When you just can’t walk away…

Posted: July 31, 2009 in Dust, Events, Family, YA Fiction
Tags: , , , , , ,

P1010110I believe the landscape of our youth calls to us as writers and I now have the faux Hereford-skin Ugg boots to prove it.

I squealed like a girlie when I spotted them in the Biloela shoe shop last week. Rocked by memories of Goggles and Hercules, our pet Hereford bulls, sauntering endlessly around our paddocks, oblivious to the three kids on each of their backs… I just had to have those boots.

My daughter is eleven and hates everything I try to buy her. “Put that down, Mum,” she orders when I pick up anything that in my wilder dreams she might like. “Just put it down, and walk away.”

But she was 600 km away in Brisbane and they were the last pair in the shop. And they were her size. Or close enough. A perfect souvenir of a fantastic homecoming.

I’d visited my old alma maters Jambin State School and Biloela State High, as well as Redeemer Lutheran School (the Principal used to sit behind me on the high school bus, so she had reason enough to be nervous about my visit). I made a point of sitting up tall as houses, being on my very best behaviour, and managed to avoid being sent to the office.

Besties from high school!!The previous night I had launched my novel Dust to a  hometown crowd. Family, friends and well-wishers including my two besties from high school and Mrs Peters, a teacher from my primary school, all came to celebrate.

Local cattle baron, Geoff Maynard, the first boy I ever kissed, launched the book. “Is it like launching a ship?” he asked. “Should I bring champagne and a rope?” He stole the show with a version of long ago that will pass into local legend for those lucky enough to be present on the night. For the record, here’s my version…

We were seven or eight years old, playing the leads in the Jambin State School’s prehistoric play at the local hall. He was distracted by whether his too-short cave-man skirt was covering his undescended testicles and mis-timed the air-kiss that was supposed to accompany the line “Hi Honey, I’m home!” Our lips collided, I forgot my lines, and the next thing I knew we’d aged forty years, my first novel had been published and a tattooed barman was pouring me a Moet at the Settlers Inn in Biloela.P1010125

Now, how’s that for a good ending to a story?

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Comments
  1. Excellent ending, Chris! And a good story too. I want a pair of those Uggs, they beat my South Australian sheep uggies hands down, or should I say, feet down. 🙂

  2. Joanna Gaudry says:

    Hi Chris. Bought a copy of ‘Dust’ last night at Krissy Kneen’s book launch at Avid Reader. Looking forward to reading both books — yours and Krissy’s (and Kirsten Reed’s and JJ Cooper’s debut novels!). JJ’s ‘The Interrogator’ is out on the 3rd August in Brissie. Great to have so many debut Brisbane novelists this year — still trying to catch up! Writing my first novel now. Love your comments about memories of the past (above). Not into ugg boots. More a dreamy ’60s/’70s child myself. Joanna :))

  3. belindajeffrey says:

    That’s so funny, Chris. I love it!

  4. I have a treasured pair of bright pink uggs – I’m sure theses ones will be as loved. It sounds like on the school visit you were shadowed by your childhood self – glad you managed to avoid being sent to the office!

    And I love your version of the story. He kind of stole your first kiss! No doubt that account will end up in another story one day…

  5. Angela Sunde says:

    Congratulations, Chris. That was a lovely anecdote.

  6. Great post, Chris. And I love those boots. Warm and fuzzies all around.

  7. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks Angela and Lynn. How could I resist them when they match my puppy?

  8. Chris how ye doing?
    the launch sounded like it was a right gas.
    the one in the bookshop went really well tae apparently.
    So a big, naw, a fekn hooge well done there.
    We hud the book up as the ya book of the month last month.
    sorry i’ve no been in touch, thanks fur no forgettin aboot me.
    Oh n thanks fur leaving a wee comment oan the blog.
    yer a good egg chris bongers.
    cheers
    lee

  9. chrisbongers says:

    I’ve missed you, Lee. It’s my turn to buy the coffee next time you’re free. xx

  10. Tim says:

    Great book launch story, Chris! 🙂

    If that school principal on the bus was anything like Principal Skinner from ‘The Simpsons’ or the one in the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy, you have my lasting sympathy. 🙂

    cheers, and all the best for continuing successes
    Tim in Canberra

  11. chrisbongers says:

    Tim, that principal is lovely and she was the one nervous about my visit! (She also used to date one of my brothers in high school, so she has excellent taste in men!) 🙂

  12. clancy says:

    2 pics of me on your website
    none of anyone else
    love you!

  13. Tim says:

    Chris,
    Good to ‘hear’ about that particular principal -on both the points you mention. 🙂
    cheers, Tim

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