Friday, July 23, 2010

Write the Dragon. Read the Beast.

"Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed." Author unknown.

She draws with candy sticks of color. Stick figures smiling back at her from the page. She looks in the mirror wondering where her smiles have gone. Who has seen them? Who would know?

Passion fruit eating fairies listen to the stories she tells in their garden. Little winged people all tucked up in her mother's forgotten garden. Weeds live here too. She thinks she might be one of them.

She reads. Like one would breathe, she reads. Mostly at night. As if darkness could gobble up her bedroom and torch light could free the words on her page. She hasn't yet worked out that she will one day grow up. When she does these stories will matter.

Wolves huff and puff. Piggies shake in houses that fall. Red Riding Hood isn't safe is stalked in the forest. Gingerbread men run away.  Grandmother's morph into creatures with big eyes, and ears and child eating teeth. The sky is falling. And dragon's breathe fire.

Children live in world's you could never imagine.
If you write for them, tell the truth. Dragons can be slayed.
If you read to them, discuss the truth. Confront the villains. Cut the beasts to size. And give childhood back its freedom.

What about you? Do you write the dragon or read the beast?


  1. I have no clue! LOL But children do have amazing imaginations. I remember being lost in mine, and I remember being sad when getting lost became harder and harder to do.
    Right now it's morning. I'm sitting outside with the boys. They're armed with "knives" and "guns", ready to hunt some bad guys. :-)

  2. Oh, WOW! Is this post FABULOUS!
    Kinda what Natasha has been teaching me: give people stay-with-them reads.

    Did you ever nail this. May forward it to her.


  3. Ah, I can't wait until Brogan gets to the age where he can start imagining things like this and I can play along. I know he already does, because I catch him galloping his food across the table and making exploding noises. He just can't share with me yet.

  4. Both :) And Tab, you are a treasure.

  5. Good morning Tabitha! I read to my 4, as an Elem Ed grad I was immersed into picture books and never want to leave! I really like how you talked about teaching the kids the truth. We decided the truth was more important than the big white bunny who mysteriously gets into your house, among other characters! We had to call it quits when Santa was equated with Jesus. Hey, you can't see him either!

  6. I love this analogy! Reading can be the best adventure for any child and adult, and I want my children to enjoy the escape of reading as much as I do.

  7. Oh this is such a beautiful post!

    It's both for me.

    I agree with Jessica - I miss those days when imagination came so easily. With the blink of an eye, you could completely transport yourself to another world.

    It's a little harder these days, but not impossible. That's the great thing about writing - when you're in that frame of mind - you don't have to "grow up".

    I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

  8. When we used to read scary stories to our daughter, I would look her in the eye and say in as firm a voice as I could: "Bears (or dragons, or monsters, or whatever) are not allowed in our house." It worked, for a while...

  9. My daughter has a 10yr old son and right from the start if he asked questions she always told him the truth. Funnily he never asked about Santa Claus so she never told him an untruth.
    I think children in this generation know more than I ever did at their age, whether it's taking their childhood away or not I am not so sure if it's a good thing.
    Thanks for bringing up this issue.

  10. Ahh, the places a book can take you!

    I love listening to my children drum up little tidbits from their imaginiations!

    They're so priceless.

  11. Gorgeous writing from you--again. I live the dragon in words and pictures.
    By the way, the dragons quote is widely attributed to the English author G. K. Chesterton.

  12. This post sounded like a great fairy tale! I write the dragon. I know the truth and I'm not afraid to tell it.

  13. I love this. We need to develop tools to help our children keep their imaginations well into their teenage years and adulthood.

  14. Great post Tab1
    I think my cg¡hild loves it all, the beasts the dragons, dinoasurs, and I let him use his imagination as far as he can get, unless something is going wrong or hurting him...


  15. Nicely put! And the dilemma remains...Hm...Best!

  16. Both! The child in me is still in love with dragons, beasts, castles, princesses, magic spells. I don't think it will ever end.

  17. My poems write themselves. I just step aside and let them pass onto the page.

  18. Wow, Tab! This is amazing. Very fairy tale feeling in its own right, and so beautiful to read. A perfect package starting with the photo and quote and ending with your passion. Wonderful.

  19. Thank you all for visiting. I have been quite sick over the weekend, so I am to visit blogs on Mon.

  20. Fantastic post, Tabitha!

    I can definitely agree with you that children definitely have a wonderful and creative imagination filled with monsters, faeries, and mythical creatures of all sizes and kinds. I used to have a giant imagination myself when I was a kid, but sadly I grew up and lost some of that touch. In many ways, I'm still that little kid who wants to tell stories, I just have a bigger audience in mind.

    Write on, write the dragons and read the beasts!