What Is A Book-Dragon, And Should It Replace the Bookworm?

Fellow readers and writers,

We have all heard of a ‘bookworm’. It’s a term for people who are enthusiastic about reading books. I remember, as a child, wandering about the elementary school book fair and noticing a poster of a plump green worm with round spectacles, a book clamped firmly within its tiny hands.

This character is good-natured and amiable enough, but one hardly likes being referred to as a worm. A ‘bookworm’ is often used as a gentle pejorative, rather than a term of endearment. That said, I wouldn’t mind one bit if someone should smile slyly and call me out for being a bookworm. Most likely I’d accept the locution with beaming pride. Yet if I truly had my druthers, I prefer by far a term I’ve heard increasingly from fellow readers. That being, a book-dragon.

A book dragon, in my estimation, is a far worthier and accurate term for avaricious readers. Can you picture it?

A wise old mythological beast of great literary merit, snuggled within its hollowed cave, lording over ancient treasures — stacks upon stacks of glorious books. Perhaps this dragon, like the poster of the worm, wears glasses. Except . . . do you notice how much more dignified the dragon appears wearing them compared to the worm? Perhaps the dragon even blows wisps of smoke from its nostrils when reading something particularly curious or satisfying. Perhaps its scales glow and throb with ember reds, or alien greens; an outward sign of its excited mind.

What can the poor bookworm do except wriggle and writhe in the dirt? Good for cultivation of soil, perhaps, yet he hardly provides for the cultivation of mind. 

Yet the dragon, cozy in its fortress of knowledge, wiles away the hours in joy and contemplation. Utterly dignified, poised and urbane, the book-dragon exudes erudition and benevolent power.

The aforementioned attributes, after all, are often achieved over a life time of excellent reading. For knowledge is power, and books possess knowledge. If a reader should memorize and practice said knowledge, they will become empowered. So long as they remain forever humble and curious, their knowledge may even transform into wisdom.

Reading books is to be highly encouraged. Our friendly ol’ pal, the bookworm, has done his best in encouraging an entire generation to read. For that, the gentle fellow deserves our gratitude.

However, times change and our mascots of intelligence and literacy will come and go. Perhaps it is high time we welcome in the posters, t-shirts, and advertisement material of the book-dragon; being the kindly, wise, intelligent, and powerful representative it may prove to be to the upcoming generation of dedicated readers.

I do not think the bookworm shall resent his displacement. For as poet William Blake wrote, “The cut worm forgives the plow.”

Of course, there’s much to be said about long-lasting, meaningful friendships. Perhaps the bookworm and the book-dragon could read and share their joyous literary discoveries together?

A world of bookworms and book-dragons seems like a delightful one indeed.


Tylor James.


Hallowe’en, 1933 — A Short Story

I’m rather proud of this story and happy that it was a finalist for the 2019 Halloween Writing Competition hosted by a literary magazine entitled, The Furious Gazelle.

You may read this haunting tale about two young boys pulling the ultimate Halloween trick in Gordo, Alabama, 1933. It was the time of the great depression. The tail-end of Prohibition. And a time for terror.

Note: Referring to October 31st, 1933, many newspapers of the time referred to it as the “Black Hallowe’en”.

Enjoy by clicking here.

For the Love of Books (Reading in 2018).

Reading is a wonderful thing. To crack open a book and be able to read it is the veritable gateway to being an active participant in the intellectual, creative, and imaginary life of the world. There are few things sweeter.

It’s been a year of tremendous exploration for me. What does your reading list look like? Are there any books you would like to read in the upcoming year? Are your library fines paid up yet?

Here are the Books I’ve read in 2018.

  • The Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  • The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
  • Kingdom of Fear by Hunter S. Thompson
  • The Portable Henry Rollins by Henry Rollins
  • A Preferred Blur: Reflections, Inspections and Travel in All Directions by Henry Rollins.
  • Imperial America by Gore Vidal
  • Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges
  • Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky
  • The Communist Manifesto by Marx & Engels
  • Dreaming War by Gore Vidal
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace by Gore Vidal
  • Inventing a Nation by Gore Vidal
  • Wisdom of the Buddha: The Unabridged Dhammapada
  • How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pugliucci
  • Tao Te Ching by Lau Tzu (RB lakney translation)
  • The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by albert Camus
  • Reel Terror by David Konow
  • Interviews with Henry Miller
  • The Power of now by Eckhart Tolle
  • Stand Still Like the Humming Bird by Henry Miller
  • The Hearth of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Zen Keys by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • A Profound Mind by Dalai Lama
  • The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra
  • Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein
  • A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing by Lawrence Krauss
  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  • The Meaning of it All by Richard Feynman
  • Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr and the Struggle for the Soul of Science by David Lumley
  • A Man Without A Country by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Good Without God by Greg Epstein
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
  • Desperation by Stephen King
  • The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • The Air Conditioned Nightmare by Henry Miller
  • Quiet Days in Clichy by Henry Miller
  • Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Existentialism is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Talking With Sartre: Debates and Interviews by Gerassi
  • The Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump Whitehouse
  • At the Existentialist Café by Kate Blackmore
  • A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
  • Willow River Writers Anthology 2018
  • Baudelaire by Jean-Paul Sartre
  • In Favor of the Sensitive Man & Other Essays by Anais Nin
  • Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud
  • Diary of Anais Nin: Vol. 1: 1931-1934
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus


Then there were plenty of books which I’ve started but never finished. I have a rule: If I’m not intrigued by the first 20 pages, I put it down. Bad TV can at least be entertaining. A bad book, though, is unredeemable – especially if it is boring.

