I was asked to write a guest post for Books by Women and this is what I came up with:
We’re all mad here….
I’m delighted to host author Vivienne Tuffnell today on my blog. I’ve followed Vivienne’s blog Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking now for several years, and reblogged one of her posts here; I’ve also read four of her previous books: Depression and the Art of Tightrope Walking, Square Peg, Away With the Fairies and Hallowed Hollow. Today she is here to talk about her inspiration for her new novel Little Gidding Girl.
Here is the blurb for the story:
At seventeen, Verity lost the future she’d craved when Nick, her enigmatic and troubled poet boyfriend, drowned at sea. At thirty-five, in a safe, humdrum and uninspired life, she finds that snatches of the life she didn’t have begin to force their way into her real life. This other life, more vivid and demanding than her actual life, begins to gather a terrible momentum as…
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I have the absolute pleasure of introducing one of the most unique authors I know. Her books are beautifully written, multilayered stories that are entertaining to read, but also make you think about the issues contained within the pages.
Today’s post is inspired by her latest novel, “Little Gidding Girl”. I purchased a copy in my hands and will be reading and reviewing it soon… so, without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Vivienne…
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What did you want to be when you were a teenager? What shining golden dream did you hold towards the end of school or college?
Without doing a proper poll, I suspect that few of us achieved those dreams. At fourteen, I still dreamed of becoming an astronaut. By the following year I realised it was never likely to happen. Of all the career paths, that’s possibly one of the…
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Mid-life crisis or a coming-of-age?
this week we have a treat for you: a guest post by the lovely Vivienne Tuffnell, whose latest book Little Gidding Girl has just released – and last time I looked, all the reviews were 5*….
Having read it myself this very afternoon, I loved it – it’s a very well-written, intriguing story with finely-crafted characters you can really identify with (or really dislike, depending on which one we’re talking about!!). Modern lit is not really my thing but Little Gidding Girl is excellent, and well worth a read.
I asked Vivienne to tell us a bit about her novel for the blog, and here is what she had to say about it.
Coming of age or mid-life crisis? Little Gidding Girl is both and neither.
In trying to place my new novel Little Gidding Girl into those nice neat categories and genres that Amazon…
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W is for Woman
“I am woman – hear me roar,”
is what I hear so many say.
I do not roar,
I sometimes squeak
Or squeal or even growl.
At times I even purr.
In truth, mostly I am silent,
Unable to find a voice
Or words that fit
The needs that change
From day to day.
Sometimes I whisper
Into the void
Until my throat is sore,
As much as if I’d screamed.
It is not this lioness who roars.
(edited to clarify: have changed the to THIS. I know lionesses do actually roar. )
R is for Response
The more depressed I get, the harder it is to respond to anything. Words dry up. I might be able to say or write something but it can take so much effort that when someone replies, I cannot find more words or thoughts with which to respond.
Imagine a game of tennis played by two people, one of whom is extremely good at tennis and the other who has gone on court only because they think they should or hope it might do them good or because someone has talked them into it. The reluctant player serves; it takes all their skill and energy to hit the ball over the net successfully. Often it hits the net, or goes screaming over the head of the opponent and gets lost in the bushes behind the tennis court. Or they miss. When the ball does finally reach the other side, the other player leaps gleefully forward and lobs it back neatly. They know their opponent is not a keen player and they’re kindly trying to give a nice easy shot so they can start a satisfying volley. Or they don’t know or care what their opponent’s level is, and they return the ball with a fast, skilful slam that only a veritable athlete has a chance of returning. So the reluctant player has barely a chance to see the ball whacked back before they realise they cannot get to it. They stand there, feeling like a failure, while the keen player makes noises about, oh bad luck old girl, let’s try that again.
The game goes on.
By the time it’s game set and match to the keen player, the reluctant player has been annihilated, and when their opponent leaps the net in a mock victory parade, they slink off, humiliated and defeated.
Some days, when I try to speak of things close to my heart and soul, my throat closes up. It’s like the aftermath of a throat punch. It’s painful and quite frightening. I find writing things down less painful, but even then, it can take a lot of energy to get the words out. It seems to take forever. Then when someone responds, (either face to face, or via the comments or a tweet or a thread on Facebook), I’m often unable to reply. The original statement has taken all the energy.
So I apologise for the times when I don’t reply to comments here, in particular. I read them and I ponder on them but sometimes, and it’s been almost all the time lately, I cannot manage to respond, not in any meaningful way. I reply in my head. But something stops it going any further. I am sorry. Must do better, eh?
B is for Broken
Sometimes you think,
You know what?
I’m broken, busted,
borked, ruined, wrecked, a mess.
Every flaw, fault, failing,
Feckin’ awful mistake,
Every missed chance
Every lost hope
Every last ditch,
All pile up into
A stinking heap of pain,
And I can’t find the glue
Can’t find the energy,
The will, the incentive
The power to start
To piece together
Go back to the start
Figure out the puzzle
Of what went wrong
And why I am what I am.