The initial adrenaline rush of making a film has definitely worn off and I think I'm now getting into the long, hard slog stage. I watched someone else's film about homeless people today (I don't want to say which one for reasons that will be clear shortly). It really took the wind out of my sails. The message of the film was basically that it's a hopelessly intractable problem, which is not what I needed to hear just now (even if it may be true). I need to believe that there's a solution out there somewhere. I need to have faith. Ironic, isn't it?
The belief that nothing can be done is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If there's no hope, why bother to try? And if you don't try, of course you won't succeed, which of course reinforces your belief that it really was hopeless after all. If ever there was a vicious cycle, this is it.
I have had two people cancel interviews with me so far. One said he didn't want to invest any more emotional energy on the homelessness issue, which I could certainly understand. The other didn't give a reason, which really annoyed me, and I'm finding that I'm having a really hard time letting that one go. This person -- I'll call her B -- is not homeless (by a long stretch), and the one sentiment she did express to me before deciding to cut off contact was that the homeless problem is the fault of the ACLU for challenging laws making it illegal to sleep in public places (or, as she put it, to "pick the homeless up out of their own urine"). And if by some chance B is reading this, please note the pains I am taking to conceal your identity. And if you think I am distorting your position, and you really have the courage of your convictions, then call me and talk to me and set me straight, damn it.
I suspect that the people who support vagrancy laws are afraid to come forward because in their heart of hearts they know that they too have given in to despair. If you can't solve the problem then you only have two choices: sweep it under the rug, or face it day in and day out. And that second option, as I am coming to understand, is very, very unpleasant.
I think supporters of vagrancy laws support those laws for the same people that Walter the bum drinks: because neither one has the inner strength to look their problems squarely in the eye and say: I am going to fix you. Whatever it takes. I will not succumb to despair. I will not accept the premise that the problem is intractable. I will have faith even against all evidence that there is a solution out there, and I will proceed on that premise.
I hope I manage to find the inner strength to do that. Right now I'm not so sure.