When my dear friend A recently invited me to be a member of a book group she was setting up, I enthusiastically accepted. My daughter (7) left school in December,bringing to an end my convenient school-gate-and-coffee-morning social life, and I was keen to nurture and expand local friendships. A book group seemed the perfect, grown-up way of doing it (the days of a being able to share a few bottles of wine and still be able to fully function the next day now being a distant memory).
The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the reading part. Don’t get me wrong – I love reading. I read, read, read as much as I possibly can. I have done ever since the days when I would smuggle books onto clothes shopping trips my mother, by necessity, occasionally had to take me on (I remember once being caught out when she noticed in the middle of Cardiff that my shoelace needed tying; I was unable to bend down due to the hardback stuffed down the front of my trousers). But, I now realise, over the years I had given up on a rather large genre – fiction. Who has time for stories (that may or may not turn out to be any good) when there are zillions of non-fiction books (increasingly available on Kindle) to be devoured, not to mention magazines, websites, online newsletters and, of course – blogs – to engross me. My story appetite was happily sated reading wonderful books to the children (we’re on Swallows And Amazons at the moment – what an adventure!)
Last week I realised that although I was enjoying this month’s book, Sister (Rosamund Lupton), I simply wasn’t getting round to reading it. I’d read enough to know I’d enjoy it (once I got that elusive “Round Tuit”; I was given one once, by NLP trainer John La Valle, but I lost it and never got around to getting another), so I didn’t want to go to the book group and hear spoilers, but if I didn’t go to the group I’d be negating the reason I joined in the first place! Ever solution-oriented, I did a quick sum, and calculated that if I could just motivate myself to read 20 pages a day, I’d have finished the book in time for the next group meeting.
I often tell coaching clients that if they can just do whatever it takes to overcome the inertia that’s keeping them from starting to go after what they want, they’ll soon feel the benefit of that other force, momentum – if it’s something they really do want. And, you guessed it, after a couple of 20 page days, momentum took over with me – I’ve just finished one of the most gripping, beautifully written stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I didn’t mean to finish it. I lay on the bed after putting the children to bed at 7 to read “just a few pages” and stayed there for two and a half hours!
And now I’ve got a long hairdressers appointment tomorrow and nothing to read! Oh actually no, now I remember… there’s the Alfie Kohn book I recently downloaded, the end of Guerrilla Learning, the latest Home Education Magazine… and if all else fails there’s always iPhone Scrabble to keep me entertained 🙂