Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Writers' Guide
Childhood Inspiration from Rare Photograph of Young Helen Keller

When I was in grade school, middle school, etc., I read the book of Helen Keller's life during the summer. Every summer. So I know the story very well. She and her teacher Anne Sullivan are incredible sources of inspiration for me. You'll see quotations from Helen (and from Annie) on this blog in the Inspirational Quote of the Day for Writers from time to time because they just had such positive, meaningful and hopeful words of wisdom, comfort and inspiration.

Today, I've learned that Thaxter Spencer from the northeast has had in his possession a picture of a young Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan from 1888 in Cape Cod. The news is astounding. How on earth could someone have such an artifact, such a piece of history, such an inspirational piece of memorabilia, and not be sharing it with the universe? There's a line in the news article saying he didn't think anyone would find it very interesting.

Well, I sure do.

In fact, I find it incredible. I followed the link to the news story and just stared at the image for minutes on end, taking in the expression on Annie's face, watching Helen holding Annie's hand just waiting for Annie's fingers to start moving, to start spelling out some word to open the world up a little wider for her pupil and companion. In the picture, Helen is holding one of her baby dolls on her lap. I wonder if it's the one Annie brought her as a gift when they first met... It's a thought that brings a smile to my face.

I can't begin to understand or express how the story of Helen Keller's life has influenced mine or my writing. I also spent those summers re-reading the Little House on the Prairie series (yes, the whole thing), so Laura Ingalls Wilder, her family and her values have influenced me as well. But I see the love and companionship between Helen and Annie in the relationship Chariss and Hrazon have in my fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods. It's heartwrenching to watch those two as student and mentor in my trilogy. I let the character Master Rothahn describe it with words from our Bible in Book I, and anyone paying attention will have caught it.

And anyone looking at the image at today will catch those words from 1 Corinthians 13:4 as well.

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."
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Blogger Laura M. Crawford said...

Sandy, if you ever make here to Minnesota, we will have to go to Walnut Grove and see the whole Laura Ingalls Wilder thing. It would be fun!!

Laura :)

1:49 PM  
Blogger Sandy Lender said...

You're on!
The only thing is...I travel to the bleak white north during the summer months. That trip I made to Denver a couple weeks ago was not of my own volition. ;)

He he he.

Seriously, Almanzo had to move south after his stroke because it was just too cold up there. The winters were too severe for him.

But I truly want to see her childhood home and I am thrilled that you've suggested it!

Sandy L.
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

7:38 AM  
Blogger Laura M. Crawford said...


Of course, it will be in the summer dear, if it ever freaking gets here! And yes, I would love to show you around and give you the whole Explore Minnesota tour!

Quint and I passed by it a few times when we went over on the east side of Minnesota for one of our getaways. That part of the state is absolutely gorgeous.

Just let us know when you want to visit!! Our door is always open for you, honey!

Laura :)

1:37 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Lots of Laughs,
Almanzo moved to the Ozarks!
Ah, Missouri weather.

How did I never know you admired Helen Keller? She's also one of my heroines.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Sandy Lender said...

What's insane is that I lived in various cities in Missouri for, oh, 24 or 25 years, yet I NEVER made it to Rocky Ridge. Never. Even when I was a kid reading those books every summer...

Yeah, I think we were going through the Maya Angelou phase pretty heavily in college and there just was never a good opportunity to quote Helen Keller in all those Old English classes we had. (Don't get me wrong; I still adore Maya's strength.) Do you remember my advisor's thoughts on creative writing vs. writing-for-children? I don't think quoting someone as positive and down-to-earth as Helen Keller would have stood up in class. Wow.

Good times. Good times. ;)

Sandy L.
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

11:24 AM  

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