November 2014

You might already know from Twitter that about 35 years ago, my dad's dad took his own life. I don't know if dad is thinking about this more than usual, but we've talked about it twice in the past two days. 35 years ago, men were mostly not meant to be depressed. I mean, men are still mostly "not meant" to be depressed. That's a big part of the reason men die by suicide at a rate of more than three times that of women. The stigma surrounding men's mental health is massive, ill-informed and also deadly. Anecdotally, it seems to be improving, at least in people I know. I talk to the men I know about how they're feeling. I'm not sure if this is because I talk so much about how I am feeling, but they sometimes come to me and ask for my support and even advice.

This bright spark has decided he's not going to call his child "gifted". The fact that his child is apparently not gifted doesn't seem to have factored into this decision, but you know, just in case anyone was wondering, in the event that his child had a brain transplant down the track and became a different child. I have a gifted child. I also have a not-gifted child. So here's your first lesson, Christopher: they are both really smart. Off the charts smart. One is gifted. The other one is just regular smart. Gifted is not "smartest". It's a way to label behavioural traits, to assist with learning development and needs analysis.

Hello! Gosh I liked reading your comments. They were lovely and hilarious and kind and gentle and powerful and clever. I did have a clear favourite, but I have to give some runner-up prizes too because there were other truly excellent comments and everyone should read stuff always. And of course I wish everyone could have prizes, but I'm a writer and the sad fact about writers is that they make almost no money with which to buy prizes. The winner of the 4-year Going Down Swinging subscription is ...

This image is the wonderful 'Erotica' by Federico Castellon The most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me in my whole life, still, to this very day, even more embarrassing than when my dad found my vibrator collection, and even more embarrassing than when I vomited on a footballer outside Frostbites, and even more embarrassing than publishing a poem called "YOU DID THIS TO ME", happened when I was about 11. I hope my dad doesn't remember, but I expect he does and just hopes we will never talk about it again.

It's hard to resist the comparison between this book and Lena Dunham's, not least because Amy Poehler herself refers to it in her introduction (alongside other wonderful books like Tina Fey's Bossypants). I will start by saying that I didn't think Yes Please was very funny. I mean, I didn't laugh once, and I'm the kind of person who laughs so much that I have to be sent away. I'm also a huge fan of Poehler and have Parks and Recreation repeating 24/7 on a dedicated television in my formal lounge area.