The Lost and Lonely Dragon by Richard Tornello


Tell us what you thought of the August 2009 issue

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Post August 12, 2009, 04:09:05 AM

The Lost and Lonely Dragon by Richard Tornello

"Once upon a time ..."

Oh. It's going to be one of those. A cozy little fable, safe from the horrors of C-Minus reality shows. Time for me to get a second glass of milk. You know, because the lactic acid is good for healin' the Vampire Mosquito bite.

...

"In the land of his birth, dragons were respected for their wisdom and beauty..."

Aw come on now, we get to hang out with kewl dragons for half an hour? Okay, let's go full tilt and spike the milk with Beowulf's Own Meade.

Discussants, over to you!

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Post August 14, 2009, 02:12:37 PM

A decent child's tale that I see accompanied by vivid illustrations.

In no particular order, here are some things that struck me:

Should the term tai fung be explained/defined? My first quick Google search did not help me, but then I guessed what it meant and did a more pointed to search for confirmation.

Is the dragon from another land or another world? It's not clear to me as both terms are used. Or does that distinction not need to be made?

Does the dragon need a name? I don't know that he does, just wondering if others think a name might enhance characterization.

The dragon's loneliness is a focal point of the story at least at the beginning. We hear quite a bit about it, but I felt it wasn't shown in a compelling way. We're told he misses the people and animals of his world (and this is nitpicky, but wouldn't he, as a dragon, consider people animals?), so why isn't he comforted or befriended by the other animals of the forest, who, we are told, have accepted his presence? Further, the dragon's compassion for the refugees struck me as almost too pure given the torment he has suffered. If he's so able to forgive and embrace even his enemies, how come he would tolerate his loneliness when the animals of the forest are there?

We're told the dragon was born with the skill to bend light such that he's rendered invisible. But we're also told he has a cloak of invisibility. Now is it a natural-born skill or a garment? I ask because of the following excerpts:

Dragons have a cloak of invisibility! Dragons are born with the skill to bend light around them so that only a careful observer can see even the faintest trace.

And

…one day the Dragon, tired after his exertions, let his cloak fall as he rested under a great cedar tree.

I'm wondering if we should learn earlier about the abandoned city and the dragon's love for the library, particularly when (1) we're told it's his favorite place and second home and (2) it is a key element of the latter part of the story.

I'm also wondering if we should learn about the dragon's flying maneuvers earlier. It might provide an opportunity to explain what some of them are; I could be wrong but I'm not sure that many children (or adults) would know what a cobra stall is (it jarred me a bit to see that term so near the end of the story). Perhaps earlier in the story we learn that the dragon flies over the forest at night to assuage his loneliness. Readers are educated on flying maneuvers and see the dragon's great flying skills displayed. Just a thought.

This has the potential to be a hardbound children's picture book. Possibly the first in a series.

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Post August 14, 2009, 02:24:33 PM

One other small thing...

The following exchange seems to be a bit, I dunno, kinked:

The dragon breathed in a deep sad breath and sighed asking. "Why must you slay me? Have I done anything to harm you?"

"No, you're a Dragon. It's the rules," one of them shouted. They renewed their attack.

Brave little ones, he thought. And aloud, he asked, "And who made those rules?" over the clatter of their wooden tree branch weapons banging harmlessly off the his armored body.

The children never had contact with a real Dragon before. They had only heard stories about dragons. They stopped their attack. The two children looked at each other and back at the Dragon and each other. They shrugged their shoulders. "Just because," said one. "Yes, just because," said the other.

"'Just because' is not a real reason for anything when you think about it, is it?" the Dragon asked.


The kids don't "properly" answer the dragon's question about who made the rules and the dragon doesn't seem to care. Does this need to be addressed or is it OK?
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Post August 14, 2009, 03:21:46 PM

cloak room/stalls

I think your comments are well worth considering and I will use them when I expand the story, which I intend to do. The Dragon is Chinese. I gave hints but not enough.

The flight characteristics could be expanded as well as addressing the other comment (library, animals etc., etc.,). They are not nitpicks to me. This is the type of comment I welcome. They help in seeing the story through some other set of eyes that have no opportunity to understand other than the story as it is, or is not.

Thank you very much. I initially wrote this for my grand daughter, not that she would understand it at her young age (3), yet. But reading to children even "over their heads" is fun for both especially when I get to make things up from my stories and other peoples stories. This is the case especially when I am coerced into reading the same story over and over again:

Hey,maybe in one landing, "Dragon missed the runway and crashed and burned."

THE END

(You never know! It's all according to how I feel at the time. My daughter will never be "right" after to what I did to Pat The Bunny and Good Night Moon. I mean, how many times can one read that without making some changes, just to keep sane???!!! )

Now, we return to our regularly scheduled comments:
His name is Dragon. I like not to give names to my characters if only to allow for greater mental imaging.

Dragon could look like and be like what ever one's mind captures ie., green, red, black, gun-metal gray, eyes in front or side. However predators seem to have their eyes front as opposed to prey.



RT

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Post August 16, 2009, 04:32:30 PM

Good story idea, important themes (nondualism vs. dualism). I figured he was a Chinese dragon from the early use of an oriental term. However, there was no follow through, so the potential clash of cultures idea sort of fizzled out.

I wonder how the same story would read if it was written in the first person from the Dragon's point of view? That would have allowed for more exploration of his Chinese nature, without the need for lots of exposition.

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