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 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.