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Farewell, Author Boy

Newsletter: January 2023

Greetings again, dear web friend, as I glance in my rear view mirror and see a small figure fading from view. ‘Focus on the road, Simon!’

We’ve all said goodbye to roles that we’ve played in life, sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly. Anything come to mind from your own experience? The memory may be one of huge relief at putting down something onerous or difficult. Or pleasure, at a job well done and complete. But the goodbye could also be a painful memory, with the sense of loss and dislocation; an experience in which we had no choice, and if we had, it wouldn’t have been this way.

Life is change and sometimes we’re glad and sometimes we’re not; though neither of these moods quite describe where I am, as I put down the role of ‘author’. In truth, it’s not a role or label I ever intended for myself; the books just seemed to arrive, asking for my help. And I don’t know how many I’ve written but it’s a surprising number (I mean, I’m surprised) and if you want a glimpse, (for old time’s sake) they’re gathered together here:

Simon Parke: Books

I don’t know the collective noun for books, apart from ‘a pile’ or perhaps ‘a library’… but my suggestion is ‘a conversation’ – a conversation of books.

It was really the only reason I ever wrote… to start a conversation.

So, why the change? The sense in me that the conversation is dying. Each of the books – and there are different sorts – has been loved by someone; and some were kind enough to tell me personally or in reviews. Some even bought them for friends. But probably not enough have loved them, or bought them for friends, a truth I now accept. (I can be so slow in accepting truth. It’s taken a couple of years.) Some of my personal favourites have hardly sold at all, which tells me I am out of kilter with the great and discerning book-buying public. And that’s not a good kilter to be out of for an author.

And so, yes, I get in the car, strap myself in, look at the sky and with both sadness and gratitude, ease away from the curb, leaving behind Author Boy standing in the winter sun. I have to say, we did laugh together a great deal before my departure because we’ve had some very good times together, really quite excellent. He’s been a great and surprising friend who’s introduced me to all sorts of people I’d never otherwise have met.

But now he’s a diminishing figure in my rear view mirror, and his space filled, with almost indecent haste, by a significant increase in my therapy work. It’s almost as if it had been waiting. We’ll see, for as you may know, I’m not a great one for plans: I have today and maybe tomorrow. But this is where I am today, as now I wonder about your journey, which interests me as much as my own. I wish you good reflections on where you are right now.

I will keep blogging for the moment, with some ‘Words of the week’. If you’d like to catch up on some of the recent ones, they’re here:

Word of the week: Really
Word of the week: Contentment
Word of the week: Trauma
Word of the week: Power

And a bit of house-keeping. Due to other commitments, I’m limiting my retreats to just one this year and this is it, in August at Sheldon: ‘Wellbeing… when nothing is well.’ Here for details:

Wellbeing…when nothing is well

Time to sign off. But for anyone else leaving a role, happily or unhappily, I close with some words from the much-missed John O’Donohue:

‘Beginnings often frighten us because they seem like lonely voyages into the unknown. Yet, in truth, no beginning is empty or isolated. Shelter and energy come alive when a new beginning is embraced.’


With love,

Simon x

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