"Be not afraid of growing
slowly, be afraid only of standing still."
Today I thought I'd share some insights into how I tick. This is part one of a series. It is an interview conducted by Anastasia Gonis, a great interviewer and book reviewer. Grateful thanks to Anastasia and compliments to Vicki Stanton who is the proud owner of 'Buzz Words Books': http://buzzwordsmagazine.blogspot.com.au/
Clancy Tucker: A Writing Life Begins with Self Publishing, by Anastasia Gonis ©
"Clancy Tucker unearthed is like discovering gold. He’s lived an interesting life. For
forty years he’s been involved in Human Rights. He’s not only a writer, but a
poet and established photographer. He has lived in four countries and speaks
three languages, and has dreamed of publication for 38 years when he bought a
computer and sat and looked at it for three days. Then he started writing and
He calls his writing space the ‘engine room’. The walls are full of his
photography from all over the world. He admits he hasn’t enough time left to
publish all the books and stories he has written and planned. But he’s made a
fine start with the outstanding Australian historical fiction novel for teenage
readers, Gunnedah Hero. He dreams of the day this work is used as prescribed text in High Schools. It has all the attractive qualities a young reader longs for in a book. His first-hand
knowledge of farming and the land with its many challenges, places him in a
position to recreate the harsh realities of country life in words.
It is visible in the body of work and the ideas he has, that Clancy utilises his
poetry and photography as channels to express himself as a writer. He observes
things clearer as if through a lens. This adds a certain added dimension to his writing to a great degree. When asked if this is how it really is for him, he ponders. ‘Interesting
question! I’ve often said to people that I see things through the eye of the
camera.’ I’m intrigued and want to know in what way? What more can he see?
‘It focuses things. My lounge room has fifty-five photographs from all over the
world, framed on the wall. It might be sunsets in Bali, the Thai King, kids. Photographs
of people who didn’t know I was taking their photograph. I think you take a better photograph rather than a contrived one. And I think when I use that expression,
it’s a mental process. I’m driving in the car or I might be overseas, and I look at something and I think, that’s a good shot. You look at something in a square lens and
suddenly what you’re looking at is what you’re going to get a photo of.’
I press on. How does this square lens facilitate his writing? In what way does it
give it another dimension? ‘Maybe it’s the way I’m made. Maybe I’m deceptive. I’ve always been an observant person. That’s probably what drew me to preferring to take photographs of people; especially kids who are fantastic and so unpredictable. That’s what
inspired me to photograph people. I think it’s a subconscious, subliminal
Visual images of outback country fill the reader’s mind as they turn the pages of Gunnendah Hero, as he’s photographed many country people. But they aren’t
the only images that fill his writings. When approached about the others, he
admits to having ‘thousands of photographs’ which have inspired his writing.
He has an impressive resume and has won three National Literary Awards, and High
Commendations for his stories. The outstanding poems interspersed through the
story and positioned to complement the prose and the storyline, are Clancy’s
original poems. ‘I never studied poetry. It came from the heart. I made sure that those four major poems in the story related to that period and tried to put a bit of humour in
there for the kids that would read it. There’s one particular poem right at the
end of the story where Smokey is in Gunnedah; he’s lying in a real bed with
crisp sheets. At the end of the bed is the only dog he’s got with him, the Blue
Heeler. That’s when I whipped in the poem The Mighty Queensland Blue. I tried to make the timing perfect. Then Smokey looks down and realizes that he’s just read a poem about the dog at the end of his bed."
Part two will be posted tomorrow. Keep writing!
Don't be shy ... send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for listening.
I'm Clancy Tucker.