I met my friend Alex through his blog in 2009. I was dreaming of building an inexpensive writing cottage, and while researching alternative building methods, I stumbled across his site. I was immediately hooked, and jumped back to the beginning to read the whole thing. There is a wealth of detailed information on his site about using ISBUs (Intermodal Steel Building Units--better known as shipping containers) to construct homes, offices, outbuildings, and emergency shelters, among other things (like writing-cottages!).
When I finished reading several days later I noticed a "donation" link in the sidebar. I felt that the amount of info (including detailed blueprints!) I'd gotten from the blog deserved compensation so I clicked it. I made a donation. At that point I saw from his Paypal account that he was also an A. Klein. I thought that was funny so I emailed him "from one A. Klein to another". He wrote to thank me for my donation, asked me a question or two, made a joke about our shared name and soon we got to talking about various other things. That was the beginning of our friendship.
Since then we've discussed all sorts of things regarding homesteading and self-sufficiency. We've exchanged seeds and plants through the mail. The poor guy has even memorized my picture book "Martimus at Midnight" since his four-year-old son, Joshua, seems to like it.
Actually, Joshua is the reason I'm writing this blog post. The little guy has not had an easy life. His mom, Char, found out she had cancer at the same time she discovered she was pregnant with him so she chose to hold off treatment. By the time Joshua was born, the cancer had progressed to the point it was incurable. Despite postnatal treatments, her cancer is now terminal. Joshua could lose his mom, and Alex his wife, at any time.
Back in March of this year, Joshua injured his hip while jumping on his mom's bed and had to have surgery to fix it. Then a few months later, inexplicably, Joshua's face began to swell and after a series of misadventures it was determined that he would need another surgery to remove a severely abscessed tooth. Only, it turned out to be much more than an abscessed tooth. He'd contracted an antibiotic-resistant Staph infection during his hip surgery that had migrated into his jaw and was wreaking havoc in his mouth.
The jaw-surgery he had very likely saved his life...at the expense of his teeth. All of his upper teeth and half of his lower ones are gone. Those that remain are capped with stainless steel. And since his surgery he's already had to return to the hospital for another round of intravenous antibiotics to battle the Staph infection that took them.
I know that the majority of people who read my blog are writers. Alex is also a writer. Besides his amazing blog, he has an ebook out about building with ISBUs and is working on a novel as well. He is a generous guy who has helped many people build better lives without asking anything in return. Like many writers he doesn't have insurance and is facing enormous medical bills. I'd love if the writing community could support one of our own through a tough time.
You could do so in three ways. 1. You could donate a favorite picture book to Joshua (through me). 2. You could buy Alex's ISBU book for yourself or as a gift to anyone who wants to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle, or 3. You could visit Alex's site and click the donate button. Even a little means a lot and I have no doubt Alex will pay it forward, backward and sideways, if you do.
His blog attracts a huge following, but in the past few days he's gotten email messages telling him that he shouldn't discuss his family's issues there, that his blog should never stray from the topic of building with ISBUs. I'm horrified for his sake. I know times are tough, right now. If you're unable to help in any of the ways mentioned above, you could still stop by his blog and leave a kind comment there--or even drop one here for him to see--I know that would be appreciated.
Lets show him the warm, generous, writerly side of the internet, can we?
I'd be proud as well as thankful.