For Those of You Joining Us Now . . . my life, in a Tiny White Box

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I write a daily blog called One Mind Snapping at tinywhitebox.com.  Manchester InkLink is now publishing a weekly piece drawn from these, and I figured you might want to know a bit about me.  If not, I won’t be crushed, although I will be surprised. Hurt, even. But not crushed.  At the bottom are links to the five most popular posts so far.

I live, along with my heterosexual four-legged male life partner, Sam, in a very comfortable if not spacious 72-square-foot box on the Canadian border.  (I’m aware that first sentence raises way more questions than it answers – it’s what’s known as a hook, a writing device I’m not good at.)  Sam’s gender is, I guess, immaterial because he’s a combination boxer and black lab, and his sexual identity is also moot because of an operation he underwent as a pup.  The Tiny White Box we live in is a converted motorcycle trailer that’s six-feet wide and 12-feet long.  Inside is a bed for one-and-a-half (sorry, Sam), a coffee pot, a couple lamps, heat, a microwave and, most important, refuge from the rest of the world for me to write. 

Home sweet home for Keith Howard and Sam.

The box is located on the grounds of a nonprofit called Warriors@45 North, a great organization that offers veterans a retreat from life and a chance to hunt, fish, ride ATVs and snowmobiles, all at no expense.  For 35 to 40 weeks a year, though, the property, in Pittsburg, about 10 miles from the Canadian border, is unused, except for me and Sam.  Every day we hike four to 10 miles, Sam chases birds and I write. 

Until a few months ago, I was director of a place called Liberty House in Manchester, a temporary housing program for formerly homeless veterans.  If you Google “Keith Howard Liberty House” you can read of some of my adventures there.  Since I used to be a drunken homeless veteran, it was a good fit for Liberty House and for me.  After 10 years of sobriety and living off the streets, and five years of running Liberty House, though, I knew it was time to move along.  We’d increased the public awareness and the budget of the place so much, I knew it needed a saner and more conventional leader than I could ever be, a leader who consolidates success instead of immediately looking for the next hill to gaze over.  I gave them nine months to choose my successor, and made plans. 

My first novel, On Account of Because, was published in July, and once I was done with the afternoon of public-relations excitement that attends every first-time novel publication, I got ready to move here to contemplate, hike, lead free writing retreats for veterans, and write a memoir and a couple more novels.  You can reach me at keithhoward@gmail.com.


Five Most Popular Pieces (so far)


About the author: Keith Howard used to be a homeless drunk veteran.  Then he got sober and, eventually, became director of Liberty House in Manchester, a housing program for formerly homeless veterans.  There, he had a number of well-publicized experiences – walking away from federal funds in order to keep Liberty House clean and sober, a contretemps with a presidential candidate and a $100,000 donation, a year spent living in a converted cargo trailer in Raymond. Today, he lives in a six-by 12-foot trailer in Pittsburg, NH, a few miles from the Canadian border with his dog, Sam.  There, Howard maintains tinywhitebox.com, his website, works on a memoir, and a couple of novels while plotting the next phase of his improbable life.