At the end of 2021 I nominated MY FRIEND FOX as the best book I’d read that year.
Part parable and part memoir, this book, written by Melbourne-based author and stand-up comedian Heidi Everett, documents her mental health battles – what she refers to as ‘mental shenanigans’ – and specifically her time spent in a psychiatric ward.
The words made an impression on me chiefly I think for the manner in which they’ve been written. Wise, deeply moving and utterly poetic are three descriptions that come close to capturing their essence. The experience of looking deep into the abyss is conveyed in a style equal parts soul-nourishing and heart-breaking.
I can’t think of any better way to convey a sense of the magic of this text than hand over some extracts.
Brace yourself. Here we go…
“Socially, our family was an island on an island surrounded by moats of jagged rocks and raised drawbridges. Traps that were loaded and set in childhood went off with the slightest nudge in my adulthood because the psychological hunters knew their quarry was a long-term project and were prepared to wait.”
“My eyes splutter open with the energy of a rusty old tractor. My body has been stuck in an unsolved Rubik’s cube for so long. I’m lying on the floor of my unit, where I folded up some weeks ago. The blue carpet surrounds me like the giant Pacific Ocean. Desiccated tear-soaked tissues fleck the surface like frozen whitecaps.
My island is a pillow, beached on a shoreline of awkward blankets. The tv gurgles noise, no particular channel giving any hint of any particular climate in this godforsaken latitude. I can see the numbers on the wall clock so it must be daytime. A blackened banana sits on the coffee table.
“My only meaningful human interaction is with my mental health caseworkers. ‘How are you.’ Is the medication working.’ ‘Do you need a new script.’ Never with a question mark. ‘Okay’ I say to each not-question. I came into this place with all the energy of a meteor. I leave a diluted shadow.”
“I decide there’s something about human faces that takes all my energy to process. It’s like looking directly into the sun and working out why you can’t see afterwards.“
“I’m scared of every thought, every idea, every internal commentary I have. I constantly assess if it’s a good thought, or a bad thought. Is this helpful? Or is this not helpful? But as time passes I start to lose my vigilance. My thoughts have become my enemies. I must not think.“
Confronting, tender and beautiful, this is a book for anyone who would like to connect with a life lived deeply; and for anyone that has ever battled for peace themselves.
Dark shades? Check. Funny lines? Check. This is the author performing stand-up –
Glitz – glamour – ‘A’ list celebs – and the all important ‘goodie’ bag.
The gala launch YOU’RE invited to has none of these things.
Unless of course you count the ‘A’ in ‘A lister’ as meaning ‘ageing’. Then yes, this partay will be attended by more than a few genuine ‘A’ listers.
Back in 2018 I started a site dedicated to reliving my second mostfavorite tv series from childhood,LOST IN SPACE.After covering all 83 episodes and reaching the end of that journey, another nostalgia train is busily steaming it’s engines and getting ready to depart the platform.
What’s better than your second favorite show of all time? There’s only one answer to that question and in my case the answer is HAPPY DAYS.
The phenomena that was HAPPY DAYS originally ran for eleven seasons,. It kicked off in 1974 and finally drew to a close in 1984. The series presented an idealized vision of teenage and family life in the 1950s in Midwestern United States. By the time it’s amazing run ended it had amassed a total of 255 episodes.
And now the time has come to relive all the joy, sheer delight and laughs the series gave through the brand spanking new site HAPPY DAYS: THE FIRST FIVE SEASONS.
Why only the first five seasons? Those who remember the program won’t need to spend a lot of time figuring out the answer to that small mystery. For those new to HAPPY DAYS, lets just say quality-wise, anything after Season Five and you may as well be talking about a different show.
The HAPPY DAYS episode, infamous as it now is, that coined the term ‘Jump the Shark’(meaning the point at which a tv series can be regarded creatively as a spent force and is considered from then on to be on a downward slide) – where Fonzie jumps over an actual shark while on waterskies – was, afterall, in Season Five.
Here now is the official call to action…
This site needs followers. If I was was some kind of marketing type I would flip that like a (word) burger and offer up – ‘followers need this site‘ But that might be stretching things just a tad. So instead I’ll say I would love it – actually ‘love‘ is too weak a word in these launch-mode circumstances so how ’bout if I substitute ‘ache for’ instead – you to follow this new site.
If you’re feeling it, go clickety click HEREand get a little piece of HAPPY DAYSin your email inbox twice a month.
Overexplaining is something the Fonze would never approve of but…just to make it clear and easy, if you click on that link labelled HERE, at the bottom of the page it takes you to the magic Halloween-orange bar (pictured below) that is your sign-up ticket. Happy days!