Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Dragon: a true story

It was during Thanksgiving vacation three years ago that I began writing the first draft of The Stone Dragon.

Suddenly I was seven thousand words into the story, and I realized I had a novel to complete. I don't remember how the idea came. I don't remember how the characters came. There was this flowing, and then there is was. Like magic....

This is what I do remember. I remember that I felt gnomes had been getting bad press. Think about it. The Saturday morning cartoons of chubby gnomes with tall, pointy hats and the voice of Tom Bosley? The garden gnome statues, for crying out loud! Fantasy writer Terry Brooks' gnomes, vicious little creatures that attacked like a pack of chihuahuas to tear you to pieces?

I saw gnomes as incarnations of the forces of nature. Existence is energy, but existence is intelligent energy. The world is actually very orderly. Humans just see it as chaotic--when we're in the chaotic, I'm-not-in-control-of-my-life mode. For me, magical creatures were a way of personifying that intelligent forces of the world--impulses of creative intelligence, one might say.

The same is true with dragons. Dragons have been characterized as the bad-boys of the fantastic realm, for the most part. Pyromaniacs of the magical realm. My idea was that dragons were higher order impulses of creative intelligence--uninvolved with the ways of humanity, for the most part.

The main character of The Stone Dragon, Glimmer, finds himself interacting with the forces at a level of intimacy that he is not ready for. That provides the major conflict of the novel, for Glimmer to find a way to be able to function at deeper levels of existence in a safe, beneficial manner. To survive and maybe even thrive.

He learns the Silence of the Saints, a meditation technique that establishes him in the source of waking, dreaming, and sleeping. Experiencing the Silence of the Saints provides Glimmer with the stability to begin to function as a magician without chaotically destroying the environment, his friends, and himself.

Sound familiar? Well, I am a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation Program. We write from our experience, and I am so grateful that my experience includes both silence and dynamism.

This Thanksgiving, I am working on draft two of the sequel to The Stone Dragon. Dragons of Blood and Stone is about Glimmer's interaction with the environment, about how as one's consciousness expands from the boundaries of the small self to the unboundedness of the cosmic self, nature supports you as you support nature. Glimmer is a busy guy in the second book: a functioning dream mage has a lot of nature to support!

Copyright 2009 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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