The Wandering Scribe

I don’t recall exactly when, but I was over at Mec’s and she casually mentioned the Wandering Scribe, which she read about in Reader’s Digest. Now, we have a monthly subscription to RD but I don’t always read through the current issues, I pick them up months after instead. So I missed the story that featured the woman behind the blog. I vaguely remember my mother mentioning it to me – a homeless person who had a blog and eventually she got her book published and now she’s no longer homeless – but it just didn’t stick. Sometimes we really could be so into our own shit that we just don’t pay attention to what happens around us – I could be, at least.

I bookmarked the blog, and read one or two of her latest posts. Of course it no longer introduced her to me, she was already speaking to friends and her usual readership. I felt compelled to read about her experiences and start by digging through her archives. She’s a brilliant writer so it is not boring at all and reading from the beginning really puts you in perspective. And it’s true what others are saying, her story is a source of inspiration, one where strength can be drawn from. Interesting how that played out, because her blog was her way of reaching out to a support group, she found it, and now others are able to find her words to be supportive.

Her entire life was packed in her car, where she lived for many many months. She used her blog to journal her experience, as her means of reaching out. The response to her writing is testament to how bloggers can actually step up and say something nice to someone, and in her case, how blogging can save a life.

We each have our own purpose for blogging, some want to make money off it, some want to be noticed, others just like having a sounding board. I’m more of the latter, though I admit having a huge smile whenever the sitemeter goes up or comments come in. I am happy that for Anya Peters, blogging helped get her out of an extremely difficult situation.

Her story also reminded me of how different homelessness is in Western cultures vs this country’s homeless situation. We have street families living in pushcarts (kariton), or ones who just have their sacks and boxes that they lay down each night wherever they find space and no security guards to shoo them away. Anya Peters is an educated woman who was really down on her luck; in her words she was respectable at daytime and no one knew her real situation at the time. Here, the homeless usually come from homeless families and generations of poverty; they can’t hide their situation, some of them can’t read nor write, and they are lucky if they’ve ever spent a day in a classroom. There are also those with stories like hers, from riches to rags.

I yearn to read success stories from our own homeless. There have been few stories featured throughout the years, but those were also mostly about a homeless person who turned out to have an interesting background too – but those stories are few and far between. If only there are people willing to give the homeless of this land a chance at getting their lives together, like the publisher who gave Anya hers.

Her story also begs the question – what have I personally done to reach out to people in similar situations? Am I generous with hugs and words of support to a person who is miles across, but can’t even spare a smile to the homeless that I pass by in the streets? We gotta admit, we fear them, we are embarrassed to look at them – that’s why we don’t bother to get to know them. I take time to read through Anya’s archives but won’t be bothered by another sad story of a street family.

Okay, the circumstances are different, still… I just can’t help but wonder…