Time for an excerpt — (Gerry’s Lion)

April 24, 2015

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This is Ashavan Doyon, talking about my new release Gerry’s Lion.

There’s a scene where Leo has discovered that Gerry loves art and goes to the gallery on the Sunrise. He’s trying to learn more about Gerry, and he gets a little more than he bargained for.

Leo thanked him and took the stairs down to deck six. The hallway where the art was displayed wasn’t difficult to find. It was the only one that hadn’t been specifically decked out for the holiday.

Leo walked down hesitantly, looking at the artwork. Most of the names he didn’t recognize. He studied the paintings, wishing he knew anything about the artists or art. He could spot what he liked: bold oil paintings where you could see the texture of the paints. And there were a few. But the ones on the wall were painfully melancholy. Trees about to lose their last leaf. A single leafless birch surrounded by the fiery colors of autumn. They were vivid and almost angry.

“Brilliant, aren’t they?” said a quiet voice behind him.

Leo gulped and nodded.

“They are quite a departure for this artist. He’s known for more modern abstract work. His focus is usually on color and texture as much as content, conveying location and…. Well, he’s brilliant. These were his first works on the market in a couple years. But you can tell it’s him. See the birch, lonely, white, depressed… you can see the bark peeling. Look at how it’s so much more vivid than the brilliant colors of the trees surrounding it.”

“I like the textures,” Leo said, turning to find a well-dressed man in a suit. “I don’t really understand the rest.”

“Perhaps a Christmas-themed piece?”

Leo shook his head. “I’ve met someone. And he’s into art and I like art, but I want to understand it better.”

The attendant smiled. “I’m Nate. I can help you.”

Nate walked him down the hall and stopped at each piece of art. He spoke passionately about the pieces, describing the virtues of each one. Occasionally they’d come to a piece virtually locked to the wall, and Nate would drop a name even Leo couldn’t miss. Rembrandt. Picasso. When they reached the end of the hall, Nate led him into another small room. Leo stood in the doorway, transfixed.

“That’s another Tanner,” said Nate. “It’s the last modern piece he put on the market.”

“It’s pain,” Leo said, starting at the name.

It can’t be.

“You’re close. The title of the piece is Loss.”

Leo looked at the painting, studying it. Making his way through the sweeping strokes to find the objects in the sea of white and pale blues. To make out the figures. The sweep of the strokes conveyed a line. Peaks and valleys fading and then flat. And at the end of it a figure at the door, alone. A hospital room. The painting was a hospital room. An empty bed. A weeping black figure alone.

Choosing character traits for characters can be a struggle for an author. How does one convey a painting if one doesn’t paint? How does one convey the taste of a delicacy? The exhilaration of life on a motorcycle? I tried to pull Leo’s discovery of appreciating the artwork into his feelings for Gerry–important because for Gerry that artwork is very tied into Adam and Gerry’s loss.

Is there something innocuous that you associate with loss? For me it’s a cologne. A whiff can send me spiraling for days.

9 Responses to “Time for an excerpt — (Gerry’s Lion)”

  1. Denise Dechene says:

    A certain song can make me very melancholy. Just hearing the introduction, before the words, has me reaching to turn the channel

  2. Denise Dechene says:

    I enjoyed the excerpt. Authors have such great imaginations and way with words

  3. ashavandoyon says:

    Denise: Thanks. There are some songs that affect me also, but scent is such a powerful memory trigger, that it hits me more. I do use music though, to put me in the right mood for a scene. If I’m writing a fight I’ll put on something classic and powerful, like the Carmina Burana. For sad, or especially angsty, I might play something like Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me. I’ll put them on repeat (my poor husband) and play them over and over while I write the scene.

  4. H.B. says:

    I can’t say I have any thing that does that for me. A lot of sight and sounds do make me nostalgic though with things from my childhood or recent events.

  5. ashavandoyon says:

    H.B. – nostalgia is a sort of loss, I think. I yearning for something that isn’t quite there anymore.

  6. Susan says:

    My father passed away on Bastille Day, so La Marseillaise can reduce me to tears.

  7. ashavandoyon says:

    Susan: Those sorts of memories can be really hard. I’ve noticed though that for me, as I get older and get taken by those memories sometimes unaware, that I value remembering that way, because it’s painful and intense, but it’s so much more vivid than trying to remember.

  8. H.B. says:

    Yes, I guess it is. I wasn’t really thinking of it like that.

  9. Susan says:

    That’s so true! I hadn’t thought of it that way either.

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