Did My Train of Thought Run Off The Rails?

January 19, 2014 at 8:15 am (Book Commentary) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve been ruminating about dragons this week. A seven year old girl named Sophie asked Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) for a dragon early this year and though CSIRO first responded with a sincere apology they later decided that creating a dragon for Sophie was a possibility and the internet collectively went Awww. Sophie brings to my mind a positively proper polite British child heroine of the prim and proper books (like What Katy Did or Ballet Shoes) that I read as a child. A child heroine who would find a way to meet dragons no matter the hardship.

Then, Thursday (Jan 16th) was Dragon Appreciation Day.

Green Gazing Ball

There was a point in my youth and childhood when I too was enchanted by the possibilities of magical creatures. I would wonder the forest in the middle of town and contemplate what I would do if I ran into an unicorn, or came across a Pegasus or was captured by a dragon. Impossible – dragons only went after princesses and I was not (in any way) a princess! That was what all the fairy tales told me. These were the dragons I knew in my childhood. But then I grew up, as all children do and became acquainted with dragons of a different sort.

This is where my ruminating took me this week. I vaguely remembered the dragons from my teens but what centered itself in my mind was a story of sisters and dragons and music but that’s all I could remember. The dominating image of the book were endpapers consisting of music sheets (music and lyrics). I wanted to rediscover this book!

So, I went (as one does these days) to Google.

I googled “dragon white young adult book” because I was pretty sure this was a young adult book. What I got, of course, was result after result mentioning Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. Yes, I had read these books but this was not the book I was looking for. (These were not the droids I was looking for).

The book I was looking for had sisters and music at the center of it and like the Pern books I was sure there was more than one book in the series.

So, back to Google. This time the key words were “sister light dark young adult book“. There we go. There it was. First result. Sister Light, Sister Dark by Jane Yolen. A favourite childhood fantasy author who often writes about mythological creatures, like dragons.

Sister Light, Sister Dark is a story of the young white-haired Jenna who is a child of prophecy called upon to reunite the broken kingdom of the Dales. The book is broken into sections: the story, the ballad, the history, the tale, etc. Songs and music seen to be included but until I actually get a copy in my eager little hands I won’t be able to confirm that the music is on the endpapers. And I’m pretty sure that there are no dragons here. (Here be Monsters).

So, this is how one’s thought process starts out searching for dragons and ends up finding sisters.

It’s like our conversations in the staff room at work last week. We start off talking about foam, circle around to phones, take a side road into answering machines and end up talking about time spent on everyday conversations and how we decide on whether or not to answer a ringing phone. Or we will be talking about the local centennial and suddenly find ourselves talking about the Olympics and the co-worker who left just after the conversation started walks back into the room and gets all confused well those of us who stayed understand perfectly how the conversation evolved from the centennial to the Olympics. Our mayor proclaimed that our centennial celebration opening would rival that of the Olympics.

You start on a path or get on a train absolutely sure of your route and destination. But then suddenly you look up and you’re somewhere you never expected to be. You start off looking for a dragon and end up back at home with your sisters. How completely unexpected that this path would end up at this destination.

How often does your train go completely off the rails?

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