Tiny Housing for the Homeless

One of the reasons I wrote my novella “Big Love,” was to play around with the idea of using tiny houses to address the issue of homelessness in our country.

Now, I don’t want to pretend my story is something it’s not, because it is mostly a humorous “will they fall in love” type story. But my protagonist, Berly Charles, builds tiny houses for a living. One of the key scenes in the story revolves around a community-wide build, similar to a Habitat for Humanity build, where Berly and her friends come together to construct tiny houses for homeless citizens. Her interest in tiny houses and the homeless stems from a key childhood incident.

So that’s one side of the love equation. The other side is Nathan Rafferty, a prestigious journalist for the architecture industry, who thinks reporting on the tiny house craze is beneath him. He looks down his very upturned nose at the idea of tiny houses—also for reasons that stem from his childhood.

When they come together, they are undeniably drawn to each other. So, there’s plenty of conflict, misunderstanding, and humorous mayhem to go around.

Bookmark TH Ehret

Since writing the novella, I’ve remained connected to parts of the tiny house community and have been interested, particularly, in ways to use tiny houses to address the issues associated with homelessness. Recently a story from HuffPost’s “Road Trip: Listen to America” series caught my attention. Watch the 7:55-minute video below.

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A solution to homelessness?

Here’s another interesting possibility that was featured on the Tiny House Talk website—stackable tiny houses built out of concrete water pipes that “measure just 100 sq. ft. and cost about $15,000. They can be stacked and therefore be used as a temporary housing solution in places like shipyards, under highways, or even in-between buildings.” (Tiny House Talk)

What do you think about these ideas? Do you have other ideas for how to address the housing needs of the homeless? Share in a comment.


Contains the novella Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection, which contains “Big Love,” is now available. If you’re intrigued by the idea of using tiny houses for the homeless, or about tiny houses at all, this would be a good time to pick up the collection. All seven novellas feature tiny houses as part of their stories.

Michael Ehret’s novella, ‘Big Love’, tackles the hard topics of homelessness, revenge, how memories change you and finally the biggest of all: forgiveness. — From an Amazon reader review.

 


Mike-9Michael Ehret loves to play with words and as the author of “Big Love,” a novella within Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection, he is enjoying his playground. Previous playgrounds include being the Managing Editor of the magazine ACFW Journal and the ezine Afictionado for seven years. He also plays with words as a freelance editor and has edited several nonfiction books, proofedited for Abingdon Press, worked in corporate communications, and reported for The Indianapolis Star.

God Sighting: I Think I Can Hear You

I have a habit of looking for God in secular culture because I believe God can, will, and does use anyone to plant the whispers in our lives that often, if we’re listening, lead us to him.

Michelangelo_-_Sistine_Chapel_ceiling_-_bay_4_croppedSometimes the creative person participates in giving God an outlet, sometimes she doesn’t. I do not care either way. But looking and listening for these breakthrough moments when God gives the world a nudge is a fun, and ultimately rewarding, hobby.

For instance, J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books. For me, there are echoes of the gospel simply bleeding from those stories. I get that others can’t see past the wizardry, and that’s OK, but that’s not me. I am interested in using whatever tools come my way to shine a light and communicate truth. See, if we can get the heart open sometimes we can insert truth.

I heard another whisper today while listening to a song from Carole King’s 1972 album Rhymes & Reasons, “I Think I Can Hear You.” You can listen to it below.


Disclaimer: I have no idea what King’s inspiration for this song was. I haven’t even tried to find out. For me, it’s a prayer—and I have sung it to God as my prayer—of commitment and dedication.


As a creative Christian—and if we’re made in God’s image and God is the ultimate Creator shouldn’t all Christians be creative? —I often struggle with finding a creative outlet within an evangelical mode. How can I communicate truth in a world that increasingly rejects the very idea of truth? It’s a toughie.

This song’s opening questions expose my desires and insecurities about my place in this world: “What can I do(, God)? How can I serve you? Is it (even) true what I do is a way to be near you?”

Sometimes those questions are answered, sometimes we’re left wondering, as the next statement suggests, whether we can even hear God when he answers. Regardless, it’s true, as the verse’s closing line suggests, that just thinking about God (praying?) can soothe the restless, creative heart.

Right now, I’m struggling with a novella I’m writing. Is the idea not good? Do I just not have enough information? Have I gotten ahead of God? (I’m only 3,500 words into it, so I don’t think so.)

