I wrote this for a website job thing I tried to apply for. Didn’t get the job but was really proud of this piece. It’s a small indication of what happens in my day-dreams… Had to tone it down a bit for public viewing though. It’s also a real love letter to my book club x
As a mother of young children, I spend a lot of time running away mentally from endless re-runs of Paw Patrol or Blaze and the Monster Machines. My favourite place to run to at the moment is a fantasy in which I join a variety of book clubs and take on a different persona in each. Like Marla in “Fight Club”, but instead of joining self-help groups, I’ll join book clubs.
The first club I’ll join will be the one at my tiny local library. I’ll be the lonely mother, looking for ways to occupy my time. Something for “me”. The other members will be well-to-do, middle class, retired ladies, used to reading Martina Cole novels and titles from the Richard and Judy book list. I’ll suggest we read Michel Faber’s “Crimson Petal and the White”, and manipulate the conversation so that we discuss at length my favourite quote: Just three words, if spoken by the right person at the right moment, are enough to make infatuation flower with marvellous speed, popping up like a….well, if you’ve read it, you’ll know how that quote ends. Soon, the club member’s own stories of infatuation, love and illicit relationships will begin to bubble surreptitiously to the surface. I’ll look at them differently – and leave the club with a shining example of why to never judge a book, or a book club, by its cover.
Next, I’ll create a book club for housewives. We’ll all bring a dish of food in Tupperware and take turns hosting the meetings, having to keep our voices low so as not to wake the children. We’ll use our meetings as an excuse to drink copious amounts of wine and have to do the school run the next morning nursing raging hangovers, trying not to vomit last night’s camembert in one of the neighbour’s front gardens. I’ll suggest we read “The Beach” and theme that month’s meeting accordingly (flip-flops, lays, Hawaiian print shirts). We’ll all drink shots and tell each other scary stories in the dark to try to get the feeling of Alex’s psychosis and paranoia. Instead, we’ll all get a fit of the giggles, one of us will have a fit of stress incontinence, and then we’ll all laugh even more.
Soon after, I’ll join the book club at the large bookstore chain at the local shopping mall. This time I’ll be a single woman, with no children and a cat. I’ll fall in love with the only man at the group – a young fantasy/sci-fi enthusiast. We’ll discuss our love of the political intrigue in the Dune series over coffee and muffins in the next door Costa; we’ll talk derivatively about those members of the group who couldn’t finish the book because it was “too descriptive”; our fingers will brush over the crumbs; we’ll have an awkward kiss in a shadowy corner of the mall after our meeting. I’ll never see him again.
Thankfully for me, and my sanity, I’ve managed to make one of these fantasies a reality. Which one? Well, that’s for me to know.