For a reason, a season or forever….
I spoke with a friend who recently had changes enforced on her lifestyle. Through this period she has used the expression ‘for a reason, a season or forever’ when referring to friends. ‘A reason’ is used when you refer to friendship that serves a particular purpose – you may jog with one friend but discuss books with another. A seasonal friend is the person who comes into your life for short period – usually the right person at the right time. This for me was an older lady I worked with years ago. She supplied wise words to my younger self at a relevant time. Then of course, we have the forever friends and they are the easiest to recognise.
I have spent this week applying these descriptions to the friends I have made through Book Club.
With this amount of people the only sensible way to talk about a book is to sit down into smaller and more intimate groups of four. There are the forever members who commit to book club each month and have become regular, familiar and cherished faces. Then there are of course the seasonal ones. Seasonal bookies come once or twice a year or maybe year on / year off. They have their own seasonal pattern and will dip in as and when it suits them. Work, living arrangements, time and energy will dictate their availability and it’s always good to welcome them back. The last type will attend once or twice only and while they may never return they do like to stay on the mailing list. These are the ‘reason’ friends. At a particular time they needed to connect to a different group of people. Different or larger? Perhaps a better way to describe it is a particular group. A group bought together for a particular purpose. Not to discuss business or personal issues, but instead to talk about literature. People can find it liberating – especially if they are fed up with their ‘real life’. People going through career changes, divorce or moving into the area often like the escapism of book club, even the anonymity of it. Book Club becomes their reason for friendship and the book becomes the focus. Lots develop into ‘forever friends’ with approximately 90 per cent becoming regular members. The 10 per cent ‘reason friends’ are an important part of book club as this transient element brings new energy to the group.
I think you can apply ‘reason, season or forever’ to book titles as well. Non-fiction is the obvious ‘reason’ genre and ‘seasonal’ books can be ones that come into our lives during youth. I read Jilly Cooper books as a school girl and loved them but they are not my forever books. Not a single character or story has stayed with me whereas LORD OF THE FLIES – which I read during the same period, will haunt me forever as will poor, old PIGGY breaking his glasses.