. The homeless guy you see is someone who chooses not to attend free addiction programs, and pissed off their last room mate. Never let people put their misplaced anger on you. They were given SO many chances and continued to blow it. Karen

  6. Kim, what link on your site is used to send a photo? it was from last night's show at the Climate Theater.