- Holly Searle
- 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.
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Do you believe in love?
I believe in love and romance, and the notion that there is someone for everyone in this crazy world that we all live in.
And for me, one of the most beautiful songs to envisage this notion is Pulp's Something Changed written in part by Jarvis he of the same birthday as me Cocker.
I wrote the song two hours before we met.
I didn't know your name or what you looked like yet.
Oh I could have stayed at home and gone to bed.
I could have gone to see a film instead.
You might have changed your mind and seen your friends.
Life could have been very different but then,
Do you believe that there's someone up above?
Does he have a timetable directing acts of love?
Why did I write this song on that one day?
Why did you touch my hand and softly say.
Stop asking questions that don't matter anyway.
Just give us a kiss to celebrate here today.
When we woke up that morning we had no way of knowing,
That in a matter of hours we'd change the way we were going.
Where would I be now if we'd never met?
Would I be singing this song to someone else instead?
I dunno but like you said
The fuel of this song's sentiment, has kept me going.
With the tenacity of The Terminator, as the years have passed by at an alarming rate of knots, I have never given up on the randomness of finding love.
And oh boy, how time has flown.
One minute, you appear to be quite nonchalant about its arrival.
But then, one day, in the blink of an eye, an incredible amount of time appears to have passed by.
And it is then that you start checking your watch, and audibly sighing and anxiously tapping your foot.
You start to worry that love's cutting its eventual arrival a bit damn fine and close to the edge for your liking.
And then you enter your Judy Garland period and catch yourself humming The Man that Got Away and a majority of The Carpenters back catalogue, as you lament past loves that you have known throughout your life, worrying endlessly that one of them was it.
And then one day, after far too many Rainy Days And Mondays, you just decide that it's time to move on.
You realise what a wonderful, funny, attractive person you are and you just stop worrying about it all.
You catch yourself looking back at yourself from the bathroom mirror, and you decide that the years haven't been that unkind, and that given the option, you would probably chat yourself up.
This makes you happy, and you smile.
It's a nice smile.
You store away all of the those sad torch songs and opt for the more upbeat positive ones.
You spend a lot of time with your friends. You make time for them as you enjoy their company.
You love laughing and love to hear a funny story.
Life, you decide is quite funny and a pleasure, and that nothing is fixed, or should be expected.
Some days, you like the fact that you can do whatever you please.
But then, you realise what it is that you do miss.
Sometimes when you have been shopping, you return home and get annoyed with yourself because you have forgotten to pick up a certain item.
This realisation is a bit like that.
You come to realise that it isn't so much the love that you miss, but the actual loving.
You also decide that the intimacy that is afforded on a regular basis to those who have another soul with which to share their lives with, is what you are actually are missing most of all.
And yes, while it is highly probably, that in the right situation, you may encounter the opportunity in which to make this intimacy a reality, you know full well, that this isn't what you want.
What you want is it all.
The romance, the courting, the proposal, the wedding, the life that follows on and all the love that holds your hand in its.
Yes, that is what I have finally realised.
Something changed and it was me, and those are my terms.
Saturday, 23 March 2013
I have come to the conclusion that life is just like the weather we have been enduring of late.
Shockingly changeable and not surprisingly unreliable for the time of year.
I am also of the opinion, that at some point in our evolutionary time frame, we all ate and ate and ate until we were fit to burst over Winter to enable us to hibernate in our caves, until such a time that the weather turned, and we emerged and were greeted by a warm peck on the cheek by the sun.
And I bet, as I write this, that there is a scientist asleep on a sofa somewhere, who has that data hidden in a draw. And the reason that it hasn't been published, is simply because, it is just too damn cold to go to the post office.
Mark my words, I bet that this is true.
And if you listen hard enough, you can hear the scientist snoring.
Less than two weeks ago, I attended the funeral of a friend. I was truly shocked by her passing. It is rare for me to cry instantly, but on hearing this sad news, I did.
It was just too awful.
One minute, she was here, and then the next, just like that, she was gone, and her life had ended.
On the day of her funeral, it was the most glorious day.
The sun had finally come out and shinning brightly in a crystal clear blue sky.
It was a perfect early Spring morning.
As I made my way to her house, I smiled as I knew how delighted she would be with such a morning.
Her house was full to the brim with people of all ages.
Funerals are always awkward affairs at the best of times.
What do you say to the family that is left behind in her wake?
You cannot remove the pain that they are going through, and you don't want to appear too intrusive.
Their grief was heartbreaking.
I am blessed inasmuch as I have only attended five other funerals; My Nan's, that of a friend's child, the dearest elderly gentleman I have known, an old school friend and a neighbour.
They were all equally full of an unequivocal painful sadness.
But even though this funeral was just as sad as all of the others, I realised that it was full of love for this majestic woman.
In her absence, in that vast void that she had left, were those that she had loved so very much, and it showed.
