Earnest post! In celebration of the release of my writing friend Rishi Dastidar’s new poetry collection, which I am honoured and humbled to say, has a whole poem about me and my MermaiDHD in. If you’ll indulge me I want to say a little bit about why it’s oh so special, why the sea is the best meds besides comedy…and why you should check out Rishi’s poetry…
As some of you know, my main life-hack for living with ADHD is swimming in the sea. I can’t reccomend it enough. On land, im a clusterf*ck. But in cold seawater, the 4000 TV monitors and computer tabs, radio channels, mariachi bands and drum and bass night clubs are drowned out and I can hear myself think. It’s such a relief from the cacophony of being on land. It sounds crazy but it really is better than ritalin. When I’m back home looking back at the sea I was just in, I’ve got a new focus: it’s like the water has tunnelled through and ‘torn me a new’ brain, washed my EPFC (emaciated pre-frontal cortex) clean. If you’ve not tried it I recommend it. It’s no surprise they’re linking the benefits of coldwater to helping dementia.
Side note: When I was a little girl I used to be embarassed for having a weird name nobody could say. Lorrellee, Lauraline, Laura-hyphen-lee, still no one can say it first time unless they’ve seen The Gilmore Girls (and then they can’t spell it).
But about 6 years ago I started to embrace being named after a mythical German mermaid, and really lean into the nominative determinism:) Getting a place by the sea, finding my dear tribe of (sorry – dry-robe-wearing) swimming buddies, making films and protest songs about the sea for SAS (see The Litter Mermaid, Under the Pee on our comedy site!), and – most ridiculously of all – being given my very own mermaid’s tale by my dearest best friends who clumped (?) together for my ‘big’ birthday party in 2020.
Rishi, seeing the tail went a step further and wrote this poem which I was moved to tears by – especially as at the time I’d just been made redundant from adland during covid. His sweet little poem made me feel anchored and ‘seen’. I feel a bit embarrassed to post it but after losing one of my swimming friends this week I’m feeling extra sentimental. ‘Mermaid Status’ really does sum up how special the sea is and how grateful I am for all it swept into my life.
The more I’ve leaned into the mermaid, the more my writing has developed too. I’ve got Rishi to thank for that as he’s helping me write my next one. He’s a ‘proper’ writer but he’s always been a fan of my light romantic comedies and been kind to furnish each book with a review in sonnet form!
After a decade of calling Rishi ‘the poet of adland’ (we met at an ad agency in our former lives) I was very proud to attend his launch last night at Foyles Bookshop in London, where he read some aloud. How to sum it up? It is witty, stirring, and apocalyptic – about Neptune and his dismay at humanity. An hilarious and affronting love letter to the sea, you’ll like it if you liked my Melon Comedy sketch The Litter Mermaid – where Neptune was last seen having a nervous breakdown due to the plastic crisis…
TLDR: Do check out ‘NEPTUNE’S PROJECTS’ BY RISHI DASTIDAR, from Nine Arches Press.
And if you live with ADHD and havent tried it yet, what are you waiting for? GET IN THE SEA x
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