An early memory. I’m sitting cross legged in the gym of my primary school during an assembly. As usual, I’m daydreaming. In this daydream, wings sprout from my back and I rise above the heads of the other children and the teachers. A hole opens in the roof and I fly up and off into the waiting sky, a euphoric grin on my face.
Another memory. Although living in the middle of a big city, I regularly seek out, with a friend, those magical places behind a row of garages where cloaking ivy grows and where old scraps of paper we find became treasure maps; scratches in dilapidated fences become secret symbols; and discarded junk becomes treasure.
The two things I desired at that time were escape and adventure. When my imagination wasn't enough on its own, I turned to books to find them. The first books that I can *remember* reading are: The Secret Garden, The Hobbit, and The Wind in the Willows.
They all contain dragons. Or you might even say that they are dragons.
If asked to describe a dragon, one of the first things I’d mention are its wings; wings which allow for escape and exploration. What do dragons do? They they terrify, they fascinate, they guard a rich and valuable hoard of human treasure.
Dragons, for me, can come in the shape of a terrible winged monster; or of a hidden garden awaiting discovery by a lonely young girl; or of a mole and water-rat having adventures along the river bank.