‘Mayhem and Monkeyshines’: La Jolla author crafts ‘a fun little adventure’

"Mayhem and Monkeyshines" by La Jolla author Glenn Clark consists of three stories he wrote over the past few years.
“Mayhem and Monkeyshines” by La Jolla author Glenn Clark consists of three stories he wrote over the past few years.
(Glenn Clark)

At age 93, Glenn Clark forgoes a trilogy and puts three stories together in his latest book, connected by a magical medallion.


For most of his 93 years, La Jolla resident Glenn Clark has been reading or writing or both. After a childhood filled with reading books and then having his poems published in the La Jolla Light as far back as the 1940s, Clark’s latest book was published recently by Archway Publishing.

“Mayhem and Monkeyshines” is a compilation of three stories Clark wrote over the past few years about three young girls connected by a magical medallion that enables them to travel through time and space. Books even play a role in the story when 12-year-old Mary Lyttle sits on the floor of a bookstore and a strange-looking blank book drops into her lap from a shelf to start the tale.

Clark describes it as “a story of good triumphing over evil … when a young girl is swept away into the voyage of her life including pirates, evil sorcerers and shipwreck, all the time being helped by friendly animals and porpoises.”

When the girl passes the medallion to someone else, the next adventure begins.

Inspired by author C.S. Lewis, whose Narnia-centered stories also featured young protagonists, Clark said “Mayhem and Monkeyshines” is meant to be “a fun little adventure … with old sailing ships and different countries.”

Rather than make the stories a trilogy, he decided that “at my age ... I didn’t have a lot of time to spread out these books, so I wanted to get them all published. I threw them all together,” he said.

Roots of reading and writing

During his senior year of high school, Clark contracted a severe form of tuberculosis and was “laid up in bed for two years” with little to do but read and write.

“I had to set up a whole world in my room,” he said. “So I read the classics and I enjoyed reading so much that I started writing poetry, then short stories.”

La Jolla resident and author Glenn Clark has been reading and writing for most of his life.
(Provided by Glenn Clark)

By age 25, he had written an autobiography called “Cantaloupe Paper,” a “humorous story” about growing up in La Jolla.

From there, he started publishing poetry in literary magazines. He tried to get his short stories published but “didn’t have too much success,” Clark said.

So he started stretching those short stories into longer ones for books.

“Writing is creating my own adventures and living through them,” he said. “[Writing] is my major interest in life. … I’ve done other things, but it was always just to make a living. I was a Realtor in La Jolla for 20 years, I worked on restoring cars in Reno and I sailed with research vessels. But it always has been to get information for my writing or to make a living so I could dedicate time to writing.”

“Writing is creating my own adventures and living through them.”

— Glenn Clark

After deciding to make writing a career, he went to a school in New York and worked with a mentor for years on constructing longer stories.

Though “Mayhem and Monkeyshines” is a story for young readers, “I hope adults would like it, too, because we can all relate to wanting to go on an adventure,” Clark said.

The book is available through online booksellers and at Warwick’s bookstore in La Jolla. ◆