- 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.
Monday, 29 February 2016
The Writing's on the Wall By Holly Searle
Every four years we all get an extra day. And although I knew this already, Facebook duly informed me of this fact this morning and advised me not to waste it. So I thought, okay I won't.
The chilly winter sun filled morning offered me several options: I could go for a walk (probably in Kew Garden's) and contemplate life. Or I could visit an exhibition or a gallery in London. But then I had a eureka moment. Hadn't I been questioning how I had been spending my working days? Hadn't I started to wish that I could find something that was more suitable for some time, something that would be more beneficial to me creatively?
Well, yes I had. I had been mentally procrastinating about that for a while. So look, I told myself, you have an extra day, use it wisely, and look into ways in which you could make some positive changes.
That settled it.
I changed the radio from Radio 2 to Radio 4 and thought about what my first move should be. Bingo, contact another writer. He might offer some direction and I could start from there.
So I text my good writer friend and ask if he knows of any websites looking for freelance editors or copywriters.
No, I don't he replies.
Oh crap I think. What now?
Although I have crashed at the first hurdle, I tell myself not to to give up and to think and focus. If you build it, they will come I hear a voice whisper in my ear.
What am I trying to archive? I am not trying to build a baseball diamond, I am just trying to find some regular writing work I tell myself. I am trying to be a square peg in a square hole and not a round one. The latter of which, has begun to feel incredibly painful in recent months.
You are trying to create some options I say out loud.
Hummmmmmmmmmm I frown and ponder.
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock the clock on the wall interjects.
Then my neighbour goes out and leaves his dog alone (again) which starts to bark continuously.
This happens quite often and I wonder if perhaps I should go for a walk in Kew Gardens after all.
No. I am staying in and doing this.
Look Holly, my voice tells me. Stop being scared of the possibilities that placing one word in front of another can create.
Got it. Arsed kicked.
But before I consider further options. I call the Dog Warden and tell her that the dog is barking (again) and she tells me that she will come by to witness it.
And with that piece of annoyingly frustrating domestic whistle-blowing under my belt, I get back to the task in hand, the one that I have set my mind to for this additional day: the square peg role.
I am quite calm and Sherlock logical in my thinking now, as I hatch out a plan, which means I start with a minor interrogation of myself.
Have I ever been employed due to my writing skills?
Well yes, I have. For several years I oversaw, wrote and managed all of the copy on company website that I was employed by. I liaised (such a corporate word) with designers in order to obtain garment specifications. I then thought about what information I would like to read about the item I was viewing and translated that, into a concise, but informative stream of beautifully descriptive words.
There, I told myself. You did that. So you did write copy.
Yes, my voice starts up again. But that is hardly akin to anything that Virginia Wolf ever produced.
Well no. I reply. But that sort of thing, writing copy, requires a tenacious skill, as well as a lot of thinking outside of the box (another appalling example of corporate speak). So I am taking credit where it's due.
I had also written copy for friends and edited emails, letters and blog posts for those who had ask me to, all free of charge. I could therefore pat myself of the back for those. Nice one Searle.
And hold on a minute, I thought, I have kept my own blog up and running as well as writing stories for the past six years. Something which even my good writer friend had congratulated me on.
So I had achieved a lot. Although, at times, it felt as though I hadn't really delivered anything.
I was sitting in my Bet Lynch Gilroy leopard print dressing gown, when the buzzer sounds. I immediately think it must be the postman with my Ebay item.
“Hello?” I say.
“Hi Holly it's Amy the Dog Warden. Can I come up?”
I push the entry button and await her visit, as the dog has now been barking for two hours. I then realise that even though I have been up since 6:45 this morning, I am not dressed and haven't even brushed my teeth. I also have the lank remains of coconut oil in my hair (to prevent breakage according to my hairdresser). I look in the mirror, I have the appearance of a drug addict, or that of a knackered old bird having a day off from her life on the game.
Amy arrives with Catherine. They wipe their feet and come in. I apologise for my attire, although it is my home and my day off, and I shouldn't really need to make excuses for the way I look.
They listen to the dog barking and ask me if I am sure it is coming from where it is coming from. I tell them that it is. They ask me if there are any other dogs in the building. I tell them that I have lived here for twenty five years and there is only one other dog here, and that owner takes her dog over to a sitter when she can't look after him. Two other people own cats I tell them, That barking, I tell them, trying to look like a serious person rather than one who isn't dressed, is definitely the dog next door.
“Can I open your window?” Amy asks.
She does and cocks her ear intently.
“Yes it is definitely next door.” she tells the seated Catherine.
They tell me that they will go away and raise it and assure me that they will enforce other legal stuff to ensure that it doesn't happen again.
Okay I say. And they leave. And I go back to my laptop and stare at my old Word press web page which I had decided to use to market myself on prior to their arrival. Either I have lost the plot, or the site has been changed as I can't quite find the obvious buttons to confirm or save edits i am trying to make.
The dog is still barking and I give up. Plug my laptop in to charge and decide to go and see my friend Chris in the local charity shop.
I text her whilst the bath is running.
“Are you in the shop today?”
“Yes I am. Come in and cheer me up, but not while The Archers is on.” She replies.
I look up the Radio 4 schedule. I have an hour.
I mull over this morning in the warm bath. I get out and get dressed and do my face and coconut oil free washed hair. I also brush my teeth.
I see that the neighbour has arrived back and make a note.
I get dressed and walk up the road to the charity shop. Ten minutes until The Archers I note as I look at my watch. I will look at books (all a pound, including fairly new and only once read titles), whilst Chris listens to The Archers. Then we can have a chat.
“Hello love.” I say as I walk in. I tell her all about my Archers option for her and she says “Oh don't be stupid I would rather talk to you.”
Chris is the best therapy in the world. She lets me spill all of my recent happenings: family, work, love, dog.
She is brilliantly intuitive about humanity and listens to me and then tells me what she thinks. She's a tonic, the gin and tonic kind. Sparkling wit and carbonated with bubbles of knowledge and insight.
She is a diamond.
She tells me that women like her would love to be like women like me.
I say “What?!” As this is such a an out of the blue compliment coming from a woman like her. I hold her in very high esteem and think she must be on drugs and mistaken to tell me this. But I know if anything, she is a truth-speaker and I tell her that this is the nicest thing that anyone has said to me. She has made my day.
An apparent accident takes place just outside the charity shop, thereafter followed by a lone dog cocking its leg up against one of Chris' just outside the shop baskets that is full of books (not the pound ones).
I buy some phonograph albums, a cardi, some felt and pot. Chris bags the items and we hug and I thank her for the talk.
I walk home and decide that I can't be bothered with my old Word Press site.
Clear the path I think as I revert to my steadfast blog spot site on my return home.
I love it. It is where I write my uncensored thoughts and observations. I start to write this piece in an attempt to create some sort of CV writing blog that will impress writing employers so much, that they will snap me up and give me a job. I wanted to write about all of the occupations I have had. And how I envy people who trained to do something useful with their lives, rather than being cursed with the need to write.
But instead it turns into a blog about what I did on the extra day that happens once in every four years.
Dinner's on. And as the evening draws in, and work beckons tomorrow, I start to stress about having achieved absolutely nothing whatsoever today. Facebook did tell me to do something worthwhile. But then I realise that I have done quite a lot today, and it's not over yet.