Today I am joined by poet, Lynn Gerrard, a keen activist for mental health awareness, newly anointed stand-up comedian (Stand Up To Stigma), and a serial worrier who enjoys a strict diet of fingernails and chocolate.
Over to Lynn…
The Fun Five:
- What part of the world do you come from?
I was hatched in the northern town of St.Helens, Merseyside, England where I remain. The dank and dreary weather here serves to suit the dark moods of my alter ego, The Grumbling Gargoyle, perfectly!
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
All the conventional occupations seemed coma inducingly tedious to me! I just wanted to sit in my own little den and write stories that would, hopefully, frighten the hell out of people. That’s still my aim today.
- List three words to describe yourself.
Moody. Maudlin. Mad. Rebellious
- Who would play you in a film about your life?
Ooh…possibly Jessica Lange. I’ve little doubt that her experience on set in American Horror Story would be qualification enough for her to play me!
- Who is your favourite author/poet?
Ah well, It’s a toss-up between Oscar Wilde and Federico Garcia Lorca. Hmm…Nope! Can’t decide. They’ll have to hold a joint first position. I feel there’s enough misery and wit between them to fulfil most of my literary needs.
The Functional Five:
- When did you start to write poetry?
Ah now then, here’s the thing! I became a poet quite by accident. From as far back as I can remember I have always enjoyed writing short stories, horror mostly. Indeed, as a child, my favourite ‘toy’ was the new notepad I would quickly fill each week. And I may have been an only child but not once did I feel alone in the glorious company of my characters who would skip merrily across the page before being heinously butchered in one diabolical manner or another. Oh the joy of simple pleasures!
Over the years I have written the occasional poem but it was upon discovering twitter in 2012 that my inner poet really began to emerge. I found the challenge of fitting a story into 140 characters to be quite exciting and the micro-poem was the perfect way to fulfil that quest. From there I went on to concentrate on lengthier pieces in more depth, by tapping into the sights, sounds and general textures of life which surrounds us, including certain aspects of my own life’s experiences. Somehow, I find it easier and more natural to express the strange nuances of daily life and the quirks of our very existence through the medium of poetry, through the flow and rhythm of the universe, that pulsing repository for poems just waiting to be written! I just hope my life’s ink holds out long enough for me to write a lot more!
- I loved your book, Darkness and Decadence: The Grumblings of a Gargoyle. When did your fascination with Gargoyles begin?
Phew! So glad you liked the book, Shelley, thank you! This interview could have been really awkward otherwise! It’s not so much a fascination I have with Gargoyles, as it is an affinity. Indeed, I think that were I to have a spirit animal it would be a Gargoyle…or vodka! In a way, I feel I can relate to the lofty solitude my stone friends quietly demonstrate as their saddened gaze sweeps upon the frenzied scurry of mankind, watching it go about its business, tragically indifferent to the presence of others. Such a disappointing scene, no wonder Gargoyles pull such faces! On an earthier level, I adopted the name Grumbling Gargoyle when I first landed on twitter because it was the first one that popped into my head and it felt comfortable sitting there, so it stayed. Of course, some of those who have seen my avatar will themselves grumble that, due to my not having a spout, I am but a Grotesque and not a Gargoyle! I am aware of this, however, ‘Grumbling Grotesque?’ Nah…sounds like someone I dated years ago!
- Your poetry is accessible for everyone, and nothing like the poetry I remember reading as a youngster. The poems in D and D vary from humourous odes to incredibly poignant pieces; was this intentional?
Thank you for saying so, Shelley. Yes, it was intentional. It’s important to me that my work is accessible to everyone and it’s with that in mind that I chose to provide a variety of genres in my book Darkness & Decadence.
There are three more books forthcoming in my poetry series and I intend to maintain that medley of variety within those books too. I personally feel that the contrast of mood each poem may evoke, could lend itself to a more stimulating reading experience as emotions are put through an assault course of twists and turns. For me, being exposed as a constant to one particular theme could eventually numb the reader and thus reduce the impact of the piece.
- Can you share an excerpt/favourite poem with us?
I can indeed! A favourite poem of my own is called My Name (I feel awfully narcissistic in saying that but I’m hoping my explanation will prove me to be otherwise).
Someone I knew was attending a memorial service to commemorate the life of a friend of theirs who had, sadly, passed away at a very young age. He told me that my words meant a lot to him, that they had uplifted his spirits and had really helped him get through the service. I was both moved and happy to hear that. I explained to him that I had written the poem straight from the soul and I was grateful to find that it had made its way to his and had somehow managed to ease his hurt, if only by a little. You see, many cultures believe that for as long as a person’s name is still spoken…they live on. I believe that also. The poem is a favourite of mine because it gave him comfort and that warms my heart.
And when I am gone
Bury me not
Within the confines
Of your broken heart
Sing from your soul
That my name
May forever dance
Upon your lips
- What can we expect from you in the future?
A face full of chocolate and a liver begging me to let go of the wine bottle (ok, I lied…about the chocolate).
Currently, I am in the middle of writing a play. The play came about due to my being involved in the ‘Stand Up To Stigma’ project last year, a campaign that used comedy to encourage awareness and a better understanding of mental health issues with the ultimate aim of reducing discrimination and stigma in society. Consequently, the whole purpose of my writing this play is to help perpetuate the aims of that project and I’m attempting to do so by combining the reality of mental health issues with dark humour.
I’m also desperate to get my hands on the novel I’m in the process of writing but other writing commitments keep shunting it out of the way! I made the mistake of telling some of my family members about it and now when I see them all I hear is “well, have you finished it yet?” followed by exasperated sighs when I shake my head and tell them “no!” through clenched teeth and with a twitch! March next year, or thereabouts, sees the launch of my second poetry book but I haven’t a title for that one yet. I am absolutely hopeless at thinking up a title for anything! And in between all of this writing stuff…I may even take the odd pause for a quick shower…who knows?
And on that note I best flutter off and get more scribbling done.
Thank you very much, Shelley, for allowing me to drape myself upon your rather lovely blog…most kind!
You are most welcome, Lynn.
Find Lynn here:
Grumbling Gargoyle Blog
No Womb In The Lynn Blog