Related to: 'Fight'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Two Roads

Better Than Before

Gretchen Rubin
Authors:
Gretchen Rubin

'A LOT OF US WOULD LIKE A RUBIN IN OUR LIVES' The Times Magazine - 'EXTRAORDINARY' Viv Groskop, The Times Style - 'FASCINATING, PERSUASIVE' Guardian - 'A LIFE-CHANGER' The PoolHABITS ARE THE INVISIBLE ARCHITECTURE OF EVERYDAY LIFE.Most of us have a habit we'd like to change, and there's no shortage of expert advice. But as we all know from tough experience, no magic, one-size-fits-all solution for everything from weight loss to personal organisation exists. In Better Than Before, explores her theory of The Four Tendencies dividing people into four basic groups: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner and Rebel. Gretchen Rubin answers the most perplexing questions about habits with her signature mix of rigorous research and engaging storytelling (and a personality quiz to establish which of the Four Tendencies fits you): - Why do we find it tough to create a habit for something we love to do? - How can we keep our healthy habits when we're surrounded by temptations? - How can we help someone else change a habit?Rubin reveals the true secret to habit change: first, we must know ourselves. When we shape our habits to suit ourselves, we can find success- even if we've failed before.Whether you want to eat more healthfully, stop checking your phone, or finish a project, the invaluable ideas in Better Than Before will start you working on your own habits - even before you've finished the book.

Andy Cope

Andy describes himself as an author, happiness expert, qualified teacher and learning junkie. He has spent 10 years researching 'positive psychology' culminating in a 'PhD in Happiness' from Loughborough University. He has developed a series of keynotes and courses centreing on themes of happiness and flourishing, which he delivers in businesses and schools across the world. Andy has written several best-selling personal development books, including The Art of Being Brilliant, and is also a best-selling children's author. His Spy Dog series has enjoyed huge global success.

Christine Wilding

Christine Wilding's (Kent, England) books on CBT have sold over 50,000 copies. She holds a postgraduate diploma in CBT from the University of London, is an accredited member of the British Association of Counselling, is a member of the steering committee set up to develop guidelines for the treatment of depression within the NHS, and is in-demand as a leader of CBT-based training courses.

Dominique Antiglio

Dominique Antiglio is a Sophrologist specialising in stress-management, self-development and birth preparation. Born in Switzerland, Dominique started Sophrology at 15 years old, learning early on ways to positively connect with herself and embrace a new way of living. At 25, she graduated from the renowed European School of Osteopathy in Kent obtaining her Bsc(Hons) Ost. She came back to her native hometown and ran a successful osteopathic clinic for a decade, as well as specialising in treating children and pregnant women in France and the US. At the same time, she continued her personal development journey with Sophrology and trained as a Sophrologist. Dominique gained her Masters in Caycedian Sophrology (2006), notably training with Professor Caycedo, the founder of the method. Passionate about the mind-body connection,she also explored the power of sound and obtained her Holistic Voice Diploma in 2013 in the UK.In 2011, having witnessed so many positive changes through the power of Sophrology for herself and her clients, she moved to London and founded BeSophro, a leading Sophrology clinic in Mayfair with an online platform. Through BeSophro she supports and inspires a wide variety of clients, individually and in groups, and working with schools and in the corporate environment, enthusiastically promoting the benefits of Sophrology in the UK and beyond. Her work has notably been featured in the Guardian, the Telegraph and Psychologies magazine. In 2015, Dominique also became a mum.To find out more about BeSophro classes, workshops andSophrology's latest development, please visit www.be-sophro.co.uk.

Dr Mike Shooter

Dr Mike Shooter CBE is a former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and was the first child psychiatrist to hold that post. He is now an honorary fellow of six Royal Colleges and has spoken from public and professional platforms, written and advised governments in many parts of the world. An ex-journalist, Mike is a passionate believer in the power of stories and the need to share them - those of his patients and his own. He still lives in the Welsh Valleys, amidst a large family, many animals, and the community with whom he worked for more than 40 years.

Emily Reynolds

Emily Reynolds is a journalist specialising in mental health, technology, science and feminism, writing for WIRED, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, and VICE among others. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her early twenties, and since then has been raising awareness and supporting other young people with mental health issues. She also co-founded the Words by Women Awards in 2016.

Gary John Bishop

Born and raised in Glasgow, Gary John Bishop moved to the US in 1997. This opened up his pathway to the world of personal development, specifically to ontology and phenomenology in which he was rigorously trained for a number of years before becoming a senior programme director with one of the world's leading personal development companies. His lifelong commitment to shifting people's ability to exert real change in their lives drives him each and every day. He has a no-frills approach that has brought him an ever increasing following, drawn to the simplicity and real-world use of his work. He lives in Florida with his wife and three sons.

Gary Keller

Gary Keller is chairman of the board and cofounder of Keller Williams Realty, Inc., one of the largest real estate companies in the world. His New York Times bestselling books have sold more than 1,300,000 copies.

