Since opening in the winter of 2021, the Youth Spirit Artworks Tiny House Empowerment Village (THEV) has provided housing for youth between the ages of 18 and 23. (Youth Spirit Artworks is the publisher of Street Spirit.) Beyond shelter, however, THEV has also become a community—a place where young people can build friendships, make art, and think critically about the world they want to build. It was this atmosphere of community that gave rise to the THEV writing group, founded in June 2021 by facilitator Zoe Mosko. Mosko, who first came to THEV to paint planter boxes, says the writing group “arose from the belief that everyone has a story to tell, and that telling our stories together furthers community.”It started small, with two residents showing up to write, eat snacks, and hang out. But it continued to grow, and has been meeting every two weeks since. Last month, the group published a book entitled “It Takes A Village: Tiny Houses, Big Voices.” It represents the first year of writing from the workshops.
“We share this book with each other and with you in celebration. Of our lives. Of our voices. Of the power and freedom that come from joining our hearts and minds,” Mosko writes in her introduction.
Below you’ll find a sampling of the writing that can be found in the book. The workshop will host a book launch party on Friday, November 4 where members of the public will be invited to for book readings, music, food, and the opportunity to purchase the book. The event is free, and will take place from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the Tiny House Village: 633C Hegenberger Road, Oakland. RSVP online here.
I and I
I am cut my blood spills out.
Continue to cut because I’m hurt.
Addicted to the high.
Obsessed with the thought of flying.
I am cut aspiring to heal.
Self love is the best love.
Bees love honey.
Hoes love money.
Flies smell shit.
Flies also love honey.
It’s a preference.
What do you love?
Who can you be?
The worst mistake I ever made
was choosing love before friendship.
The best mistake was choosing love
on instinct. I learned I can love
My Vegas Trip
The only out of state vacation/trip I’ve even taken was when I was 10, to go to Vegas and to see the Grand Canyon.
We went to Circus Circus (which is a hotel on the strip), the M&M factory, arcades, MGM Grand and saw white tigers and actually saw the original pilot episode as a test audience for the Big Bang Theory. We drove out past
Hoover Dam and visited the Grand Canyon, and it truly is one of the 7 wonders of the world. I also distinctly remember walking along the strip and seeing like little cards, almost like baseball cards, of prostitutes littered all over the ground.
Rossi De Lozado
Are you grateful for your gift or did you give it away
Dedicated to this grateful day
Fast forward, delay
I feel like in society people wear masks to correct the lies.
I myself felt I could read a room well and feel the energy of
good or bad. I learned to be balanced in my emotions
which helped me overcome the people wearing masks.
Honestly, most everyone is inclined to speak of others and situations in a negative light, but realizing I’m in
control of my output and that’s all I can ever be. That’s my greatest power, my narrative. It’s more difficult to create our own analysis and easier to fall into the thoughts of other because it takes no effort, it takes no resistance. But resistance is vital to the growth of existence toward the moral arc of the universe; justice and truth.
Pain and growth, I believe good and bad will always exist, like variables on a dice. I believe out mentality and energy can influence the roll, but never change the reality of pain.
My mother felt pain through the first moments of my life as did my bones as they stretched. Pain and growth are constant, the direction of growth is determined by the present. Pain has been a refining factor, and a character developing feeling, in most of our lives. It’s a double-edged sword, and is experienced in all walks of life. It inspires various arts, motivation, exercise, progression and digression. Pain is a constant factor we all try to navigate through. I believe our childhoods, social economic positions and environmental and educations affect our role, but the resilience and hunger in those who’ve experienced hardship is beautiful. Pain isn’t a competition or weakness, and without it, some of the most influential and important figures wouldn’t be here. Thankful for the highs and lows.
Alastair Boone is the Co-Editor in Chief of Street Spirit.