‘My brother’s death seemed to demand silence of all the world’

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I’ve always been a critic and writer. The Mirror included me in a select group of the world’s most inspiring feminists. My work, both fiction and non-fiction, is published in anthologies. Every Saturday, I have a column in The Weekend Australian’s literary section. I also work for The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, and others.

 

I like sweets a lot, too.

 

‘AND THEN MY BROTHER KILLED HIMSELF’

 

“The light in that room was a glow; I seem to remember the color green, or perhaps flowers. A pale green sheet covered his inert body but not his head, which lay (eyes closed, mouth set in a tense and terrible grimace) unmoving. Gianluca. Barely able to see, barely able to stand – my knees kept buckling – and breathing so quietly I thought that I, too, might die; that out of shock, I would just drift away, the shell of my body cracking open. No longer anchored by my brother’s love, I would be reabsorbed by sky. Gianluca. If there was never another sound in the world, I would understand – yes, that would be appropriate, it would be fitting. This was the antithesis of music, the antithesis of noise. My brother’s death seemed to demand silence of all the world. Gianluca.”

 

  • From The Eclipse: A Memoir of Suicide, written in the wake of my brother’s death

 

‘I WANTED TO HELP THOSE LIKE HIM AND THOSE LEFT BEHIND’

 

Philosopher Nicholas Humphrey, author of A History of the Mind, described The Eclipse as “an astonishing, deep and beautiful book”, Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention called it “a brilliant, moving book,” and Michael Rakusin of Tower Books said it was a “masterpiece”. An unnamed Finnish woman, in a volume published by the Finnish government about 50 books that changed lives, said it was the only thing that stopped her committing suicide. She wrote that she carried it with her everywhere.

 

I met my daughter Bethesda’s father through my brother’s funeral; his mother had been my brother’s boss. I’ve always thought Bethesda was my brother’s goodbye gift to me.

 

‘MY DAUGHTER’S BIRTH REVOLUTIONISED ME’

 

“[T]he birth of our daughter changed everything; romance was no longer the stuff of gesture, but connection. I became aware of the shift as I watched my daughter marvel at her first dawn. This was, hands down, the most exquisite moment of my life. She lay on her side, turned to the floury sunlight seeping in between the blinds, entirely still: she was entranced. “And this is morning”, I whispered, so softly that I wasn’t even certain I had spoken. Six hundred years before Christ, Sappho wrote:

 

Some say an army of horsemen, or infantry,

 a fleet of ships is the fairest thing

 On the face of the black earth, but I say

 It’s what one loves.

 

  • From Mama: Love, Motherhood and Revolution, written in the wake of my daughter’s birth

 

‘I SET ABOUT CHANGING THE WORLD, ONE WORD AT A TIME

 

KJS Anand, Professor of Paediatrics, Neurobiology and Anaesthesiology at Stanford and a Nils Rosen von Rosenstein laureate (the equivalent of the Nobel for Paediatrics), described Mama as “undeniably the most important book of the twenty-first century.”

 

Excerpts from Mama were published in major newspapers and magazines around the world. The Guardian’s excerpt went viral.

 

I was asked to be the first ambassador for Procreate Project, a London-based social enterprise created to support the work of artists who are mothers. I was a keynote speaker at the London AGM of Mothers at Home Matter, an organisation of maternal feminists. Over the following years and in addition to contributing to newspapers, homeschooling, and writing Apple: Sex, Drugs, Motherhood and the Recovery of the Feminine, I appeared at literary festivals and addressed audiences about love, death, sex and motherhood.

 

I will never be normal again, but that’s okay. Not being normal taught me how to help people in the twilight zone of transitions. An extraordinary privilege, if you think about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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