The tone and tenor of this story are quite different from my last novella, which was a light-hearted, humorous tale of finding big love in a tiny house. For this story, I’m writing about a man who has made humor his lifeline, who discovers what’s left after it seems the joke is over. It’s anchored on the hymn, “Be Still My Soul,” about living in God’s peace amidst chaos.

That ties beautifully into King’s second verse:

But I’m here, and life is dear,
And I guess that’s a good enough reason to say
Just let me do
What you put me here to
Let me be what you want me to be
And I hope it’ll cheer you.

No, my character is not going to hear King’s song played on a radio or some other contrived occurrence; the song won’t even be in the novella. But that place of belief, that place of “but I’m here and life is dear” acceptance, is exactly where I need to get him by “The End.”

I’m going to sidestep the universalism in King’s third verse—I’m no theologian—but after spending a decade pretty much self-sidelined in my writing by a lack of belief (and a world of crushed hopes and dreams), I do find lasting comfort in knowing, now, that God never stopped believing in me. As King sings, “Even when I thought I didn’t believe, you believed in me.”

I can’t help thinking about Mathew 18:12-14 and the kind of shepherd I have: A shepherd in charge of 100 sheep notices that one of his sheep has gone astray. … God’s shepheContains the novella rd goes to look for that one lost sheep…

Where in secular culture do you find God? Leave a comment here or on Facebook and I’ll enter you for the chance to win a copy (print or e-book) of Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection which houses my novella, “Big Love.” 


Mike-9Michael Ehret loves to play with words and as the author of “Big Love,” a novella within Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection, he is enjoying his playground. Previous playgrounds include being the Managing Editor of the magazine ACFW Journal and the ezine Afictionado for seven years. He also plays with words as a freelance editor and has edited several nonfiction books, proofedited for Abingdon Press, worked in corporate communications, and reported for The Indianapolis Star.

My nomination for Coolest Tiny House Ever

 

Contains the novella

Stumbled across this video of an amazing tiny house called the Escher (named after both the owner’s child and M.C. Escher, one of the world’s most famous graphic artists). If my main character in “Big Love,” Berly Charles, lived in a tiny house it would be something like this.


(Read “Big Love” in the novella compilation, Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection.)


There is much more to Escher than just his impossible constructions, but those are what he’s most known for. No doubt you’ve seen a couple, even if you didn’t realize who the artist was. My oldest sister introduced me to Escher when we were in high school. With Salvador Dali, he’s still one of my favorites.

If you’re entranced by tiny houses (I am), you’d probably enjoy “Big Love” and the other six novellas in the book. I’d love for you to give it a try and let me know what you think. If you have a link to another cool tiny house, feel free to share here in a comment. I will definitely visit.


Mike-9Michael Ehret loves to play with words and as the author of “Big Love,” a novella within Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection, he is enjoying his playground. Previous playgrounds include being the Managing Editor of the magazine ACFW Journal and the ezine Afictionado for seven years. He also plays with words as a freelance editor and has edited several nonfiction books, proofedited for Abingdon Press, worked in corporate communications, and reported for The Indianapolis Star.

From Our (Tiny) House to Yours

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A Book Lover’s Christmas

jollyholiday_2000pxBooks are great Christmas presents. No, they really are. Because unless you’re last-minute shopping and grabbing the first thing you see (been there, done that) a book is a personal gift.

Giving someone a book indicates you’ve taken the time to find a present specifically for them. A book says, “I saw this and thought of you. I think you’ll love it.”

We all have book lovers on our lists. My wife is a librarian. If I pick a book for her, I just about can’t lose. My mother likes biographies. My sister appreciates unusual cookbooks. If I can find a book that mentions Purdue University, then I am “in like Flynn” with my father-in-law.

What kinds of books do your friends and family like? Check out “Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection” which contains my novella, Big Love. It’s a great collection of seven novellas, each one with a tiny house incorporated. There’s some romance, suspense, humor (okay, there’s lots of humor), and even some architecture!

 


MichaelEhretMichael Ehret loves to play with words and as an editor, he is enjoying his playground. Previous playgrounds include being the Managing Editor of the magazine ACFW Journal and the ezine Afictionado for American Christian Fiction Writers for seven years. He has also proofedited for Abingdon Press, worked in corporate communications, and reported for The Indianapolis Star.

Get Onboard for Adventure!

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Think “Tiny” For Your Holiday Gifts!

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