Words forged in earth, air, fire, and water
The quote of the day

The Desire for Dragons

Ignis and Cara by PJ Lynch

Today, I'd like to initiate a new Moveable Feast topic: "The Desire for Dragons: What Brings Us to Myth & Fantasy?"

This topic is based on some of the quotes we've been discussing this week, about why we write, or paint, or perform, or read, or simply love fantasy and mythic art. Why are we, in Mollie Hunter's words, among those "who actively retain the desire for [the sense of wonder] known in childhood"? What brought here to the numinous landscape of Faerie, and why do we stay?

The title of the Feast comes from J.R.R. Tolkien. “I desired dragons with a profound desire," he wrote regarding his life-long taste for myth and tales of magic. "Of course, I in my timid body did not wish to have them in the neighborhood. But the world that contained even the imagination of Fáfnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever the cost of peril.”  I chose this title because Tolkien's passionate desire for a world colored by myth and mystery is one familiar to all of us who create and love mythic arts. (Offerings for the Feast needn't literally be about dragons, mind you--but of course, they can be too.) What we're discussing here is the why. Why are we drawn to stories and other art forms (both contemporary and historic) with their roots dug deep into the soil of myth?

"Do people choose the art that inspires them," Alice Hoffman has asked; "do they think it over, decide they might prefer the fabulous to the real?"  For Hoffman, "it was those early readings of fairy tales that made me who I was as a reader and, later on, as a storyteller." But what about for each of us?

The following posts are the first dishes for the Feast (a little tray of appetizers, perhaps): "Shaping stories, and being shaped by them," "Finding the colors again," and "Dreaming Awake."

You're welcome (as always) to bring whatever you like to the table: a piece of prose, a piece of art, a poem, a quote, etc., etc.; and you're welcome to offer more than one dish, should you be inspired to do so.

There are three ways to participate:

Faeries in the Kitchen by Wendy Froud1. By posting your offering on your own blog, and then leaving a link in the Comments section of this post. (When you do, please let me know where in the world you're located. The information will be needed for this Feast's list on the Moveable Feast page.)

2. Those of you who don't have blogs of your own are welcome to put your contribution here, in the Comments section of this post. (But nothing exceedingly long here, please!)

3. You can also contribute to the Feast simply by joining in the conversation and responding to the various offerings--both in the Comments here and in the Comments sections of participating blogs.

If you're new to the Moveable Feast concept, visit the Feast page for an explanation--and to see the range of offerings folks have contributed to previous Feasts.

Now I should warn you, I'm going to be away for the next week (I'm off on a writing retreat, happily), but I welcome you, as a community, to take over the Comments section here in my absence and thus to get this Feast rolling...in fact, I'm rather counting on you to do that. I'll read everything that's posted as soon as I'm back online (Saturday, Feb 16) -- and I'll contribute a more substantial dish of my own the following week.

Please pass word of the Feast (and an explanation of how it works) to anyone who might be interested in participating. They needn't be regular readers of this blog.

All are welcome at the table.

A wee feast at BumblehillImages above: "Ignis and Cara" by the Dublin-based illustrator P.J. Lynch (from his book Ignis), "Kitchen Faeries" by Wendy Froud (photographed by Toby Froud, for a lovely article by Ari Berk), and feasting at Bumblehill.


An assignment! I don't have a blog myself, but I'll think about what "dish" I could add here.

Have a good, productive retreat, and we'll take good care of your blog while you're gone!


A table I would like to be invited to please. Dragons can be found in Nottingham, UK

Thank you for coming, Charlotte. Pull up a chair!

I don't write or paint or anything grand, but appreciate those who do, and love mythic arts, so I'll use option number 3 and join in the conversation. Pass the wine!

Also, I love the P.J. Lynch illustration.

A wonderful post, Charlotte. Your work is delightful.

Desiring Dragons

“I desired dragons with a profound desire,"--J.R.R.Tolkien

Be careful, wishing can be getting.
Desire at the same time an open heart,
an inquisitive mind, a books of stories
and a notebook full of riddles,
a good pair of walking shoes,
aloe for burns, a roasting spit,
a change of underwear.
Do not bring armor.
Leave the sword behind.

© 2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

An illustrator's perspective...

I chuckled and chuckled at the advice in this, will have to read it to the kids at school.

We wrote instructions on how to capture a dragon (ala Cressida Cowell) not sure anyone remembered to bring a change of underwear.

David, you may moan all you like about dragons, but you still paint and draw them splendidly. (And where but Chagford does one have conversations about dragon anatomy while waiting in line at the butcher shop? I love this village.)

Fantastic advice, Jane.

Nevermind the dragons, what is on those plates??? Whatever it is, I want some.

Our daughter's riff on Eggs Benedict, with smoked salmon and rocket. She's a professional chef (trained in a Michelin star kitchen in London) so she's very good...and we're very lucky.

As somewhat of a party crasher, I don't have much to offer. I'm not much of a cook, nor am I particularly charming, nor do I bring the best bottles of wine. However, there is a little something that I can offer as a sort of amuse-bouche. It's a poem that has been floating around in my head since I was a teenager (and that's been a long time):

When time is at an end,
the light has died away.
I'll sing the dance of stars
until the coming day.

It's sort of a riddle...

Thank you, glad you like it.

I love and find it significant that this was posted on the last day in the year of the dragon. Will be back with an offering soon.

I wrote something small from New Zealand ... http://knittingthewind.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/why-i-write-way-i-do.html

What fun!

Here's my first contribution. It may be a starter or all that I'll bring. Only time will tell.


The illustrations in the book Ignis are delightful and full of wonderful detail. My children used to love that book when they were younger. I still love it now!

Indeed. Especially the change of underwear.

I had never considered the anatomical difficulties inherent in the body of a dragon. The physiology would be something to wrestle with, too. Troublesome beasts.

However, the child's shadow dragon is wonderful and I love the Dragon stopping the train.

They are gorgeous. I too love the shadow, you would spend hours of fun chasing your shadow around if it was one like that.

I love riddles! It's a perfect amuse-bouche!

I'm off to read Sarah and Austin's posts, and will catch up with others when I return next Saturday.

And now, everyone, the Feast is in your hands....

oh, this is lovely...i'm so enjoying everyone's offerings..wonderfully tasty things!

here's a little something i made from the scraps of things i found in the cupboards...



ooops! forgot to mention i am in Troy, Ontario (Canada) :)

*grin* too true, too true...one can never be too careful...

love this!

they may be causing you aggravation, but i'd say you've wrangled them onto the page most beautifully.

now, would your two-legged versions fall into the category of Wyvern? i shall have to clarify that with my girl-child, she is the dragon-keeper hereabouts..

i think i'd very much like to live in your village, if these are considered everyday conversations...:)

I think this scrap is very tasty, Mel. There is good dragon lore in Ontario.

Oh wow! a writer's blog!! I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to have found your blog - it's wonderful!
And LOVE that pic of the kitchen/dining table!
I will be back here for sure!

Ah what a fabulous feast Terri & everyone, many dragons have flown out these doors over the years but here's a favourite from way back in 1989
from Mo in Sydney, Australia

David, you seem to have a pretty good grasp of dragon anatomy. Wonderful illustrations! Imagine looking out of the train window and glimpsing that magnificent dragon!

Dragon illustration 2 looked like a horde or dragonFLIES. Which are, of course, a species
of magic all their own. Dragon illustration 4 could be dozens of stories. Dragon stops
train to save small child who fainted on the tracks....an illustrious dragon prince or princess needing a ride....A dragon prince-or princess-changleling stopping the train to rescue his or her kidnapped lover...or just a dragon cop with a warrant....

Under San Francisco I am quite sure there is a Chinese Dragon who sidles up from time to time to shadow the Dragon with many feet dancing and twisting in the New Years Parade. This is the Year of the Serpent and I hope to interview these myth-twined creatures, in the shadows of tall buildings as the drums and fire crackers welcome the New Year. The Chinese Dragon is wise and not stupid. The Chinese Serpent like many despised creatures in the west, is actually powerful and helpful when needed. Gung
Hey Fat Choi.

I really love this. Such wise words that can be applied to more than just dragon chasing. Right now I'm wanting a book of riddles...

Your dragons are breath-taking! They're so graceful and fluid. Your description of dragon anatomy vaguely reminded me of "Trogdor the Burninator". Though Trogdor is fierce, I believe I prefer your dragons. :)

This is really beautiful. I love that it's been in your head since you were a teen. It's almost a part of you now.

I tried to comment on your blog, but it doesn't seem to be working, so I apologize if this is redundant.

Your piece is absolutely and utterly gorgeous. Every bit of it. And that photo! It looks like a doorway into that world you speak of. I believe you are an exile from that place, too, because your writing is so enchanting.

And I love the concept of the amuse-bouche! At a hotel restaurant about a block away
from my studio, the waiter turned it into something that resembled a magic trick. Presto,

Adding to the Feast:

Blame my mother. The first movie I remember seeing is Disney"s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. She bought me booklets of fairy tales with beautiful illustrations, and read to me, Alice In Wonderland and Little Women, so I decide I wanted to be a writer, like Jo and write like Carroll. She believed in angels and fairies. I never quite felt they were not much the same. She died when I was nine and bequeathed to me the worlds of imagination and the Other. When I went to college I hid this from all the academically inclined. Then as I often repeat, Isac Dinesen rescued me. It became all about the quest for fellowship and sisterhood which I knew must be out there. And it is. Myth lives on. If you play your cards and cast a few spells, you know you have companions, including right here, in Myth and Moor.

I echo these remarks: nice illustrations! And just to add another thought: I find dragons puzzling, not (for me) anatomically, but (how to put it?) as beings. As personalities. As characters, I guess. I wonder if they have the personality equivalent of four legs and two wings, too?

I love your post, your beautiful illustration, and that you could have a conversation in the butcher's about dragons ... and I apologise for not saying so directly on your website, but the comments requirements defeated me ;-)

Thank you, what a very nice thing for you to say. I was very lucky with the photograph.

"A change of underwear" - oh how true!

Truly enchanting, in every way.

I love it and am sharing the video widely. A thoroughly charming poem and a thoroughly charming performance of it!

Since Terri's not here this week to say so, I will boldy take upon myself to speak for the readers here,

Welcome to the table!

I love your work, Mo.

Phyllis, where can we read your stories and poems? I love what you write here and want to read more!

We'll do our best to keep the dinner party going until your return, Terri. Have a good retreat.

"Closing her yes, she remembered the way.

Dragon-wise and to the left.

Her satchel became a quiver of silver arrows."


Me too! Extraordinary art, David. I've been a fan of yours for a long while...

Why, thank you! :)

My dish is a tale and a painting:


You may click on the image to view it in detail.


Everything about this is perfect. I'm guessing that you've already tweaked the poem a bit, since it's different than the reading. Both versions are dazzling.

I concur! I'd love to read more, as well.

Reminds me of the paper dragons I'd see hanging in Chinatown, LA, when I lived there. They're so majestic and mystical and powerful indeed.

Oh! I forgot to include that I'm writing from the blue hills of North Carolina.

Love the felted dragon!

The comments section defeated me as well. I receive e-mail updates from David's site, but have never been able to reply.

Cynthia Rose and Raquel Somatra, thank you...gosh-blush. I'm not sure this is ethical but it's free, no strings, so in my writing there is a before and an after. Before, it was all poems and stories in little magazines when blogs and worldwide connections were just a dream. In 1978, my son had his head injury and so everything changed. I now have time again, so you can google Phyllis Holliday poet, writer, theatre or all three. I am also on two sites, Abalone Moon, which has a raft of great poets and writers, and Laborfest Blog, work of our writing group. I feel weird about this. But it's lovely for you to ask.

Thanks for the kind comments. Sorry to hear about the problems messaging on my blog; maybe I should move onto typepad as it seems to work very well.

I have sampled all the dishes linked above and find them -all- to be delicious and nutritious. Tis an outstanding Feast in the making, and an outstanding community gathered around the mythic table.

Your family background is magical in itself, and I am glad for this introduction to your blog and your work.

No need to feel weird about sharing your work here as sharing writing/art/music etc is what this blog is all about, the spirit that Terri, and Jane, and so many others, bring to it. I too look forward to reading more of your work.


Love it.

That's a gem, love the performance - and your room!

Picture and words in perfect tandem. Beautiful.

Yes. A good pair of walking shoes is far better than a sword, oh yes.

I can almost hear the music behind this....

Thank you, Rachel.

There's a newer, tweeked version in my head right now. Interestingly, little bits changed in the telling, the written was was the 'original.'

Bless you! A.

Thanks Chris.

My room is rather over-burdened with objects but is well insulated with books!



I am so sorry for misspelling your name! Do forgive me. I'm a fool.


Just read your delicious dragon poem. Could not open the reading but imagined the poem as a hearty song., almost yo ho ho. Love it.

