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I haven't posted for over a week because I've been trying to keep body and soul together! Depression.  Some days have been far worse than others.  I get so frustrated at trying so hard to function and handle depression at same time as well as trying to control the huge waves of rage it brings up.  Some say depression is anger turned inward, but that makes me ask 'where is the safe place for the expulsion/expression of it, then?'  Certainly not in public.  It's a minefield, although it's not as if this 'black dog' has come out of nowhere, it has its roots in lots of external events - mum's stroke(s), feeling as though I've already said goodbye to her, putting our Dad's headstone up this week after a year and a bit and then financial insecurity, doing freelance work I don't like, and a few other deep disappointments to do with my studying for a PhD this year - it has all served to grind me down.  And as people who suffer prolonged bouts of depression on a regular basis will know you also have to be careful who you speak to about it as it can be horribly misunderstood.
I did, however, go out to a friend's birthday party last night, even though I left just before ten! I'm not reading any fiction right now either - I think it's part laziness in that I can't be bothered to see what's out there that would be up my street, and part indifference.  I am reading a book on philosophy, though.  Non-fiction and reference can serve me well when I'm feeling like this.  No emotional investment needed because there's none to give!
However, I have heard that James Kelman's latest book, Keiron Smith, Boy has all the swear words censored by himself, i.e. f**k and b*****d! I say leave it in - although it has served to spark a bit of debate on the role of swearing in literature.  I like Kelman.  I think he is a brave, noble man who has worked hard at being true to himself and to the place that helped form him.  Irrational as it may be I still get angry when I remember that Simon Jenkins once called him 'an illiterate savage'.  It's a prime example of how different voices are too often mocked and considered unworthy of being in the so-called sacred space that is 'literature'. 

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I'm also going to tweak section one of this three section critical paper with a view to journal publication because of the academic interest in the claims I make of Mary.

-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

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