On arriving at the crematorium, we all made our way into the church.
Once we were all seated, the lady vicar (my friend would have liked that), asked us all to stand as the coffin was brought in, accompanied by the Gerry and The Pacemakers' song Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying.
I hadn't at that point.
However, the love that her family had for her was most notable in the speech that the vicar gave on their behalf.
She covered it all. Her life and the importance of it and the continuation of further life because of it.
The vicar talked about her love for her sons and the love that her husband had had for her.
And when the vicar quoted him as having said that she was the light of my life, I lost it completely, and I am afraid that the sun did see me crying.
And once I had started, I couldn't stop.
It was just such a lovely service full of knowing and love for such a wonderful human being.
She wasn't perfect, but who amongst us all really is and what is perfection anyway?
To all of those people she had touch with her good nature, smile, and good solid advice throughout her life, and to all of those sitting in that church on a bright sunny early Spring morning in March, she was.
The world turns, and life moves on.
It's a bit like a giant colouring book isn't it, life?
There is always a bit that you need to fill in. Or a bit that you have overlooked, or indeed could have coloured in a bit better.
I have lots of lovely vibrant colours in mine, but as I examine it closely, I can see some bits that need addressing and some bits that need revising.
One of these was to track down a dear friend, that I haven't seen for years.
Some people you know in your life are just easy to love aren't they?
When they aren't around, every now and then, you wonder about them and what and where they are.
Well, I had decided that it was about time that I found him and I did.
A card sent to an address, and then a text, followed by a call, and then a meeting.
My world and my colouring book are looking brighter due to this effort.
And that is all it takes, a little effort for those we love and share a history with.
And then I had a date.
When a member of your close family suggests that you should try meeting a man via a dating website that they have discovered called You're Not Dead Yet.
You shake your head and then thank them politely for bringing this to your attention, and then you start making arrangements of your own.
And I had.
And that is how I had a date.
It was a fine date in a fine place, even if the weather wasn't kind.
The man was lovely and we got on well, and, well you know, I wasn't dead yet.
A few days later, we made an arrangement for a second date.
In the meantime I had seen my old friend and it woken up something in me, the feeling that familiarity is the key to what love is really all about.
On the second date, with my date, things didn't go so well.
The man arrived with a bee in his bonnet that he couldn't quite placate.
He wasn't happy and didn't appear to be able to enjoy just being.
In the end, the stain of it spread and the cloth was ruined.
An afternoon of angst.
And as I made my way home and back to those I loved, I knew it was for the best.
All that I had encountered in the previous week, or two, had just reminded me of what I already had, what I was seeking, and what I wasn't.
Life can be as changeable as the weather, but some things remain fixed forever.
So, when the sun finally comes out, don't let it catch you crying.
Friday, 15 March 2013
I'll be honest with you, something has really been playing on my mind recently, and I can't help but think, that it is going to get worse.
Although I have adopted a more positive mindset in the last few years, I feel as though there are changes taking place that may see more worrying times ahead for us all.
No, I haven't gone bonkers, I am just worried about the state of humanity in general and the consequences of the recession and the affects that the welfare changes may bring.
I was thinking back to the riots. Remember those? How can we all forget that they ever took place and the detrimental affect that they had on all of us.
It was pretty scary stuff.
I was sat at home on that night on my own crying, because I couldn't believe what was actually going on a few miles from my own home. A place, like Dorothy, I have always felt safe and secure in.
I wasn't crying because I was scared. I was crying because I was shocked at how quickly it gathered momentum and span all that we knew, and relied upon and recognised, out of control so quickly.
It kind of reminded me of that film Cloverfield.
In that movie, the monster is an ubiquitous force that decimates the city it attacks during the course of a single night
Initially, the monster isn't the main focus of the film, but its actions are. It is only later that we get to see the monster, and even then, the narrative, becomes more about the devastation of the norm and how to try and deal with it, rather than concentrating its attention on the recognised let's kill the monster and save the city plot line.
I found it a really odd and unsatisfactory film to watch from that perspective, but now, something about its narrative structure has started to resonate with me especially in post riot London.
I have a theory that if you believe that your life is less fulfilled because you aren't able to furnish it with items that you are continuing being sold and told will make your life more complete: then you are more likely to be of the opinion, that you are socially inept.
If you are made to feel like that, you will no doubt harvest feelings of frustration and failure.
To feel like that, is a social status bête noir of the worse kind for those who need to be objectified by such trinkets.
The reaction to which, is, or could be, yet another ironic social backlash of biting the hand that unashamedly fed the desire that fuelled it in the first place.
Thus resulting in more social disharmony and quite possibly, I am sad to say, more rioting.
And that is what has been worrying me.
Times are pretty hard. For some, they are almost Dickensian.
