Ryan A. Gaio was born and raised in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and it shows in his work, whether he wants it to or not. He moved away for a bit, when he went to school, and he even spent some time living in England, but he keeps going back. He’s been to Paris, he’s been to New York, and he’s been places inbetween, but he keeps going back. He has to. There are too many stories there he needs to tell.
When Ryan was really young – this was a long time ago, maybe first grade, or second – his teacher told him and his classmates to try writing something. So Ryan wrote something, and when he was finished it he showed it to his teacher, and she read it and started to cry. And she said, “Did you really write this?” and he said “Yes,” and she said “You should keep writing.” So he did. He owes her a lot, it seems.
He’s 23 now, which he sometimes forgets entirely, and he sometimes remembers all too well. But since that day in class he hasn’t stopped. For a while he mostly wrote stories, and then for a while, he mostly wrote songs, cause when he was a kid, his parents let him listen to too much Tom Petty and Aerosmith, and he said that when he grew up he was gonna be a rockstar. And when he got to highschool and he wanted to be cool and he wanted girls to like him, he realized he was either gonna have to play sports or play in a band, and he was too scrawny to play sports so he decided to start playing guitar. And so he started a band, and he wrote some songs. He could barely play and he could barely sing but to him, it barely mattered. He played with a buncha people and wrote a buncha songs, and one summer, his friend even helped him put out a record of his own. It’s called “Barely.” If you really want to, you can get in touch with Ryan, and he can send you it in the mail. He’s proud of it. Because of it, he got to be in the newspaper.
When he went away to school he took a writing class. The professor was named Larry, and on the first day of class, Larry said that even though he was teaching a writing class he could not teach them how to write. But he said he hoped that by the end of the year he’d taught each of them one thing: that they’d already known how to, all along.
Once Ryan had a pile of things written, he reached out to his friend Steve, and Steve helped him put all this together, so he could start sharing the things he’d written. Cause it’s all for nothing if you don’t. And he keeps writing, cause he’s a writer. It was hard to admit that to himself, but now that he has, he can’t ignore it. And he spends his days in coffeeshops on Queen Street, writing about heartbreak, and drifters, and rock n roll, and so mostly writing about himself. Sometimes he wanders round, trying to find answers to questions he probably shouldn’t be asking. Sometimes he listens to an oldies station on an AM radio, like he used to do when he was a little kid, and would sit on his grandparents’ porch, in the summertime, drinking Coca-Cola from the can. Sometimes he can make sense of things and sometimes he can’t. Sometimes what he writes is good, and sometimes it’s bad, and sometimes it’s neither. It doesn’t really matter, in the end. It’s something.