Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Wrong ‘Un. I’m sharing a guest post written by the author with thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the blog tour and to Catherine Evans for writing her guest post.
Meet the Newells, a big family of good lookers and hard grafters. From their sleepy working class backwater, the siblings break into Oxford academia, London’s high life, the glossy world of magazine publishing and the stratospheric riches of New York’s hedge funds.
Then there’s Paddy, the wrong’un in their midst, who prefers life’s dark underbelly. As things fall apart around his sister Bea, is Paddy to blame? And why does matriarch Edie turn a blind eye to her son’s malevolence? Will she stand by and watch while he wrecks the lives of her other children? Just how much is she willing to sacrifice to protect her son?
Catherine Evans has written a post entitled Life’s Hard Lessons.
Life’s Hard Lessons
My novel, The Wrong’un is now available from Inkspot Publishing, and in the autumn, the same imprint will distribute a non-fiction, The Neglected Samurai: A Manual for Desk Warriors Everywhere by Jurcell Virginia and Hideo Muramatsu – see www.inkspotpublishing.com for more details.
On the surface, these two books could not be more different. One is a novel about a dysfunctional family, and the other is a non-fiction touching on a huge range of topics, from big things like the mind and body to tiny things like life and death, but what connects them is an underlying acceptance of certain hard facts of life which all mature people (including the characters in The Wrong’un) have to face up to sooner or later:
We only get one life. It’s often been said that there are no certainties except death and taxes, but many are hoping for something beyond this current existence, and it’s better to work on the assumption that this life is the only one you’ll ever live. Accepting your mortality is an important step towards living your best life. There are some that believe that the first immortals have already been born… a few Silicon Valley billionaires are pursuing the same mad dream as medieval alchemists. I’ll take a pass, thank you very much. Life is precious because it’s fleeting. I can’t imagine anything more boring than hanging around forever.
We all have to spend a huge part of our lives running just to stand still. Lord Byron said: ‘When one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation), sleep, eating and swilling, buttoning and unbuttoning – how much remains of downright existence? The summer of a dormouse.’ He forgot to mention commuting, looking after kids, dealing with elderly relatives, laundry, booking holidays, buying insurance, arranging playdates, housework, and I bet he didn’t have to pair his own socks…
All of us have choices. ‘Hang on a second,’ I hear you shout. ‘Who’s going to take the rubbish out if I don’t do it? Who will visit my elderly Aunt Agatha if I can’t be bothered?’ The answer to both questions is: No one.
Whatever each of us has to cope with, there is one thing that we can change, and that is our attitude. Try to imagine how you’d feel if you were elderly and nobody visited you. Ask Aunt Aggie for her stories before it’s too late. Read a book to her, one you’ll both enjoy. If you’re plagued by housework, get a cleaner, or bribe your kids. And come on now… you don’t need to iron your undies, and a little dust really won’t kill you.
We will all face rejection in our lives. It’s extremely painful when it happens. Don’t take it personally. Learning how to deal with rejection is a key skill in life, and we will all be tested sooner or later.
‘No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.’ Eleanor Roosevelt. Marcus Aurelius said: ‘If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it. This you have the power to revoke at any moment.’
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Everything worthwhile in life requires effort. Work, relationships, physical fitness, sporting prowess, qualifications, acquiring skills, mental achievement… all require the investment of time and attention. When you pay attention to things, they change. When you don’t pay attention to things, they also change. Just not in a good way.
If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. ’Nuff said, m’lud.
We are not born equal. Many of us are privileged, and have huge socio-economic advantages and are lucky enough not to suffer the effects of war, trauma or hardship. Some of us have health, wealth, looks, physical ability or extraordinary talent. We are all dealt a certain hand in life, and like every good poker player, it’s about minimising the losses and maximising the gains, not only for ourselves but for others too. Life is not a zero sum game, and the whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts.
Catherine Evans’s website is www.cathyevans.com. Her second novel, All Grown Up, will be released in the autumn.
The Wrong ‘Un is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the blog tour here: