Post by Jenny
Today marks the first day of Chinese New Year, so here’s my second annual Gung Hay Fat Choy (best wishes, congratulations, and have a prosperous and good year) post. In case you’re wondering, there’s nothing in my heritage that warrants celebrating Chinese New Year. I do it because it’s fun and involves tasty food.
This is the Year of the Dragon, a revered and auspicious symbol in Chinese culture. Legend has it that Dragon has nine sons, each with his own strength. I thought it would be fun to apply the nine dragon qualities to writing. (As with all legends, there are different versions):
1st son loves music. Soothing, energizing, inspiring...whatever facilitates melodious prose. I like the sound of that;
2nd son loves fighting. Conflict in a writer’s life can be bad. Conflict in a character’s life is essential. Additionally, I hope I’m not the only one who feels the need to channel martial arts energy when confronting the evil foes Procrastination and Writer’s Block;
3rd son loves adventure and keeping guard. That strikes me as a good balance between risk and safety;
4th son loves howling. I don’t know about you, but some days, I just want to howl—in elation, frustration, or at the moon. Permission granted;
5th son loves quietness, sitting, fire, and smoke. Kids at school, me at my desk, a candle flickering nearby…that has the makings of great writing time;
6th son has strength. A general definition of manual labor is work done with the hands. That’s what writing is. Our work might not strain our backs or buff our biceps, but writers need physical, mental, and emotional strength. How else are we to put 90,000 words together in logical fashion?
7th son loves justice. Let’s hear it for fair treatment for writers everywhere, regardless of political and geographical boundaries;
8th son loves literature. It might be a good year to brush up on the classics; and
9th son loves water. Hydration, a hot bath, quiet time on the river, a fountain, and flow…all very good things for writers.
I’ve read a number of predictions, both wonderful and awful, for this dragon year. But I’ll leave you with this: The dragon is the only one of the 12 Chinese signs that is not a real animal, so in Dragon years, we may be able to achieve that which seems impossible.
What not-so-impossible goal would you like to reach this year?