After 16 years of living in the same apartment in Old Fourth Ward, I’m now ensconced in my condo in Midtown. I still can’t believe I’m a homeowner, except when something needs fixing. Yes, folks, I’ve already broken stuff and I’ve only been here a month.

Rather than calling the management office for the maintenance team to drop by, I now must pay a handyperson to come out or watch YouTube videos to try and fix it myself. I am not handy – or so I thought.

Okay, so I couldn’t fix the clogged dishwasher or that little thingamabob that holds the bathroom sink stopper up, but I was able to fix a gash in the frame around my French doors. I went to Home Depot, bought wood putty and a caulk gun and was able to do a passable repair if you don’t look very closely at it. Not only did I save myself a few hundred bucks, but I surely qualify for my own HGTV show. Maybe it could be called “Halfway Decent with Collin Kelley.” 

I really do love my new space. It’s on the top floor, filled with natural light, and has a fabulous view. I love opening the doors to get a breeze or just enjoy the skyline. I’m tucked away from busy Peachtree Street, so noise hasn’t been a factor. Although a helicopter delivering air conditioning units to a nearby building at 7:30 a.m. on a recent Sunday morning was a sleep-in buzzkill.

Before I moved, I got rid of a lot of old furniture and made quite a few trips to Goodwill with donations. The Georgia State University Library Special Collections and Archives got three more boxes of my personal papers and ephemera, while Junk King hauled away a clanking clothes dryer made during the Reagan era, a sofa from the Clinton era, and a mattress from Dubya’s first term.

I was determined to weed out some of the thousands of books I own. I really had to sit with each book and do some Marie Kondo mind tricks before putting it in the donate pile. I even let go of some first editions and autographed books. They weren’t bringing me joy.


All of this moving, donating, and arranging has been going on while I continue treatment for cancer. At this writing, I’m in the middle of my second week of radiation treatment (or “rads” as it’s called) at the Emory Proton Therapy Center. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve accidentally said photon instead of proton – I blame “Star Trek.”

As I mentioned in my last column, I wear a custom-made mask over my face and upper chest during treatment. On my first session, I was on the verge of having a massive panic attack due to the tightness of the mask. Luckily, subsequent sessions have been quick, so I haven’t needed sedation. I’m usually in and out of the building in 20 minutes. My treatments are in the evening, which I initially balked out, but I like going there at 8 p.m. and then coming home to relax and go to bed.

Looking at the view from my bedroom window at night, with all the twinkling lights of Midtown’s towers, is a nice way to fall asleep.


Collin Kelley is an award-winning journalist, poet and novelist. He has been editor of Intown for almost 20 years. Reach him at collin@atlantaintownpaper.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.