Journal

How Mindel and The Misfit Dragons Came To Be

by | Mar 25, 2014 | Books

I wrote Mindel and The Misfit Dragons after my oldest grandchild, ten at the time, asked me to write a book for children. She and her siblings wanted it to have a Jewish theme, and I had fallen in love with dragons after
researching them for a workshop for her brother’s class. Dragons meant castles, medieval times and fairytales. And somehow there was Mindel. She came to me and began whispering her story about the castle she loved, how hard it was to keep the Sabbath there, and how her family might have to leave.

At the same time three baby dragons were born in a cave not far away. Why three, you ask? Three is a mystical number in many cultures and religions, including Judaism. There are three Patriarchs in the Bible; the Jews are a threefold people (the Priests, the Levites and the Israelites.) We often repeat a prayer three times. It is the number of completion, of the beginning, middle and end. For me it is the rhythm of stories. Remember there were Three Little Pigs, Three Bears, Three Fairy Godmothers, Three Wishes. So there were three dragons, each one a bit strange, whose own parents considered them misfits. I knew that the dragons and Mindel would meet and be the answers to each others’ prayers.

And why a fairytale in verse, you might ask? I might answer that once upon a time, all stories were told as poems. Before the printing press, books were handwritten, but mostly, stories were recited orally and the rhythm and rhyme of poetry made them easier to remember. But that’s only part of it. The truth is, I’m a poet and almost all my stories come to me as poems. The characters talk to me, and I transcribe. And as I write their stories, I come to love them, each and every one.

I love Mindel for her courage and feistiness and refusal to give up. I love Serpenfin for never going against his nature and for searching until he finds his place in the world. I love Pointilla for knowing she has a purpose, a mission, and that somewhere, somehow, she will fulfill it. And I share Bibinfor’s love of books, the written word and lifelong learning. But I do not feel that I created these characters. They came to me because they had a story to tell, and I am honored that they chose me to tell it.

researching them for a workshop for her brother’s class. Dragons meant castles, medieval times and fairytales. And somehow there was Mindel. She came to me and began whispering her story about the castle she loved, how hard it was to keep the Sabbath there, and how her family might have to leave.

At the same time three baby dragons were born in a cave not far away. Why three, you ask? Three is a mystical number in many cultures and religions, including Judaism. There are three Patriarchs in the Bible; the Jews are a threefold people (the Priests, the Levites and the Israelites.) We often repeat a prayer three times. It is the number of completion, of the beginning, middle and end. For me it is the rhythm of stories. Remember there were Three Little Pigs, Three Bears, Three Fairy Godmothers, Three Wishes. So there were three dragons, each one a bit strange, whose own parents considered them misfits. I knew that the dragons and Mindel would meet and be the answers to each others’ prayers.

And why a fairytale in verse, you might ask? I might answer that once upon a time, all stories were told as poems. Before the printing press, books were handwritten, but mostly, stories were recited orally and the rhythm and rhyme of poetry made them easier to remember. But that’s only part of it. The truth is, I’m a poet and almost all my stories come to me as poems. The characters talk to me, and I transcribe. And as I write their stories, I come to love them, each and every one.

I love Mindel for her courage and feistiness and refusal to give up. I love Serpenfin for never going against his nature and for searching until he finds his place in the world. I love Pointilla for knowing she has a purpose, a mission, and that somewhere, somehow, she will fulfill it. And I share Bibinfor’s love of books, the written word and lifelong learning. But I do not feel that I created these characters. They came to me because they had a story to tell, and I am honored that they chose me to tell it.

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