Little Dragon in Her Nest

Where do baby dragons come from, anyway? Clearly every dragon mom needs to find a welcoming, inspiring environment that moves her to nestle in and protect her offspring from their hatching to their fledgling flights. Or a cozy place to knock them out of when she  gets fed up with their caterwauling and biting and she can retreat to her peaceful hangout and sip nectar in blissful, scaly solitude again.

So I made this little lady a nest. Full of tiny collected treasures, ’cause I think that might be something a small dragon would like. I mean, I would, and I can be kind of a dragon-lady occasionally. Though I have no intention of laying any dragon eggs or anything like that, in case you were wondering. I doubt I’d be a good enough mother for ’em anyway, being too inattentive for that when I’m already so busy collecting shiny objects and tiny treasures to make fanciful dragons’ nests.

Ah, the complicated life of a fantasist.Found-object sculpture: Little Dragon's Nest

Drawn to Dragons

This is yet another of my obvious addictions: the otherworldly or fantastical. I can’t stay away from dragons and faeries, aliens and archetypes, for any great length of time.

Thankfully, I seem to be in good company in this regard. So I doubt I’m either shocking anyone or even likely to bore them with it too terribly, since those not equally smitten will happily ignore or delete my many posts containing such curiosities. I’m also happy that, because of the very unfettered nature of the topic, I will never run out of subject matter for my drawings when I feel it’s time to get back in that gear.

It might be that I am something of a fantastical creature myself, of course, so perhaps that helps to explain my affinity with other denizens of the unknown realms. (Grins to self, scribbling away as usual.)Drawing: Enter the [Spaniard's] Dragon

The Magic of Books

Photo montage: The Magical BookIlluminations

A leather-covered volume with its pages edged in gilt

Slipped from the deck into the sea but, cradled in the silt

Where oxygen could not intrude, nor prying eyes descry

Its ancient glimmer in the mud, a century did lie;

One century—another—no, nine centuries of dark

It passed in sleeping silence after falling from that bark.

And then one day, a ray of light passed through the waves above

Just at the perfect moment for a mermaid, as she dove,

To catch a glimpse of gilded pages in that sea-deep sun

And swim down to investigate this treasure—only one

Quick sparkle of that golden edge brought her so close to look,

To brush aside the lazy silt and so, reveal the book.

Nine hundred years in darkness had it lain in quiet wait

For just this passing moment to wake up, illuminate,

And catch the passing fancy of an unsuspecting maid

Who’d bring it to her grotto in the deepest ocean’s shade.

In dappled dark, her opal eyes lit up the page, and next,

She read it, eager, mesmerized, the calligraphic text

Transforming, leaping from the book, becoming swiftly wild

And glorious, and telling tales that moved the mermaid child

To bend with sorrow, weep with joy; to palpitate with fear;

To live the story as her own; and, as the end drew near,

To grieve that such a magic fable had to end at all,

For it had seemed so rich and real, had held her in such thrall

That she’d begun to think it true, this tale of mythic men

And women wondrous wise and brave—she turned to read again—

Thrice through, in fact, she read the tome, and every time the more

Believed its great, compelling tale of life beyond her shore.

Full hearted, then, she closed the book, but never ceased to wish

That other mermaids, other seas, and other sorts of fish

Than those she knew in her own place were, as the story’s, real,

And though once happy, now she longed to see and hear and feel

What was beyond her native coast. One day she must return

To where she’d found that magic book, and see what she could learn.

One day, indeed, an older lass, but nonetheless enthralled

By the old book (she’d read again six times, if she recalled),

She caught the rolling afternoon’s most fearsome wave and rode

Under its lashing, crashing crest to where the book was stowed

Within its silken, silty bed so long, so long ago,

And knelt down on the ocean’s floor, and watched the water’s flow,

And saw the ripples up above, a thousand fathoms high,

And wished a little inward wish that something from the sky

Up higher still would pierce the waves, would light for her one ray

Of visionary hope the way it had upon that day.

Out of the darkness streaked with kelp, the passing sea life came

To look at her, this pearly lass, but swam off just the same,

For curious though she appeared, they’d naught to give or tell

That would assuage her longing or relieve her of her spell.

For days she hovered in that place, to gaze with fading hope

And heave a soft and bubbling sigh, and comb the gentle slope

To see if some small, overlooked companion to her find

Would rise to hand and help explain; but none was left behind.

