Related to: 'Farsighted'

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.

Aaron Gillies

Aaron Gillies, aka @TechnicallyRon on twitter, is a comedian and writer. He has been featured in and written for The Poke, Buzzfeed, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, amongst many others, and has produced viral content from 'Reasons my wife is crying' to 'a short guide to washing machine symbols' and 'a google autocompleted CV'. Aaron has written about mental health for many years in various publications.

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.

Catherine Blyth

Catherine Blyth is an editor and writer. She has written scripts for the BBC and Channel 5 and contributed to publications including the Daily Telegraph, Independent on Sunday and The Times.

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.

Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet is an essayist, novelist and translator. He is the author of Thinking in Numbers, Embracing the Wide Sky, and the Sunday Times bestseller Born On A Blue Day. Tammet is Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He lives in Paris.

Donald Robertson

Donald Robertson is a cognitive-behavioural psychotherapist, trainer and author who specialises in the treatment of anxiety and the use of CBT. He is the author of six books and many articles on philosophy, psychotherapy and psychological skills training.

Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. At the age of twenty-nine a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey. Later, he began to work in London with individuals and small groups as a counselor and spiritual teacher. Since 1995 he has lived in Vancouver, Canada.Eckhart Tolle is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Power of Now (translated into 33 languages) which is widely regarded as one of the most influential spiritual books of our time.Eckhart's profound yet simple teachings have already helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives. At the core of the teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness. This is a prerequisite not only for personal happiness but also for the ending of violent conflict endemic on our planet.Eckhart is a sought-after public speaker and teaches and travels extensively throughout the world. Most of the teachings are given in English, but occasionally Eckhart also gives talks in German and Spanish. In addition to The Power of Now, Eckhart has written a book designed for meditative reading entitled Stillness Speaks. A book consisting of selections from The Power of Now is also available, entitled Practicing the Power of Now.

Gary P. Latham

Gary Latham is a professor of Organizational Effectiveness in the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He is also a national board member for the Center for Creative Leadership and Society for Human Resource Management. An active speaker, Latham has addressed numerous companies, including Astra Zeneca, National Commercial Bank of Jamaica, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Latham is the recipient of the first Mike Losey (SHRM) research award.

James May

James May is a writer, broadcaster and co-host of The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime. He has presented series for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. His previous books include James May's Man Lab, Car Fever and How to Land an A330 Airbus.

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.

Ken Honda

Ken Honda is a bestselling author of self-development books in Japan. His expertise comes from owning and managing several businesses, including an accounting company, management consulting firm, and a venture capital corporation. His writings bridge the topics of finance and self-help, focusing on creating and generating personal wealth and happiness through deeper self-honesty. Ken's much-sought-after advice has been the impetus for thousands of people to take action toward self-realization, allowing them to work and live from a position of strength and solvency. Ken also provides ongoing support through mentoring programs, business seminars, therapeutic workshops, and correspondence courses.To date, Ken has published more than 110 books, has recorded weekly podcasts for 4 years, and has held seminars and conferences all over Japan for the last 12 years. He is the highest paid professional speaker in Japan. His seminars attract up to 1,000 people and sell out within an hour, and his Japanese website receives more than 250 testimonials and reader comments every day. He is the first person from Japan to be voted into the Transformational Leadership Council, a group of personal and professional development leaders. He is fluent in Japanese and English. He has focused on the Japanese market for 12 years, but is turning his attention to the rest of the world. He currently lives in Tokyo.

Padraig O'Morain

Padraig O'Morain has practised mindfulness for 25 years and taught mindfulness for more than a decade. He runs workshops in his native Ireland where the inspiration for this book was sparked by an encounter with a very busy woman who took 4 years to get to one of his courses (and still had to dash to a meeting in the middle of it) and who has since reported that mindfulness changed her life - for the better.

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.

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.

Rob Yeung

Dr Rob Yeung is a chartered psychologist and author of over a dozen books including the bestseller Confidence (for Pearson's Prentice Hall imprint) and two books for Capstone; How To Win and How To Stand Out.Since gaining his PhD in 1996, Rob has been working as an organisational psychologist and a director at Talentspace leadership consulting, helping individuals and organisations to improve their effectiveness. His clients include organisations ranging from HSBC, KPMG and British Airways to SMEs. Much of his coaching and training work centres around the beliefs that people have about themselves. Rob has a huge database of fascinating research which he has curated, and hence backs up everything he recommends with examples based on studies conducted by the top scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists and economists in the world.

Robert Peston

Robert Peston is ITV's political editor, presenter of the politics show Peston on Sunday and founder of the education charity, Speakers for Schools (www.speakers4schools.org). He has written four books, How Do We Fix This Mess?, Who Runs Britain?, Brown's Britain and WTF?. For a decade until the end of 2015, he was at the BBC, as economics editor and business editor. Previously he was City editor at the Sunday Telegraph, political editor and financial editor at the FT, a columnist for the New Statesman, and at the Independent in various roles. Peston has won more than 30 awards for his journalism, including Journalist of the Year from the Royal Television Society. His blog is itv.com/robertpeston, on Facebook he is facebook.com/pestonITV and he is @peston on Twitter.

Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling crime fiction writer. Her crime novels have been 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. In 2014 and 2016, Sophie published The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, the first new Hercule Poirot mysteries since Agatha Christie's death, both of which were national and international bestsellers. Two more Poirot novels will follow, in 2018 and 2020. Sophie's thrillers 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 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

Tal Ben-Shahar

Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, taught the historically largest course at Harvard, "Positive Psychology," and the third largest, "The Psychology of Leadership," attracting 1,400 students per semester -approximately 20 percent of all Harvard graduates. Ben-Shahar obtained his BA and PhD from Harvard, and for the last fifteen years has been teaching leadership, happiness, and mindfulness to audiences all over the world. He is the author of six previous books, including international bestsellers Happier and Being Happy, which have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.