These books have nurtured me and taught me many lessons. They have been indispensable to my creative livelihood. I am very excited for all the books I may discover in the upcoming year.

I often like to tell people that I value my library card far more than my driver’s license. Driving on public roads may be a privilege, but reading (and writing) is a human right. Or, at least, it ought to be.

I like to think of it this way, sometimes:

Books are a life support system for the mind. A library is a mental hospital. The reader is the ailed patient. The authors are our doctors, our healers, our cerebral nutritionists. For maximum health, I advise one to read, read, read…

Reading & Writing…in the Bathroom.

I have just relocated my writing place from the dining room to the bathroom. The results of this transition have been wonderful. There are many good reasons for writing in the bathroom. Among the most important is that it is a place of privacy. No one is allowed to bother another if he or she is in the privy, even if they know taking a dookie is not what you’re doing in there.

Best thing to do is grab a TV dinner tray and set it up in front of the throne. Place all your writing artifacts on there. Pens, paper, notes, laptop, and so on. Then, you sit down and get to work! While writing from the toilet, one may be sure never to take themselves too seriously. By not taking ourselves seriously, we avoid the all-too-common mistake of being pretentious. This will open up the door to composing real literature.

Now, it may be the case that someone, a family member perhaps, will need to use the bathroom at the most inconvenient time — while you are in the midst of your work. The best thing to do here is to ignore them. If the person banging on the door becomes too distracting, just tell them to go away. They will simply have to water the bush outside, use a neighbor’s bathroom, or else be patient and wait until you are truly finished writing for the day.

Eventually, a writer may have to take a break from composing in order to practice some composting. In this event, there should be no problem. Simply pull your pants down and your sleeves up. Keep writing. Preferably flush when done. Spray some Febreze if you feel like it. Orange or Lemongrass scented shall do just fine. Ker-plunk! and onward.

The toilet is a wonderful place for reading as well. I believe the ultimate test of a book’s literary worth is to read it while committing a bowel movement. If one feels somehow ashamed or not worthy of the words on the page while doing such a natural activity, then chances are the book is pretentious, self-righteous, and/or otherwise banal. In this case, it is best to put the book down and never look back. If, however, we find the book to be profound or enjoyable, chances are that it is a very good book indeed and one should continue reading it.

This article has been one of many I have written in my bathroom. In the case that you are reading this in your own bathroom, I can only hope that it has stood to the test.

All About Writing

The Writer upon Death’s Door (A Note to Myself)

Just sit down and write. Don’t you know you are going to die? You only have so much time and yet you have so much inside of you that’s been kept a secret. It will go to the grave with you if you do not write it. You will die a man with a convoluted brain, riddled by mental discontent and dissatisfaction far more than any boring old cancer or tumor. You will be a dead man with a song in his heart. Write it out. Write it right now. Sit your ass in that junky office chair and type away at that keyboard until your fingers grow numb. Poor out all those little discontents of your mind. Don’t stop until your soul seems ejected from your body, hanging in the air like a strange, haunting vapor. Time constitutes the entropy of our existence. Don’t you know the juice of life is being bled from your being at this very moment? You’re a writer, for Christ’s sake, and you’ve only so much time. What are you waiting for? To hell even with being a writer. Just be writing!


To Be a Writer

A writer with a desire to write feels an aching in his heart, a heavy load on his mind. If he’s trapped by a conventional influence, such as a day-job, a social obligation, bad traffic, the aching will continue and likely grow stronger. He feels as if he were in a prison. When he finally does discover his way to solitude, to the pen and paper, the keyboard and word document, he is bound to pour out his soul in the fashion of a butterfly being let loose from a mason jar. As the writer writes, he flies away in total freedom. The shackles have been undone. The tyranny of the world is dramatically reversed into the tyranny of the writer, whom molds and controls worlds of his own making. The whip of society has been handed down to the creative, whom whips the muse and smiles. This is the joy of creation, to see beauty whipped into form.

To be a writer is not always convenient. In fact, to be a writer is often not only inconvenient, but a disadvantage. A functioning member of society may not be able to write at any given moment, as a writer desires to do. To be among a crowd, among family and friends, among the throng of civilization for too long a time, can build up that aching to a climactic point wherein one may feel he will explode or disappear altogether if he cannot write what has been crawling, breeding, festering around in his loaded mind like a pound of rattling dice.

Make no mistake. It isn’t just important for a writer to write, it is absolutely necessary. If a writer were somehow determined not to write, his mental existence would shrink to the pin-point of obscurity. Expanding this hypothesis, if all would-be writers never wrote a single word, then the world would not have its brilliant minds – no Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Twain, Whitman. No bibles, manuals, legislation, scientific theses, or even a basic cook book. The world would be empty of ideas, devoid of historical records, our grand stories and traditions. The life of humankind would never have grown past the pre-literate nomadism of ancient times. We would be barbarians of the jungle, the pre-literate remaining pre-literate, the epitome of unfulfilled potential.