Monday, October 22, 2007

A sweet children's story

Fire Lizards

Under the table in the glass blower’s shop in Shelburne Falls crouches Uudoo
He’s about three feet long, scaly, speckled green and brown
He’s got a long swishy tail, which is slowly sweeping the floor
Four stubby legs. Like an alligator, but smoother.
He’s got a rounded head, flat ears, and a few snaggle teeth sticking from his mouth.
Uudoo is a fire lizard.

He waits for his human partner George to step gently on his tail
It’s the signal for him to blow a stream of fire into the funnel
His fire goes up the pipe and onto the table, where Uudoo’s breath turns the glass red-hot
And George shapes it into vases, bowls and even glass lizards and butterflies
That he sells in craft stores in Northampton and Provincetown and Newport

The people in the stores have no idea
Of the ancient techniques and the secret processes
Such as the rare spices that color the flame and tint the glass
Uudoo’s delicate little spurts of flame will curl the whiskers on a glass kitty cat

Man and fire lizard, working together to create fine glassware
A secret kept for generations

Uudoo never blows his fire when he walks home with George
People think he’s a pet Iguana.
It’s better that way

Folks say dragons vanished thousands of years ago, if they even existed at all
Little do they know of the powerful wizards who caught them, tamed them and clipped their wings.
Powerful sorcerers bent them to their will, to work the forges and glass furnaces
Hidden from view. . . No one knows, even today

Looking in the sky . . . Little specks . . . Far away
They look like birds, but some are not
Some are dragons

* * * * *

And in other news . . . .

I will be appearing at Lighthouse Voc-Ed Center, at the Marriott, in Groton CT on Monday, March 24, 2008.

If you're an educator or mental health professional and you'd like me to come you your school district or group, contact my speaker's agent, Lauren Verge of the Lavin Agency at lverge@thelavinagency.com

If you'd like to know more about the Lighthouse event contact Katie Flynn or Kathy Green at 860-445-7626 or lighthousectr@aol.com

16 comments:

ORION said...

And DON'T get me started on geckos! I have them on the deck of my sailboat- they are not below for obvious reasons (two with whiskers and tails).
But an iguana...now THAT's a pet...

John Elder Robison said...

Fire Lizards are good pets, too, unless you anooy them. Then, even a baby can burn your ankles and feet pretty badly.

Michelle O'Neil said...

What a delightful tale!

Do you baby-sit?

Woof!

Kendra said...

Hi Mr. Robison,
Thanks for your comment on my entry to Cosmopsis' Blog. I have attended quite a few readings in my day and none were as candid or as wrought with humility as yours. I absolutely adored your reading of the piece on the socially appropriate responses to hearing of co-workers' gossip. I admit that I had every intention of purchasing your book and having it signed at the reading. However, as I am 6 months pregnant, I became a little bit hot and dizzy at the reading and had to dart out immediately thereafter due to the crowd you had amassed. I look forward to picking up a copy when I am less hormonally flushed :)

Squeaky Wheel said...

Just finished your book - wanted to come by and thank you for writing it, and thank your family/friends for encouraging you to write it. I'm going through the process of finding out if I have Asperger's, and it was a great help to read your words.

John Elder Robison said...

Michelle . . . I don't babysit much anymore, but I do remember this little rhyme if you find yourself baby sitting.

We'll take you to the kitchen
And we'll give you milk and cookies
And we'll put you in the oven
Until you're done!

That's a story that hits home for many little kids, especially Girl Scouts.

Kim Stagliano said...

I'd like a fire lizard to sit under the table at IEP meetings. May I order one? I'll feed it cinnamon hearts and jalpeno peppers every day.

Saw your book at the Long Island Autism Conference on a sale table. Talked it up of course. I'll send you a photo. In exchange for that fire lizard. Or a unicorn. I'll take one of those. Pink please.

Angulimalo said...

John.
I've lent your book to a friend. Her response is that she likes your honesty and the absence of BS...you aren't out there for the sympathy vote.
Also I watched "Running with Scissors" last night. Tell your brother that it was interesting and though provoking. And yes, I liked the dragon story.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I just saw a blurb on Aspergers in WIRED magazine this month. The last bit of advice they give:

LOOK 'EM IN THE EYE!

Almost the title!--I emailed them to recommend your book. (Still unread, I'm still holding out for Tattered Cover cuz I like buying local. But I can recommend you cuz, hell, I practically know you!)

WOOF!

John Elder Robison said...

And woof to you too!

The Muse said...

Children's Books. Now that's a novel idea! I wonder what kind of twisted dark humor that you could come up with? I'll bet that you could write some truly imaginative, zany stories for boys. I can see the setting of a feral child living out in the woods and all of the adventures that he encounters. My 10-year-old son thought that your audiotape of LMITE was very funny. So your writing could appeal to children as well.

Lemon Deb said...

Hello~

So happy to see your blog~

I just got your book today ~
I know i will love it~

SMILES AND PEACE
Take care,

Debbie

Jan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margaret said...

This story reminds me of the many you told Jack when he was young. Do you remember my telling you many times that I thought you could write wonderful children's stories? I think the same thing today.

Jimmyzmom said...

Hoping to some day see you at a local book store...I'm visiting Border's and asking them how that can happen. What would need to happen? Same as if you were going for educator? I'm providing them your information and educating them on just how many parents of autism-spectrum kids in this area would flock to hear you...we're midwest, just hoping. When I was there the other day speaking to them about your book, they turned around and saw that someone had called in to reserve your book. :)
I don't know that my son has the same survival instincts that you do or would be willing to do some things you did to find your way. Maybe we're just over-protective, but it is either my/our intervention and educating educators and administrators and parents or our son being labeled the "bad kid" and allowing mainstream everything to exclude him. I became the soccer coach to provide him an automatic social group several times a week and get exercise for all of us. That's worked out pretty well for the last 4 years. Never really found it possible/comfortable to leave him alone at most partially unstructured events, afraid of a meltdown or some inappropriate behavior being misunderstood although he's made incredible progress in reading or just accepting behavior that doesn't "follow the rules"...what a policeman he is. Met with more parents the other night about the difficulties our kids and families face with judgement and exclusion and it always is an emotional event. I've never felt the need to hide or deny my son's diagnosis of sensory integration dysfunction and Asperger's...it's been helpful when another parent is unaware that people (not just kids) have this...Thanks for putting it on the shelf. It's a great read, a page turner, in any sense! A friend who is a KISS fan from way back is intrigued!

Polly Kahl said...

Perhaps there is an ancestral link to those steam breathing machines in country fields which masquerade as harmless farm animals?