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  • Writer's pictureLise Parton

Stories Behind The Stories, The Magic Stick

"For over 50+ years I could be found in summers, racing through the lush, BC Westcoast forests on the edge of a fresh-water lake with my family. Such was my special world for 3 generations..."

I’ve always been dazzled by a sprinkle of magic. I will fully admit to being giddy over sparkles, and I adore any story that weaves the wonder of magic through it. Mix in a little of Mother Nature’s awesome powers and you have a perfect combination with which to draw me in. Such elements are the components to my magical youth story, The Magic Stick, available on Amazon as an eBook.

For over 50+ years I could be found in summers, racing through the lush, BC West coast forests on the edge of a fresh-water lake with my family. Such was my special world for 3 generations.

Raised in a very formal manner in the city, at the lake my brother and I would no longer be the kids of a Baronet with all the stringent programming and expectations that that entailed, no, we were children who ran free to play hide and seek amongst the trees, swim like fish (I imagined myself a mermaid, of course), and roast marshmallows at night in the campfire. We whittled wood with the knives we were given to wear on our belt, (and no one freaked out that we would cut ourselves). We scaled up rocky cliffs and disappeared into the forest to play, by ourselves, or meeting up with the neighbouring kids, until a parent yelled at the top of their lungs to find us, cell phones were non-existent, and even today, cell service is still dicey there.

We had no power at the lake, and it was a one-room, off-grid cabin, and so we had no devices, and no TV. We read books, played board games, and played cards together on rainy afternoons, and in the dark hours after dinner. The old wooden shelves held up with bricks housed a multitude of Nature reference books on the local trees and foliage, the reptiles, the animals, the fish, the birds, the insects, and the stars. Our father would teach us to look up things up after spotting them outside when we were in residence. He wanted us to know the difference between one snake and another, for instance, not that we had any poisonous snakes in our direct locale. Those books remained there my whole cabin life, even after the mice got in and ate all the glue on the hardcover book bindings. Mice, after all, and rats, lived in the forest, too, although we got rid of some big rats after we got rid of some old, stuffed, turn-of-the-century, came-with-the-place, furniture under the cabin).

When I had children of my own, and took them to the lake, I wanted them to learn about the environment and the animals around them, too. As someone who likes to read and write stories, it was a natural progression for me to come up with stories to tell to my boys based on the lake and forests. I wanted to use my stories to help teach them about the world around them there. And so, I started writing The Magic Stick.

When my boys would snuggled into their bunk beds at night at the cabin, I would ask them, “which story would you like to read tonight? Will it be the loon one, or the beaver? Maybe, you would like me to read the one about the crayfish?” My boys would decide which one and I would sit on our bed, which was next to their bunks in the one-room cabin, under the light of the kerosene lamps, (later we upgraded to propane), and read to them their selection before sleep.

It took many years before I edited the original draft to put it all together, and last year, when COVID came into the picture, I taught myself to digitally draw on my iPad with the Apple Pencil. It was another big learning curve, I have to say, for an old gal. I drew all the small drawings of the animals and the creatures, the lake and the elements on the ‘Treasure Map’ in the story. I also designed the cover of the book myself, using a photograph I used of my son when he was very young and dressed in an old robe of mine in our back yard by the cedar trees as an early thought for a future cover, (I am so grateful I did). That young boy holding the stick is now married and in his mid-thirties. The stick he is holding, which became 'The Magic Stick', was the magical catalyst along with that the transformational spells, that initiated the magic to happen. The stick was a driftwood tree limb I found many years ago, that I painstakingly designed images of wildlife on, and then I wood burned, (Pyrography) the images into it. Wood burning was something I did quite a bit of, and I designed several walking sticks and canes back then, but this particular one (that is now my son’s) was the one I gave the magical powers to in the book.

As for the The Treasure Map, well, the lake and some points of lake destinations are real. For the privacy of my neighbours I am not mentioning the lake name. You can, however, read more about my many wonderful years at the lake on my website, You can find my book, The Magic Stick, as an eBook on Amazon. I hope you enjoy it, and share it with your children or grandchildren. This book, for me, was a labour of love, with the best possible childhood memories lovingly attached, both as a child myself, and as an adult with my own children.



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