When: November 18th, 2013
Routes: 41 and 44
People: Genevieve Tyrrell and Julie Tyrrell
Initial post from Genevieve:
When I had to pick a route, 1) I saw that the touristy routes were all taken, and 2) I realized, though taking a touristy route might offer some great art and shops along the way, it wouldn’t necessarily show a basic human survival need for LYNX. So I decided to take a lesser traveled route—well, let’s be clear here—not lesser traveled by people, but lesser traveled by my writing/ art community and friends in the Orlando area. I took part of route 41 and most of 44, and I decided I had a specific place in mind to go to: The Anthony House. http://anthonyhouse.net/
The Anthony House is a transitional living facility for families trying to get back on their feet. These families have been homeless for whatever reason and need a place to stay while the parents look for jobs, find places to live, and save up for first and last month’s rent. Their website states, “Anthony House is a transitional housing facility offering homeless families and individuals interim housing as well as life skills training that allows them to become self sufficient and independent.”
Some families are homeless simply because they were told to come down to Florida to live with family or friends, used all their money and resources to get down here, only to be told, “Sorry, you can’t live here,” when they arrived. Some have fallen on hard times from lay-offs and high medical bills. Some are single-parent families struggling to depend on the income of one provider. There are many factors that come together, but it doesn’t take much to fall on hard times. If there’s a lesson to be learned—it could happen to any of us. You just never know.
The LYNX bus system is The Anthony House’s lifeline. They’re up in the Mt. Dora area, removed from downtown Apopka and Orlando. Their mode of transportation to go to job interviews, to jobs, and to go apartment-hunting is the bus.
I called The Anthony House beforehand to ask if it would be okay to stop by, got the okay from Jerry (Program Director), and I road the bus November 18th, 2013, part of route 41, and most of route 44.
What was so fascinating about my trip was the overall arching themes of connectedness and peace. The bus ride itself—though it served the purpose of getting to and from The Anthony House—I noticed how often it served to facilitate meetings among friends—and the other side of the coin—peace in aloneness. It’s simple really. In one moment a passenger could be daydreaming—in the next hugging a friend.
That’s not to say the bus ride was all kumbaya and happy. Sometimes there was an infringement on peace. Sometimes the connectedness was abrasive. I found the bus as a meeting ground for being human. When we’re in our own cars by ourselves—even if we’re riding our own bicycles—we aren’t in the company of strangers in close proximity for five to forty minutes. We often don’t get to know people outside our cliques and small communities. It’s hard not to get to know someone—or be aware of someone else—on the bus, even if you never speak.
So what I’ve been working on since November (sans the Holiday madness), is to put together a graphic narrative that can tell a story of this experience.
These pictures are the beginning sketches and illustrations:
Genevieve Anna Tyrrell finished her MFA in creative writing at the University of Central Florida. She is a current nominee for the Pushcart Prize and received an honorable mention in the “Hot Street” Emerging Writers contest. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in “Creative Nonfiction,” “Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine,” “Hippocampus,” and “Niche.” Her art has appeared in “Smokelong Quarterly” and “Animal.” She lives in Oviedo, Florida, and has taught both composition and creative writing in the Orlando area.