Related to: 'Stoicism and the Art of Happiness'

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.

Teach Yourself

Stoicism and the Art of Happiness: Teach Yourself - Ancient tips for modern challenges

Donald Robertson
Authors:
Donald Robertson

This new guide to finding a happier way of life draws on the ancient wisdom of the stoics to reveal lasting truths and proven strategies for enhanced wellbeing. By learning what stoicism is, you can revolutionise your life, learning how to - properly - 'seize the day', how to cope in the face of adversity, and how to come to terms with whatever situation you're in

Teach Yourself

Build Your Resilience

Donald Robertson
Authors:
Donald Robertson

Elijah Lawal

Elijah is a PR manager at Google and is passionate about helping underrepresented people grow their careers in creative industries. He was a finalist of the Penguin WriteNow scheme.This is his first book.

Funmi Fetto

Funmi Fetto, a former beauty director of British Vogue and currently Contributing Beauty Editor and Columnist at the title, has over 15 years experience as a fashion and beauty journalist. She has worked and written for numerous publications including the Sunday Times, Harpers Bazaar, the Telegraph, Guardian, Observer, and Elle. She also consults for and collaborates with numerous global beauty brands.

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 | facebook | instagram

Jody Shield

Jody Shield is a top success coach, motivational speaker, wellbeing influencer, award-winning blogger, meditation expert, author and broadcaster based in the UK. Known as the 'glamorous face of mindfulness' by the Daily Mail, and 'a shining light in the new-gen spiritual movement' by Red magazine, Jody is also recognised as one of the top 30 global influencers by Marie Claire magazine. She's the first European meditation ambassador for Lululemon Athletica, and has sell-out residencies across London and LA. Previously a Business Director in advertising, she has first-hand experience of the stress epidemic that plagues the corporate world. Jody has been featured by BBC radio, TALK Radio, Yahoo News, Business Insider, VOGUE.com, the Daily Mail, The Sunday Times, Grazia, Stylist magazine, Red, Psychologies, Women's Health and the Metro.

Jonathan Alpert

JONATHAN ALPERT, a licensed psychotherapist and advice columnist, is one of the US media's favorite sources of no-nonsense lifestyle advice, quotes, and commentary. The New York Observer has called him 'Manhattan's most media-friendly psychotherapist' and 'the media's go-to guy for psychoanalyzing the City.'He regularly appears on television, print, radio, and online. He appears on such nationally televised shows as The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, FOX and NBC Nightly News.Alpert appeared in the 2010 Oscar winning documentary Inside Job where he commented on the psychological underpinnings of the financial crisis. His popular column, "No More Drama," appears in Metro newspaper - New York, Boston, and Philadelphia - and reaches more than one million readers weekly. In it he dishes out no-nonsense, results-oriented advice on relationships, sex, lifestyle and hot-button issues, mental health, and career issues.As a therapist, he counsels everyone from corporate executives to professional entertainers and the general public. His style of therapy leads to astonishing results and many of Alpert's clients see improvements by the end of the first session while most graduate from therapy within just a few months.

Jonathan Hoban

Jonathan Hoban is an Integrative Psychotherapist and Founding Director of central London practice Creative Counselling London Ltd. Born in Wimbledon in 1975, Jonathan spent his formative years walking with family and friends in the green spaces of Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park. Jonathan trained to be a counsellor after he received personal therapy and reaped the benefits from it. His gratitude arising from the process led him to want to help others in the same way mental health professionals had guided and helped him. He has since developed techniques, philosophies and methods to help clients reconnect with their sense of power, confidence and intuition.Jonathan developed the concept of what he and others refer to as 'Walking Therapy' as an alternative method of therapy, and then went on to launch his 'Walking Therapy London' practice in 2014. His work has been featured in print, digital, and broadcast media in outlets including the BBC London News, The Telegraph, The Independent, Readers' Digest, Stylist Magazine, Stella Magazine, You Magazine, The Daily Mail, Women's Health, BACP Therapy Today Magazine, and Contemporary Psychotherapy.

Joyce Meyer

Joyce Meyer is the bestselling author of more than 100 inspirational books, including The Power of Simple Prayer, Approval Addiction, Power Thoughts and Battlefield of the Mind. Joyce's 'Enjoying Everyday Life' radio and television programmes are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences.

Kent M Keith

Kent M. Keith earned his B.A. from Harvard, and was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford and Tokyo. He has a law degree and a doctorate in education, and in 1984 was chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America. Keith has been an attorney, a state government official, president of a private university and a YMCA leader. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, with his wife and three children.

