So pleased that after a fairly horrendous experience with a company putting my memoir Woman in a White Coat on Amazon, my memoir is available for pre-order at £9.99 from Amazon or from your local bookstore. Had a wonderful trio of professionals – Nathan Burton Cover designer, M Rules Typesetters and Clays the Printers.
The cover designer, Nathan Burton, produced lots of possible designs for the cover. I could have chosen any one – they were so great. I chose the blue and turquoise version of this design but nearly picked this one instead.
it’s bright and cheerful but I felt the colourway I chose had more gravitas!!
This was the most striking design but I didn’t want to use a picture of me. I chose to write my memoir under the pseudonym of Dr Abby J Waterman and so I didn’t pick this one.
The original photograph is of me with a ‘phantom head’ – a metal skull into which plaster casts are fixed bearing real teeth that have ben extracted for reasons such as periodontal disease.
We practiced cutting cavities and inserting fillings and crowns on them. We gave them names and got quite fond of them!!
Dali/Duchamp exhibition at the Royal Academy was an eye-opener. I had no idea Salvador Dali (1904-1989) and Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) were such great friends. I knew little about Duchamp’s work other than that he pioneered the display of ready made objects as works of art including his infamous Fountain – a urinal inscribed R. MUTT 1917 and had seen and admired The bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The large glass). it was interesting to see that early on he was a conventional representational artist. Having teenage children at the height of the Surrealist craze I got to know Dali’s work and visited a fascinating exhibition of his work in Richmond, Virginia which included a jewelled beating heart.
The strange thing for me about seeing the exhibition is that I saw the bent watches in the famous Dali painting The Persistence of Memory 1931 (not shown in this exhibition) as well as some artefacts by Jeff Coons, in one of my delusions while in Critical Care following my heart attack last year.
Up to 80% of patients in Intensive Care suffer periods of delirium and I had several. My very caring consultant was concerned that the memory of some of my delusions might be upsetting but they gave me just the material I needed for the last chapter of my memoir Woman in a White Coat.
The exhibition included some interesting short videos as well as lots of works I hadn’t seen before.
What a great experience!! As I am now an 86-year-old, I expected some difficulty, but it couldn’t have been easier. And they were fantastic at answering my queries by email.
I didn’t use them for Amazon because while they offer 70% royalties to US authors they only offer 41% to those in the UK. If I write another book, I might consider using them for Amazon too – though as I pointed out to Pronoun, it seems most unfair that authors on this side of the pond will earn so much less!!
I emailed all my friends with the good news that my memoir Woman in a White Coat was finally on Kindle and the response has been amazing. Thank you all. I was expecting you to just use the ‘Look Inside’ feature or get a free sample, but you’ve been buying it. I might yet get to be a millionaire!!
Thank you all especially the first and the last of my Writing Circles, all the Creative Writing tutors at the Mary Ward Centre, Morley College and CityLit, the literary agents who wrote encouragingly but didn’t take me on because I’m not a celebrity, my various mentors except the one that discouraged me so much I stopped writing for a year and everyone else who ploughed their way through my many drafts.
Meet 85-year old Dr Abby Waterman, the unwelcome third daughter of Orthodox Jews who desperately wanted a son. She survives rat-infested cold-water tenements in London’s East End, the Great Depression, WW2 and the Blitz. Despite poverty, sexual harassment and discrimination, she becomes in turn a Harley Street dentist, a doctor, an entrepreneur, a consultant pathologist and director of a cancer research laboratory, as well as the mother of four.
Behind the scenes in a busy NHS hospital, you witness the tears doctors shed that patients never see. Step into Abby’s shoes as an 18-year-old dissecting her first body and later, as a mother of young children, carrying out an autopsy on a four-year-old. Discover why Abby ventures into the business world and why she leaves it. She undergoes surgery and radiotherapy for breast cancer, only to be told her cancer has recurred and spread to her spine. She describes her weird hallucinations while on a ventilator following a heart attack and learns that Do Not Resuscitate is written into her notes.
