Cookie exchange

My sister-in-law held a cookie exchange today. It was lots of fun! The kids ran around and played and ate cookies, the adults talked and laughed and ate cookies, and we drank lots of hot punch. It was cold, wet and overcast, so the kids ran in and out a lot.

This was some of the cookies up for exchange. More came later.
The munchkins eating lunch at the table outside.
Everybody eating and having a good time. This isn’t everybody who was there, only the folks who happened in front of my camera.
There was much drinking of tea.

We also did an ornament exchange, which was very cute. The question of hand-knitted ornaments came up. My sister in law has an Etsy shop where she sells her knits, and she makes these lovely little things.

She also knits zombies.

I told her she needed to knit some creepers from Minecraft. She asked what a creeper was. Meg, this is a creeper.

They sneak up behind you and then explode.
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A horse? (Prophet by R J Larson)

I had an amusing revelation the other day. You know how in writing, you’re constantly told to show, not tell?

Well, there’s this book called Prophet, by R.J. Larson. There are these super horses called Destroyers, and they become the most endearing part of the story. They’re super intelligent, super violent, super loyal, and so on.

Then I read a review someone had written about one of the later books. They referred to the destroyers as dragon-like creatures. And it got me thinking.

If you describe a creature that is huge, black, aggressive, has hooves and a tail, is incredibly vicious and always attacking people, a horse might not be the first thing that comes to mind. It does sound like a dragonish creature.

Made in China

If a writer sacrifices all the telling in favor of all showing, communication breakdowns result between the reader and the writer. I can show you closeups of an animal’s features, but sometimes you need me to come out and say, “It’s a horse.”

It’s all right to say, “The horse tossed his black mane and pawed the ground with a steel-shod hoof.” That sounds deliciously dangerous. But then again, “The Destroyer tossed his black mane and pawed the ground with a steel-shod hoof” is ever so slightly ambiguous. See the picture up there? Hooves and a mane do not always a horse make.

(By the way, here is my review of Prophet: “Pretty good read! Well-written, good characters, plot twists that kept me guessing. The horses were great. My only complaint was the constant retelling of various Bible stories. I felt they made some parts too predictable.”)

But that’s a rant for another day.

Rabbit trails

I got thoroughly sidetracked last night. Let me see if I can unravel the rabbit trail.

So, I was fiddling with this pic.

And I went, eh, you know, wings are kind of cliche. What if I put a DRAGON in there? Like, she has a pet one? That’s slightly less cliche!

Then I pondered it some more. She’s in the snow in a heavy coat. So it’d have to be a fuzzy dragon.

Aren’t there some kinds of dinosaurs that have a coating of down, or what they call “dinofuzz”? So I looked it up. Mostly, it breaks down into “if the dino walked in two legs, it had dinofuzz”.

So I went poking around the illustrations and came across a Therizinosaurus.

It’s like an apatosaurus that walks on two legs and has really wicked front claws. It’s so weird, they’ve reclassified it over and over. They have all kinds of theories about what it might have looked like and what the claws were for (since they’re kind of like sloth claws, there’s depictions of it looking all sloth-like, complete with moldy fur).

Which then got me to thinking. Chinese dragons have always been depicted with fur and scales both.

And Therizinosaurus was discovered in Mongolia, so that fits. Wicked Chinese fuzzy-dragon!

Also, I could make the very interesting point that fuzzy dragons existed in mythology centuries before scientists figured out the dragon-like dinosaurs were fuzzy. Like maybe there were human encounters with the beasties. Interesting, isn’t it?

So now my cloaked girl has a fuzzy dragony friend.

Still conceptualizing at this point, though. I’d like it to have more of a story to it, and the dragon’s side-angle is boring. Also he needs more dragony features. It’ll be such fun to make him all fluffy, though.