14 July 2013 - CLANCY TUCKER - Interview by Elena Ornig


- Interview by Elena Ornig -

G'day guys,

Sometimes I am asked to be interviewed by other bloggers. Here is a recent interview by Elena Ornig which appeared on her blog: 

Elena has been a special guest on this blog and I found her questions riveting. Hope, you find my answers interesting. Oh, and I've added some questions and answers of my own.

  You’ve conducted many interviews but how do you feel about being interviewed?

Honoured to be asked and thanks for the opportunity, Elena. I guess it's a change from promoting other people and their work. However, 'fame' and 'fortune' are not  things I look forward to. Sadly, they have a habit of enticing the wrong people.

I was shy as a teenager but now I am confident and take no prisoners on the big issues. I have always said there is a big difference between being cocky and being confident. But, look out if I’m passionate about an issue.
What is your prime focus in life today?

Survival I guess, in a world that is fast losing its traction on morality, ethics, and humanity, let alone a vision for the future. I’ve had some serious health issues for the past seven years, but I have still worked doggedly every day – seven days a week – 12 hours a day. That’s the nature of the beast I guess. You’re born that way – it’s in your DNA. But, I truly believe that my work ethic has kept me alive.

I have many interests which keep me involved. I am intellectually curious and determined to achieve things. My aim for the last three minutes of life is to know and feel that I have touched a few people along the way. Sadly, many people do not reach their full potential in life; even sadder that they do not realise it. It is our job to encourage and nurture those who need support – no matter who they are or where they live.

Earn a good living as a writer and photographer so that I can do what I do best - write and take pictures. Earning lots of money will be fantastic. Why, because I’d like to set up scholarships for smart kids born on the wrong side of the tracks – kids who need opportunity. Me? I don’t need much money, nor do I think money and assets are a true indication of someone’s worth as a human. Sadly, many folks would disagree with me. They think their life will be judged by what they have collected. Nope, it’s just stuff!

Do you have any fear of doing something wrong?

Never, but we all make mistakes. I’ve made many and am happy to admit them. There is a right way and a wrong way, an easy way and a hard way. The right way is the easy way. I’ve always believed that the three groups we should care for most are kids, senior citizens and the sick and vulnerable. The rest of us are big and ugly enough to step up and look after ourselves – and each other. Simply, if you are over 21, get on with it.

  If or when you reflect on your past, can you identify any world events that you believe had a significant impact on you?

This is a hard one. Sadly, we humans do not seem to learn from the past. However, I was pleased when Australian Aborigines were granted the right to vote in 1967. Man, why did it take so long? The end of the Vietnam War and destruction of the Berlin Wall were also significant. I’m a thinker, so many things impact on me. At present, the world lacks extraordinary and gifted leadership. The lack of sincere and passionate leadership will impact on all of us in some way or other. It is already. People are becoming dumbed-down, and accepting things that would never be accepted in the past - conformity.

Visiting Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam in 1973 inspired me to go on and visit four concentration camps in Europe. Those visits to places of extraordinary death and mayhem fired me up to become involved in Human Rights. Still am!

  Do you think one can live a purposeful life without knowing the meaning of life?

A very deep question. Life is what you make of it. Grab it and do your best. I was fortunate enough to have been born in the ‘Lucky Country’ – Australia. Let’s face it. I could have been born in many other poor countries. So, my extensive travels around the world have made me recognise and acknowledge my fortunate birth every single day. That’s why I am more frustrated about Australia than any other country. It’s my country, but it is not reaching its full potential. It’s lagging, not leading. Australia, and Australians, has so much potential. 

There must have been a reason for my birth, so every day I try to achieve something and make my birth worthwhile. We are here for a short time. Life's short ... use it ... there's plenty to do.

  From your perspective - what is the way forward for the world?

We can only hope that leaders gain some courage and strength and do what they are paid and elected to do, instead of squabbling about who has power. Where today are the Ghandis, Martin Luther King Juniors, Mother Teresa’s et al? All of them worked against extraordinary odds to achieve great things. At this point in time, I cannot name one person I think will walk out of the mist to lead us to the promised land. Not one! However, many folks like me do their bit to challenge those in power and encourage those who are battling to right the obvious wrongs.

  Imagine that you were given a chance to live again, what will you do first and what will you do differently? 

Mm … another interesting question. I guess I’d pay more attention to the things people do not say – can’t say, study more, travel more and stand up and shout a lot louder.

What memory stands out the most from your work as a human rights activist?

Tough question. There are many small victories here and overseas. However, many years ago I was voluntarily involved with street kids and a group of them belted the hell out of me one night. My girlfriend at the time did not want me to continue my work, but all battered and bruised, I returned the next night, much to the shock of the street kids. I walked in and pretended nothing had happened, sat down and told them about all the stuff-ups I’d made in my life. They sat in silence and listened. You could have heard a pin drop.

