An extract from my book, It’s all going Wonderfully Well, was published in the the Mail On Sunday You Magazine. It was a surreal moment; I’ve yet to become accustomed to having my life experiences laid out in cold black and white. It’s as though once they’re off my laptop they stop belonging to me. I don’t know why this is or what I expected. It’s not a negative feeling, just a little strange.
I’m a compulsive perfectionist and whenever I open a copy of the book, I’m still itching to tinker with it. I want to move a comma here and swap a verb there, but despite my pedantic urge to fiddle with the minutia, I’m pleased with the book overall. I set out to pay tribute to my Dad, and I believe I did him justice. He was a unique, extraordinary, mercurial man who was as brilliant as he was complicated. He was also generous, kind and gentle. But I haven’t painted him in rose tinted colours, to present him as perfect would not be true to him. He wouldn’t have liked his memory to be sugar coated and by recalling him as he was, I keep him close. I often ask myself, ‘what would Dad do?’. His voice rings out in my head, clear as a bell, usually with some gruff affirmation, assuring me that I’m on the right track, or that I need to face reality and pull myself together.
There’s no way I could have taken on the challenge of writing about Dad, so soon after he died, without the collaboration of my brilliant co-author, Richard Butchins. Rich has some similar qualities to Dad, and although they never met, he has an instinctive understanding of how Dad should be commemorated. There were times when I went stumbling down a dark alley, and Richard was there to bring me back. Between Dad’s voice and Richard’s real life guidance, I was able to pay tribute to my father in a genuine, meaningful way.
I have written about some very personal, painful things in the book. I’ve done this because I believe that you can’t show the light without the shade. There’s nothing particularly salacious or exciting; just common or garden family dysfunction. None of it was anyone’s fault; it’s just what happens sometimes. My Dad was never abusive or horrible and I can count the arguments we had on one hand. But he was flawed, like every other person on the planet.
We were always close, but we went through some tough times together. However, we invested effort and time into our relationship and developed a deeper, stronger bond. By the time he became ill, all of our old issues were long gone.
I loved him more than mere words can express; I could write a thousand books and they still wouldn’t do justice to my feelings. But I’m grateful and glad that I had the chance to write It’s all Going Wonderfully Well and preserve his memory forever.
I’m doing a talk on the book at Soho House on Friday 15th, a copy of It’s all Going Wonderfully Well is included in the price of the ticket.