And then there are those that the masses have placed their trust in, who have demonstrated their power in an almost abstract expressionist style not that dissimilar to the one attributed to Jackson Pollock in his dripping, pouring, and spattering of paint on a canvas.
It has all been a bit all over the place if you ask me, and a bit messy to look at.
When I think about the riots now, I realise that although it was a herd of humanity that ravished the localities and communities in which it lived, in actuality it was the unseen Cloverfield monster that drove them to do it in the first place.
It isn't an excuse for their behaviour, but it is the truth as I see it.
And it all just reminds me of James Baldwin’s extensive essay The Fire Next Time, which he wrote as a warning as to what the social implications might be, should the civil rights movement not be taken seriously.
Cloverfield ends on a nihilistic note when the military destroy what the monster hasn't, by bombing what remains of the civilised metropolis in order to remove its presence forever.
But then the camcord on which the entire episodic narrative has been recorded, starts to play a previously recorded happier event in the lives of those that have been lost.
So before the monster arrives, maybe there is a chance if we all realise what is important, and what isn't.
Saturday, 9 March 2013
Ruby sat down in front of the dressing table mirror with a petulant thud.
She had woken up alone.
She wriggled about a bit until she made herself more comfortable and then studied the image that reflected itself back at her from the mirror.
She didn't look happy.
She wasn't best please with Walt, and it showed.
She let out a long sigh and pulled that mean face that Walt said he found unsettling. Closed her eyes in a theatrical diva fashion, and then got up and headed for the stairs.
She made her way half way down the stairs, before plonking herself on one of the steps in an unceremonious stroppy fashion.
Her mood was so well executed, that it is was a shame that there was no audience to witness it.
The carpet felt rough beneath her bottom, but she was far too cross to let it bother her.
In fact, its discomfort was yet another unnecessary evil and thoughtless predilection that she would blame Walt for, when he finally got home.
She made a mental note to do so.
Boy, was he in for it.
From her vantage point on the stairs, she was able to stare unblinking at the front door.
If he arrived home in the next few minutes, she thought with glee, he would find her sitting there in a trace like state, whilst staring menacingly at the front door.
The front door that he had double locked on his way out late last night.
He wouldn't expect to find her sat there like that, waiting for him and ready to confront him about his whereabouts.
If looks could kill, Ruby thought, he would be done for within seconds of opening it.
She could just see his expression. How surprised he would be.
She definitely had the upper hand and that was a first.
Waking up alone, without Walt was horrible.
Where was the idiot?
Although, she reasoned, on the plus side, it did mean she had had the luxury of having the whole bed to herself without him being there and fidgeting about all night.
It was something at least.
But not to come home at all. Well, that was just unforgivable.
How dare he.
She decided that she would punish him by ignoring him for the rest of the day when he finally got home. He hated it when she did that. But what did he expect. Stupid man. Didn't he know how lucky he was to have someone like her at home waiting for him?
She let out a small sorrowful moan that sounded huge in the silence of the empty house.
And now she just felt sad and alone and abandon.
Oh Walt, Walt, Walt. Where are you?
She got up and made her way down the stairs and headed into the kitchen to get herself a drink.
The thing was, Ruby relied upon Walt for everything. She knew she shouldn't, but she did. He was her world.
She didn't have to work and had the run of the house.
She saw her friends whenever she wanted too. When she thought about it like that, she thought she was probably quite lucky, but she didn't feel lucky this morning, she just felt alone.
Her Mother had advised her not to trust men as they would take advantage of her.
Ruby didn't like to believe everything her Mother had told her about men, especially as far as Walt was concerned.
But her advice was starting to take on an I told you so arms folded stance this morning.
Ruby dismissed these negative thoughts from her mind as she helped herself to some water and then sat at the kitchen table staring out at the garden.
It was a beautiful morning.
She liked the garden. She liked spending time in it with Walt. They had spent many hours out there pottering about together.
He would witter on, as was his want, while she just listen and thought to herself how lucky she was to live with a man like him.
Maybe she would revise her thoughts about him, if he didn't get home soon.
She yawned, got up and made her way back down the hallway and before she reached the front door, turn left into the living room.
She liked this room. It was comfy and warm.
The large clock ticked over the mantelpiece mirroring the rhythm of her steady heartbeat.
She sat down on the sofa in the spot that Walt always favoured for himself.
Ruby favoured the same spot as well.
Ruby closed her eyes and thought of all of the nights that she and Walt had spent in this spot.
Just the two of them, cuddled up and warm, while the clock ticked as they watched something on the box that sat opposite.
She opened her eyes and saw her reflection in the box. She looked like a statue.
She looked smaller and slightly distorted in this reflection.
She studied herself. People said how beautiful she was, and she quite liked that.
Walt liked it as well.
When she mentioned it to her friend Mabel who lived opposite, Mabel’s response was “Yes, I hear that a lot as well. I rather like it too.”
