From time to time I meet someone that I feel I have instant connection with. I first met “The Grumbling Gargoyle” on Twitter (@LynnGerrard) about a year ago if I remember correctly and it has been a fun, creepy, and more than often out-right, gut-busting-laugh-out-loud time ever since.
Her poetry is at once, haunting. Dark most always, yet humorous at times. Heart-wrenching at others. Always timely and a level of craft that can be described as suited among the very best poetry history has given us the privilege of devouring.
I am grateful for our friendship that has grown, even from across the oceans (Lynn resides in a “Gargoyle’s Gutter” – her description, not mine - somewhere in a dark, humid corner of the UK). Here I have the rare opportunity to chat with The Grumbling Gargoyle and share it with you. Please enjoy!
To the Dungeon of Interrogation…
DC: I believe “timing is everything” as they say. I’m not sure who “they” are, but “they” said it and I buy it. Your timing is impeccable. Just when I think you’re about to take me left in one of your poems, you take a mind-shift crash to the right. I love it!
Whether it’s humor, blinding darkness, or just plain weird your timing and rhythm keeps me coming back for more of The Grumbling Gargoyle. What is your secret? How do you make the magic happen with your poetry?
GG: First and foremost may I begin by thanking you for inviting me…Garg of the Oyle (to use the official title that I’ve just invented) to the splendour of your Interrogation Suite. The restraints were a bit of a surprise, but I’m sure you have your reasons.
Right then… ‘How do I make the magic happen?’ Hm… Well, I’m quite sure there’s nothing magical about my application to writing, as cliched as it sounds. I tend to have a notion in my head and as I’m arduously typing away (via my trusty typing finger) the piece unfolds itself. It’s a surprise to myself sometimes when a poem I’m writing goes off in some unexpected direction turning humour to serious or vice versa. Either way, I go with the flow because, in my opinion, the words themselves know how they wish to be read.
DC: Well spoken. I do wish you wouldn’t share with our audience of the restraints I am using! It makes me seem, well, less than hospitable. I might like to invite one of them to my Dungeon…er…I mean…nevermind…we move forward (I think).
I If I were to gain a peek into the mind of Lynn Gerrard “The Grumbling Gargoyle”, just as you are randomly going about your day, what might I find? (I know, this is a dangerous question…hehe) What do you read? What are your filters? Who or what are your influences? What is rolling around up top to bring us such delightfully dark and hilarious words to the page?
GG: Were you to peek into my mind, my friend, you’d peek right out of it and demand I de-cluttered before you stepped back in, haha! My head is a maelstrom of tangent thoughts. Ideas for poems and pieces buzz about my brain, often colliding with the more mundane everyday thoughts such as: ‘What to eat…what to wear…ooo look a squirrel…’ See? It’s not easy being me.
As for reading well, the horror genre has always been my main interest. However, if a story is captivating enough to hold my attention and drive me to need/want more, then I will happily graze my eyes upon any genre…ah…apart from overly syrupy romances. They make me feel nauseous and slightly violent!
DC: I shall, then, hold the ‘syrupy’ literary recommendations (not that I would know a single romance title myself…ahem…). Ok. Writing process. What is your writing process? If you had the opportunity to share some insight for writers and poets, what would it be?
GG: Oh dear. I’m far too much of a virgin at this to even dream I could offer some insight for other poets or writers, however (I like ‘however’ – it allows one to feign modesty haha! ), I will share with you the principles that I personally apply to writing.
I am a great fan of free-style writing. What I mean by that is, I do not restrict my writings to formula. Everything you will ever read of mine will be delivered in a format that is produced naturally rather than by strict adherence to the rules and regimes as dictated by others. If it sits within a ‘formula’ structure, that’s by chance not design.
I want my work to flow easily and comfortably, not to be brutally pushed into the clinical mechanics of recurring metrical units. If you try to force a river to flow uphill the water will look the same, but its natural rhythm will have been corrupted. Beauty should always touch the heart before the head (in my humble-ish opinion).
DC: Agreed. I believe that’s one reason I love reading what you share daily and weekly. I’m drawn to the natural flow, if you will, of your writing.
Now, for some important items on my list. We surely need to know these things: What is your favorite movie? Food? Drink? Book? Activity to do when you are not writing? Color? Type of cookie? Scene in a horror movie? (Yes, these are very important questions!)
GG: I’ll try to remain succinct in reply here (I’ve failed before I’ve even started…haha!)…
Fav Movie 1: Wuthering Heights…1939 version Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier…(makes me cry every time)…
Fav Movie 2: The Notebook…based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks…(yep…crying again)…
Fav Drink: Wine..red or white… glass or vat…Such is the ink of the poet…haha!
Fav Book: Ooo, too difficult to pin down to one, but great favourites of mine were the travelogs by the author Pete McCarthy: ‘McCarthy’s Bar 1998’ and ‘The Road to McCarthy 2002’ in which he explored Ireland and the Irish diaspora around the world. Absolutely hilarious!!!! Sadly he passed away in 2004.
Fav activity when not writing: Thinking of next thing to write…seriously. Sad, eh? Oh, sometimes I take a shower!
Fav Colour: Black…black…and more black… (DC interrupts here to say, “After my own heart!)
Fav Biscuits: Anything with chocolate draped over it. Doesn’t even need to be a biscuit. In fact, forget the biscuit. Gimme the choc!!
Fav Horror Movie Scene: Zombie film.. ‘Dawn of the Dead’ 1978. One of the characters has been bitten and as he’s lying on a makeshift bed, he says to his friend through struggled tones, “I’ll try not to come back.” *shiver*
The feeling of intense horror those words evoke lie in their simplicity and are far more impactive in their delivery than when the character actually does become reanimated!
