Meet my inner dragon.
Who is this odd, scaly, greedy bastard, you ask? Well, he’s the one who eats my confidence, whispers doubt, slurps up my best ideas, and then spits them out, cackling.
In spite of having been working at this writing thing for the better half of my life, my dragon has grown at a rather unbalanced rate. When I was at my youngest, he was smallest not just in actual size and shape but in percentage. In fact, at some point, I’m quite sure that he was an egg. I don’t think I even was capable of hearing him for a while.
Now, the dragon has grown considerably. Not only is he larger than he used to be, he’s larger in proportion to me. At least seventeen feet tall, not including the tail. He’s invited friends of all sort of sundry occupations, including a hobgoblin who has a penchant for listening to really crappy show tunes, and amassed an amazing collection of self-doubt, ridicule, and second-guessing, upon which he sits, drinking out of a golden goblet, every now and again peering down his long, warty nose, and saying to me in as sarcastic mode as he can possibly manage, “You’re writing what?”
The dragon loves to read, and especially the scathing reviews in the Times and New Yorker. He adores Howard Bloom, for reasons I can’t rightly understand, and likes to hold up each piece of writing I create, turn the paper around, singe the edges for good measure, and then laugh hysterically, plumes of smoke rising from his nostrils, and lava tears falling from his golden green eyes.
He has a name, but I don’t know what it is. Even if I saw the name, I wouldn’t know it. That’s the trick with dragons. Until you know their names, until you can call them out, you are powerless against them.
The dragon lives right next-cave to my muse, Aelfric. And since Aelfric is a bard, and plays soft music on a lute, or guitar, or other stringed instrument, much of his inspiration gets drowned out. Aelfric has filed at least thirty complaints with me, and is beginning to be a little aloof. “I can’t work in these conditions, you know,” he said to me yesterday. “I’m thinking of packing up shop and moving to the coast or something.”
So, I suppose that my first attempt will be to walk into the den myself, and see if perhaps, without pretense, I can convince the dragon to have tea with me. I’m currently enjoying some delightful green tea with pomegranate that I imagine would suit his fancy as well.
You see, this tea idea is not simply because I’m a coward (though, I suspect, I am a bit of that, too). I’d like to first try and make peace with him; he’s simply gotten out of hand. There was one point where his presence was just a reminder, a careful whisper that helped me see more clearly, helped me avoid the cliche, the hackneyed, the over-used. But now, nothing gets past him. He’ll sleep for a day or two, sure, and Aelfric and I will dally along, content in story, character, and the magic of words and music. But then he wakes up, grumpier than ever and–I should add–hungrier than ever, and chases us right out of the cave. Occasionally it’ll take Aelfric a good week to come back, the dragon rattles him so.
And then if the tea doesn’t work, then I must contemplate the way of St. George. Only I worry about the consequences. How does one get rid of a dragon, anyway? Especially if it has truly become part of the landscape?