Now, today, the one guy who hit me the hardest that night is happily married, a prominent barrister and doing great work for the great unwashed. We are, and have been, best friends for decades. 

The day before he began work as a fully-fledged lawyer, I bought him three suits, shirts, ties, socks and two pairs of shoes. It cost me a small fortune but I wanted him to look and feel like a professional. It’s all about providing opportunity. He considers me to be his greatest influence. Maybe. I did what I did because I felt it was right.

And, I returned the next night looking and feeling sore and sorry for one reason: had I not returned, those kids would have said, ‘Typical. He’s like all of the others.’ I’m glad I returned to the scene of the crime. The results were sensational – for me and for them. Life sucks, but don’t let it suck you in. Be brave and follow your own destiny. If you are doing the right thing, but are considered different to the mainstream - SO WHAT!

  What do you wish people to remember about you as a social justice campaigner?

A person who could freely stand in front of a crowd, or group of politicians and speak passionately about a big issue. Also, a person who has respect for others and their opinions, and an ability to stand up for those who have no voice – someone who takes no prisoners and inspires others to reach their potential. To me, an extraordinary person is someone who does an ordinary job extraordinarily well.  I'm sure I was born with an extra dose of passion, especially in regard to bullies, Human Rights and social justice issues.

  Copyright Clancy Tucker (c)

   What motivated you to become a photographer, emotionally and intellectually? Is it just for personal pleasure or did you want to send some specific messages to the world through your pictures? 

I’m a very practical and creative person. Sometimes I think there are two parts to my brain; a writer's section and a photographer’s section, depending on what I’m doing at the time. Looking through a lense sends significant messages to my brain, wanting to capture the best possible picture. When I write, I crawl into the story and climb into my character’s heads to feel the way they feel. So, whether it’s taking a picture or writing, I am capturing life in its rawest state and I feel like I am recording history ... and what a great personal pleasure it is too. When you look through a lense of a camera, you are alone. No one else is with you. I love that private moment of creation. It's so personal and invigorating.

  What do you mean when you refer to yourself as a sometime poet?

I have written many bush poems and enjoyed writing them. My first book included four of them. However, I do not allow enough time to write more of them. Australian bush poems tell a story and the ones of ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Henry Lawson et al, tell us about life in their times. Maybe when I’m older and crankier I will spare more time for poetry. Currently, it is third on the list of creative pursuits: writing, photography and poetry.

  Now you are a full time writer. What do you want to accomplish as a writer?

I’d like to be rich enough to pay my bills and filthy rich enough to give swags of money away to worthwhile causes – anonymously. It’s all set up in my last will and testament. An author owns the copyright for his work for 70 years after his death. So, if one of my books is a great hit after my death, I want to ensure that the proceeds go to a good cause – from my grave. I do not personally need or want much money. You can’t take it with you. To me, it would be a sensational feeling as a writer to know that the proceeds of my work have helped a kid born in the likes of Bangladesh to become a doctor, teacher or whatever - something he would not have otherwise been able to achieve.

A good colleague of mine made a great statement that summarises my simple motto on life, 'I wish you enough.'

I write young adult fiction and all of my stories contain mentors or role models for young people. Sadly, today, many young people have no idea what a role model is.  Hopefully, my stories inspire and influence young people in a positive way.

Copyright Clancy Tucker (c)

You stated: “Books are cool. They take you away to awesome places”. So, what should we expect from your latest work?

Timely question indeed. My next book is being finalised. It’s about a magnificent seven-year-old Thai girl called Boo. It is based on a true story and based in Thailand, a country I have spent much time in. This book is a powerful story with an explosive finish. Trust me. You will love it. It took me thirty years before I was ready to write it, but three months to actually scribe it. Boo influenced me greatly.

Thanks for the opportunity, Elena. 

Now, here are some questions and answers I've added. Brace yourself.

What would you like written on your tombstone? Why?

Mm … I guess I could say what was suggested by Spike Milligan, ‘I told you I was sick’, but no. Maybe this, ‘Here lies a man who was born with an overabundance of passion - tried to do too much with too little in too short a time.’ I've always joked about being found dead slumped across my keyboard with an empty wine glass in one hand and a butt in the other. The last two words on the screen are, 'The End' ... and the story is an absolute blockbuster. What a way to go, eh?

What was your greatest moment in your life?

Meeting a gorgeous young doctor in America in the 1970’s. The worst moment in my life was attending her funeral six months later. The following ten years were personally tough ... but I followed the rules below ... and I'm still here:

Every morning I wake up and say the same thing, 'Man, I'm still here. My job is not finished.'

What is your greatest achievement?

