Please welcome Rhiannon Gelston to the blog today!
As someone who has dealt with memoir writing in Dancing With Dementia, I had a question for Rhiannon:
How did you decide on the parts of reality that were going to be the basis of this memoir with a twist?
It was a very organic process that essentially evolved as I was writing it, with no real set plan. I knew I wanted to write about my family, to capture who they were at the time and document some memories of my kids when they were little. The book was originally started out just for them, without actually thinking I was going to publish it but, as time went on, and the novel took form, I started to think I might try and share it with others as well. I eventually pursued having it published.
Within the story the protagonist, Lark, ends up in a magical world in a symbolic tree. He goes on to travel back and forth from ascending this tree with some special friends, to traveling to the real world and experiencing events from the past, reliving moments from his mother’s memory (my memoir).
Essentially, all of the experiences outside of this magical world, in the real world, are the memoir piece. I describe it as almost a modern-day Scrooge journey, without the grumpy part!
The descriptions of the children in the story, from the memoir parts, were easy because it was just them, my five kids, and moments from our life together thus far. I am not quite sure how I decided which moments to share, as some were quite big while others were very simple everyday moments, yet they all taught me something.
I did know I wanted to write down some memories about when my daughter was ill, as that was a big life-lesson. It is one of those things that you wish you didn’t have to go through but, like anyone who goes through a hard time and comes out on the other side of it, you gain perspective, you figure out what really matters, and you try and really live and love the moment you are in moving forward. When the awareness that the next moment may not happen for someone you love, it simply changes everything. I didn’t want to ever forget those lessons.
I hope maybe my children one day, when they are a bit older, and anyone else who reads Lark and the Loon, can gain that awareness too, through riding that ride with us in the pages of the book.
Another big part of the book is from my time spent in Africa, doing my occupational therapy internship and traveling. That experience, in beautiful Africa, was another eye-opening experience that changed how I view the world. It was something I always wanted to write about. I intended on sending a query to some occupational therapy journals upon my return, as my internship experience was so unique. I just never did that for some reason. I guess it was meant to go in this book instead!
So, maybe the answer to your question, now that I think about it, is the way I decided which parts of reality were to be included was they were all some moments from my life, both the big and the small, that shifted how I see the world in some way. Moments that provided me with a greater awareness of what matters in the big picture.
◊ 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
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.
LARK AND THE LOON is available at AMAZON * Barnes & Noble * WiDo Publishing. Also, be sure to add it to your TBR List on Goodreads.
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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Thanks for stopping by today.
Doesn’t this sound like an intriguing memoir?