Laura Jane Williams

Laura Jane Williams has written about love, lust, and her feelings everywhere from The Guardian to Buzzfeed to RED, to the Telegraph, Stylist and more, and from September 2016 - February 2017 was Grazia's single girl dating columnist. She is the author of heartbreak memoir BECOMING, Marie Claire's #BREAKFREE from Fear ambassador, and blogs about being 'messily human' at www.superlativelyrude.com

Matt Avery

Matt Avery is a successful life coach and mentor, whose tried and tested methodologies have been helping people to achieve genuine, lasting happiness for more than a decade.

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster whose first novel, For Want of a Nail, was published in 1965. His novels since include The Maid of Buttermere, The Soldier's Return, Credo and Now is the Time, which won the Parliamentary Book Award for fiction in 2016. His books have also been awarded the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the WHSmith Literary Award, and have been longlisted three times for the Booker Prize (including the Lost Man Booker Prize). He has also written several works of non-fiction, including The Adventure of English and The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.

Neale Donald Walsch

Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual thinker whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. With an early interest in religion and a deeply felt connection to spirituality, Neale spent the majority of his life thriving professionally, yet searching for spiritual meaning before beginning his now famous With God series that has been translated into 34 languages, and has been a bestseller for Hodder since publishing the first back in 1997.Each of the Conversations with God books have made the New York Times Bestseller list, the original Conversations with God occupying that list for over two and half years. In response to this, Neale created the Conversations with God Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to inspiring the world to help itself move from violence to peace, from confusion to clarity, and from anger to love.His latest book When Everything Changes, Change Everything is in the New York Times Bestsller list and made the Amazon Top 10 in its first week of publication. A timely book, and immediately useful, Neale discusses the practical applications of God-inspired insights on the way to move on and the right reasons to do so. In the current glocal climate, this is the perfect book for anyone who feels challenged in these tough times.Married to his wife Nancy, Neale lives on a retreat site in the woods of Southern Oregon, USA.

Noor Hibbert

Noor Hibbert is an International Business, Executive & Strategic Intervention Coach, serial entrepreneur and mother. She has a degree in Psychology, a postgraduate qualification in Business Coaching, is a Certified Strategic Intervention coach with Tony Robbin's international training Institute, Robbins-Madanes Training, and is currently completing her Masters in Coaching. She has also been accepted on the elite Forbes Coaches Council.She has created two 6-figure businesses in just two years, whilst raising two small children and embarking on a spiritual journey which has accelerated her success. She regularly travels around the globe, running events in the US, Europe and UK.

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.

Rob Moore

Rob Moore is a self made property investor, businessman, entrepreneur, best-selling author, world record holder, speaker, pilot & proud dad, who co-owns 7 companies in property, lettings & finance.Rob has partnered with many of the biggest business and household names, featured in prime time TV shows for Living as a business mentor, on Channel 4, the BBC, The Independent and The Business Channel, as well as mentoring success-hungry people who want to achieve more money & recognition in business & life.

Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling crime fiction writer, translated into 34 languages and published in 51 countries. Her psychological thriller The Carrier won the Specsavers National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year in 2013. Sophie has written the first new Hercule Poirot mysteries since Agatha Christie's death, which have been national and international bestsellers. The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives have been adapted for television as Case Sensitive, starring Olivia Williams and Darren Boyd. Sophie is also a bestselling poet who has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE and A-level throughout the UK. Sophie is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, two children and dog.

Susan Calman

Born in Glasgow, Susan Calman escaped corporate law to become a stand-up comedian. She's a regular on radio and television panel shows like QI and The News Quiz and has presented the BAFTA-award winning Armchair Detectives, the recent travel series, Secret Scotland and the podcast Mrs Brightside. She recently appeared on Strictly Come Dancing where she made it all the way to Week Ten. Even more excitingly she won the Glitterball on the Strictly Live tour. An advocate for LGBTQ+ and mental health issues, she lives with her wife and cats in Glasgow. susancalman.com@susancalman Insta: officialsusancalman

Tomás Navarro

Tomás Navarro is a psychologist who loves people and what they feel, think and do. He is the founder of a consultancy and centre of emotional wellbeing. He currently splits his time between technical writing, training, consultancy, conferences and advisory processes and personal and professional coaching. He lives in Gerona and Barcelona.