“Flight” by Hatchet Face; September 2023

I’ve mentioned making a few therian blogs over the years. Most recently (2019ish) I had a draconic blog.

It’s really easy to just kinda shrug at the difficulties pinning down theriotypes and say well it’s got wings right?? Therefore it’s a dragon. And I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong of me. If it fits it fits and I don’t believe in souls or any essential internal truth. I identified as theriomythic very firmly – it’s an animal alright, it just doesn’t exist.

There is a kind of preference for paths of least resistance in an apex predator’s mind, particularly one who opportunistically feeds on pretty much anything, scavenged or not. Why work hard, against the flow, when you can just sit around and do fuck-all until someone else does the hard work for you? I guess I’m making light of the actual hard work that goes into hunting and defending territory and so on but you get the idea. I was never particularly driven to nail down a name for what I was. ‘dragon’ worked.

In my mind it was a type of cliff dweller, launching from a craggy inaccessible coastline to shoot down over the sea. It grabbed prey with its feet and rose up on a buffer of warm air to eat on the cliff edge with its sharp face, wings (batlike, I thought, mistaking the stiff vanes of phantom primaries for elongated fingers) spread protectively over the kill. I tried in vain to imagine the integument – scales? Feathers? There was a ruff, I knew, something mobile and shaggy around the neck that lagged behind the sharp movements of the head when I shook it.

Before I thought of dragon, I thought of big cat. Leopard, in about 2016. It was the ‘kills-with-claws’ nature, the round talons flexing against branches. But the rest didn’t fit and that phase didn’t last.

And before that (2012), brown bear. Again it was the claws, curved, but also a sense of big brown shagginess, a sense of being physically large compared to animals around me, the straight projection of the muzzle.

I feel like sharing this timeline would probably invite a lot of scrutiny and grilling back on werelist or wherever else. How did you never even think of eagles or hawks or even vultures? Despite loving them so much, the deep fascination in soaring flight. I can go back through my art and see an endless succession of creatures with their wings spread, talons swinging out to strike or snatch prey. Literally I have drawn that action so many times (I have a lot of winged characters, harpies and dragons etc.) and every time I drew it I was pulling from my own internal knowledge and need to perform this action like it was my second nature. So why didn’t I know sooner about the thing staring me in the face? To be honest.. maybe it just wasn’t that big a deal to me. I’m not very introspective – I have alexithymia – and I’m not spiritual. I live wholly in the present and tend to forget old sensations and thought patterns.

I’ll never really know why it took so long. But I do know that this is the first time in the journey that there have been no tiny little doubts, no “well it’s close but not quite”. It just is, which is nice. I think part of me knew sooner (and always knew).