I’m delighted to welcome Jo Bartlett onto my blog today to talk about the inspiration behind her new book, Among A Thousand Stars – out on 17 June 2015.
You know one of those hectic Monday mornings when you catch sight of yourself magnified in the rear view mirror of your car and realise your roots need doing but you’ve only got time to colour-in the grey with a mascara wand? Or maybe that’s just me… Either way, I suspect we’ve all had times when we wonder how our lives have turned out to be so ‘ordinary’?
As a ten year old I wanted to be a glamorous air hostess, jetting all over the world, but I grew up to have a hip circumference distinctly incompatible with such narrow aisles. Of course the reality of the job would have been totally different to my childlike imaginings and I doubt there’s anything very glamorous about trying to keep control of a stag-do on a budget airline bound for Benidorm. So I became a university lecturer instead, which is about as glamorous as it sounds.
Looking around on one of those hectic Monday mornings I described, I couldn’t help wondering if other people’s lives really are less ordinary. After extensive research, a.k.a. people watching, I’ve come to realise that we all have facets of the ordinary that knit together the foundations of our lives – whoever we are. At my son’s primary school, one of his best friend was the son of celebrity and fashion photographer, Perou. Now there was someone whose life seemed distinctly less ordinary than mine. He’d be heading off to New York to photograph Dita Von Teese, at the same time as I was on my way to a university faculty meeting about student retention. Only by the next week, he’d be back in the thick of it, with the rest of us parents, trying to elbow his way to the front of the school hall to get a good seat for the nativity play. Actually he’s much cooler than that, but I’m sure you know what I mean.
In a roundabout way, that’s part of how the idea for Among A Thousand Stars came about and how freelance photographer, Ashleigh Hayes, found herself in a world of glamour but with plenty of the life more ordinary along for the ride – including a mother who’s only too happy to strip off in front of her friends and an alarming ability to put her foot in it. It’s a story about the insecurities we all carry, the ups and downs of a less than perfect family life and how the right person can suddenly help it all make sense. After all, that’s what makes any life less ordinary, isn’t it? Love. It certainly does for me.