“How different might my attitude toward dragons have been if I’d met Uggi before Smaug?”

Fri 18 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Travel LightGetting Travel Light ready for a quick pre-holiday (I hope!) reprint and thinking about this line from Amal El-Mohtar’s “You Must Read This” on NPR —which, when it was published was such a moment of joy that this tiny beautiful book would find such a reader for it — and realized there is a 50/50 chance that our kid will encounter Uggi before Smaug. She is her own reader, so who knows which book she will pick up first.

More from Amal:

Who might I have been if I had met Halla Bearsbairn before Bilbo Baggins? How different might my attitude toward dragons have been if I’d met Uggi before Smaug? How different would the spiritual landscapes of fantasy and science fiction be if they had accepted as antecedents works that showed a corrupt Byzantine Christianity and sympathy toward Islam?

But, most crucially for me, I wonder: Where might I have gone if, instead of a middle-aged Hobbit enamored of his pantry, I had embraced a girl who lost three homes before choosing the open road?

I don’t regret, at all, having The Hobbit at the core of me, and will defend its songs and riddles and elves and spiders to the end of my days. But reading Travel Light unseamed something in me, made me feel that my certainties needed revisiting, and assured me that somewhere within me was, still, a 7-year-old girl waiting to be beckoned onto a path of luggage-less travel, of dragons and Valkyries, languages and air — and that with Travel Light, she’d taken the first step in their direction.

The book will be off to the printer and then, la! will be available again soon.