Letters to a Sister :38

Image (1)                                                                                     Dustbins and psychopaths…


Hi R,

Remind me to never go to a sushi restaurant with you. I think you are meant to put the food in whole, definitely no knives and forks allowed. I did take Mum once, to one of those bars where the dishes go round and round on a conveyor belt and you have to pick off the ones you want. It didn’t work very well as a mother/daughter bonding experience. She found perching on a high stool to be uncomfortable. And she doesn’t eat raw fish (which I didn’t know when I took her.)

My trip up North was okay thanks. Mainly I was just really proud of myself for driving that far! We went to Nottingham first. My SatNav did well in getting us to Nottingham, not so well at finding the right road (it is a really rubbish SatNav. It only takes the first four digits of a postcode, so directs you to almost the right place and then abandons you. You drive into a large industrial estate full of mass murderers and it helpfully chants, “You have reached your destination.“)

Son 2 had to take over and direct me to his road. I then used his loo – much to Son 1’s disgust (it only had single ply paper. Shocking) before we set off to Leeds.

Leeds was stressful. Son 1 was very good and kept me calm. Our conversation went along the lines of:
Me: “The road is splitting and I don’t know which lane we want. Aaargh, we’re going onto a motorway. We’re heading for York. York! I don’t know what to do.”
Son: “It’s okay Mum, Leeds and York are the same place really, they’re just different bits of the same town. Just keep going and I’ll tell you where to go.
And try to breathe.
And don’t clench the wheel so tightly, you’ll get cramp.”

Anyhow, we made it unscathed. (York is about 25 miles from Leeds, in case you didn’t know.) I managed the journey home on my own. The boys are good to me actually. As long as I don’t ask anything too unreasonable of them – like not leaving socks in the lounge, then they are very kind to me.

They are tougher on Husband (must be a male thing.) When they were home they commented on his car, which I do not think has ever been washed. Ever. We are surrounded by lanes full of mud, most of which now covers his car. One of them remarked, “Hey, like what you’ve done with the car Dad.” The other one asked why he had spent quite so long choosing the colour when he bought it, as all you can see is mud.

I think you are right about the fears of publishing a book. It is all so scary. I keep being reassured by hearing that books like The Martian and John Grisham’s first book were initially self-published because no one wanted to take a risk on them. Counting Stars is all ready now, so I am going to put that on Kindle as soon as it’s been edited. My book, Hidden Faces, should be published later this year. I am now busy researching for my next novel.

As I’ve mentioned previously, it will be called Joanna and is about a serial killer (well, it’s a bit more complicated than that, is more about making choices in life.) Anyway, I have been reading lots of studies about psychopathy. Did you know that most psychopaths are NOT killers? That actually the traits of psychopathy (being focussed, unemotional, charming, risk takers) enable them to often be successful politicians, CEOs of major companies, work in the media. It sort of makes sense when you think about it. If you are in the army and have to send boys off to fight, it wouldn’t do if you broke down in tears every time they were killed.

There was one really interesting study. A neuro scientist was studying MRIs of convicted killers, trying to find a physical trait of psychopathy (which he did.) The following week, he was doing research on Alzheimers, looking at MRIs to see if there was a link that could be used for early detection. He needed a control, so was comparing them to MRIs of his family. They were all anonymous. He noticed that one MRI strongly showed the same things that the psychopath’s had, so he checked the code, in case it had got muddled up with his previous work. He found that it was his own MRI. When he mentioned it to colleagues, they told him that he did display many of the traits of a psychopath!

Psychopathy is a spectrum, a bit like autism (though that seems to be the only similarity.) There is a list of traits, devised by someone called Hare. I have been busy checking people. Am pretty sure the dustbin men in Surrey are all psychopaths (they never move their truck to let people pass.) And the women in a nearby post-office show clear psychopathic traits (are always delighted to send you away because you’ve brought the wrong forms.) Will let you know if I discover any in the family……

Take care,
Love, Anne x


My sister’s letter can be found at :

Thank you for reading.

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