I am still trying to figure out WordPress. It’s not as intuitive as Blogger after all…. As soon as I figure it out I look forward to posting.
My old blog is at wanderingscribe.blogspot.com
But I have decided to begin the new year with a new blog. This is it. I hope you like it. Most of you will know how my old blog started and what came of it. But for those of you who don’t: I began the original blog (www.wanderingscribe.blogger.com) at a time in my life when I’d hit rock bottom. I actually ended up living in my car. I was there for almost a year in the end. Completely surreal even writing that now…. a dreadful, dreadful time when everything fell apart, I didnt know what to do or where to turn. In the end I froze and did nothing. I was between moves, it was a time of waiting: most of my belongings were stacked in the boot and backseats of my car. I was in Brighton at the time staying in hotels, a few nights here a few nights there as I waited. That evening I parked up at the seafront, frightened and exhausted: I had run out of money and luck and just about out of hope. I sat there watching the waves crashing onto the shingle beach until the light faded and the beach emptied and there was nothing around me but stars and seagulls. I had no intention of falling asleep there that night, but in the end I did. Already exhausted, and with a splitting headache, I undid the seatbelt, rolled a fleece as a pillow, and leant over, resting my head on the passenger seat to ease my headache for a few moments – before I had to put on a smile and go and check in with a receptionist at yet another hotel. When I opened my eyes again and my mind relunctantly swam back to consciousness I was staring through the windscreen at seagulls swooping and screeching above me in a dazzling blue sky (just like in the picture at the top of this header). I was confused; it should have been late evening. And then was shocked as reality set in and I realised what had happened. I had slept there the whole night. I stared around but nobody was looking back at me. And soon my breathing and heartrate returned to normal: I didn’t die laying there, and I wasn’t attacked or raped…In fact nobody seemed to have noticed me there at all. I had been travelling around for months by then and by that time that was all I wanted —for no one to see what was happening to me – to just stop the world for a moment and get off until I could pick myself back up and find a way back on again. Most importantly, I hadn’t used what was almost the last of the credit on my credit card to pay for another room in a cheap hotel for the night. I could keep that for more petrol…I had slipped through the net.
If you have read my book you will know what happens next. How I lived in my car like that for the best part of a year in the end; how I couldn’t find a way back. I found a place to shower each day and, as winter rolled around, to keep warm I would often go to libraries during the day. I would apply online to every job I could, convinced that I would get one soon, that any day this nightmare would end. Because no matter how bad it got I wasn’t ill, I was stressed and tired and all sorts of things by then, but what I needed was a purpose in life, a job and a place to put down roots, not a pill. And I was still capable of so much. One day I heard about blogs. I was out of the loop so much by then that I hadn’t even heard the word before. As I sat at the library computer, without thinking, I started one up. (It was so simple to do…). Face-to-face I couldn’t tell anyone what a failure I had made of my life, that I had no one to go to and nowhere to go. Everyone has someone, what kind of ogre must I be to have noone…. But thawing out in the warmth of the public library, writing in a blog, I could admit it all anonymously. The relief was enormous. Nobody knew who I was, so it didn’t matter how much I revealed…. It was like as a child kneeling in the confession box in church, that little purple velvet curtain pulled across and kneeing there in the dark talking to someone but unseen they seemed like no one at the same time, which let you say things you wouldn’t tell anyone. That’s what the blog was like, a connection to someone out there, but an invisible one – I didn’t have to look in their eyes, they couldn’t identify me in a crowd – it was like prayer, like talking to God, silent talking as I tapped away at the keyboard. Day by day I would go to the library, and after the job search was over I would open up the blog and write. Admitting all the things about my life unravelling, showing my vulnerability and fear and isolation that I couldn’t say elsewhere. Every time I stopped off at a library and checked my inbox or blog there was another message or email from a new stranger. From the beginning there were ‘regulars’, people who logged in everyday just to say hello and see how I was. I was on ‘Blogs of Note’ at one stage and readers came in the hundreds. People said they would pray for me. I’d never heard of prayer circles on the Internet, but apparently I was added to prayer circles and prayer groups all over the world. I’d almost forgotten what prayer was myself by then, I’m not sure that I had faith in very much at all. Then from across the other side of the world came what in retrospect seemed like an answer to one. My blog was ‘discovered’. It happened so swiftly. I had only been writing in it for a few months. A journalist on the New York Times writing an article about homelessness and people living in their cars in the USA stumbled across it during his research. When I saw the email in my inbox I thought it was some kind of joke. He later said he would include me in his article and a few weeks later called to record a telephone interview. It was all so surreal. Some things started to go right, as if the dice were rolling in my favour again. To cut a long story short a publishing deal came next, my story was made into a book – ‘Abandoned: the true story of a little girl who didn’t belong’. It was published by HarperCollins and got to number 2 in The Sunday Times Bestseller list. Something that still feels surreal. It ended up being as much the story of my childhood as it was the story of my breakdown (if that’s what it was) and time in my car. The publishers were more interested in that. Because, despite the childhood I had, on one hand I had thrived, I had a law degree and a relatively good education, I’d had good jobs, was a young professional living in London much like any other, there were as many doors open to me as there were to anyone…. I was an exception to the rule when it came to the cliches and stereotypes about people who have had difficult childhoods. I had survived. I was envied by some, they thought I had it all….I never lied (much) about my background, it was easier to avoid the subject, not get intimate with too many people. But then years later things fell apart. And I was too ashamed to tell anyone waht was happening with me. I didn’t want judging and I certainly didn’t want pity. I just wanted to be invisible for a while, for the world to stop spinning for a moment until I could get a foothold again. Only I never did – bad luck like gravity pulling you down, doors slamming in your face or just not visible. There were moments I didn’t think I would survive it: nights, huddled in my sleeping bag across the front seats, when I had almost resigned myself to the fact that one of these days I might not wake up; that I would die in my sleep out there in the woods. But then I found out about blogs… I didn’t write for a particular person or reason, I just wrote. I had no idea if a single person would ever read mine. But this was a public journal that anyone could read. I mightn’t be able to look anyone in the eyes and say what things had come to, but I could say it in a blog— it was like someone throwing me down a piece of rope, however frayed and short it was…. People always want the big miracles, ‘the Proof’, but small ones happen every day. This was mine…