So it’s been eight days since I’ve had a chance to properly use the internet. I’m glad to see that the world hasn’t been reduced to a smoldering cinder, there hasn’t been wide spread panic, things have just continued as they always do.
But this isn’t completely true, certainly not in the selfish sense, and isn’t that important as the world is made up of individuals trying to figure out which group is least likely to eat them when they go to sleep?
I didn’t know what it’d be like to feel keys under my fingers, far from the world of editing, and social media. I found myself slipping between the pages of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods once more, finding shapes and meaning in the shadows that I had overlooked in my previous haste. Then there was Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, which was enjoyed over various amorous coffees as I watched the valentine first dates and the old couples, before sliding back into Tyler’s plan to use Marla’s mom’s fat to make soap. Then came George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and Ransom Riggs Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children—which I found in a charity shop for 99p yesterday, and am already halfway through—which I think make it a literary long week.
There has been some writing, a small smattering of scribbles on college ruled paper, as I attempt to turn a recurring dream into a strange Carrollesque tale about the personalities that live under airport escalators, waiting, watching, and ready to pull you through the tooth-edge bottom step.
Mostly I’ve been thinking, and a little bit of talking. I’ve been thinking about stories, about myths, about dragons. I came to the conclusion that it’s not always enough to notice a dragon, you have to know what to do, especially when you’re in the company of those that you love.
Dragons deserve respect, and be weary about putting trust in those that tell you otherwise. Dragons deserve respect because they are dangerous: their hide is thick, their words burn, and their reach is endless and swift on leathery wings. But there’s more to it than that, because as everyone knows dragons guard treasure. It’s the last point that makes dragons so interesting, that counterweight to the great malevolence they bring.
Some people think only of the treasures and gold, with no concern for the price of such riches, the history that spans before each glittering piece, or the dreadful guardians waiting to destroy anyone foolish enough to take it.
There are lots of reasons why someone would face such impossible odds, one being that the chance of coming out victorious means access to wealth beyond comprehension, and the knowledge that they had stood against such a terrible foe and survived. Some choose to fight only one dragon, finding the prospect of facing down another, perhaps even greater beast, too much to bear. And there are those that care little for the wealth, but live for the conflict itself, wondering how far they can slip into the chaos before it swallows them entirely.
But what of the others? What about those who seek not to slay the dragon but to live happily by its side stealing what stray coin they can? What of those that have no word or image for dragon who can’t believe their luck at finding such prospect inside the mouth of the mountain?
Both knights and prospectors prosper from the presence of dragons, but unlike the knight the prospector is happy to live alongside the dragon, shaking their pans through the waters full of silt and blood in the hope of finding a little gold. So what happens when a knight comes along to kill the dragon and steal the gold? What chance of life is their for someone who lives on the very edges of chaos when a hero comes along and takes everything from them?
Not everyone has good intentions, and there are those mean to cause harm, these are the people who walk into the bowels of the caves in search of dragons, allowing themselves to be swallowed hole where they can live in the belly of the beast. But life is lonely down there in the dark, and so they begin to whisper to the dragon, telling it of weak points of their cities, of the unguarded shepherds. It’s hard to understand why someone would do this, but perhaps even in the deepest darkness there is a yearning for contact, to be seen, to be known.