All My Worldly Joy

By Laura Richmond

A memoir of motherhood and mental health.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

On telly - this afternoon!

Bit of a random one - and I don't even know if the good people at Unbound HQ will be able to approve this and get it out to you in time - but just in case:

I'm expecting to be on at 5pm or a bit after, and, if you dare, you can tune in via on Sky HD 512 / SD 518 or Freeview HD 113 / SD 234 or live on the producers' website

I say 'if you dare' - this is all very strange. I'm not being brought in as an authority on maternal mental health or medieval vowesses or any of the rather niche things that I actually know about... I've always been a big Wollstonecraft fangirl. Mary Wollstonecraft was a writer and philosopher of the late 18th century, often known as the 'mother of feminism'. She wrote 'A Vindication of the Rights of Woman', asserting the radical notion that women are, in fact, human beings, and outlining ideas that would later become central to feminist thought. She died from an infection after giving birth to her daughter, Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Coincidentally I had a similar sort of infection after giving birth to Arthur and was rehospitalised and put on an antibiotic drip for several days. Very thankful to have been born when I was. I was involved with the Feminism Society whilst at university (predictable) and once gave a talk about Mary Wollstonecraft there... She really was tremendous and you should read the book, which feels bizarrely contemporary whenever you read it.

There's been a ten year campaign for a statue of Mary Wollstonecraft, which was unveiled yesterday. Unfortunately it's not a statue of Mary Wollstonecraft, as we were all expecting, but a small, generic female nude, which does feel a bit like the sculptor was trolling us. I fired off a flippant tweet yesterday morning: "How many of our important male writers are depicted naked in their statues? You never see Charles Dickens with his balls out, do you?" It only went viral and got picked up by the media. Last time I checked Twitter there was a guy threatening to print "You never see Charles Dickens with his balls out" on a t-shirt. I can't help but laugh. This is what I will ultimately be known for, tweeting about Charles Dickens' balls.

So, yes, hence the telly invite to come on and talk about the statue. I would like to make it clear that I'm very grateful for the work that people have put in to see Mary Wollstonecraft commemmorated and I don't want to be nasty about it, but I stand by the view that it's not a great statue. I've never been on telly before and have no idea what to expect. It might be awful, but you only, as they say, live once. I'm going to try not to mention anyone's balls.

More - and more book relevance - from me next time, but this seemed like a good opportunity to check in with you all and do feel free to tune in and mock my plight later this afternoon.

Laura xx



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