I Dream Dragons

There’s a story in here somewhere, trying to get out — something about a human–devouring dragon who loves to read and dreams of writing for Harlequin®.

Of course female, a Great Blue Hunter Dragon of the fearsome and dire type. We all love to hate her because she’s smart, because she eats people for breakfast and because the media tells us.

For human ears, she calls herself Lady Sumar ( not her real name, for that would give her victim power over). Lady Sumar wants a life in the ak’asha, but must leave on occasion because we humans don’t dwell in that mythical place, unless we read fantasy or spend centuries apprenticed to ancient mages called forth from myth.

Lady Sumar

Lady Sumar says, “nonsense,” and a few other choice words as she hunts down her latest tasty victim.

Step away now from that clumsy metaphor, a few backward shuffles around the corner if you must, and out from the shade into a shiny new day.

John Irving, in an interview recently in the NYT, says something about not writing what you know, leaving that method to the journalists.

What don’t you like about Hemingway?

Everything, except for a few of the short stories. His write-what-you-know dictum has no place in imaginative literature; it’s advice for a journalist, not for a novelist or a playwright. Imagine if Sophocles or Shakespeare or Dickens had heeded that advice! And Hemingway’s sentences are short and simplistic enough for advertising copy. There is also the offensive tough-guy posturing — all those stiff-upper-lip, don’t-say-much men! I like Melville’s advice: “Woe to him who seeks to please rather than appall.” I love Melville. Can you love Melville and also like Hemingway? Maybe some readers can, but I can’t.

In the meantime, I await the arrival of my imagination — late again, don’t you know — or a dream from Lady Sumar, all her tales in tow, her myths and stories brought from antiquity to a New Age.

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