Mabel lived with George.
George drank a bit too much on Friday nights.
But Mabel loved him never the less and wouldn't hear a bad word said against him.
Walt would often say to Ruby on hearing George drunkenly singing in their street on his way home from the local on a Friday night.
“I bet you're glad you're not Mabel Rubes?”
And sometimes Ruby was.But not today.
At least George always came home. Unlike Walt.
Mabel and Ruby shared secrets about George and Walt.
And that ultimately was the string that bound their friendship together.
It was an escape and a blessing to have a friend like Mabel, one with whom you could share so much.
Just wait until Ruby saw her later when she would sound her out about her displeasure with Walt's behaviour and see what Mabel thought about it all.
She began to grow restless and annoyed all over again.
She wished she could talk to Mabel now, but she knew that she was busy with George this morning and besides, all the doors were locked and Ruby was trapped in the house until Walt got home.
Walt had become more security conscious in the last few weeks after a spate of burglaries in their area.
Thank God no one had broken in to their house as the thought of strangers scared her.
Probably kids the neighbourhood watch man who had paid them a visit had said.
Ruby disliked children. They made her nervous.
She liked order and routine. She didn't like Walt being thoughtless and inconsiderate of her welfare like he was being now.
The more she thought about it the more she realised that he took her love and acceptance of him and his ways for granted a bit too much.
Maybe her Mother had been right after all.
She didn't want to sit in their spot any longer, not while she was so angry with him.
So she walked over to the window and parted the curtains.
Oh come on Walt, she thought, where in heavens name are you?
As she looked out onto the street and saw the familiar unfolding weekend routine coming into play.
There was George across the street putting out the rubbish.
Maybe George did like a tipple or two on a Friday after work, but he never left Mabel alone over night wondering where he was.
And there was Mabel by his side.
And in that moment, Ruby saw their affection they had for one another and wondered if people ever consciously noticed the same of her and Walt.
And now she wasn't so annoyed any more, now she just felt sad and lonely trapped in the house, on this beautiful morning whilst the clock ticked away the time, waiting for Walt to get home.
She returned to the sofa and sat down. She was tired of waiting. She yawned, sat back closed her eyes and swiftly fell asleep.
At first she thought she was dreaming.
But her ears had definitely heard it, that unmistakable solid click of the lock as the key rotated to the right from the outside of the front door signalling his return.
Ruby opened her eyes and turned her head towards the sound that was quickly forward by the familiar sound of Walt's footsteps as he entered the house.
“Rubes?” He called out.
Ruby stayed where she was. He could wait she thought.
She sat up and and decided to adopt an air of indifference towards him.
She had waited and waited and now he could wait.
She sat very still, she was very good at that.
She heard him hang up his coat and take of his shoes.
“Ruby! Ruby Ruby Ruby”
She heard him bound up the stairs and the creaking of the floorboards above her head, confirmed that he was checking all the rooms for any sign of her.
Her indifference turned to excitement as she waited for him to find her.
She heard him coming back down the stairs and head towards the kitchen.
“Oh God, I hope I didn't lock you out Rubes.”
She waited. As still as a statue. She'd win a prize if they were playing that game.
She heard him fill the kettle and the click as he turned it on to heat the water.
Heard him exhale in exasperation at not being able to find her.
And then she heard him walking back down the hallway and met his eyes as he entered the living room.
She cock her head to one side as she looked at him and smiled.
“why didn't you answer when I called you?”
The tone of his voice indicated that he was annoyed.
Now you know what it feels like she thought.
He looked at her and pushed his hand through his hair.
She remained silent.
He looked guilty.
She turned away from him and looked towards the window.
He crouched down so that he could meet her eye line.
“I am so sorry that I didn't come home. I know that you have been locked in the house. It was unavoidable. If you had a mobile, I could have called to let you know, but seeing as you don't, well, what could I do?”
There was a funny tone to his voice, something playful.
She turned back towards him.
She blinked at him and decided that she wouldn't keep up the pretence.
She got up and walked into the kitchen and he followed behind her.
“I'll tell you what Rubes, how about I make you your favourite supper later. A big sorry for me to you. Would you like that?”
Ruby made her way towards the back door.
Yes, she thought, yes Walt, that would be a start. But right now though, she needed to get out of the house as she wanted to go into the garden as she needed some fresh air and more urgently she needed a pee.
She turned and looked at him and chirped.
“Is that a yes then?”
She repeated the sound.
Oh get on with it and open the door Walt she thought.
He bent down and stroked her.
She repeated her chirping, mip, mip, mip noise and became more animated as she stood by the back door.
Walt finally got the message and unlocked the it.
Thank God for that thought Ruby.
And with Walt home, and the back door open, she stuck her tail in the air and made her way out of the house and into the garden and was finally free at last.