Lars Eigner


English 101


Lar Eighner is a peculiar writer and sources of information for him were not where I expected them to be. The biggest resource for this Eighner biography came from the Texas Homeless Network’s website. The THN gave me the nuts and bolts about his life. On November 25, 1948 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Lars Eighner was born. He spent his early life surrounded by literature influences. He was permitted to attend a three-week workshop on creative writing by George Williams of Rice University, at the tender age of eleven and he is the grandson of Texas poet and author of the grandson of Texas poet and author, Alice Ewing Vail. Eighner is a 1966graduate from Lamar High School in Houston and attended the University of Texas at Austin. (1998)


In 1988 Eighner lost his job at the state mental institution and became homeless. It was during this time that he wrote his most acclaimed work, Travels With Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets. It was published in 1993 and became an instant hit. An excerpt from Travels With Lizbeth, “On Dumpster Diving” has been reprinted in several college texts and also appeared in Harper’s Bazaar. (The Writer’s Presence 2003)


Eighner wrote a few other works in 1995, Gay Cosmos, a collection of essays; Whispered in the Dark, an erotic short story collection; and QSFX2, erotic science fiction stories but in 1997 he became homeless once again. He had relocated with his lover Clint and his dog Lizbeth to San Antonio, but the money he had planned on never came but this time his friends and The Texas Observer rallied behind him and raised enough money to get him into a small apartment. (THN 1998) Eighner now lives in Austin again with his new dog, Wilma and his lover Clint. His homepage says that he is still having trouble getting around but that he is working. His homepage offers an interactive writing course and also gives a wish list. Fans and supporters can send him gifts from his list to support him.


Eighner’s essay “On Dumpster Diving” is not just a survival guide for eating and living as a homeless person. It’s actually so much more than that; Eigner not only describes his adventures in dumpster diving and details methods for any future divers out there but he gives us food for thought on what materialism is. He pokes at our collective conscious that deep down knows that things aren’t what are important. Through it all he refers to his only friend, Lizbeth, and subtly shows us that what and where you eat isn’t nearly as important as whom you eat with. He not only brings to light the obvious anti-materialism sentiments one must have to live on the streets but he also describes the perils of being too greedy in the dumpster. It seems that when one has nothing and then sees so much offered for free the old feelings of materialism take over.


In another essay, “Gifting the Homeless” Eigner teaches us how to give money and gifts to the homeless. He details how to give things that the homeless will not only be able to use but won’t “invite predation.” Eighner teaches us that our money is better spent bypassing the agencies and giving directly to the homeless, though we should use common sense when we do. He goes on to show us how to spot those on the street who will simply waste the gift or cash on narcotics and booze and why street life today is not the romantic fantasy that it was in the 1960’s. He suggests we get to know the homeless as human beings and look at them as mirrors of the future because “you may be glad to have a streetwise friend who can show you the ropes when your times comes, or you may end up being shipped to the same camp.”


Being a boy’s dog is among the loftiest of canine callings. Not every dog has the resilience of sinew and ruggedness of spirit required. For those who can cut the mustard, there are a number of perks, as one might guess from the official title of the position which is Best Dog in the World. In