Gill Hasson

Gill Hasson delivers teaching and training for educational, voluntary and business organisations as well as the public sector. She has 20 years' experience teaching and writing on a range of personal development issues; and is the author of 14 books.

Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is one of the most influential writers on the linked subjects of habits, happiness, and human nature. She's the author of many books, including the New York Times bestsellers, Better Than Before and The Happiness Project. A member of Oprah's SuperSoul 100, Rubin has an enormous following, in print and online; her books have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide, in more than 35 languages; and on her popular daily blog, gretchenrubin.com, she reports on her adventures in pursuit of habits and happiness. She also has an award-winning podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.gretchenrubin.com | twitter.com/gretchenrubin | facebook.com/GretchenRubin | instagram.com/gretchenrubin

Hazel Gale

Hazel Gale is a master practitioner of cognitive hypnotherapy, author and ex-athlete. Having competed internationally as a kickboxer and boxer, achieving World and National titles in the two sports respectively, she's well-versed in both the drive to succeed and the anxiety that can so often come hand-in-hand with that. In her practice and in her writing, Hazel aims to help others emerge victorious from their own battles, whatever they may be. Fight is Hazel's first book. It explores the psychology of self-sabotage while taking you on her journey, and offers a practical guide to reclaiming your self-control.

Helen Russell

Helen Russell is a journalist and the bestselling author of The Year of Living Danishly and Leap Year. Formerly editor of MarieClaire.co.uk, she now lives in Denmark and works as a Scandinavia correspondent for the Guardian, as well as writing a column on Denmark for the Telegraph and features for The Times, The Observer, Grazia, The Wall Street Journal and the Independent.

Krish Kandiah

Krish Kandiah is Founder and Director of the adoption and fostering charity Home for Good and an Ambassador for the relief charity Tearfund. He is in demand as a speaker, consultant and social entrepreneur. He lives with his wife and seven children, including fostered and adopted children, in Oxfordshire, UK.

Mark Forster

Mark Forster is a full-time life coach. He frequently runs workshops and seminars specialising in time management.

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis founded When to Jump after quitting his job at a pristine investment firm, to pursue his dream of becoming a professional squash player. He has curated a community of like-minded people who have done the same, to share their stories and inspire others to take the jump.

Rebecca Holman

Rebecca Holman is currently the editor of TheDebrief.co.uk, the award-winning digital brand for millennial women, sister publication to Grazia. Until recently, Rebecca wrote a weekly column about sex, dating and single life forTelegraph Wonder Women. She has featured as a guest on TV and radio, recently appearing on the Victoria Derbyshire Show and Women's Hour to discuss issues such as female friendships and social media.

Rhiannon Lambert

Rhiannon Lambert is a Nutritionist specialising in weight management, eating disorders and sports nutrition. She is the founder of Rhitrition, a leading Harley Street private clinic and author of Re-Nourish: A Simple Way To Eat Well. Registered with the Association for Nutrition (AFN), Rhiannon obtained a first-class Bachelor (BSc) degree in Nutrition and Health and a Master's (MSc) degree in Obesity, Risks and Prevention. She is also a Master Practitioner in Eating Disorders and Obesity having obtained a Diploma approved by The British Psychological Society (BPS) from The National Centre For Eating Disorders. Her qualified approach to nutrition and total dedication to her clients' needs has seen Rhiannon work with some of the world's most influential people. Website - http://Rhitrition.com/Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/Rhitrition/Twitter - https://twitter.com/Rhitrition

Richard Carlson

The late Richard Carlson, PhD, was the author of the internationally bestselling Don't Sweat the Small Stuff series. He lived with his wife and two children in northern California until his tragic death in December 2006.

Sophie Sabbage

Sophie is a writer, speaker and facilitator who has worked in the field of human development, mindset transformation and corporate culture since 1994. Since being diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer in October 2014, Sophie has drawn on her wisdom, courage and tenacity to create her life anew. In addition to running her own business - Interaction (www.interaction.com) and Sophie Sabbage Ltd (www.sophiesabbage.com) - Sophie had been a senior trainer with the educational charity More To Life (www.moretolife.org.uk) since 2001. An insatiable student who was crawling up bookshelves at the age of two, Sophie achieved a first-class BA in English Literature and Psychology before going on to study various approaches to human and organisational change over a number of years. She measures leadership not by how many followers one has, but by how many other leaders one creates. Her passport and her right to vote are among her most prized possessions. Sophie is very happily married to John Sabbage, and is the proud mother of their daughter Gabriella.

Susan Calman

Glasgow-born ex-lawyer Susan Calman is a stand-up comedian, actor, presenter and writer. A regular on The News Quiz, Susan has written four series for BBC Radio 4 including a sitcom and her last tour, The Calman Before The Storm went on to sell-out nationally. She presents The Boss, Armchair Detectives and Top Class on BBC TV. For over ten weeks, she has been winning hearts and minds as a contestant in Strictly Come Dancing, and will be on the Strictly tour in 2018. An advocate for LGBT and mental health issues, Susan lives in Glasgow with her wife Lee, and her cats.susancalman.com@susancalman