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Drama in the Book Group

2014 is my year of learning. It follows 2013, my year of yearning (not a lot of action, but forming ideas of where I wanted to be), with 2015 earmarked as a year to (properly) start earning. Then I can drop the rhyming :)

Today the universe delivered me a lesson….when it all kicked off at the book club and I came up short.

I volunteer with a local library as a reading group facilitator and today we met for the third time. I made the volunteering gesture early last year when I had more time on my hands and it took until November to launch the “Memoirs and biographies reading group”. Nice people. Smart and well read with a couple of book group veterans among them. They sometimes refer to their other groups. M helpfully suggested that we do a marks out of 10, comme her other group, so we’ve incorporated that in to our meet. Though today S refused to give a ranking. He said the grading reminds him of being a teacher and he preferred to be free of that. He wasn’t in great form.

We were discussing “The Hare with the Amber eyes” (the month’s book)but conversation was hopping around and I didn’t reign it in. I was finding it hard to politely interject when I probably should have pulled rank. In the past people seemed happy with this organic pacing.

We discussed the book at length though we didn’t read excerpts. One minute we were on the book, the next we were chatting about celebrity autobiographies, first wives, John Lennon and Cynthia, then John and Yoko. Back to our book. Before veering on to Paul and Linda with insider insights courtesy of some roadie acquaintances.

Today S found the free form of the session frustrating and M’s “interruptions” very distracting. This wouldn’t happen at his “other” group. M had already disclosed that she’d had a personal loss over Christmas and was feeling particularly vulnerable. S seemed to dismiss this and said we all had issues. M apologised but seemed a little wounded. Contrite, she still interrupted. She’s not aware and means no offence.

I could feel eyes on me. Do something! I didn’t wade in when I should have. I froze. I find it difficult to come off the fence – a perch I take a lot in life. Instead I moved us on to next month’s book choice. In the house of the interpreter by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.

I’m confident that they’ll all turn up for February’s meeting and I’ll get my chance then.  I plan on running a tighter session and introducing some sort of comfort agreement. Let’s hope I fare better with a bunch of school children tomorrow when we launch our creative writing club.

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