First things first: the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources is now over, it went swimmingly, and I recommend Rachel’s services to everyone who needs to get thoroughly blog toured. Thanks so much to everyone involved for giving me your time and space on your blogs!

A blog tour in itself is a very strange experience. Thirty people – three a day – reviewed the book, posted excerpts, there was a giveaway (congratulations if you’ve won!), interviewed me. Even though I mostly retweeted and shared other people’s articles, I actually felt like I was really touring, unsure where I was on the given day, have I remembered to thank the blogger yet, copying links, worrying that I’ll oversaturate the internet with myself… I wonder if Kim Kardashian ever feels this way?

I can’t figure out why I can absolutely imagine appearing on Graham Norton (with Travis Fimmel and Jason Momoa, I’m sitting in the middle, thanks Graham bae xx), but being asked “what is your favourite book and why” throws me into a slight breakdown. It’s The Hours by Michael Cunningham, but whyyyyyyy other than “it’s sooooooooo good”?! How do I answer this in a sufficiently intellectual way? Where is my coffee? Who are those people? Is that a light I see? Mum?

And now I need a break.

 

Spoonie life

The things I wrote about in the previous post got resolved, mostly, but they took their toll.

I did not get surgimacated. We went to see the doctor, who looked, harrumphed, confirmed that indeed it looks like I might need surgery, then tried to schedule me for November. I pride myself on being infallibly polite, but for once I didn’t manage and let out through clenched teeth that this means I can celebrate the second anniversary of the first failed surgery on September 6. Now I am getting surgimacated on July 30.

The electricity is back and oh boy, I did not know that I could feel a twang of excitement when I press the light switch and the lights in the kitchen switch ON. And! They switch OFF when I press again! What kind of luxury?!

That draft of Children that I was finishing at breakneck pace before the end of June broke me somewhat. I’ve written myself into a semi-burnout. Now that the tour is over and our electricity functions life doubled up. We will be moving within a few months, which means that a lot of the things I’ve planned to do must go on hold. I withdrew from an anthology, I will not be working on the Storytellers audiobook anytime soon, I will hopefully probably maybe finish the soundtrack for the novel sometime in the future… We don’t even have that house yet, we’re not packing anything, the most exhausting thing right now is waiting and trying to decide how to set up the furniture in the living room. I still took weeks to write this blog post, even though it is neither particularly informative nor life-enhancing. Because in addition to being incredibly attractive and an Artistè, I am also a spoonie.

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You’re broken, the darkness taunted him. You don’t know how to live like normal people. No wonder nobody loves you. When you die nobody will remember you. That will be your legacy, said the darkness, its disembodied voice filled with fake pity.

The lead protagonist of my novel Storytellers, a blacksmith called Gunnar, suffers from depression, social anxiety, and possibly a form of PTSD. Today we would be able to steer him gently towards a medical professional of some sort – that is, if he managed to break through the internalised stigma of having to be a Strong Man Who Needs No Help Ever. But Gunnar was born in 1888, the novel takes place in 1920, and all he knows about his condition is that 1) it makes him “not normal” and 2) he can never, ever tell anybody about it.

 

Back then

In 1917, Freud “believed that a person’s unconscious anger over his loss leads to self-hatred and self-destructive behavior. He felt that psychoanalysis could help a person resolve these unconscious conflicts, reducing self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. Other doctors during this time, however, saw depression as a brain disorder”. (Source: verywellmind). As time passed, around 1920 “treatments for severe depression were generally not enough to help patients, leading many people desperate for relief to have lobotomies, which are surgeries to destroy the frontal portion of the brain”. Another technique used back then were electroshocks.

Gunnar lives on the outskirts of a small town. The local doctor, despite trying to keep up with the medical news, wouldn’t be able to administer electroshocks or lobotomy. In any case, he would first have to know what Gunnar suffers from, but the blacksmith can’t find words to describe how he feels. His depression comes and goes, and he refers to it as “the darkness”. His social anxiety manifests in ways that he doesn’t realise are even related to people – he thinks he’s afraid of objects, not understanding he is afraid of what would happen (according to his subconscious) if he accidentally broke or stained something that belonged to somebody else.

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TW: mentions of rape, suicide, mental illness

First, a disclaimer: I have nothing in common with this project other than the fact I am very happy to see it’s happening. Here’s the IndieGoGo campaign page. Please consider supporting the movie.

I have often seen kids, I mean – Internet users arguing on various forums about which of them is more Valhalla-worthy. As we all know, Valhalla is the enormous hall in Asgard, where the bravest of the warriors chosen by Odin dwell until Ragnarök, spending their days fighting, eating, drinking, being resurrected, I think I got the order incorrectly but nevermind. A large fraction of people tend to understand all this very literally, envisioning medieval warriors with axes and shields – and nothing more modern than that. They then get into heated discussions about whether uncle Sam who fought in Afghanistan for two years is going to Valhalla if he didn’t actually kill anybody and he came back alive. (Some also get into heated discussions about whether killing others in The Witcher counts.)

First of all, for the sake of uncle Sam I hope he isn’t going to Valhalla, because PTSD is a real thing and being forced to spend an eternity fighting and killing all over again isn’t going to make uncle Sam happy at all.

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