Daily Archives: June 15, 2014

Tarzan, Paddington and Dragonflies and Writing

Okay – so I spent yesterday and last night and this morning at my sister-in-law’s home. My wife had offered to look after her sister’s kids while her sister (my wife Belinda) went camping with HER OWN husband.

I tagged along to keep my wife company and to help her with babysitting duties.

While I was staying there I found out that my sister-in-law, Bobbi-Jo, has a thing for dragonflies.


Yellow-winged Darter

She has got ornamental dragonflies throughout her entire house.

“I wonder just how many there are?” I wondered aloud this morning.

“I dare you to count them,” Belinda said.

So – in the interest of statistical science – I took a notepad and walked methodically around the house counting each and every dragonfly.

There were 51 dragonflies in the living room and dining room.

There were 9 dragonflies in the kitchen.

There were 45 dragonflies upstairs.

There were 14 and 1/2 dragonflies in the treatment room – (Bobbi Jo is a trained and licensed massage therapist).

The half a dragonfly was a husk of a dragonfly nymph attached to a small piece of driftwood.

Which I think is really freaking cool.

A dragonfly nymph has got to be one of the gnarliest-looking ugly-bug in history. The thing lurks in the bottom mud and sticks out its lower jaw to catch wandering water bugs – or “beetle-bugs”, which is what we called almost ALL water bugs when we were kids.

I mean think about that. Imagine being able to sit and eat, just by extending your lower jawbone. Snatching up your food without any bother of fork or knife or etiquette?

I believe I’ll have to practice that.

Take a look at that Youtube video. Isn’t that one seriously ugly bug? It is hard to imagine that a bug that looks like that might actually grow up into something cool and weird and wonderful and beautiful as this.

Kirby's Dropwing Dragonfly - found in South Africa.

Kirby’s Dropwing Dragonfly – found in South Africa.

Isn’t science wonderful?

But you’ve got to ask yourself where did she get all of those dragonflies? Did she buy them all at once? Did she hire a dragonflying service?


She picked them up – one dragonfly at a time and gradually arranged them in her home in a manner that pleased her immensely.

And that’s just how you go about writing a novel as well.

You pick up a novel – one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one paragraph at a time – using your imagination to lay them out in a manner that pleases you immensely.

So go forth now and write a page in whatever project you are working on – whether it is a poem, a song, a story or a novel – just write that page one dragonfly at a time.

I expect the first dragonfly was lost in the clutter. Then, a few dragonflies later they began to stand out a little bit. Then, as the dragonflies began to multiply it began to look as if somebody ACTUALLY knew what they were doing.

Just like the dragonfly nymph – ugly and forlorn and hiding in the bottom-muck snapping up unwary mosquito wrigglers and eating them with their lower jawbone until the moment at which the nymph crawls up along the side of a reed or a cattail and then moults out of its skin and turns into a beautiful dragonfly.

Just like I was saying in my last blog entry – WRITING BLINDLY – sometimes a writer just has to trust to the magic of evolution. Your manuscript – as ugly as that first draft seems to look like – will one day metamorphose into something as beautiful and unique as a dragonfly so long as you clamber up onto that reed and hang on there long enough for the sun to feed you with enough of its solar power.

Like Superman, you will soar.

Superman soaringTrust in the magic of evolution.

Trust in the gift of time.

If you don’t believe me – remember, that it took me THREE freaking drafts to get this blog entry exactly where I wanted it to be.

Don’t get stuck in the swamp.



Speaking of science I thought I’d say something about CGI films.

I saw a trailer for a new version of Tarzan filmed in the same style as James Cameron’s AVATAR.

It looks to me to be a dud.

On the other hand, I also watched a trailer for a new live action film of PADDINGTON BEAR.

That one made me laugh out loud. It looks like a real winner for grown-ups and children alike.

Unlike TED – which truly sucked out loud. I know some of you folks really loved that movie – and I am a BIG fan of The Family Guy – but Ted had almost as much laughs in it as my last rectal examination.

So – with all of the uber-cool CGI techniques that we have at our disposal for the making of movies that could be best described as potentially magic – what is the one thing that Hollywood STILL continually forgets?

A writer.

An honest-to-Hemingway writer.

Get it right, Hollywood.

Hire somebody who knows how to tell a story.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon