It Started in a Park

My vision of Parable Park is 10 years old this year. That’s like, a decade of creating and crafting a thing bigger than me that I so eagerly want to encourage young readers with.

It all started with lunches in a park I’d walk to during my 60 minute break from work. It was tiny Newlands Park in St. Leonard’s, outside of Sydney, Australia.

Grey heron. Photo captured by Tami Lykens. Newlands Park. North Sydney, Australia.

There was this grey heron that came out most days and hung out with me.

Author's copy of Wildwood by Colin Meloy.

During these particular lunchtimes, I read Colin Meloy’s Wildwood (very recommended) and it stirred up my writer’s imagination to a vivid frenzy. I wanted to create a place where every child could escape into awhile with the same imaginary sensations, and perhaps return to their world feeling stronger and braver.

Have you experienced that feeling after reading a book that makes you sad when it’s over because you can’t escape into it anymore? That feeling like you could change the world, and then you suddenly want to? I felt this way. I wanted to create something magical.

Excited imagination. Feeling like you want to change the world.

So I went to work. Or play. Whatever.

I contacted one of my old drama students, Sarah Keaggy-Newsom, who had became an artist, and commissioned her to do some illustrations for me. This was a thrilling experience as Sarah tried (and succeeded) to put on paper what was blooming in my head from my own research conducted to match what my imagination was growing…

Sarah Keaggy. Heron. Henry Heron. Property of Parable Park
Parable Park’s Character: Henry Heron
Sarah Keaggy. Henry Heron. Property of Parable Park,
Lorikeets photographed from author's windowsill. Property of Tami Lykens.
Illustration by Sarah Keaggy-Newsom. Property of Parable Park.
Parable Park’s Characters: Lori and Keet
Author petting a koala at Koala Park Sanctuary Sydney, Australia. Photo property of Tami Lykens.
The final version of Ruth Koala
Illustration by Sarah Keaggy-Newsom. Property of Parable Park.
Parable Park’s Character: Ruth Koala

It was 10 years ago that I stood at a light waiting for the green walking person to shine and tell me it was safe to cross that Sydney street, but I missed it because visions of characters were blossoming in my head. It was on that curb the name Parable Park came to me.

To be continued…

2017 Bookstore window in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Photo by Tami Lykens.

Do you have a work of art/writing that you’ve been dreaming and scheming about for a long time?

Let me know about it in the comments and I’ll cheer you on! It’s never too late to start again.

The world needs your good art and story.

Do it. Today. Or tomorrow’s fine, too, if you must.


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