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Of flying

At some point in high school, I went to the Westheimer Arts Festival and found a tiny dragon pendant on a delicate silver chain. I LOVED that thing. I wore it every day I could, almost never taking it off. It was silver, and very simple, and if it hadn't been the late 80s, I would swear it was a laser cut piece of metal. It looked as if it were cut out of a piece of sheet metal, and the features, for such a two dimensional piece, were delicate. When I got to college, I toyed with the idea of eventually having it tattooed to my right hip, where Relampago's tattoo is now. I decided that I'd wait a year or so before going ahead and doing it (back then, I didn't know all that many people with tattoos). And at some point during the waiting period, I lost the pendant. For the next few Westheimer Arts Festivals, and even for the first few Bayou City Arts Festivals (the festival changed names and locations, for you non-Houstonians out there), I'd hunt high and low for the vendor who sold me the original pendant. I never found it. It's probably for the best that I never did, not because I would have regretted ever having a dragon tattoo, but because I would have wanted the tattoo to be as tiny as the piece had been, and that would have looked terrible. I didn't know much about tattoos and placement and sizing or anything much about tattoos in general back then.

When I was twelve or so, I picked up my first Pern novel. I found it at a children's bookstore that I used to go to in Rice University Village. My mom had arranged an account for me there. Every few weeks, I'd go to the Village, and I was allowed to pick up one book a trip. I think the owner sent my mom a bill at the end of the month. At any rate, the first Pern book that I bought was Dragonsong, the first book in the Harper Hall Trilogy. I LOVED it, and I went on to devour the rest of the trilogy as quickly as I was allowed to get new books. As soon as I was done with the Harper Hall Trilogy, I wanted to find as much as I could about the rest of the universe. I had to buy Dragonflight and Dragonquest and The White Dragon at Bookstop, but I probably read each one of them a dozen times.

I fell in love with all of the characters. I loved the universe. I pretended that I had my own dragon (a gold named Micath) with whom I could have grand adventures in all sorts of time periods. Somewhere in this period of time, I was beginning to understand and explore the concept of sex, and the idea of sex through a dragon was intriguing to me. The universe in my fantasies was very heavily influenced by the first few Pern novels.

I'm certain that I never read anything past Dragonsdawn. I remember getting it for Christmas when it came out (hardcover!), and I didn't like the insertion of technology and science and space travel into the fantasy universe I loved so much. I also was very upset about the misogyny that went into the bioengineering of the dragons. It seemed so arbitrary and mean and unfair. I'm not sure why I thought that bothered me so much when the rape-of-unsuspecting-teenager-through-dragon-sex idea in Dragonflight never bothered me at all. Probably because at that period in time I was also reading a TON of trashy romance novels, and it seemed like there was a rape every other chapter in those books. But it pissed me off no end that the girls never got to have any fun because of some traditionalist bioengineer, and I was put off finding out what happened next.

Sooner or later I outgrew the Dragonriders of Pern and moved on to other literary obsessions, but holy shit did those novels dominate my imagination for a good hunk of my childhood.

Someone on my lawyer board sort of wondered why these novels were never dramatized in popular culture. I know tons of dorks, nerds and assorted geeks who loved the novels as much as I did. I suspect that with the development of CGI and 3D, it'd probably be easier to do such a movie or TV show now, but I'm hopeful that they'll leave the series alone and to the imaginations of girls who want to fly.


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Nov. 23rd, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC)
Love this. Rest in peace, Anne McCaffrey.
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