Dr Abby J Waterman is a pseudonym. The names of friends, family, colleagues and patients have been changed as have the names of places and hospitals, although all the events in this memoir are true to reality.
I hope you enjoy it.
Did you grow up in a disadvantaged situation and make good? I’d love to hear from you here or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Timothée Botbol (Cello) and Dinara Klinton (Piano) played Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise arranged for cello and piano and his Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor. Dinara played his Prelude in D Op 23 No 4 and his Prelude in G minor Op 23 No 5.
Both brilliant performers, I had never heard the cello played with such richness of tone. I was blown away. And Dinara Clinton’s brilliant musicality and technique were amazing.
St John’s have a membership just right for me as I don’t like going out alone to evening concerts. For £45 (£40 with Direct Debit) you can attend 10 of their Thursday lunchtime concerts – only £4 each!!
Timothée’s brilliant performance was a far cry from mine when I learned the cello as a 15-year old and played in a quartet at our school’s prize day.
An ex-student, who’d gone on to play second violin in the London Symphonia Orchestra, gave our school a cello. I put my name down to have free lessons, but I wasn’t very hopeful because I was already having piano lessons. I wasn’t altogether pleased when my form mistress stopped me at the end of the week and told me I had been chosen to learn the cello. We always had loads of homework and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fit in practising the cello as well as the piano.
I know I’d like to have a white shiny cover and I’ve seen quite a few that I like, but unfortunately mainstream publishers rarely include the name of the cover designer.
Herewith a taster – the beginning of Chapter 3 of Woman in a White Coat
A Country at War
We were tired and hungry, my sister Hannah and I, as we stood waiting in Littleport Village Hall, waiting to be chosen by someone, anyone.
‘Don’t snivel,’ Hannah said. ‘No-one will take us in if they see you crying.’
She pushed my hand away.
‘You’re too old to hold hands Abby, and anyhow your hands are always wet and sticky.’
‘Operation Pied Piper’, the plan for the evacuation of children from areas likely to be bombed, was in place long before World War 2 was declared. People in safe areas with spare bedrooms were urged to take in evacuees. They would be paid 10/6d a week for the first child and 8/6d for each subsequent child. Nearly a million children were evacuated on Friday September 1st, 1939. London railway stations were packed with children and whole trains were commandeered.
Parents had been given a list of clothing to pack. Girls needed 1 spare vest, 1 pair of knickers, 1 petticoat, 1 slip, 1 blouse, 1 cardigan, a coat or Mackintosh, nightwear, a comb, towel, soap, face-cloth, boots or shoes and plimsolls.
I never felt after my various other medical catastrophes including breast cancer and a broken hip that I wanted to join a support group. As far as I was concerned, I knew how I needed to come to terms with my extra disability and I just got on with it.
However, St Thomas’s Hospital Critical Care consultants arranged first a follow up clinic for patients who had been in Intensive Care and then scheduled Evening Support (Discussion) groups for survivors and close relations.
I was surprised and delighted with how helpful and reassuring it was to talk to people who had been in a similar situation and with whom I could swap war stories.
I had a particular lurid crop of hallucinations after my heart attack last August – up to 80% of patients in critical care experience some delusions that seem very real to us. Mine will be going into the Final Chapter of my nearly finished memoir.
I loved hearing about those that other patients had. One man was convinced burglars came in the night and stole all the hospital’s bandages. The nurses’ denials didn’t convince him one bit. One of my delusions was that Damien Hurst and Jeff Koons had presented the High Dependence Unit with priceless artefacts. My response was that they made the ward look untidy!!
The Library Manager of Pimlico Library has kindly offered us a meeting room for our proposed Westminster Cardiac Support Group for one evening a month , There is a pleasant -looking coffee bar upstairs for anyone who comes early and we would provide water and soft drinks during the meeting. It also has a toy library!!
Buses #C10, 24 and 360 stop outside, for the good walkers both Victoria and Pimlico Undergrounds are in walking distance and there is a lift down to the library level.
It’s a very generous offer and I hope plenty local post-cardiac catastrophe patients and their near-ones will come.
This is a large library with a huge range of facilities serving the general public and Pimlico Academy.