Feb, 2006. For the past five months I have been living in a car at the edge of woods — jobless and homeless and totally unable to find a way out. I can't sing, I can't dance, I can't scream loudly enough, but I can read and write. So here I am laying down tracks...hopefully the start of an online paper trail out of here. (Update: Miracles happen....if you are reading my story I am part of your proof.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

...like bookends

I was thinking of my old bookcase today — a wood-worm-riddled, junk-shop find that I got from outside a shop up near Leeds just after my last year at college. Somehow I'd managed to hang on to it through countless moves over the years. Until the year before last, when all my belongings in storage were sold-off without notifying me when I could no longer pay the bill. I didn't have an address for them to get in touch to let me know - as you know.... Everything from diaries to cutlery to washing machine to a triangular piece of the Berlin Wall I'd hammered off myself, to every photograph and every greetings card, and every keepsake I'd ever had, to that lovely, dark-wood bookcase, went.

Some things you miss more than others. Like people.

It was wider than most bookcases, mahoghany or a dark, dirty oak I never knew how to tell, with four shelves. A larger one at the bottom for dictionaries and atlases and all my old Law textbooks, the three others bowed under the weight of an ever-changing hoard of paperbacks that I loved taking out at random, sometimes just for five-minute reads, one after the other, tuning into the sound of all those distinctly different voices while pasta boiled or toast burned, unconciously getting the rhythm of the voice in my head before snapping them closed, blowing the dust off another and spending time in other company in another world. A wooden pelmet, with three carved spirals along it, grey with clogged dust, came a few inches down over the top shelf and one of the front legs was shorter than the other requiring a wad of wedged-under paper to stop the wobble. And it smelt of the dark oil I occassionally used to clean it and the damp Woods from where it once must have come.

In January every year, as close to the New Year as I remembered to do it, I used to clear all the books from the top shelf, wipe it down, and only fill it again with any book I'd read from that date on. It was immensely satisying from month to month watching the top shelf fill up again, as much as the ones beneath it, almost like watching a child grow. And seeing it so empty at the beginning of the year was always a good incentive to get to bed early to crack the spine of a new book, and form a good habit for the rest of the year.

I thought of that today, because I just did it here on the unwonky Ikea 'Billy' bookcase I bought as a replacement last year. 'Billy' I can't believe I replaced it with a bookcase that has a name. So far there are only six books on it, not good for April. But hopefully passing it every day on my way out the door will shame me into reading more.


At 8:31 pm, OpenID indian2006 said...

Happy to see you back after a long break:)

At 2:59 am, Anonymous Carolyn Q said...

Hi Anya, I just finished reading your book and couldn't put it down when I'd started. You have overcome so much and you are an inspiration. I'm so pleased you are back on your feet now, and I really hope your Mum, and Kathy have been in touch with you. I look forward to continuing to read your blogs. Kia Kaha (Stay Strong), Carolyn Q. Auckland, New Zealand.

At 5:18 pm, Anonymous Loz said...

Hi nice to read along with your life Lorraine here again been checking for a new log in your diary and i`m content now. Wow i asked you a few months ago if we were to see a second book?? Hope it wont be too long away. Luv Lorraine. x

At 12:23 am, Blogger Faisal Admar said...

Ikea is a good brand tho. Guess you have a good taste.

I love reading but sometimes because we are too busy working and do not even have time for ourselves. I got couple of books in my room and mostly about business and finance. Ah, ok... I'm craving to have a better life =)

By the way, about your book... I've been waiting for so long and sadly not yet arrive in Penang, Malaysia. I hope they will send some copies soon.


At 3:32 pm, Anonymous lily said...

Read your book this week and I am impressed with what you had to overcome. I dont normally leave messages but I was so moved by your book I just hadto respond. I really hope that you manage to turn your life around and get back on your feet again, and that your mum and Kathy return to your life once again. Good luck and best wishes Lily x

At 5:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI, Read your book, very good, understand where you are coming from, been there but not for quite as long. Went to Birdworld in Surrey yesterday, for the first time ever I saw a white swan with a black head and neck!! New there were 2 colours, but never a mixture!!
Just thought you might like to know!
Kerry xx

At 5:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Anya,

I have been checking your blog most days and am happy to see a new entry, it is a continuation of your book. I never read that much until 2006 and now I love reading. I hope your bookshelf becomes full and so does your life X Kelly Neicho from Hertfordshire

At 7:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anya,

I have just finished reading your book, once i started i couldn't put it down. I am so glad things have turned out good for you, you really are an inspiration with what you have been through. After reading your book i wanted to read more which is when i visited your blog, i will continue to read this.
Sarah x

At 7:16 pm, Blogger child in the background said...

your story "abandoned" has inspired me to write my own story, please check my blog out everyone and leave comments!


At 9:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just finished your book in shortest time ,could'nt put it down, i shall never look at a homeless person the same! hope you are contented with your life now , you deserve it. xxxx laraine o xxxx

At 9:53 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Im Lauren! Im 15 Years Old & I Found This Book In My Mums Room. Iv Only Just Finished It And It Is Amazing.I Couldnt Put The Book Down! Made Me Cry In Bits But I Was So Happy At The End When Yu Finally Managed 2 Get Life Back On Track:) I Came On This Blog Straight Away. I Wish I Was As Strong As You, Your An Ispiration. x

At 9:59 am, Blogger [[x]]Lauren[[x]] said...

