Fighting the Guardians of Treasure

“Don’t forget that dragons are only guardians of treasures and one fights them for what they keep – not for themselves…” ― Katherine Mansfield, Katherine Mansfield Letters And Journals: A Selection

These are early days and late days, all at once, for we each are in the beginning stages of the year while looking back with chagrin at the years gone by. These Are Days by 10,000 Maniacs rolls in my head, competing with These Days by Jackson Browne. One is joyful, one is tinged in regret, each bouncing around in the same brain as if coming from a juke box in hell. But that’s the nature of being human, we think too much, we hope and dream and dance with our feelings, and we wake up and do it all over again the next day.

Writers take all of this and put it out there for the world to see, and to comment on next time the world sees you. It makes for awkward moments in the early days, when you’re still on edge about writing with your name attached. This is who I am, we say, feel free to drop a comment in at the end.

I wonder, when Mansfield was writing in her journal, slowly dying with Tuberculosis, if she meant for them to be seen for generations? I’d like to think she’d have smiled at the thought, for the act of writing is sharing, even if at first we’re the only ones who are meant to see it. Mark Twain’s diary was released 100 years after his death on his request. It was not to be evasive, I expect, but to spare those he was writing about from knowing his thoughts on the matter.

We fight for what we keep, and every artist knows what it is to fight with dragons. It takes courage to fight for the treasure and then give it away to those who weren’t in the fight with you, knowing they may use it in their own fight, knowing that most will never see the gesture at all, publishing just the same. It’s not our treasure, after all, it’s only our fight that matters in the end. Knowing this, one should take courage and fight bigger dragons.

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