Staying alive. Doing bits and pieces for others, advocating for the downtrodden and sticking up for those who have no voice. Being a good communicator with many people for decades and taking politicians to task.

What personal traits would you like to have in your next life?

Be more patient, yell louder on big issues and inspire more people.

What advice would you give to world leaders?

Wake up!

Pax vobiscum, John!

What advice would you give to parents today?

Always remember who is the parent and who is the child. Spend lots of useful time with your kids and introduce them to everything. Above all, listen to them and be honest. Kids are extraordinarily resilient - and smart. Never underestimate them. They are our greatest resource.

 Have any heroes? Why?

Heaps, like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, my mum, Lech Walensa, Martin Luther King Junior and the older generation. They had a belief and passion and never stopped until they reached their goal - against amazing odds. Heroes to me are role models who show you what is possible ... those who lead by example and ... lead you in the right direction.

What are the greatest legacies you will leave behind?

Hopefully, that I touched a few people along the way ... and that I wrote some books that made you think ... and feel human. Here is a great quote I like,

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

What’s lacking in the world today?

How long have I got? Try these for starters … empathy, compassion, encouragement, brotherhood, sisterhood, humanity, strong leadership, role models, loyalty, integrity and patience. But, I have extraordinary faith in the youth of today; more faith in them than the adults who are supposed to be guiding them.

Any pearls of wisdom for the rest of us?

Be gentle on yourself – and others. Don't take yourself too seriously. Be courageous, take a deep breath, step up, sniff it, try it, taste it and do it. Who cares about what the neighbours think  if you fail? If you do fail, just get up, dust yourself off and go forward. There is much to learn from failure ... but more to learn from how we handle it. And, try to think about those who are doing it tough. There are many doing it tough ... and it wasn't their choice.

 What would be the last sentence you ever write?

Probably, 'The End' or 'Thanks for listening. I’ve been … Clancy Tucker'.

What inspired you most?

The poorest people I’ve ever met, and those who achieved great things by persevering.

Who or what made you laugh the most?

My best friends and kids.

What would be your top three chosen careers in your next life?

A passionate world leader, a singer-song writer and a ballsy human rights lawyer. Oh, and a writer ... to finish what I'd planned in the first life.

Any great claims to fame?

Yep, what you see and hear is exactly what you get – nothing more, nothing less.

What are your greatest frustrations? 

Several things: finding balance in the things that I do and aspire to achieve, people who never reach their full potential, ignorance, leaders who show no courage, racism, bullies and people who mistreat kids, women and people.

Anything you'd like to add?

Life's short. Use it. There is plenty to do. 

Now. After writing hundreds of posts, providing writing tips, giving opinions and promoting other creators from around the globe freely, you might like to buy a copy of my first book - 'Gunnedah Hero' at a special rate, and decide if Clancy Tucker can write an interesting story. This book has won two awards in the Australian National Literary Awards, and plenty of great reviews can be found above by clicking on 'BOOK REVIEWS'.

I will only be offering 100 signed books for followers of this blog at a reduced rate, including postage and handling:

Australia: $18.00 Aud.

USA, Europe & UK: $29.00 Aud.

It might make an ideal gift, and I am happy to write any message in the front of any book you purchase. Just go above, click on 'BUY' and purchase it via credit card, Paypal etc.

Book blurb:

Fourteen-year-old Gunnedah ‘Gunnie’ Danson has a 500-word assignment on drought. His late grandfather has left him a box containing a manuscript. It’s been written by Gunnie’s great-great-grandfather, Smokey ‘Gun’ Danson after his journey up the long paddock during a harsh drought as a fourteen-year-old drover in 1910. At the back of the manuscript is an envelope. It’s NOT to be opened until Gunnie has read the entire story.

 Gunnie spends the weekend at Wiralee Station; a cattle station that’s been in the family  since 1848. There, he reads the awesome manuscript and learns of Smokey’s adventurous journey. Gunnie overhears several secretive conversations. His snobby Aunty Kate wants to divorce his uncle and sell Wiralee Station. Gunnie finishes the manuscript and opens the mysterious envelope. Will it legally prevent his aunt from selling Wiralee Station?  

Clancy's comment: Mm ... there is so much more I could have said. As someone who is always positive, I must say that my view of the world is changing. In many respects, we as a civilization, are going backwards ... probably started when television was invented. Prior to television, people spent more time outdoors, together, went for drives in the country, went on picnics and had less luxuries. Now, kids have massive obesity problems. I wonder why that is?

An Australian country singer wrote the following words in one of her songs, 'If you ain't pissed off with the world, you haven't been paying attention.' Agree with her.  Let's hope things begin to change for the better. I guess it starts with each of us. 

Bring on the revolution!

Thanks for listening ...

I'm ...

Mm ... I'm very trying!
Ask my best friends and politicians.

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