About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

No Award Could Top That By Holly Searle







I was a lost child at school, an invisible girl who was overlooked largely due to an oversight of the educational system I was in.

Unlike today, I obviously had a form of dyslexia that meant that I was unable to keep up. I shall never forget sitting in my bedroom on a weekly basis learning my ten spellings and then being made to stand up in English the following day and being subjected to ridicule by my teacher Miss Jones.

Today this wouldn't be allowed and I would have been offered some form of assistance instead of being made to feel bad by an adult that should really have known better. The memory of those events scarred me for life. I still hesitate now even when attempting to pronounce a word I am unfamiliar with, let alone trying to spell it.

I also had issues with numbers. I just couldn't see words or numbers in my mind. Even now I have to remember what a word looks like and I have to ask someone to slow down when they give me a telephone number or a set figure.

As a result of this, I was deemed unworthy of sitting O Levels and placed in the classes heading towards taking CSE's.

I wasn't of interest to anyone at school, but do recall quite clearly being questioned by an English teacher as to who the author of a poem I produced was. I explained that it was me, but he still questioned me.

I can honestly say that if it had not of been for Camilla Birkett, my last English teacher at secondary school, I would quite possibly have remained redundant on the reading and writing front for the rest of my life.

She was the first person whom instilled in me the love of reading and writing and for that I shall be forever grateful.

I was such a late educational bloomer, that I had no idea near to leaving school what this place called university was.

All of my friends were off there and I just looked at the ground and kicked a stone and felt ashamed.

Fast forward ten years. I am a single parent to Child One and we are at last settled in a home of our own after two years of being homeless.

I ask myself the question “So, what are you going to do now?” My response to this is to return to education where I will spend the most enjoyable following five years of my life gaining A Levels and a Degree.

I am the first member of my family to achieve this honour and for that, I am very proud of myself. I worked several part time jobs whilst studying and juggled single parenthood. Times were hard and if the purse hadn't of been so empty, I would have continued for as long as I could have done along that magical path of further enlightenment.

But let me tell you this, even though I was immensely proud to have gained this honour, I was even prouder to have been in receipt of the recognition that was bestowed upon me by Child One for the following.

During my first year at university I arrived one afternoon to a film lesson to sit an exam. The lecture room was packed with my fellow students and they were all chatting about their worries and concerns regarding the visual exam we were all about to take. I am a rather stoic person and tend to deal with exams as they unfold. I never saw the point in getting too stressed about it and more than anything, I looked upon them as a challenge.

I had also been lucky enough to have had a previous tutor who give me the following piece of advice. “Whatever you do, don't stop writing during an exam. If you keep writing, ideas with turn up, so don't stop.

The exam began. We watched the opening sequence of Don't Look Now and were then given a set amount of time to write down everything that came to mind about the piece of film we had just viewed.

Head down, pen poised, off I went. I kept writing until the time was up.

When we had all finished I thought as I always did, that I had done as well as I could. I didn't think that I had done particular well, but I was pleased with the attempt that I had made.

The following week when we all returned, our tutor Leon dealt with the results of the exam first. We all waited. He said that overall he was very pleased and informed us that a majority had gained a C for their effort with some being awarded B's, but that one person had received an A. My friend Simon sitting next to me said “I wonder who that is?” I said “Me too!”.

I sat there waiting and waiting. I kept thinking he has forgotten me. Then after he had handed out everyone else's, he finally focussed his attention on me. He said that I had been awarded the A. I remember blushing quite profusely as everyone looked at me while my friend Simon elbowed me. I didn't know what to do, or where to look. I felt like I had just won an Oscar.

When I got home I retold this story to Child One. She laughed with delight.

A few weeks later I attended Parent's Evening at her school. As I waited for my allotted slot to see her teacher, I looked through her work. I was overwhelmed with pride as I always was at the amount of dedication and effort that she had applied to each piece. There was a story we had talked about, a picture she had drawn and pages about topics she had been working on. Then I turned the page and saw a balloon diagram. Each balloon had a title attributed to it like My Pets Name Is in which she had written her answer. I read each one with a huge smile on my face until I reached one that was entitled I Was Proud When in which she had written “ My Mum got an A.”

My throat suddenly became constricted and tears filled my eyes. I was an emotional wreck.

Although I have those A Levels and a Degree, those five words will always be worth more to me than any award I have or shall ever receive because they were given to me by my little girl.

Education gave up on me, but I didn't give up on it. Never give up if you believe in something and if someone believes in you, as it is worth its weight in gold in the end and more balloons than those that lifted that little house in UP.




15 comments:

jess contomichalos said...

Oh Holly - you are a fabulous writer - shall we put some of this stuff on That's Yummy Mummy - I just love all your writing - I wish I could get someone to just ask you to write for them and pay oodles of money - I love this because it really strikes a chord with me.........well done lovely Holly - no wonder CHild one and probably Child Two are so proud of you xxxxxxx Jessxxxxx

sue mcintosh said...

Another great story Holly, once again I ended up crying.
Cant wait for the next one
Sue xx

Holly Searle said...

Hello Jess,

Thanks for your comment, I would be made up if you wanted to publish this or part of it on your site.

Hope you are yours are well my darling.

x

Holly Searle said...

Dearest Sue,

Don't cry! Actually, just wait until you have read some more of my book, you may require a fresh packet of Handy Andys for that one.

Thanks as always for reading.

Hol x

jess contomichalos said...

Hi Holly - I think if it was good with you - you should do a monthly Holly's Corner - or Holly's Soapbox or Holly's Week and I could post these pieces as and when you write them - all I would need is obviously you to be happy for that and secondly to use the images you choose so you'd need to send me the image to go with and we can link to Pandoras Box etc - whatever you like - I love it! xxxx

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece....really enjoyed it,how true all acheivemnts have many levels of perspective....

John Murray said...

That piece really resonated with me, I got put off English Lit by my bully of a Teacher who thought that teaching meant terrifying a whole class of 11 year olds. Looking back he was obviously an immature 20 something with anger issues. We had an opening evening and he brought along his young blonde Swedish wife to show off. She had a black eye. Nice guy... Your daughter is so right to be proud of you, here's to you getting more 'A's!

Holly Searle said...

Hi John,

I think back then there was quite a bit of this sort of thing going on. I wasn't the only one in my class that was made to feel like that by her. The other person she vented her teaching skills upon is a very successful artist today.

It was all very Kes like without the bird.

I can't recall any teacher giving me any support apart from the one l mention. But, like l say l am very glad that I got that.

It is all very different today.

Yours sounds like a lovely man, he obviously had a few issues.

Thanks for sharing that and thanks for all the fish.

Hol.

Holly Searle said...

Thank you for your comment. In the end, all it takes is the ability to keep on keeping on and never giving up. When l left school, l felt like Peggy Lee singing 'Is That All There Is?' I am happy to say it wasn't on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

Another good read Holly , i always look forward to pandoras box popping up on fb now , and as one of you more uneducated readers i know you wont mind me saying , Its the dogs

warren

Nolan you murdering b**tard Bassett said...

Very evocative writing, well done! Can I just add that that red anorak wearing, short-legged hopalong old munter remains one of the most frightening things I have ever seen. Never forgotten!

Holly Searle said...

Thank you Warren. I am on fire today. There is an interesting piece due later that l am sure you'll enjoy considering your job. As always my friend, l value your feedback. Thanks mate Hol x

Holly Searle said...

Never in my viewing cinematic history have I found a film as disturbing as that one, well apart from The Shinning.

Never forget Nolan "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

Thanks mate x

Hetty Searle said...

Lovely xxxx

Holly Searle said...

Thank you daughter x