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.

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through the popular BBC TV programmes British Isles: A Natural History, How to be a Gardener, Ground Force and Gardeners' World. But he started out in far humbler beginnings, in a rural childhood on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire.After a spell at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, as an Editor of gardening magazines, before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer.He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter, fronting such programmes as Points of View, Pebble Mill, Songs of Praise, Titchmarsh's Travels and Ask the Family, and since 1983 has presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show. He now has his own daytime TV show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Alan has written more than forty gardening books, as well as seven best-selling novels, including his 2008 success, Folly, which have all made the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Alan has published three volumes of memoirs; Trowel and Error sold over 200,000 copies in hardback when published in 2002, and Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success, and his third volume of memoir Knave of Spadeswas a Sunday Times bestseller.He was made MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list and holds the Victoria Medal of Honour, the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award. He lives with his wife and a menagerie of animals in Hampshire where he gardens organically.

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.

David Mitchell

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well.

David Robson

David Robson has worked as an editor at New Scientist and BBC Future, where he specializes in topics related to neuroscience and psychology. His writing has also appeared in Nature, the Observer and the Washington Post. He lives in London.

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 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.

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.

Jen Sincero

Jen Sincero is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, success coach and motivational cattle prod who's helped countless people transform their personal and professional lives via her products, speaking engagements, newsletters, seminars and books. Her #1 New York Times bestseller, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, has sold well over two million copies, is available in twenty-plus languages, and continues to grow in popularity around the globe. Her follow-up, You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth, also a New York Times bestseller, is written with the same inimitable sass, down-to-earth humor and blunt practicality that made You Are a Badass an indomitable bestseller and Jen a celebrated voice in the world of self development.

Martin Manser

Martin Manser is a professional reference-book editor. He is also a language consultant with national companies and organizations. Martin is Part-time tutor at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London and Part-time visiting lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University.

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.

Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis is a former banker who worked at Salamon Brothers in the height of Eighties boom. He writes regularly as a journalist and is the author of several books, including the international bestseller, LIAR'S POKER.Michael Lewis was born in New Orleans and educated at Princeton University and the London School of Economics. He has written several books including the international bestseller, Liar's Poker, widely considered the book that defined Wall Street during the 1980s. Lewis is contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and also writes for Vanity Fair and Portfolio magazine. He is married with three children.

Naoki Higashida

Naoki Higashida was born in Kimitsu, Japan in 1992. He was diagnosed with severe autism in 1998 and subsequently attended a school for students with special needs, then (by correspondence) Atmark Cosmopolitan High School, graduating in 2011. Having learnt to use a method of communication based on an alphabet grid, Naoki wrote The Reason I Jump when he was thirteen and it was published in Japan in 2007. He has published several books since, from autobiographical accounts about living with autism to fairy tales, poems and illustrated books, and writes a regular blog. Despite his communication challenges, he also gives presentations about life on the autistic spectrum throughout Japan and works to raise awareness about autism. In 2011 he appeared in director Gerry Wurzburg's documentary on the subject, Wretches & Jabberers.

Nigel Cumberland

Nigel Cumberland is a founding partner of the London based Silk Road Partnership, which provides a range of coaching/mentoring services across the Gulf, Europe and Asia. Clients include the World Bank, Google, Standard Chartered Bank, Commerzbank, Bureau Veritas, Dubai Government, Malaysian Government and Macquarie Bank. He has held various C-Level and Managing Director positions with a number of multinationals and sat on a number of Boards of Directors.

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.

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 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.

Rupert Sheldrake

Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than eighty technical papers and ten books, including A New Science of Life. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, where he was Director of Studies in cell biology, and was also a Research Fellow of the Royal Society. From 2005-2010 he was the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project for research on unexplained human abilities, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge. He is currently a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, and a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut. He is married, has two sons and lives in London. Follow Rupert on Twitter @RupertSheldrake. His web site is www.sheldrake.org

Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of ten books, including Wonderland, How We Got to Now, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map and Everything Bad Is Good for You. The founder of a variety of influential websites, he is the host and co-creator of the PBS and BBC series How We Got to Now. Johnson lives in Marin County, California, and Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and three sons.StevenBerlinJohnson.com@StevenBJohnson

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