I first came across Gary Studley’s work when he was part of the 2009-10 Canterbury Laureate Squad, and liked particularly his project with another of my sentence finishers, Vicky Wilson. Gary lives in Deal, and is very active in writing groups such as Save As Writers group, and Deal Writers. Of course, he also finds time to write himself, and you can read some of his work on the excellent Canterbury Poets page and in the last Canterbury Laureate anthology, On The Line.
So here’s Gary to finish my sentences…
When you were small, you wanted to …
When I was really young I spent a lot of time visiting my grandparents and even though my Granddad Frank never spoke about his war days, I knew he’d been in the army for a very long time. So – in direct contrast to my adult pacifism – I was never happier than running about in a scratchy, cut down, WW2 uniform, waving a stick around for a gun. At the same time I loved being out in the woods near our house in Hastings, and for many years I seriously wanted to become a forester. Later on in my teens, I applied to work for the Forestry Commission and was gutted to have no success. There’s just something about being out in the boonies, with all their peace and threat, smelling the ferns, squelching around in all the pine needles and mulch that I’ve never quite shaken.
The one thing you can never resist is …
The proof is in the pudding, so annoyingly for some, there’s absolutely NOTHING I can’t resist if I decide to do so! However, a few of the things that come very close are…..peanut butter, the right music, chips by the sea, good TV, a hot, fresh white loaf, not mentioning something that I think needs to be discussed, woods, pushing the pedal to the floor on an empty road, buying far too many books, writing on my hand, fire, and certain lips.
You may not say it aloud but…
I’m a massive fan of The Jam and although for a long, long time they’ve given me some of the greatest highs of my life to dance to, sing to, explode to – sadly certain lyrics from their song Running on the Spot, resonate deeper and deeper for me as each year passes:
I believe in life and I believe in love,
but the world in which I live in keeps trying to prove me wrong.
The last time you went ‘WHOOP’ with excitement was…
In August I pilgrimaged to watch The Cure headline the opening night at Reading Festival, 2012 and as soon as the first riff of Friday, I’m in Love kicked in, I cheered like a nutter with this huge, moonshine-grin on my face and started dancing badly and singing my heart out.
Your five favourite words are ….
PYROMANIAC; SUCK; COPPICE; HOBIDAL; RUST.
Or alternatively: There is beauty in decay.
And some additional thoughts:
When I was a kid I thought I was lucky receiving an empty After Eight Mint wrapper to sniff…..Only a moron confuses someone smiling and being happy with arrogance…..You just can’t beat sagging/dissolving/moulding into someone you believe when they tell you they love you…..Why is the magnificent, subtitled, 1970s, Robinson Crusoe so rarely repeated? …..Like frames around paintings, punctuation is not the most important thing about writing – but if it distracts from the words, you might want to re-think how you’ve used it…..When you start any relationship your partner loves every pore of you just because you remember to buy them their favourite chocolate bar – yet really quickly they’ll hate you if you can’t miraculously read their mind, 24 hours a day…..Bring back welly boot socks/ stockings with a Satsuma, pencils and a couple of toffees in for first thing on Christmas morning!….. Tablicated = Medication taken as The Only Way for the Prozac generation……If we’re so clever as a species, how come we still let politicians go unpunished for taking us to war without good reason?…..There are films from the tail end of the C20th / this century that are as magical, all-engrossing and life-affirming as music..…Try second day curry on burnt toast..…If you only have time to read one book, let it be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road …..Despite how it feels at times and contrary to everything, mankind is an intrinsically good life-force, with compassion and generosity at its heart – and there is hope.
Favourite writing place in Kent:
Really late at night/early morning in an otherwise sleeping household/street, with the TV on mute and me, sitting in the corner of my knackered sofa with my laptop on my knees. Alternatively, a text jotting when I can’t get to a pen, or any flat surface and a scrap of paper when an idea or line comes to me!
A book about Kent or by a Kent writer you would recommend:
By well known authors: Just William stories by Richmal Crompton, because as a child I loved the way the scruffy anti-hero had a laugh and never took the words of authority figures as gospel; Peter Ustinov (who lived in Dover) for any of his humorous and self-deprecating autobiographies; and Ian Hislop for Private Eye and any of the lines he’s chirped or spat out on Have I got News for You.
By local writers: On The Line – the excellent, 2010 anthology containing a wide variety of pieces from the community projects I worked on as part of The Canterbury Festival’s Laureate Scheme. And beyond those pages, take a lucky dip into any collection by local writing groups and amongst the great writing found there, in particular look out for any poems you can find by Ron Ogilvie, Vicky Wilson, Luigi Marchini, Jo Field, Christopher Hobday, Marilyn Donovan or Roger James.
Thanks, Gary! And your thank you is of course…
I’m sorry I can’t transport you to Reading all over again, but I can’t resist this extra gift…