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.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The First Rule of Book Club - By Holly Searle



Can you believe that a whole month and a bit has passed since Christmas?

I can. Time just passes it the blink of an eye. Blink, and days, weeks, and months have flown by.

I don't know about you, but mine has been filled-in again with the usual weekly routine of the day-to-day winter morning wake-ups in the dark, followed by a succession of well rehearsed necessary tasks in a narrow window of time, whilst my son spends a rather self-indulgent twenty minutes in the bathroom.

There I stand in the cold kitchen, making his packed-lunch and breakfast, while brewing my morning wake-me-up cuppa, until he appears in his uniform to pack his school bag before leaving for the day.

As he sits down, I place his lunch, water bottle, breakfast, and accompanying drink on the table, and then we converse for a brief spell, whilst staring blankly and sleepy-eyed at the morning telly.

After I see him off. I take myself off to the bathroom, and prepare for my own day.

This repetitive process is inevitable, but it won't last forever, as children grow and move on. And where there once were pockets of time filled with necessity, they will soon be voids.

So, I thought, as we all probably do, that the new year should see a few much needed extensions of the self, body and my mind.

At first, not unlike Danny Wallace in his book Yes Man, I felt sure that I should try at least to say Yes to everything. Make an effort Holly, if you are invited somewhere, for heavens sake go girl. But alas, it is not always possible to be that woman as time, money and other commitments sometimes override my own desires, especially when you are a single parent.

However, I have made an effort to insist that I walk as much as I can. So everyday I walk to and from work. In my mind, this quite happily juxtapositions my frustration of being sat at a desk all day, as well as saving me a huge amount of money on travel fares as well as a rather costly gym membership. Plus I really quite like a walk. It clears my mind and gets the blood pumping, and it is free. So that is a win win right there.

Then the opportunity to join a book club. Now, this is something that I have always wanted to do. To talk about stories with like minded folk, and to maybe form some new friendships, what a great idea. So with great excited anticipation, a friend and I attended the first meeting wondering who we will meet and what books we will be talking about.

We located the room where Book Club was due to take place only to be greeted by the host. We introduced ourselves and made small talk for the first twenty minutes until another person arrived bringing the grand total of those in attendance to four.

Often when new people arrive in any given situation they bring something fresh and enlightening to it, but unfortunately in this instance, this wasn't the case. And just like the rules of Fight Club, it soon became clear that the first rule of Book Club, was that you don't talk about books.

On the contrary, we were treated to a brief snapshot of the life of someone we had never met before for the next thirty minutes. On and on it went, an unremitting selfish monologue of how wonderful and exclusive this persons life was and not one mention of a book at all.

I looked at my friend. She was wearing the look of someone who was politely trying to remain awake, or quite possibly that of someone who was planning their escape when a suitable pause presented itself.

I felt her pain as I had reached the same conclusion and turned back to the table and tired to butt in and reintroduce the topic of books once again.

Remember those?

So, I asked what books had they read?

But each book that was then mentioned had attached to it some pointless story that had to do with the late arrivals fabulous life.

My brain groaned and as I was about to make our excuses and leave, a third die hard member arrived. Would this new blood change the make-up of the endless monotony of self. This endless diatribe of incomprehensible vacant self appreciation?

In a word, no.

That was the straw that took the place of the straw that broke the camels back and we left.

I felt pretty bad and slightly duped by the whole sorry affair. I didn't feel it was my place to bring this up with my friend as I thought I had quite possibly imagined the whole thing, and hey, if someone wishes to use a Book Club as their own personal platform to showcase just how great their life is, then so be it.

But as we left, my friend turned to me and said "No wonder there are only three members."

And of course the floodgates opened and we talked about how bizarre the whole thing had been.

In the end we decided to form our own little splinter group where we will swap and actually talk about books rather than bare witness to a narrative that knew no bounds.

And besides, we had experienced the first rule of Fight Club, and no doubt a second visit would tick off rule two. But we certainly didn't want to go any further than that. And besides, some rules are meant to be broken.

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