Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How to Train . . .

The dragons and monsters that are in our collective unconscious have been weighing on my mind as I take my beach vacation. Maybe it is the sun that is asking about the shadow parts of myself. Or maybe it is the fact that I just went to see How to Train Your Dragon in 3D with five kids.

One of my dragons for sure is the creative/destructive impulse. My wild imagination, and yet my capacity for tearing myself down. I've dealt with my shadow self for a long time and have her somewhat trained, but not fully - in fact, she can run rampant in either direction unless I harness her with craft or close family and friends - or other writers.

The other day when I blogged about NOT writing, Writer and friend Elizabeth Winthrop psychically patted me on the back with her comment on Facebook,"Léna, leave it all behind and remember, a writer is never not writing."

Thank you Elizabeth! I took Elizabeth's words to heart today as I went to the grocery store, jumped in the surf on the beach with my kids, sang songs with my daughter and her BFF in the sun. (And getting a wicked sunburn I might add - I'm on of those mom's who make sure the kids are all slathered up, but can't be bothered when it comes to myself.) When we ran out of songs to sing, the girls started to make up their own songs which were far more interesting: all about stars, love, family, and of course, GLITTER. Such wonderful creativity bursting from their four-year-old hearts!

Beautiful, right? And then the shadow side reared it's head at bed-time, the girls over-tired, but wanting to make-up songs again instead of the usual "book" ritual. "Me first!" they both cried. A coin toss seemed reasonable in the moment - leave it up to fate. My daughter's BFF "won" the coin toss, and my daughter handled it extremely well until her BFF started singing, whereupon she flipped out, completely enraged, the green-eyed monster overtaking her little body, shaking her with sobs.

She was able to work it out with a lot of adult help, and is now fast asleep, friends again with her beloved BFF as I write this. And I'm thinking about the movie title, How to Train . . . rather than How to Tame . . . As a writer, I need "to train" by practicing and learning the discipline. To tame means to domesticate, and in creative terms, if something is tame, I might not take it seriously or get anything out of it.

So yes I want to TRAIN my dragon instead of TAME it. I definitely don't want her fire to be extinguished.


  1. Love it! I just got back from Hawaii and felt the same way...enjoy enjoy enjoy the creativeness of the little ones and how they fire it up for us! And I forgot sunscreen as well!!!

  2. Yes Rebecca! It;s so intense! And I'm glad that I'm not the only mom who forgets sunscreen!

  3. I can't thank you enough for this post. I just found your blog in a roundabout way with this post being where I landed first. So many things I relate to when reading this (though for me it is art rather than writing.) Though I'd never say I'm happy that someone wrestles through this kind of thing I am relieved to see I'm not the only one! Really like the Train Your Dragon reference, too, as our two boys and I saw it a few days ago and I love having a new way of looking at it - Thanks!

  4. I'm so glad that you found me Stacie and that you are a like-minded soul! Thanks for your feedback!

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