In the mail just the other day, I received a parcel. Inside it was something lovely. You see, quite some time ago there were four Porcupine Children in my house who quite exasperated me. In fact, I momentarily considered feeding them to the dog. However, a magical portrait arrived, carried by a USPS stork who’d uncoincidentally gotten blown off course and landed north of the 49th parallel, and it reminded me that the Porcupine Children are too cute to be made into dog food.
That is the first picture.
Then, once upon a time, several delightful and rambling discussions were had about the challenges of balancing creative freelancing with homeschooling, and what it’s like to have kids underfoot 24/7 while trying to work. I said something to the effect that I put my headphones on, turn the music up, and breathe fire when they get so wild I can hear them.
That is the second picture. Very few writers on the planet have the privilege of being edited by a dragon. So far I have not eaten any of my clients.
Then, once upon a time, a wonderful whimsical artist prepared to move house. As she packed and cleaned and painted and played with her very own children (who as far as I know are not porcupines), she set her artwork from the past few years in a merrily decorated roadside market stand alongside a highway whose sign read, “INTERNET.”
I went and perused the merrily decorated market stand, and I found much whimsy and loveliness. But I did not see the pink editor dragon anywhere there. So instead I ordered a green dragon who very much reminds me of some comforting verse:
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For Thou alone, O Lord, do make me to dwell in safety.
I think it may be magical as well, not of the illusionist’s trade or the occultist’s dark art, but some spark of the Deeper Magic.
Well, by this time the USPS stork knew his way, and he landed without error–not even a stumble–in front of an old brick post office building in a tiny town on the edge of a vast and mysterious northland. My son the Bird Boy picked him up and gave him a drink of milk and a cookie. (Who did you think helps fill all the stockings at Christmas? Silly, we all know elves aren’t real.)
The stork brought my peaceful dragon. And then I found out why my favourite of Heather’s book dragons, the editor dragon, was not among the paintings at the merrily decorated market stand.
It’s because some things are a gift.
Like the ability to take up the ink and the brush and capture not just life, but a fantastical tale spun from where imagination takes a leap off life’s cliff. Like the gift of capturing a spark of the magic that is more than imaginary.
Like friendship. And the fact that if one has the right kind of eyeglasses, one sees that editor dragons and Porcupine Children really do come true.
I cannot repay the gift–that’s how they are made. But I can share this story with you. Perhaps you, too, should visit the merrily decorated market stand and see if a bit of fantastical magic, a part of your story, is hiding there waiting for you.