Word Association and Other Links by Ann Evans.

I was trying to think of something interesting and inspiring to write about for my Authors Electric blog this month, and thought I'd look back at the blog, to remind myself what other authors had written in the hope it might kick start my blogging brain!

So I Googled Authors Electric – or rather I didn't Google Authors Electric, I hit the wrong keys and Googled Arthurs Electric. And got a whole different category of topics and websites. I was suddenly faced with all the information I needed if I wanted to get my chainsaw serviced!

It had to be word association, because when I thought of chainsaw I immediately thought of two things – and they both have a writing link.

Hurray! I'd got my blog idea by default – very weird, but I'm not complaining.

So, chainsaws! And my first thought was of the horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the time I interviewed the leading man from the original film, Leatherface himself – Gunnar Hansen. My second word association thought was about a petite young woman who I interviewed for a craft magazine who carves wooden sculptures using a chainsaw.

Gunnar Hansen
photo by Rob Tysall
Interviewing Gunnar Hansen came about after I'd interviewed Darth Vader star, Dave Prowse at his gym in London around the 25th anniversary of Star Wars. We had a good interview and my photographer (Rob Tysall) and I arranged to meet Dave for lunch in Coventry (my home town) the following month, when he was here to sign autographs in a sci-fi shop. Gunnar Hansan was also signing and so we all went off to lunch.

So, there I was, all 5 feet 2 of me, being whisked off by 6ft 4in terror of the skies Darth Vader and the 6ft 4in tall chainsaw wielding Leatherface.  Rob followed in his car with his wife and later said to me, “I couldn't believe I'd let you go off with the two biggest mass murderers of all time!”
(Fictionally speaking of course!)

But, we all had a great chat over lunch, and I discovered that Icelandic-born Gunnar Hansen was also a writer. He chatted about his book Islands at the Edge of Time which told of his journey along America's barrier islands, examining the culture, history and the people along the way. He also writes poetry and film scripts, as well as directing. An interesting, intelligent man who you might nor normally get the chance to sit down and have lunch with.

My other chainsaw word association memory, was when Rob and I met Heather Crompton, a young, petite mum of two who wields a chainsaw in the name of art! It was after seeing her amazing carvings at an outdoor sculpture exhibition close to my home which I'd covered when writing for the Coventry Telegraph, that I got in touch with her to do a more in depth article for Craft & Design magazine.

So it was off to Huddersfield to talk to her and see her in action. Here we discovered that with a BA Hons degree in Fine Art, she had worked with all kinds of materials but it was wood that she had a special affinity with.

Heather Crompton Photo by Rob Tysall

The passionate way she talked about her wood carving struck a chord with me, and quite recently as I've been working on a particular story which involves a male character who takes up wood carving, I've found myself using some of the phrases that she used when describing her craft.

It's funny how one thing leads to another, don't you think?

Please visit my website: www.annevansbooks.co.uk

My latest non-fiction book, Become A Writer - A Step by Step Guide is available in paperback and as an ebook:   http://www.amazon.co.uk/Become-Writer-Step-Guide/dp/1907670246


Dan Holloway said…
There was an article about chainsaw sculpture on the One Show recently - incredible skill.
And with apologies, the pedant in me seems to remember that one of the most famous things about the seminal 1970s horror film in question is that the title uses "Chain Saw" as two separate words?
Ann Evans said…
Hi Dan, yes, I've seen it written both ways too. Never actually dared watch the film though.
Bill Kirton said…
Ann, please be sure to let me know when you finish the novel. I took up wood carving as part of research for my novel The Figurehead and I still love it.
I've no link with the first of your associations, though - I'm only 6 feet 2.
Dennis Hamley said…
Ann, if you want to see something else uniquely sinister about chainsaws, have look at the climax of Catherine Czerkawska's wonderful The Physic Garden.
Jan Needle said…
and dan, some lunatic insisted on putting a hyphen in Moby Dick, remember? needs a bleeding chain saw (or chainsaw) taking to him, i say.
glitter noir said…
This is a wonderful post and I thank you for it. Lovely way to cap off a somewhat stressful day.
Dennis is right. The chainsaw is peculiarly horrific in The Physic Garden but not in the way you'd expect. Nice post, Ann. My husband - Alan Lees - was a woodcarver before arthritis got to him. (The curse of ageing woodcarvers, sadly!) He paints now but can't manage carving. He made BIG pieces, lots of them. Sometimes the trees he carved were still in the ground! There are still pics online in various places - this one is the maze of the Green Man at Kelburn Country Park http://www.flickr.com/photos/16437735@N02/3439016132/

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