Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Musings & Mischief

Signed copies of Musings & Mischief - the second book in the poetry by Lynn Gerrard priced at £6.99 are available to pre-order (£8.99 inclusive of UK postage) by clicking on the Paypal BUY NOW button for your area below. They will be available for dispatch from March 3rd 2016.

The book is also available unsigned from March 3rd 2016 on Amazon in paperback and of course there is a Kindle version.

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Available on 3rd March, the second poetry collection from the Grumbling Gargoyle is read and reviewed by Susan Omand...

You all know I’m not averse to a bit of verse, and I really enjoyed the previous grumblings of the Grumbling Gargoyle (aka Lynn Gerrard) in her debut collection Darkness and Decadence, so I was really pleased when her new collection of Musings & Mischief made it onto my desk.

Again this is a collection of Lynn’s poetry and is as imagery filled and melancholy as ever, although never absolutely sad, just reflective. Take these lines from the very first poem in the book

the warmth of cobbled memories linger on 

To tell their tale of lolly sticks and laughter

Doesn’t that just reek of childhood to you? Wonderful! That’s something I really like about Lynn’s poetry, the acute observation of life, love and death therein. There’s also a good spark of dark humour in this collection as she writes of mundane reality, of wheelie bins and discarded road maps, as much as the esoteric notions of death and desertion. 

The thing I like most though is the visual nature of each descriptive phrase as her use of simile and metaphor are sublimely off the wall and yet work so well.

Dark skies hung as heavy 

As a fat dog's sweaty belly

for example, or 

She walks the walk 

Of the uninspired.

You really can see and understand what she means in a way that someone else could not describe in 100 words. 

Talking of more words, as an additional treat this time out there are also three flash fiction style pieces at the end of the book. The New Place is beautifully written and will have you second guessing til the end. Conversely the shocking viewpoint of the five year old child in Lilly will stay with you for a long time. But it is the last story, A Cold Affair, that leaves you shuddering more at what was not said rather than what was. A masterstroke of stomach turning psychology. These stories bode well for the rumoured novel that Lynn is working on, if she can keep up that level of visual and visceral connection with her characters, it will be a good one.

As with the last collection though, there are a couple of poems I wouldn’t have included as I feel their brightness breaks the dark mood of the cover-to-cover read through that I did. I do however understand why Lynn may have wanted to do that if she felt the book was “a heavy read” and they are good stand alone pieces that, if you just dip in and out of the collection, will work well but I wish she had the confidence to let the reader just wallow in the melancholy of her work. Another minor quibble, and again this may just be me and it will not affect the Kindle version, but it sometimes felt like the page layout and where the page breaks fell in the poems for the paperback version was not considered. Well chosen, these breaks work in a similar way to line and verse ends in poetry to add to the drama of the overall reading experience.

Overall though, Lynn has managed the oft dreaded “difficult second album” of her poetry collection very well indeed and I highly recommend you seek out her work as this proves she has much more to give.

Monday, 15 February 2016


Many moons ago when I was a young wife and mother, things weren't going so well and countless times I'd cry myself to sleep worrying about the next day. So it was one evening, after fretfully dozing on the couch, yet again, I succumbed unto a most peculiar and startlingly vivid dream.

In this dream a gentleman, who I did not know, sat upon the armchair which accompanied the settee in my living room. He was quite distinguished looking and possibly in his late 60s.

His hair was short and impossibly white. Above neatly pressed, white trousers he wore a crisp white shirt, partially hidden by a very smart, white jacket.

Leaning slightly forward in the chair, arms resting upon his lap with hands lightly folded within the other, the strangers manner was that of being completely at ease. A gentle smile prompted creases to form around warm, kindly eyes before lips parted to utter words in soft, reassuring tones...

"You have no need to feel so lonely Lynn. You are never by yourself, for I am always watching over you. I have sat here with you many times and witnessed the pain of your distress.

Your tears hurt my heart as much as they do your own and so I tell you this, whenever the world treats you badly, all you have to do is think of me and I will be here, right by your side. I am but a thought away...never forget that"

And with that said, he was gone!

Well, shortly after my visitors exit, I woke up with the whole weird scene imprinted very clearly and quite sharply upon my mind. It genuinely was a most vivid encounter. So much so that even the air around me in my waking state, prickled with an undefinable yet most palpable energy, as if in the wake of another's presence.

My eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness of the room as a sleepy, disoriented hand reached out to switch the lamp on. All the while, the words of my uninvited guest played on repeat in my head and that's when I realised that, thanks to him, my earlier worries had, indeed, dispersed....

...to be replaced by a fear so crippling and so intense as to justify the pungent odour which was now filling the room!

Omg! I mean, just when I thought things couldn't get any worse 'Snowy', my mystery caller,  turns up out of the ether in the middle of the night to invade my dreams and sprawl on my furniture so he can distribute his sagely dialogue of comfort and calm!!

Oh yeah, well, THAT worked!!

For the longest time after his  gatecrashing my slumbers, I was too scared to even look at the armchair in case HE showed up, all white and wisely! And as for the "You are never by yourself, for I am always watching over you"...REALLY!! Oh, that  made me feel LOADS better, knowing some disembodied being was shadowing my life...I don't think!!!

What about bathroom breaks? My ablutions were not to be considered a spectator sport...spectre or otherwise!

I mean, ok, this visitation could have been no more than a figment of my imagination and given Snowy's attire, I can't absolutely rule out the possibility that the KFC I'd devoured earlier hadn't something to do with it BUT regardless, it was very real to me, as was my fear.

There was certainly nothing finger-lickin'-good about that!

Anyway, I made a conscious effort never to fall asleep in the living room ever again and I also swore never to think too hard about Snowy ever again, in case he considered that to be an invite for a chat!

In fact, this is the first time I've thought about him, at length, for some considerable time...........hm, can anyone else smell chicken?

© Copyright Lynn Gerrard