Lark and the Loon By Rhiannon Gelston
◊ Genre: Memoir with a Twist
◊ Publisher: WiDo Publishing (July 17, 2020)
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ Paperback: 284 pages
◊ ISBN-10: 1947966251
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1947966253
Lark and the Loon follows the adventures of a tentative boy named Lark, as he is catapulted out of all that he knows, into a courageous journey beyond his wildest imagination.
Upon receiving a special gift from his Gramps, Lark embarks on a reflective journey of self-discovery as the innovative story weaves the true-life memoir of his mother (the author) in with a fantastical journey. With some special new-found friends, Lark travels back and forth from a symbolic tree to his mother’s true memories of life and death moments, and simple moments, found everywhere from wild Africa to their very own living room. Lark and his friends must ascend this tree and gain the important life lessons offered along the way if they ever hope to find their way out. Within this journey, Lark finds these lessons, and ultimately himself, in the space between imagination and truth in this wild tale.
The story explores friendships, philosophies, and everyday challenges and joys, both from a child's perspective and from a parent's perspective. This memoir with a twist results in a coming of age story that ultimately leads to a new understanding of self, others, and the world that surrounds us.
“Love the life you live. Live the life you love.”
T he rest of Lark’s birthday was wonderful. He almost forgot about his chat with Gramps that morning as he was swept away in the festivities of the day. He did carry this newfound knowledge with him, quietly tucked away deep inside.
Somehow things seemed crisper now, more vivid. He couldn’t quite explain it beyond that.
He would have a birthday party with his friends tomorrow, but today was for his family: aunts, uncles, and cousins came over to celebrate with Lark. His mom and dad were there, along with his four little sisters, and, of course, Gramps. They grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, played games, and sang “Happy Birthday” in their loud and out-of-tune voices that the whole family had been gifted with, none of them caring how off-key they sounded, perhaps because they were all off-key; but it was mostly because nobody had time to worry about things like that, especially on such a happy occasion.
Ten. Ten was a big deal. There were lots of comments about double digits and people slapping him “high tens.” He felt grown up in some ways and like such a little kid in other ways; it was a funny feeling. Mostly, he didn’t really feel any different than he had the day before. Birthdays are funny like that.
There was a little fear inside of him of taking one step farther away from childhood and one step closer to adulthood; a little fear of letting go of something familiar as he moved toward something else, something unknown. Even if you know in your heart it is going to be great, change is a challenge.
The challenge lay within the unknown, but according to Gramps, therein lay the adventure. Even the past, or at least the perception of the past, could morph and change with different experiences and different insights. So really, it was just the now that was known.
Lark was starting to grasp this concept on the heels of Gramps’ talk.
Choose adventure. With this slow-seeping realization, this birthday suddenly felt bigger to Lark than a single day in time.
After cake and ice cream, it was time for gifts. There were brightly colored boxes and bags, and he tore through them one after another with excitement and smiles and reminders of saying thank you before he moved on to the next, even though he was just about to say thank you and didn’t need the reminder, Mommy. Lark was her little boy, and even though he was the ripe old age of ten, she was going to remind him anyway. In reality, he didn’t mind.
With wrapping paper flying in a blur, he opened his gifts. Lark got a remote-controlled truck and a whole bunch of books, including one that said it was book about everything. He got art supplies and a new nerf gun with glow-in-the-dark darts and a flag football set. He got camping supplies and a headlamp. He got new clothes.
He got a new lacrosse stick and a kit to build his very own robot and some other cool things a ten-year-old boy would covet. When he had opened all his gifts, surrounded by piles of shredded wrappings and ribbons, he looked around and felt happy. He felt loved.
No, he knew he was loved, and it felt great. Maybe he was becoming more aware, perhaps even becoming a bit wise, after all.
What process do you go through in creating visual background scenes to involve your audience in the feeling they are in the story?
Great question, as I never really thought about the fact that while creating the visual background scenes, I really did have a bit of a process, although I think it was probably happening rather organically, more on the subconscious level! I am a very visual person. I am inspired by things visually, love the visual arts, I am a visual learner, and my imagination is quite visual as well.
Since my book consists of a couple of genres, there were actually two different approaches at play in describing the scenes. The memoir was easy for that, as I have such a visceral memory of those times that I was writing about, it really was just putting myself back into that moment, feeling it, seeing it, remembering it, and describing what I saw, including the details of the setting that surrounded me. In the fictional piece, I suppose the process was actually very similar, now that I think about it. One based on memory, the other based on imagination, but I was still in that moment in my head, soaking up everything around me to properly describe the setting and hope the reader would be able to have a similar sensory experience. I think I tapped into every one of the senses, and through that, I was able to simply write what I was feeling and the scene around me, whether it was the imagined scene for the fictional piece or the scenes from my memory for the memoir piece. I had such a distinct picture in my head, so I just had to put that into words. The only tricky part is that it was so vivid for me, I needed to step outside of that a bit and make sure the details were there for the reader. It was almost as if trying to describe some profound experience to someone that wasn’t there, but you wish they were, so you are going to include all of the details you can so that they can still
experience it, if you can just do the words justice in capturing the essence of it all. Of course, the beauty of reading something is it is up for interpretation. So, if the reader sees it differently in their head, well that is just part of the fun part of imagination and where it will take you!
ABOUT the AUTHOR:
RHIANNON GELSTON loves to lose herself in all things creative. She enjoys writing, painting, live music, traveling, sports, being outdoors, exploring, playing, spirituality, and energy work. She has a BA in English and an MS in Occupational Therapy with a pediatric focus. Rhiannon just had her first novel published. It is a memoir with a twist called, LARK AND THE LOON, available wherever books are sold.
Rhiannon grew up on Spa Creek in downtown Annapolis. Home for Rhiannon will always be the sound of the halyards hitting the masts on a breezy day, a pile of crabs saturated in Old Bay, raft-ups with friends as kids cannonball off of the stern, and time with family and friends, in, on, and around the Chesapeake Bay.
She lives in Annapolis with her husband, their five lovely and lively children, and their black lab, McNasby.
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