One Day – Guest Post by Paul Duggan

The wonder of the written word found in blogs, books and music is that each person – in their own unique way – takes from those words what is special and resonates with them.

The book One Day was lauded as a literary sensation: “unique clever and witty”. I wouldn’t be inclined to say it is unique as love stories go. Boy meets girl, treats girl bad, girl pines after boy, boy is a fool and can’t see what’s staring him in the face etc etc. Certainly it is clever, witty and mildly amusing in parts.

I don’t think the book appealed en masse to people because of its literary prowess or scope. I think it appealed to people because there was or is a little bit of Dexter and Emma in every man and woman at some stage in their lives.

If you look deeper, maybe One Day is not just about love but about life’s lessons and what it can teach us. How sometimes, one may wander aimlessly or cut a swathe through life without realising what it is exactly we are doing that is filling our souls with joy or melancholy.

Personally from One Day, I could probably relate to Dexter in some way in recent years. I never had his arrogance when it came to women but on the field of sport and professionally I was every bit as arrogant and full of self aggrandisement.

When it came to women I was quite, reserved, shy almost.  For a 3 or 4 year period – though I always had a different date for weddings, parties or social calendar events – I didn’t stay with any woman for anything longer than maybe 3 weeks or so. I was largely indifferent to whether a girl liked me or not. I just didn’t believe in love or happy ever after and was pretty much not interested in settling with someone for the sake of it. I oozed cynicism in every tender act of love I saw among couples.  In hindsight, I suppose, I didn’t give any of those women a chance…

Like Dexter I eventually found love…a love that warmed my cold cynical heart. I shall leave my story at that…

I will tell you though where the book One Day resonated with me, struck a chord if you will. It is never too late to open your heart and choose love and tenderness instead of the world-weary cynicism that is all too common amongst us today.

If you so happen to run out of time with that loved one for whatever reason, cherish the memories of the time spent together and try not to sink in the quagmire of sadness that can so often happen. It’s not what the other person would have ever wanted for you.

That is what one book meant to me.

Derek has blogged recently on the nature of blogging and writing and the eccentricities that comes with people who write. Why people write and what people hope to achieve by writing…

Some would say all you have to do when writing is open your heart and mind to feeling and emotions that you have only imagined and the words will pour from within like sorrowful tears of memories gone by.

If only one person reads what you write then you have been a success because if there’s something you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it because nobody else knows what lies within your own soul.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.  ~Anaïs Nin


11 thoughts on “One Day – Guest Post by Paul Duggan

  1. Paul, I agree with you on several counts; firstly, it’s never too late to find love and let it into your world weary heart – no matter how world weary you have become. Secondly, cynicism is all too easy these days and is the much easier option overall as far as I’m concerned; so trying to maintain a life which is free of attitudes that bring us down is a noble way to go. And finally; being able to express in a story, novel or poem, something which no one else can express but everyone can feel is a great skill and to be applauded.

    Life is all about choices and taking responsibility for those choices. So whether it’s accepting love, being more positive or continuing to write because you have to say what’s in your soul, then the choice is there to be snatched up and ran away with. Which you have so clearly expressed and certainly done.

    This book didn’t resonate with me on a memorable scale, but I love the approach that you have taken. Like you say, if a person can relate with the character to a degree, then there’ll be an impact. In terms of your blog post in general – I love your approach and style. I, too, have admired Derek’s blog for some time and I think you’ve found a fitting home for this post. I look forward to reading more; please tweet me @ERMurray when they’re live (wherever their home may be).

  2. hi there Paul. I am reading One Day at the moment so I was afraid you would give too much away. You didn’t, thanks! Just before I read One Day I read a more literary book that I loved the language of so I was interested to see how One Day could hold it’s own. You’ve hit the nail on the head when you say that it’s so close to our hearts and there’s a little bit of us all in this book. Also you care about the characters. Not having finished it I’m not sure about whether it’s non cynical message will be efffective but from what you say it is. I just went to see Crazy Stupid Love in the cinema and from the title was not sure I would be into it but it’s such a heartwarming and ‘real’ movie and exactly what you are talking about, leaving cynicism behind and giving things and chance and being grateful for it. Great points in your post, glad you visited Derek’s blog.

  3. Hey Paul, I haven’t read One Day but am certainly tempted to give it a whirl now having reading your thought-stimulating post. In truth, though, I haven’t a clue about relationships but do believe in the “if you don’t succeed the first time, then try, try and try again” approach. I can’t say it’s working all that well and it’s damned expensive, I can tell you. But I do manage to stay friends with old flames I don’t marry, so that’s something I guess.

    Apologies if what I’m writing here is a bit garbled but I’m off the fags 24 hours (24!!) for the first time in 25 years (25!!) and my brain has gone to mush. Hopefully the oxygen high everyone keeps telling me about will kick in shortly and rainbows of clarity will appear.

    Do you have your own blog home? If so, do let me know – I can be tweeted at @CarenKennedy or my blog is at:

    Bye for now.


  4. I agree with the last part: If only one person reads what you write then you have been a success because if there’s something you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it because nobody else knows what lies within your own soul.

    This why we all write. And it’s a magical adventure.

    TY for this post. Happy Friday!

  5. Hi Paul,

    Very interesting and thought-provoking post. Even more relevant to me considering that One Day is sitting atop my ‘to-read’ pile beside my bed!

    I am emerging from my own prolonged ‘quagmire of sadness’ – a period during which my wife observed how cynical I had become about friendships. If I can take from One Day what resonated with you – “it is never too late to open your heart and choose love and tenderness instead of the world-weary cynicism that is all too common amongst us today”, then I am all the more eager to begin reading it.

    I enjoyed reading your post and would be interested to read more in the future. As I toy with the idea of beginning my own blog, I take great encouragement and inspiration from your closing paragraph.

    Thanks Paul.


  6. I enjoyed One Day. I think it’s important to remember that David Nicholls just wrote a book . He is not responsible for the huge build up that inevitably leads some to feel disappointed. It is a simple story about emotions and that’s just not enough for some.

    And ‘some’ is what it comes down to. If we all liked the same things then it would be a terribly boring world indeed.

    If I can manage to distract ‘some’ people from the trials tribulations and tedium of life, then I am very content indeed.

    Thank you for your post, Paul….it was a welcome distraction! 🙂

  7. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading the book, but now I’m curious.

    I agree with you about what writing is–only you put it a bit more delicately. To me, it’s spilling my guts onto the page, along with investing a heavy dose of my soul in the mix in hopes that others enjoy and don’t feed me to the “vultures.” 🙂

    Great post! Thanks, Derek, for having a fantastic guest post!

  8. I’d never heard of the book ’til the film came out. I “don’t do romance”, so avoided the movie.
    Having read your blog, I’ve no desire to read the book.

    Wistful, poignant, mature, reflective but above all your blog resonates with honesty: that is why I like your guest blog.

    I hope you’ll offer us the opportunity to read more, to reflect on your thoughts and emotions as you paint them on this page; to allow us to empathise and, god help my pseudo-shrinkery, “relate”.

    Good job Paul!

  9. Thank you all for taking the time to read my guest post and thank you to Derek for allowing the guest post.
    The book I speak off wouldn’t make my top
    5 or even top 10 it was the character I could relate too. That in itself is the essence of the written word something a person understands or can relate to.

    Thank you all again for kind comments.
    Regards Paul.

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