Where Mercy and Truth Meet: Homeless Women of Wheeler Speak

Where Mercy and Truth Meet: Homeless Women of Wheeler Speak

An INwords Publication

In the summer of 2015, Indiana Writers Center staff and volunteers met with homeless women at the Wheeler Mission Community Center for Women and Children to help them write about their lives. The stories they wrote are honest and raw, full of struggle, heartbreak, and hope.

“It's all there. Their beauty, their strength, their power, their pain...all of it. Such a gorgeous well-rounded view of what it means to survive and sometimes thrive in a life filled with traumatic events. The book honors these beautiful survivors. Thank you for seeing these phenomenal women for who they really are and allowing them to share their stories.”
Colleen B. Gore, Director, Women and Children’s Services
Wheeler Mission Ministries

Read a wonderful article about this project by Dan Carpenter here.

$14.99 + S/H

Book Reviews:
"Vivid and Compelling...
This is a powerful book written by women who have known extreme powerlessness. The writing is intimate, engaging, and vivid. Trauma and loss are woven throughout many of the short pieces: "I Remember" poems, "What If" lists, and "How I Got Here" cautionary tales. But there's a collective voice of triumph that prevails and gives the anthology an overarching hopefulness. In other words, there is very little self-pity and more of an acceptance of cause and effect. Humanity is humanity, regardless of zip code or lack thereof. The book is filled with stories of childhood, family, school days, mental illness, favorite gifts, drug abuse, family pets, marriage, divorce, hope, death, and the general fear of life unraveling. There's a sense that most of the contributors have weathered their storms or are navigating in calmer waters thanks to Wheeler's faith-based approach. A few of the writers have disappeared, and their redemptive stories end abruptly, unfinished on the page. Look elsewhere if you want to read about day-to-day life on the streets. This book is about women seeking physical and spiritual shelter at Wheeler and how they're coming to terms with their past, the stigma of homelessness, and the universal quest to find purpose and meaning in one's life. Bravo, Lyn Jones and the courageous, complex women who found their way to Wheeler's writing sessions during the summer of 2015."

"What I enjoyed so much about this book is how it gives voice to a narrative that is rarely written. There are some books about homelessness with accounts from the homeless, but I cannot find many written by homeless people themselves. The stories I can find are either fictional or about one person's narrative. This anthology opened my eyes not only what it was like to be homeless but that it is experienced in different ways by different people. It also gave the woman an identity besides their homeless state, showing that they are complex human beings with stories (some sad, but others happy), dreams, and hobbies/interest. What so many books, though well meaning, tend to do when talking about homelessness is distance us from the people. By giving the women who wrote this book their own space for narrative, they were able to gain back a respect and dignity in a society that, at best pities them and at worst abuses them. Great stories and I hope to see similar books in the future."

"This book is a collection of essays and poetry written from homeless women who are currently living in a shelter and trying to get back on their feet. The stories are amazing and give a real perspective not only on the challenges that come with being homeless, but also how a string of difficult circumstances can lead one to becoming homeless. As I read it I was reminded that these are real women with hearts and dreams and children and pets and desires to have what the rest of us often take for granted: a simple life with a home, job, garden and independence. So often we focus on the label, and not the person behind it. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories and highly recommend this book."

© Indiana Writers Center 2012