‘You can sleep in your car, but you can’t drive your house to work’ – a unique story about homelessness in Williamson County
By Donna O'Neil, Managing Editor
When you think “homeless” Williamson County is probably the last place on earth that you think of … until now.
First-time author and now Franklin resident Sutton Parks’ new book “You can live in your Car, but you can’t drive your house to work,” tells the very real story of someone who was once homeless in Williamson County – his own.
The story opens with Parks in a dark and desperate place, facing foreclosure on his Spring Hill home and contemplating suicide. He’s dealing with an alcohol addiction, depression and just when he thought it couldn’t get any worse, he tried twice to kill himself, but failed both time. Hang around for a few more pages and watch as Parks describes the process of being escorted out of his home by members of the Sheriff’s Department after he’s learned to live with no electricity and no hot water.
Read on as he works odd jobs to put gas in his car’s tank and learns to keep warm, but alternately running the engine and turning it off as his home address becomes an unmarked parking space at the TA Truck Stop on Goose Creek Pike.
Follow his journey as he learns to appreciate all that is good and free about living in such an abundant place as Williamson County. Through his eyes see a new appreciation for the Radnor Lake landscape, Saturday sample days at Costco and $3 showers at the County Recreation facilities.
Accompany him as he learns to accept his homelessness as a way of life and how expressing gratitude daily helped him journey to a place where he now has an addiction to alcohol under control, has overcome depression, lives in a Franklin in an apartment and today is a business owner.
It’s a true story.
“I’m grateful I used to live in my car,” says Sutton Parks. “I have learned to practice gratitude every day for good things as well as bad.”
He says it has changed his mindset and he has learned a great deal from his experience.
His story begins even before the first page of his book. A product of a yours-mine-and-ours blended family, his dad placed a high value on “getting a good job.” For years Parks followed that tenet – but was disillusioned when the product of a seemingly good job placed him in conflict with every manager he came in contact with. He strived for what he was perceived as the “American Dream” and purchased a home in Spring Hill, always looking to set the tone for “keeping up with the Jones.”
“I wanted the Jones to keep up with me,” he says.
Parks tells his story with a glint in his eye has he reflects on his homeless as a gift, not a curse. He recalls meeting people who have been life-changing mentors, including Dan Miller, author of “48 Days to the Work You Love and No More Dreaded Mondays;” and Father Gordon whose lessons in gratitude have contributed to Parks outlook on life.
The book is an easy, but powerful read and is available at www.suttonparks.com.
Hear Sutton Parks in his own words Saturday, Feb. 18, 4-6 p.m. at The Coffee Beanery where while speaking about his book, he will season the presentation with a few of the songs he’s written.
Posted on: 2/15/2012