Thank you, Chris. I needed that. Whew. I haven't Googled myself for ages so I was surprised there is so much stuff ( including paeons to Billy Holiday and Phyllis Hyman, both wonderful singers and Judy Holliday, too soon gone). I discovered just Phyllis Holliday Poet was the least scattered with others. It is a lot more than I expected and many quotes on Myth and Moor & Theodora Goss. I reminded myself to send more to Laborfest Writers. It's like taking a fly with Mercuri's winged boots to travel in the vast timeless routes of the air in which our comments can be found. Long live the feasts of magic.

Either that, or please let me know how I might order a print. Thanks

I've enjoyed this feast very much. I wanted to bring a dish, but I think I've only managed a sauce. So be it.

Here's my offering: http://john-pyle.blogspot.com/2013/02/i-come-to-faerie-because.html

Loved the performance AND the review of "Mind Of the Raven", a personal favorite. Have you read "In the Company of Crows and Ravens" by Marzluff and Angell?

Thank you.

Bernd Heinrich is a great hero of mine. I haven't read Marzluff and Angel's book but if you recommend it I shall look out for it.

I'm currently involved in a 5 year study of Starling (sturnus vulgaris) biology in the NE. but I always have time for Raven!

All the best to you.


Hi John,

I left a comment on your blog...

I just want to say to everyone else - make sure you go and taste John's sauce - it is absolutely DELICIOUS!


I was fortunate enough to have been raised in Faerie, in a manner of speaking... I was blessed with a mother who read both widely and well in fantasy and SF (somewhat unusual still, in the 1960s), and my literary diet was always rich in myth and wonder. I always come back to it because it's home.

I have a small selection of prints available on Etsy:
Best wishes,

I love that it is home for you. There are times when I feel like a bit of an intruder in fantasy... for a variety of reasons. But I'm learning what it means to call this place home. That is a true blessing, for you to have grown up with your mother's influence.

The thing is, I didn't realize that my family background was magical until I wrote about them in a university class. It made me view them, their beliefs, and their rituals with more careful attention.

Thank you so very much, Chris, for your lovely words.

"Long live the feasts of magic."

Hear, hear!

I'm going to carve some time this week to find more of your work, Phyllis. Thank you for giving us the key. :)

Greetings all - and what a fine feast we are having!

I would hate to give anyone indigestion but I have prepared another dish to lay on the table. A short essay this time. You can read it here, if you will:


Go well one and all,


Greetings from the States...Missoula, MT to be exact. In our community we have a carousel called Dragon Hollow. In the Hollow (on the carousel), I am happy to say, is a dragon. http://carouselformissoula.com/scafti/ He is the pride of the city and THE most popular animal on the ride. All of the newbie carvers at the carousel are initiated by carving a dragon head. It is a good way to keep dragons alive in our community.

Thanks, Terri, for the wonderful topic. This morning I drove to work wondering what our town would look like if a dragon lived in the surrounding mountains and flew in our skies. Wishful thinking on my part...or perhaps he is just sleeping. Hum...

I hope you like my work. In some ways, it's also play. I have a short story on Abalone Moon called Mona Lisa and the Cat. All poems and stories come like a flash, except they don't usually turn into flash fiction. That one came as a surprise.

Like Columbo in the old TV show, one more thing. The little girl making friends with the dragon reminds
me of Hushpuppy in Beasts Of The Southern Wild. So brave and sweet, except dressed up for a party.

This is what I hope to be giving my own child.

Thanks, Austin.

Such a nice legacy. I'm with Sarah - hope my boys can say this about me some day. (Bedtime story-time isn't hurting, I think.)

Thanks David....see you there!

What a fabulous idea for a moveable feast. I am going to spend the weekend reading through the many offerings. My own contribution can be found here: http://smallofferings.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/painting-the-marvelous/

Mission accomplished! Can't wait to receive them.


Here's my offering - a "Dragon-Seeker's Quest" to understand exactly why I, and so many people, "desire dragons".

Featuring the incredible art of John Howe.

Hope you enjoy!

My small offering can be found here: http://www.erzaveria.com/2013/i-desired-dragons

I've just read it and it's lovely. I really enjoy your style of writing. Thanks again for sharing.

Thank you, Raquel.

I tried twice to sign in with my twitter account and leave a comment but couldn't! Any way, I loved your illustration. Oh to have a dragon shadow of my own!

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