Gary (‘Gaz’) Anson lives in Canberra, Australia. He is a part-time writer and, as you will see from his journal, a keen and often comic observer of the world around him. He has written and published a children’s story on Amazon, Grindelwinde’s Wood, and published poetry in The Canberra Times.
He recently returned from a forty-day trip trip to the UK, Italy and, his favorite place of all –- his ‘second home’ as he describes it -- Ireland. He decided each day to ‘snap’ a remarkable incident or scene, using his pen rather than a camera.
Where did you take the picture that’s displayed as your Forty Days journal cover? Tell us a little about it.
The photo displayed on the journal cover was taken in Devil’s Glen, a wooded area in the Wicklow mountains south of Dublin. I hesitate to describe it as beautiful; it was more mysterious, powerful -- vaguely threatening even. Certainly, we walked through the misted wood with hushed voices, as if in a cathedral. It had a strong pagan feel to it -- as if it were home to Druid ceremonies in times gone by perhaps.
Who, what or where do you find inspiration for your writing?
It’s hard to say. You’re driven to write or not I think. And then, not necessarily all the time. I studied the haibun form of travelogue as a student of Japanese language and culture many years ago, and had intended one day to write in this manner. I love prose and poetry and enjoy writing both. This seemed to be the ideal opportunity to marry the two together finally, and to write such a journal. The ease and elegance of using Bonjournal was the clincher.
What makes Ireland your favorite place to visit?
For me, Ireland is the country of magic and mischief, colour and character, in a world where these qualities are often no longer valued. We have gotten to prefer ‘sensation’ and lost our ‘sensitivity’. And Ireland is a sensitive place. It is as if the land sits slightly ‘off the horizontal plane’, tipping into other dimensions -- into the dark and the light aspects of nature, human and otherwise. You can see this in its troubled history, at the same time as it shines and sparkles through their eyes and in their speech.
What’s your favorite travel tip?
Don’t overdo the planning, and give yourself time to ‘marinade’ in a place –- no matter how seemingly mundane. Also, pick less rather than more places to visit and stop, and let happenstance and the unknown into the spaces you leave; this is where the unexpected, the magic and the marvellous can occur.