Monday, December 13, 2010

Let's not talk about Kevin

It's funny how plans we make often fall by the wayside. We start out with lots of good intentions, firmly resolved to follow through...only to have it all collapse, like a house of cards when someone bumps the table.

Recently, I started up an on-line book club. Using the facilities available through Facebook, I managed to rope in a few fellow book enthusiasts, each of whom were keen to not only read something, but then discuss and dissect it. Considering some of the participants were girls/women I went to high school with (and hadn't had a lot of contact with since then), an old college mate, and the sister-in-law of one my of school friends (whom I have never met), the initiative had a lot of promise.

Reflecting my penchant for plays on words, I dubbed the on-line group The Last Saturday of the Month (Face) Book Club. As the title suggests, we would converge, on line, on the last Saturday in each month; we would come together via Facebook; and we would 'chat' about whatever particular book we had chosen.

Our first chat took place on a Thursday! There were difficulties with everyone being able to log in. The 'process' by which discussion would take place was somewhat haphazard. We all seemed keen and had the best of intentions but there were plenty of teething problems.

We have now read a second novel, this entitled Let's Talk About Kevin. The last Saturday in November has come and well and truly gone. Cyberspace has gone quiet with the output from our members. So, is it worth it?

Absolutely! For me, the on-line book club is not so much about the destination, but rather the journey. It's not about whether we take roll-call and everyone takes part. The book club is about 'connecting', about sharing an experience that, for however long it takes to read a common book, unites us all.

There all manner of reasons why things don't go the way we think they will. As John Lennon famously declared: "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans!" We all get busy, we all get distracted. It's what we make such busy-ness and such distraction mean that is important. If we get too hung up on the deadlines and the obligations, we miss out on the journey and the joy.

For me, opening up a page, on a book that I know Lindsay, or Annie, or Andrew or Vanessa, may also be opening up, is humbling and exciting. In that moment, I am 'connected' to them, no matter what part of the world, at whatever time of day or night. And in those moments of 'connection', I am reminded of what it means to be truly part of the human race: it is the things that unite us that are more important than those that divide us.

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