DC: I’ll be sure to send you heaps of chocolate for Christmas!
For all your humor and wonderfully strange things you find in our desperate world, you have never been afraid of facing off with some very real, dark issues. I’ve read everything from death, religion, abuse, fear, loneliness, the state of our human condition, and much more.
Share with me how and why you write about these issues. Are any of these personal to you, are they observations and reflections of the world you see? I believe these are important issues for artists to write, sing, and share about. I wish more would do what you do here.
What can you share with me about tackling the darkness in our world through poetry?
GG: Lots of these issues are indeed personal to me and others are based upon observations I’ve gathered throughout a day. I’ve always maintained that I spend more time in thought than I do in deed…not because I’m a lazy person, far from it. I’ve worked most of my life, suffered some particularly harrowing things, but no matter the situation my head has remained busy with contemplative thought.
I care about people – worry about them – and because I have an annoying tendency to catastrophize situations, I sometimes get weighed down with concern over issues beyond my control, and so I write. Iif anyone is able to derive a snippet of comfort, humour, or even discomfort from my writings – so long as my work has filled a momentary gap in their lives – then I’m a happy Grumbling Gargoyle (there lies irony).
DC: I have always sensed you to be a deeply caring person. This is something I appreciate about you. It certainly shows in your poetry, and yes, I do believe it touches many people deeply.
Your Facebook posts are particularly humorous…and sometimes stomach-wrenching…and sometimes deeply unsettling…and sometimes…well, you know… Where do you find this stuff? You must travel the world every month, or you know someone who knows someone who knows some really dead or strange people.
GG: Yes. Thanks to my having wings I do indeed travel the world every month…via the internet. Haha! All writings, poems etc., are strictly my own unless stated otherwise, but generally the rest of my posts are harvested from books, articles online, or bits and bobs of information I’ve mentally stored over the years. My aim is to provide a little escape for those who enjoy a touch of the peculiar, with slashes of the bizarre, alongside a healthy portion of good intent (unless the voices tell me otherwise).
Visit and “Like” The Grumbling Gargoyle on Facebook (if you so dare)!
DC: With all the “menacing, malignant, and macabre” entries you post on your community Facebook site, how do you sleep at night?
GG: Badly! Seriously, I always have. To be fair my unrest is not due to anything I’ve written, read or posted. It’s all down to a ponderous list of bad stuff that has occurred in my life since the age of five. That’s approaching 50 years ago now. (You thought I was a sprightly teenager didn’t you…haha!)
In fact, given that I hold you in very high regard, I shall share with you that I’m in the process of writing a book about the madness that made me the mad me that is me! Worry not however, I’ve no intention of this book becoming a tribute to misery, whilst sadness is a massive part of it, I wouldn’t allow such a doleful accent to consume the whole. Humour will be poking about with gusto!
DC: I am very much looking forward to your book. I would say that I can only imagine, but I probably couldn’t, so I won’t.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you that you are willing to share? A standout “Wow” moment for Lynn Gerrard?
GG: I hope I’m not disappointing you with the simplicity of my answer but the truth is: The most pivotal ‘Wow’ moment for me was the first time a person I didn’t know told me they liked my work and thought I had talent! I still can’t believe anyone would think that of me! I’m always gobsmacked but grateful!
DC: As an author, I completely understand. It really is a wonderful moment to meet those who enjoy your art. Speaking of your art…
There are two recent poems you posted on your blog that, if you don’t mind, I would ask you to walk me through. The first is from May 28th titled “Self”, and the second is from June 2nd titled “Scream”. These are two great examples (and I could pick any poem from any time frame on your website, really) of how you address both a serious human condition, and also punch a real fear with your signature timing and humor.
GG: Hm…well… ‘Self’ is how I feel we treat ourselves as well as others. I think we’ve become detached and disenchanted with our ‘inner child’ almost loathsome and resentful of its presence hence our choice to effectively ‘kill’ it. The world in which we now live holds no place or patience for play. This world revolves around greed and power, and should it continue to do so the last sound any of us will hear will be the mournful whimper of our inner child as it sits alone, abandoned…within itself.
Whereas ‘Scream’ (on a much happier note…haha!) ‘pulls’ from the notion of the dentist exploring the nuance of the phrase ‘Job Satisfaction’ by his enthusiastic delivery of all things sharp, scrapey and needle like, whilst heavily intoxicated upon the pulsing undulations of our fear! Let’s be honest…anyone choosing dentistry as a vocation has to have more than his fair share of sadist buried not so deeply in his psyche…eh? (If my dentist happens to be reading this, I retract everything.)
DC: Lynn…er…Your High Gargoyle-ness…it has been a real pleasure. Thank you for taking your time to share with me. I am a fan and I hope that more and more people find The Grumbling Gargoyle and make your words a regular part of their reading habit.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
GG: Just my credit card repayments! Actually, I’d sincerely like to thank you and yours for giving me this opportunity to drone on, but mostly for being the great, genuine people I’ve grown to become most fond of. You are each welcome to relax in this Gargoyle’s Gutter any time you so wish (bring food!).
(Now will you release the restraints…my skin is chaffing!)…
DC: Um…yes. I do apologize for the discomfort, hehe. Thanks again!
For more of Lynn Gerrard “The Grumbling Gargoyle”, her poetry, discoveries, and other unleashings, visit these online locations:
Also be looking for more from The Grumbling Gargoyle here on DCMcGannon.com as Lynn will provide some regular content to liven things up a bit around here.