Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Baby I'm Amazed

I’m stunned, amazed and completely flabbergasted by the graphic design community (a.k.a. HOWies)
and my blog readers. Their help and support is more than I ever would have imagined in my wildest dreams.

I sent a reluctant tweet out the other day about my homeless situation. I had reservations about sending it out. Frankly, being homeless is embarrassing. I never expected anything out of it –just a way to let people know. Shortly after I sent it, though, I started receiving donations.

A bit of backstory is in order. For years I was involved in a couple of online graphic design forums – HOW Magazine’s and About.com’s Graphic Design Forum. At the time it was a lot of fun and I met some great people all around the world. Plus we did some amazing things we got together. We raised money for a guy who broke his arm and had no insurance. We managed to find a car and apartment for another guy. We stood up for designer’s rights and made some noise when needed. These folks don’t mess around.


One of the crew saw my tweet and pretty much ran with it. She posted on the HOWies’ Facebook
page and the rest is history. My iPhone suddenly started jingling with messages that I received a donation. It’s the next day and my phone is still jingling. I was so busy writing thank you messages I didn’t have time to post to my blog last night.

Right now I’m feeling quite blessed. I can start to see light at the end of tunnel. Before, I was convinced that light was an oncoming train. Fresh, clean clothes, a shave and a bed, along with the help from my astounding friends changed my attitude and changed my life. I am forever grateful.

As a result of those donations, I was able to get off the sidewalk and stay at a motel last night. It was so, so good to have a shower, eat something and sleep in a real bed. Plus, I get to do the same tonight. Woo hoo!

As an added bonus, I may have some freelance work, too. A couple of people mentioned needing writing and graphic design stuff. Also, one of my former clients got with me on Facebook and may be need some projects.


So, things are looking up. Never ever underestimate the power of community. You likely have friends you didn’t even know about. Also, whenever you see someone in need of help, help them out. Karmic law has a way of working to keep things in balance. Boy, I’m waxing philosophical these days.

35 comments:

  1. it literally could be any one of us. it's not a result of "poor" life choices, it just was a series of bullshit events. you're right about karma though. i fully believe in that. whatever you decide the right path is, you have friends you've never even met behind you. i let Nic know about a job here in pittsburgh at dicks sporting goods marketing dept.. it's a senior design job. if you're interested, please let me know - there's an employee referral program here!

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    1. Devon,
      Rats! I posted my reply in the wrong spot. It's below under JDML's post. Ooops.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, JD. It's appreciated and very apparent. All you need is HOWie love, to paraphrase the Beatles. :-)

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  3. Hi Devon,
    I am in awe of my friends and supporters. Funny you should mention "poor life choices." A friend of mine just uttered those words the other day. It hurt a bit, but I figured I couldn't see them being too close to things.

    Now, I'm feeling pretty dang good and that's a result of you and the rest of the gang. I'm forever in your debt.

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  5. Neil- I wrote this on your gofundme page but didn't know if you had access to the comments there-- "I don't know you and you don't know me but your story touched my heart. I cannot even imagine the pain you're feeling. We have many, many friends in common and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before our paths cross for real. In the meantime, I hope this donation helps you find a peaceful place to rest, a warm meal and time to collect your thoughts. You are a amazing writer and if you continue to document your story I know it will only bring more attention to this problem our nation is facing. I can't help but feel like you are being thrust into this situation because someone up there knows how strong you are and that you have a voice that can be used to help yourself and others. I heard you are a pretty great public speaker too... I'm sure that opportunity is about to present itself to you big time. I can and will help however I can. For now, I will continue to share your story and support you with my voice. May we meet in person soon." - Jamie Saunders

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    1. Hi Jamie,
      Thanks for your donation and thoughts. They mean a lot to me. I haven’t been on the GoFundMe page yet. Do you happen to have the URL?

      All of this is happening so fast and my brain isn’t working up to speed. Last night I was able to stay at a hotel with the donations folks graciously sent in. I was and am so grateful. When I get out from under all this I plan to become an advocate for the homeless. Having been there and being there, I feel I can do some good.

      Thanks for the kind words about my public speaking. I was thinking about putting a media kit together and get some speaking gigs about homelessness. Business groups are always looking for speakers for their meetings.

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    2. The go fundme page is here:

      https://www.gofundme.com/NeilTortorella

      Good luck to you Neil- we hope you back back on your feet soon!

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    3. I'm so glad to hear that you are getting some rest and food. I'm happy to help and want nothing but good things for you from now on. Looks like someone else sent you the link. I'll continue to pray for you. You have the best people behind you...believe in yourself.

