Living Well Is The Best Revenge

by | 27 Aug 2017

I was going to call today’s post – Two Mountains And A Festival. But this morning I changed my mind. I’m reading a great book at the moment (more of that in a minute) and I’ve just reached the chapter which has the epigraph: Living Well Is The Best Revenge, the words of the seventeenth century poet George Herbert. It’s such a great line and as it’s Sunday and he was also a priest, the change feels apt.

Anyone who has seen me recently will know that I’ve done a lot of complaining this month: about the fact that my August has not been the August I was planning. I was planning, for the first time in my life, to have a month with nothing in the diary. This week was the culmination of that not happening. I’ve climbed two mountains in Wales (Tryfan and Snowdon – the Crib Goch route for anyone who knows what that means) and then spent three days at the Edinburgh Festival seeing back to back shows.

At times my life can feel a little overwhelming. But this morning – pot of tea, sun streaming through the bedroom window and all those enriching experiences within me – I couldn’t help thinking: this is living well and it’s the best revenge.

The book I’m reading is by Alice Jolly and it’s called Dead Babies and Seaside Towns – in 2016 it won the Pen Ackerly Prize for literary autobiography. Although I’m only half way through, I highly recommend it. It’s published by Unbound who will, I hope, be bringing out my second book next year – now officially titled 21 Miles. They seem to be one of the few publishers that are prepared to take a risk on writing about a subject that is still considered niche and a little bit taboo. I’m delighted to be joining the good company of Alice’s book but there’s still a wee journey to go on before it can be born and that has taken up a lot of my August too. To make it happen, I’ll need lots of lovely people to want to buy my book. Watch your inbox and this space for more news soon.

I said to a stranger who asked me what shows I was seeing at the Edinburgh Festival that I’m a woman who sees a lot of stuff about dead babies. Books, shows, films, art, music, dance – the lost child is what my life has become. But living well is always the best revenge and when I stood at the top of Snowdon, well, I hope the smile says it all. A quiet August, who needs one?



  1. Jane P (UK)

    Hi Jessica – your wonderful smile does indeed say it all. Thank you for sharing your journey and the wonderful quote “living well is the best revenge” – i relate to that totally. “Enriching experiences” – this is what its all about! There is something to be said for a packed weekend of activity of any sort to fill you up on gratitude to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Looking forward to your new book – i want to buy it!

  2. thepursuitofmotherhood

    Thank you so much Jane. And if you want to be an early adopter, you could buy my new book right now! The pre order fundraising campaign has been launched this morning and you might even be the very first person in the world to get it – that would mean a lot. More details here: where you can watch the trailer, read the synopsis and an extract and get your copy! But I’ll also be blogging more about it soon. With thanks and love, Jessica x

    • Jane P (UK)

      Done! Not quite first (but one of the first) – yay! Jane xx

  3. thepursuitofmotherhood

    Amazing – thank you and bless you. I really hope you enjoy it when it arrives!


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