3 Questions with Linda Ragsdale
What’s your favorite word?
Authors rarely get asked about their favorite word, but I always ask kids and adults. For kids, I ask if they have a happy word, one that elicits a heart hug when they really need one. A happy word is just the ticket to help someone through a tough moment. Mine is pineapple. It conjures the feel of silky beach sand between my toes, waves washing the shore, and ocean-mirrored sunrise and sunsets on rolling surfs. Pineapples also sport a goofy green hair-do and a wild checkerboard suit. Pineapple is endless childhood summers and tropical sunscreen scents. All happy memories!
I also have a yearly word, or as I call it, my lazy girl’s vision board. I choose a power word, which becomes my focus for the whole year. This year I chose magical. It was an expansive experience, as it showed its light and dark sides. But the word I feel in my soul and work is Panglossian. It means “given to extreme optimism in the face of hardship or adversity.” Words have a power we can teach to benefit everyone, starting with our first ones. As storytellers we link them together to build our stories, forgetting sometimes a single word can change a life, a journey, or a choice.
Why choose a Peace Dragon to represent your message?
There’s no better mascot than a dragon for
Then there’s the fire thing. The fire within dragons and humans can permanently raze a landscape or friendship. Peace Dragons power this passion and flame to light the way in the darkness, warm cold hearts, and toast marshmallows for campfire conversations. They direct their sparks and fire as fuel to their peaceful responses. They also acknowledge they can’t always control their fire. Tempers are a part of who they are. It’s a part of our human nature, too. In that understanding, you’re going to get fiery—that’s a fact. It’s what you do afterwards that makes the difference. A Peace Dragon makes peace, including with their selves.a mission of peace. Dragons can evoke images of fiery, uncontrolled beasts of destruction, and yet, in history they’re the benevolent, lucky guardians and masters of the elements. How did they earn such a horrific image? Myths. And what better guide to help us unwind damaging myths than one who has been damaged by them? My new book, The Peace Dragon (fall 2018), shows how fear and falsehoods build illusionary walls. With a renewed way to see, speak, and choose, the walls come down.
What gift would your Peace Dragon give to the world?
When I teach how to draw a Peace Dragon, they’re always drawn empty-handed. It’s up to the artist to pick the gift their dragon will bring to the world. We discuss what the world around us might need, such as clean water, housing, or food. Then I have them look within their own talents and joys, for example, a sport they love, a passion for drawing, or playing video games.
As adult artists, there are many more influences and much more history that broadens our choices. We also have a tendency to neglect our personal gifts. When teaching younger groups, my dragon is drawn holding a cupcake, because sharing a meal is a great way to connect with people. (And I’m definitely a “dessert first” kind of gal.) But I want to offer the deeper conclusions I try to entice from my high school and adult artists. With that intention, my gift would be honoring, speaking, and accepting truth. Truth is a cornerstone to building peace in the world and within us. Saying that, now I have to think of how I’d draw truth!
About Linda Ragsdale
Author, illustrator, and international speaker Linda Ragsdale has made it the goal of the Peace Dragon to encourage peace. As a survivor of the 2008 Mumbai Terrorist Attacks, her physically devastating wound did not deter her message of empathy and compassion. Linda has shared her Peace Dragon message in schools, libraries, workshops and has been featured in a TEDx talk.