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Girl Into Heron

Dreamed 2017/11/7 by Wayan
for Ovid, Margaret Stohl, and Watts Martin


Read two books. First: Royce Rolls, by Margaret Stohl, a farce (she claims it's a bit autobiographical) about a Los Angeles reality-TV family with absolutely no privacy. Teenage Bentley wants out, and does some ingeniously drastic stuff to get out. Funny. A solo departure from the Southern fantasy-horror that Stohl did with Kami Garcia--whose solo work just keeps repeating that same ol' devilism. Stohl's following her bad-girl thing down a different path here. The risk paid off.

Watts Martin, Why Coyotes Howl. Science fiction & fantasy tales, mostly furry. Not all--Still Life With Espresso is a rather Charles de Lint fantasy on a painter who reads others' memories; her historical murals start revitalizing her 'hood. But many are straight wish-fulfilling furry/xenophilic romances. The story-structures and prose aren't always polished, but the emotions and issues he raises hit home. Bentley in Royce Rolls was fun, but I'm not a media-saturated human. This book makes it clear that skin or not, I am a fur.

Mainstream critics judge the artistry in depicting their world; minorities like me, living outside that world, focus on subject matter and ideas. Not that I MIND a great style, but...

Go to bed half-satisfied and half longing--my loneliness for otherness stronger than ever. But then, Tolkien, in "On Fairy-Stories", his definitive essay on the function of fantasy, says that's the job of such tales. Mundane fiction polishes the doors of perception; fantasy cleans the doors of desire. We're too reasonable; think too small.


She's tall. Gawky tall. As only a teenage girl
Is when the child's outgrown.

Marshwades in her shimmerblue shirt until
She finds the secret stone.

Cloth frays to feathers. Legs to leather, and
Marsh-reed slender.

Blue heron! Everglades. Everglad. I feel
Her joy in flight.

And selves. Return to hands, to human lands
Whenever she likes.

But the dream veers. On this fork she died
Along with her stalkers four. Or

At least the cops, who have no faith in bird,
Think all are bog-corpses. I

Tag along, with a slouching Private Eye.
He and I, mudweary, try

To track the flown. Ovid or Oblivion? My mind,
Open-winged, concedes

Black drown could be. And yet those four
Trod her track. Black stone!

Wild cranes could bloom. Would they
Find avianity a joy, as she?

In the reeds, Obsidian winks. Old crocodilian
Come-hither smile. I dread

Treading that stone. Yet how I long! So...
Dare I step, let go?

Teen turns into a blue heron. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.


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