At last she turned, quite woebegone, to drift for home, undone,

Her childhood fantasies all dashed—but wait! A ray of sun,

One faded spear, had pierced the deep; it beckoned her to draw

Back to the place her book had lain, and in its light she saw,

But faintly, now, another book, this one yet older still,

And as she took it in her hand, she felt a silent thrill

Race up her spine. She sailed for home as swift as mantas fly,

Gripping her treasure to her heart, this book dropped from the sky.

There in the grotto, as before, she read with trembling care

The prologue to her favored tale, the key unlocking there

The meaning of that history and mystery so grand,

The explication of her longed for never-ever-land.

Page One of this tremendous tome opened the secret wide

And startled her to drop the book, for there she saw inside

The preface to her deepest loved tale of that mystic place

Began with an engraving of her own familiar face!

Around her portrait, mirror-like, the title read, in part,

“The Story of Our Lady-Queen, the Owner of My Heart.”

Her own heart skipped a beat or two ere she once more to read

Took up the opus in her hand, to see where it might lead—

There in the shell-lined grotto sweet, she pored over the lines

Telling her life from this day forth, as writ by kingly hand:

Who authored this spoke of his love, and how she ruled his land

Long years to come, and how, in sum, her people throve as well,

And in the book, she met her love, who had such tales to tell,

And read them through with eager joy, to see what else she’d learn,

‘Til by the end-page she loved too, and had begun to yearn

To know this King and how it came that time had backward spun

So that these books of things yet dreamed fell from the present sun.

The end-page held, as she had hoped, engraved once more, two eyes

Whose gaze made her young, beating heart in recognition rise!

She dashed outside into the swell, and ne’er looked back again,

To find that place the boat was moored, to greet the sailing men,

To follow them to distant seas where they in their bark would roam,

And find the heart that from its start had known she would come home.Digital illustration from a photo: The Mermaid's Tale

Let’s Just Hug It Out

The Cuddlesome Kraken

You think that I’m all hands, my love,

Controlling, holding tightly so?

Don’t wriggle, struggle, push and shove;

This is the only way I know!Digital illustration: Cool Kraken

I love you, darling, s’truth I do,

So let’s just cut right to the chase—

Let me wrap all my arms ’round you—

Embrace, embrace, embrace, embrace!Digital illustration: Kraken is Warm for Your Form

A Mythical Beast

I love James Thurber’s deviously funny little modern fable The Unicorn in the Garden. His way of being so blandly subversive gets me every time. But I also admire the tale, as I always have, primarily because in it, the dreamer wins out over the hard-nosed pragmatist who thinks she can crush his foolishness and browbeat the fantasy out of him. I would far rather be the silly imaginative kid, the one who remains boldly hopeful when all signs point to apocalypse, than live in a grim real world. In fact, if I had my druthers, I might just be not only the frivolous guy seeing the unicorn in the garden but the unicorn itself.

What’s Fact, after all, when faced with the Fantastic?

digital illustration

Would-be debunkers can chase me around all they want, but they’ll find I am galloping ahead of them on the track more steadily than they think!

Hot Flash Fiction 12: The Marvelous Machine

People traveled for days to see it. The warm gleam of copper and brass on its mysterious curved reflected their own faces, if a little blearily, and they were mesmerized. The ticking and clicking of that machine and its workings’ purr and whirr drew whispered speculation and quietly fearful puzzlement and some observers began to contemplate whether they oughtn’t to summon the constable ‘just in case’ before the process was completed on the morrow. Yet so much study and work and testing had been reported before this debut of the machine that no one was fully prepared to admit so brazenly to such cowering mistrust. So at last, on the appointed Friday, six of the town’s leading citizens—with a few nervous titters and a little confused shuffling and tripping over each other—untied the network of cautionary tapes that had held back the crowds, and everyone surged up in a breathless wave for a closer look.
digital collage

There it was: coming forward on the slow conveyor belt from its central tank was a very small but perfect object of glowing copper and brass curves, ticking and clicking and purring and whirring just like its larger forerunner. It was followed, as the conveyor moved along, by ninety-nine other minutely perfect replicas.

And that is how the world had its first hint of what lay ahead.

Hot Flash Fiction 11: Undocumented Alien

digital illustrationThough we all saw our third grade teacher as a pretty lady and wonderfully good-natured, she was also quietly self-effacing and exceedingly proper, so when she was summarily carted off as an unregistered and presumably dangerous foreigner, everyone in the school, nay, in the entire town, was mightily surprised. Of course, when the government interrogation of her was deep in progress and her skin suddenly began to luminesce and the shoulders of her nice dress ripped at the seams as her wings unfurled from underneath, it turned out that nobody could be more surprised than the feds.digital illustration