Thursday, 3 February 2011

Ginny and Me - 29th Nov 2010

When I was 14 I was going to be a pop star. I think this was mostly fuelled by a desire to meet and marry Taylor from Hanson. This developed into some more serious singing in my sixth form years (some of which I even look back favourably on!) before I went to University and finally relinquished both my love of scary long haired singers and my glittering future in the world of pop. I have mentioned it before, but I am so grateful that the X Factor wasn’t around at that time. I just know there would have been some hideous video of me that would have surfaced at every monumental occasion in my life courtesy of my nearest and dearest. There really is enough to be privately embarrassed about without video evidence.

It is into this turbulent teenage world that we enter in the next story of our blog tour, Ginny and Me, from my short story collection Stars in Unexpected Places.

“Me and Ginny sat on the bridge, halfway between the houses with boarded windows and the spiral towers housing the public school boys, and set the world to rights. The road was quiet beneath us, the commuter traffic having long died down. Now there were just the yells of kids in the park on one side and an eerie silence from the boarding school on the other.
Ginny and me, we knew each another inside out. Most of our Saturdays were spent singing in my parent’s bathrooms to a backing track we brought for £4.99 in Hooters Music Store. We were convinced the acoustics were just right in there. Something to do with the tiles, Ginny said. When we played the tape back on the stereo it didn’t sound much like a recording studio, as we had hoped, more like two teenagers singing in a bathroom.
‘We’re going to get out of here, right?’ Ginny said, turning to look at me. The sun was setting behind her lighting her hair that was in transition from bright red to mousy brown, the red dye she used a few weeks back seeping out with every wash. I looked back at her, and believing it to my very core, I said,
‘God, yeah. For sure.’”

Ginny and Lucy’s story isn’t mine. None of the stories in the collection are autobiographical, you’ll be pleased to know, but there are parts of it that come from my own memories of what it felt like to be a teenager. When I was in my teens, just like Ginny and Lucy, I used to frequent Hooters Music Store (to fuel my aforementioned dreams of stardom) and I had my very own bridge where I sat in a cloud of teenage angst thinking about ‘the future and stuff’ and how much I wanted ‘to, like, get out here’. Now I absolutely love my home town (it has a castle, for goodness sake!) and would happily live there which goes to show how confused those times really are.

Ginny and Me is about those teenage years when you’re not really sure what is going on and yet you are making choices that affect the rest of your life in the midst of this hormone riddled haze. Scary stuff. The thing is that those years really can affect everything, just one choice, one mistake even, and the rest of your life looks very different. In the most part we emerge a bit embarrassed and not much worse off than that but the possibility is there, which is where we journey to in Ginny and Me as both girls make choices they’d perhaps rather not have on the other side of being a teenager.

For me, Ginny and Me is also about friendship, particularly childhood friendships. I’m lucky to be close with a lot of people I grew up with. These poor souls have the video footage in their heads of all my cringe worthy moments. I really cherish the people who’ve seen all of that and are still kind enough to be my friend. You know it’s for the long haul when they’ve seen you with self bleached hair clad head to toe in polyester and dusted liberally with glitter and yet can still take you seriously enough to be friends with you. So to all my friends who’ve tolerated me for decades now, thank you! And remember, I know as much about you as you do me so keep your peace…!

If you would like to purchase a copy of Stars in Unexpected Places and read Ginny and Me for yourself you can do so here -  for the bargain price of £5.99!

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