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  6. Neil:

    Glad to read that this is all helping some. I do hope that you'll be able to get back to a stable place in life, and carry on from there wherever you want to go.

    Even though I'm not HOW family, I appreciated your support of my conference years ago, and you were one of the speakers who people reported highly, and it was evident you gave a lot to folks just in my short interactions with you. (One of your talks was instrumental in a friend's big life decision back in fall 2010, whether you knew it or not). And given how highly the HOW community regards you, I understand I only saw a small portion of your talent, ability and generosity back then.

    I wish you good fortune in turning this situation around, and as I wrote in my note before, you're welcome to reach out to me if ever you want to connect for something (or nothing at all). It looks like you've got a lot of connections and friends you can reach out to as well.

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  7. Hi Mike,
    How are you? It's been a long time. Are you still doing IndieConf? It was a lot of fun.

    Thanks for your thoughts and comment. It's appreciated.

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    Replies
    1. Might revive it again at some point - had to take some time out of it.

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    2. generally doing OK - had some ups and downs the last few years, but more ups than downs :) Definitely looking forward to hearing more of your journey over the next several weeks/months, if you're willing to share (as others have shared, perhaps a book?)

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  8. Dear Neil,
    I was so touched when I saw the support of the Aboutkateers and HOWies. Don't forget that you're just receiving some of the generosity that you've shown everyone over the years. We're pulling for you!
    ((hugs))
    Ruth

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  9. Hi Ruth,
    Thanks so much. I never realized the influence I had with people. I just thought that's what everybody did. The folks in the design community have really amazed me. I wish I could come up with a better word than "amazed." Maybe astounded, flabbergasted or astonished. The cascade of thoughts and donations pretty much made my day, month and year. You're all the greatest.

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  10. Hang in there buddy! I knew this would turn around for you in no time at all. You've given so much to not get some in return.

    My offer is still on the table as well. ;)

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  12. That's the good side of social media. Someone shared your story, I got it in my timeline and I was able to donate though I'm in Germany and never had the pleasure meeting you in really life and probably never will. I really hope your situation improves to the best outcome quickly. All the best to you and to those starting the campaign and sharing the story. It's one of the things that restores faith into humanity.

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  13. Hey Neil, not sure if you remember me but we met at IndieConf in 2010. We were both speaking at the event. I remember we chatted for a while, but it's been so long I don't remember the conversation. A friend just posted on Facebook about your situation and sent me a message.

    Glad to see you were able to get off the street and that things are looking up right now. Wishing you all the best.

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  14. Hi Brandon,
    Of course I remember you. Thanks for the thoughts. Things are starting to get a bit better, slowly but surely. How are you doing?

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    1. I'm doing well, thanks. Got out of public speaking (mostly) a few years ago. I miss traveling and meeting interesting people and making new friends, but it can take it's toll on the family.

      I just wish I had kept in touch with more folks I met along the way (like you). Reading your blog has really been eye-opening and inspiring.

      What's the best way to stay in contact? Twitter? Email?

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  16. Sir... I am not in the Industry, but I am a friend of Stephen Glasglow... and I was moved by the spirit to send a donation. :) My name is Wendy Mingee Toth. <3 Love and much Light to you sir!

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  17. Replies
    1. You're very welcome... I hope it helped a little bit.

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  18. After there was this update that the PayPal account has been frozen I have left a comment on the PayPal facebook page below an article about freelancers telling them they have frozen a PP account from a freelancer that collects donations. Meanwhile they replied to me: "We are sorry to hear this. Is it possible the account holder can reach out to us directly?"

    So please let PayPal know about the frozen account and maybe someone is willing to help.
    I don't know if links can be sent via this message system but you could download the screenshot with this message from my server as well and forward it to PayPal so they know it was their advice to let them know about the situation:
    www.silbran.de/download/paypal_reply.jpg

    Best wishes I hope this is resolved soon
    Silvia

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  19. Hey Neil,

    Been reading about your situation and its pretty awful, to say the least. Sorry you're going through this.

    What's your contact information (email address)? I think I might have a small job you can do (definitely paid).

    Thanks

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  20. I wish you the best. :) Never give up!!!!

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    1. Thanks! Your wishes are appreciated.

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  21. Hi Neil! You've definitely been an influence on us Aboutkateers and Howies and have helped more than you realize! I'm so glad you are in a better spot now and that it only goes up from here!...and, seriously, you know how to reach us, anything we can do, please let us know! Stay strong! :)

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  22. Whats your twitter handle? I'd like to follow you.

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  23. Neil -- if you get this message please reach out to me. Your posse of friends and myself have a great idea to allow you to have access to the funds but you must reach out to me. Thanks.

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    ReplyDelete