Umm, Hey. Its Lauren Again. I Just Wanted To Leave My Blog Adress Thingy So You Could Maybe Check It Out?

At 1:32 pm, Anonymous salima said...

hiya its salima here im from africa.
Please please please write another book. your first book is AMAZING. Im speechless. Its sad but great to read. What an amazing person you are. what a strong women. I hope your FAMILY have been in touch with you.Forget the past and enjoy your futur.

At 8:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anya
My name is Donna and I live in Dundee Scotland, Have jsut finished your book and I now hope you have peace and love in your life you sooo deserve it. Now now have hundreds of people in the world who love and respect you. You are an inspiration you never gave up on hope.
luv Donna D

At 8:46 pm, Blogger Donna said...

Hi you are an inspiration. My name is Donna and I stay in Scotland. You are a much loved human being now and I hope you have peace and love in your life now.

Luv Donna D

At 9:32 pm, Blogger Just teejay said...

Hi Anya.Been meaning to leave a comment here for yonks but only just got the time slot for it.I remember reading your blog in the early day pre book(think I might even have left a comment back then)I just want to say that I have now read your book and think you are nothing short of amazing..keep it up girl,still rooting for and praying for you...You think the prayers help? Bless you muchly whatever ;) The TJ

At 10:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anya just finished reading your book last night and had to visit this site first thing this morning.In many parts my heart broke for what you went through.But the fact that you came out shineing...really warms my heart.
I wish you the best Anya..you are an inspiration!!!
Love Karen (from Australia)

At 10:00 am, Blogger Skye_blue89 said...

Hi Anya, I just wanted to leave you a message telling you I have read your book. You are such an exceptional person. I can't believe what you have gone through. You deserve a medal. You are so Inspiring. xoxo Skye

At 1:16 pm, Anonymous Jessica Hadfield said...

Dear Anya, I've just finished reading your book. I was deeply moved by it and it inspired me to write a poem about your terrible ordeal. Your courage and determinism is an inspiration.

luv Jess

At 8:10 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Anya, I just wanted to comment because I just finished your book - amazing - I couldn't put it down even with tears streaming down my face! - You are an inspiration and you are loved - you have touched so many people by writing this book and as a teacher I will strive to make sure children in my care will never have to live through the hell you had to.... although in some cases i may not help your book has pushed me to try in all cases no matter how bad. No child deserves to suffer the way you did, yet it does happen. Thankyou for your gift to me, you are an angel.
Paula, Dunedin, NZ

At 4:56 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so nice to hear that you are back on your feet. Hope the new place is good...bet it's great to finally sleep in a proper bed instead of a car seat.
Can't wait to read the next book you want to write.
Will it be about you and where you left off in the last book?
Keep reading those books!!!!
fill that shelf girl!!!!!

At 9:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anya i have just read ur book. AMAZING. i could not put it down. i cried at several points. u should be very proud of urself. u did it!! u didnt give up well done to you. u r an inspiration. well done.x

At 8:09 am, Blogger spiritual8 said...

I just finished reading your book and i do feel for you as a child i went through some of the same things.At the end of yor book you talked about angels and yes they are here with us.When we are born we have two angels with us for the rest of our lives,we do also have more.Angels cant interfere with our free will so they can only help us when we ask.It took me a long time till the wounds healed but they did and so will yours.Take care of yourself,all the best.Angels are with you always.I teach people about angels and how to use them in thier everyday life.

At 11:14 am, Anonymous Erikus said...

Hi Anya,
Its Erika again from Hungary, i just thought i will write to you again, i am reading your blog every time i get a chance and its always nice to hear from you.. :) i thought of you today, i am listening to the news lately regarding Elisabeth Fritzl, i am sure you have heard of her as well, what a terrible thing to go through.. i thought of you every time i heard her story, thinking you are so much closer to feel for her than i am... i would just like to say maybe we all give her our thoughts and a prayer that she and her children will be ok!

At 3:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

finished your late last nite reading your book has made me think about my own life and i have started to write down my experiances which is alot i hope u find happiness

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At 6:00 am, Anonymous sangdiva said...

You lost all the things that you put in the storage? I always wondered what happened to it ever since I finished reading your book.

I think if I lost all my books that I've been collecting all this while, I will be devestated.

At 7:33 pm, OpenID rosneath said...

that's horrible, to lose everything in storage.

I've heard of another case where the storage place burned down ... !

a friend of mine who moved out to Africa, got married, came back to the UK and then split up lost all her stuff because the ex could not be bothered to send it on.

I went through all my photo albums, scanned the ones that were important to both of us, printed them and put them in a special album for her.

I like to think she liked that.


At 12:57 am, Anonymous P.G. Lanc's. said...

Hi, Anya. My wife has just finished reading your book, (in floods of tears, btw), and, although I haven't read it yet, she's told me enough about your tragic life to date!...(I say 'to date', because you've obviously re-invented yourself and begun your new one!).
Your a very brave, and strong person, Anya, and both our best wishes are with you in your new...and far better...life!.

As a footnote, everyone...how the HELL can this sort of maltreatment continue in this day and age???...surely SOMEONE must have an inkling of what happening to these kids?.


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