Guest Post: If I chance to talk a little wild – a memoir of self and other by Jane Haynes



Praise for If I chance to talk a little wild…
‘Brilliant, wise, quirky and compelling… To have such a great
understanding of life is one thing but to write about it with such
articulacy and elegance is something else altogether.’
Matt Lucas

‘This book is daring and fastidious. It has important and difficult
things to say about big issues like child sex abuse. It also has
wonderful things to say about being an individual held, observed,
encountered by a therapist.’
Jean Seaton, Director of the Orwell Prize.

The book blurb

This is the brutally honest, passionate and unorthodox sequel to the PEN Ackerley Prize shortlisted Who is it that can tell me who I am?

If I chance to talk a little wild vividly explores Jane’s early life and her fascinating career at the forefront of relational psychotherapy. Jane Haynes uses both personal and clinical experience to explore complex issues such as shame and sexual abuse. She also writes about her love of literature and the relationship between psychology and literature. Filled with literary references and discussion of Jane’s first great mentor, the legendary R. D. Laing. If I chance to talk a little wild gives important insight into the human psyche and will haunt, educate and surprise its readers.


Sadly, I was unable to offer a review of this fascinating sounding book but was delighted to be asked to host the first post of this tour and thrilled to be able to host a guest blog from Jane Haynes who explains why she wrote If I chance to talk a little wild – isn’t that just a great title?

The book covers important issues which people often, even today, have difficultly talking about.  It is important to support people to do so, to seek professional help when needed but also to understand something of what an individual may be experiencing in order to be genuine when offering support and help us realise when ‘just’ our support may not be enough. However, and I hope this doesn’t sound superficial, I think the connection that Jane has with literature was, for me, a strong factor of wanting to be a part of this. Well now, it’s time to hear from Jane Haynes……



I had no intention of writing another book. I had enough trouble the first time when I received so many letters of rejection I decided to self publish. To my surprise that book, ‘Who is it that can tell me who I am?’ was shortlisted for the Penn Memoir Prize, after which it was sold to Constable.

It didn’t occur to to me that I had anything more to say, although I did start and abandon a blog about my dog. I am besotted with my Hungarian pointer, Dido. There is a chapter named after her in this book: Dido’s Lament.’ It is not only about my dog, or Dido, the tragic Queen of Carthage. It has lots of other thoughts about abandonment, death and myth both of which the ancient Queen, if not my beast Dido, knew a great deal.

With the titles of both books being quotations from Shakespeare it requires no crossword clue to guess that the Bard has been an influence on my life and work as a psychotherapistShakespeare, poets and myth have influenced me more than ‘Professor’ Freud with whom I have many quarrels in this booknot least over his ignorance about the female psyche.

I digress, but my book is full of digressions. I find it hard to follow a straight line, particularly when life is full of unexpected bolts from the blue, one way and another. The trigger for this book happened after I had a flaming row with my daughter. We are good friends most of the time and directors of the same psychotherapy practice in Marylebone, but we have a volatile relationship. When I came home after the quarrel in March 2016, I announced to my husband, “I am angry enough to write another book.”  “Help!  He said. “You better call it, ‘Daughter Beware Daughters’.” I have saved that title for the next one!

Quartet Books Blog Tour

I was delighted to be invited by Grace at Quartet Books to be part of this blog tour and especially to be the opening blog, thank you. I hope you have enjoyed reading about why Jane Haynes wrote If I chance to talk a little wild and do check out the other stops to read more of this amazing book……




913B4F32-DBDB-4B8C-9743-FDCCDA9FC683Jane Haynes originally trained as a Jungian psychoanalyst but then
‘defected’ and now refers to herself as a relational psychotherapist.
In 2008 her book Who is it that can tell me who I am? (Little, Brown)
was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize for literary autobiography.
She lives, and practises, in London.

Building on Jane Haynes’s personal and clinical experience and with
extensive references borne of her love of literature (she devotes a
whole chapter, for example, to the impact of Proust on her
psychoanalytic thought) and with constant mention of her first great
mentor, the legendary R. D. Laing, If I chance to talk a little wild
will haunt, educate, surprise yet always fascinate its readers long
after the book has been read.

Jane has a significant and dedicated readership and her last book, Doctors Dissected (Quartet, 2015), sold through two editions.

The Blue Door Practice: About   Jane Haynes Blog (to 2015)   Podcast – BBC Start the Week with Andrew Marr: Hilary Mantel and Jane Haynes in conversation.


Publisher: Quartet Books

Buy:              Amazon

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