We all have experiences with neighbors that can be frustrating. Most of the time it’s about parking, mailboxes, or other basic neighbors situations. Diana was not being a bad neighbor but was just quirky in her own way. She never expected that her flights of whimsy would be met with stern and heavy criticism that came from a faceless, nameless person that claimed to be an aggravated neighbor. Diana Rowland had a problem with a neighbor and it all started with dragons! Yes made up fictional creatures named dragons. Diana is an author who hails from Louisiana. She also happened to have three inflatable dragons standing outside her home. This was seen by some people as unordinary. She received a message regarding dragons by a neighbor. This neighbor who made sure to remain anonymous did not come to her house but instead sent an angry letter. The whole thing had to do with dragons. The fire breathing lizards personified by inflatable props that Diana used, angered someone so much that they felt they had to say something. The result came in the form of a hilarious letter that led to a viral post that made quite the rounds on the internet.
The note was clearly coming from an angry place that did not appreciate whimsy or dragons for that matter. There is a catch though. She had been displaying the dragons for almost 4 years and no one had said anything. In fact, the neighbors seemed to love the dragons as much as she did.
The quarrel that the neighbor had was about the dragons being used to represent the Nativity Scene in place of more traditional figures. She thought it was cool and the neighbors did too so she figured, there was nothing wrong with being the unique one. That is until she got what was technically hate mail. This came as a surprise because frankly, she had been on good terms with her neighbors.
Who Is Diana Rowland?
If you like reading novels, you may have heard about her. She is from the south but she doesn’t have an accent or anything. She studied mathematics in college and got her Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from Georgia Tech. You would think that this is enough to go on, in life.
However, Diana will disagree with you because she went on to do a little more than just a degree in mathematics. Her ‘career’, if we can call it that, has been one marked with amazing adventures, enough to make selling a book about her, an easy thing to do. No one has done this yet, but there is nothing to make anyone think that they would have a hard time.
Urban fantasy fame
As an Urban Fantasy writer, Diana has gained critical acclaim in the urban fantasy circles, even building a substantial fan-base. She is the author of the White Trash Zombie series. Back in 2005, is when she started off as a novelist full time.
She won the first place in the third quarter of the Writers of the Future contest for a story she called “Schrodinger’s Hummingbird.” In 2011, she was nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist. She was nominated in 2012 again and won. She received an award in 2013 for Best Urban Fantasy Worldbuilding for Touch of The Demon. In 2012, My Life as a White Trash Zombie narrated by Allison McLemore was nominated for an Audie Award.
Oh The Things She’s Done!
Readers will be surprised by what she has done in her life because it is a lot. There is no way that most of us will do that much and then go on to be successful authors. She was once a bartender, blackjack dealer, cop, detective, computer forensics assistant and a pit boss. She has done more than most of us will do in our lives.
She won an award in marksmanship in the police academy, has a black belt in Hapkido and you get it now; the woman is awesome. So, it was this woman that got the letter of complaint about her dragons. She was a good neighbor and she wasn’t bothering anyone with her quirkiness…or was she?
Well, that is a good question. Why would you use dragons as Christmas decorations? Diana had celebrated the past four Halloween and Christmas holidays by being artistic with how she arranged her inflatable dragons on her front lawn. She started off with one purple and green dragon that had garlands on its neck.
He also wore a Santa hat and had bows that covered the claws. She introduced a larger one that was red and black. These two dragons became the iconic Joseph and Mary. She then proceeded to add a two-headed dragon to the first two and was now on her way to making the Ultimate Nativity Scene featuring Dragons. This was not the traditional way of doing things, but she liked it.
It Became Tradition
She started off her own tradition in this way. She was happy about it and so were the neighbors. The tradition became something that she now did because she loved it and the neighbors had good things to say about her taste in uniqueness.
She never would have imagined that someone hated her dragons. No one had expressed such negative sentiments to her. Her response to the letter is what is interesting in this story.
She was in her fourth year of the dragon display that she was proud of when she got this letter. It came in the mail as do all letters and this is what it said; “Your dragon display is only marginally acceptable at Halloween.
It is totally inappropriate at Christmas. It makes your neighbors wonder if you are involved in a demonic cult. Please consider removing the dragons. May God bless you and help you to know the true meaning of Christmas. ”
It Was Funny
Like anyone else, what she did first, was to react to the letter and the idea that it was propounded to her. She did what any person would do in the circumstances. She laughed and called out to her daughter to come to see it.
The scathing note evoked laughter on her part. Chortling, she said to the daughter, ‘look at this, we got hate mail.’ She considered removing the dragons before another idea struck.
A 21st Century Response
The thing about living in this age is that almost anything that we find intriguing on any level, will immediately go up on social media. That is the case with this story too because Diana decided that she was going to upload the letter to Twitter.
Speaking to a news outlet later, she said that she did consider removing them. Her first tweet was; ‘our dragon holiday display got hate mail! (And apparently the ‘true meaning of Christmas” involved judgmental bullsh***)
The thing about Christmas decorations or any decorations of any kind that are used in any of the holidays is that they have become increasingly a lot less fun than they used to be.
There is too much judgment coming from people and the ones that will be on your tail the most, are the ones that call themselves your neighbors. Anything that does not confirm or agree with their tastes, will be viewed as you being a weirdo or just plain hostile.
According to Shrinks
Psychology tells us that the people who decorate their homes are happier than the ones who do not. This is because of the proximity to the bright lights. This accelerates the nostalgia that takes them back to a simpler time and that tends to make people calmer.
Even strangers and neighbors will find you approachable when you are a person who is comfortable with decorations. There is even a game show on TV where people with extreme decorations can win money.
However, when the extreme decorations go a bit over the top, you will find that the effect on the people around you will change because people start to see these new decorations as too bright and too loud.
There are extreme people who have things like an entirely headless choir with a peeing Santa in the mix or lights that are just really too bright. Some people can appear unstable when they do things that scare others for no real reason.
Anyone in their right mind would know that the intention of the dragons was to be unique and make people smile when they saw it. Diana was not trying to terrify people she explained later. She said, “It was adorable.”
The rest of the houses in her neighborhood were covered in inflatables but they were all within the normal range because they included things like helicopters and flamingos. It was pretty tame and hers were the only unique ones.
She decided to do something in retaliation to what she had just received in the mail. Sone of you might view this as petty and others will think it is funny or just plain deserved.
She thought to herself that a better thing to do would be to probably irk the person who sent the letter a little more. There is nothing quite like sending someone who hates you into a frothing fit of rage is there?
She decided that a few changes to the dragons would make her point. So, she took halos and added them to the dragons to make the spiritual parallels even more annoying to whoever had written the letter.
First of all, she had just outed them on social media and now she was making them even madder by adding these obvious symbols of holiness. To her, this was a symbol of ‘peace’, but in a sarcastic way.
She was not going to let an anonymous and scared person make her feel bad about what she was doing. She called this unnamed person “Judgy-McJudgyface” and said of this person, ‘I guess they think I NEED more dragons.
This is the post that went viral and she got more dragons just to be serious about her campaign not to be cowed by this person. They were all now holding small present boxes in a very funny turn of events.
We Love Dragons
As it would turn out, people did like the dragons and they said all sorts of cool things to make sure that she knew she was doing the right thing by standing up for her choices.
It was a war that the faceless person would have never won. It was a good thing that they never signed the letter or showed their face to complain personally. They probably would have regretted it for a long time.
Interesting Turn of Events
This small tiny movement that started rallying around the dragons and the reasons to keep them up started to balloon and the post was shared by a lot of people. It was gaining traction as she posted updates.
They did not know that it would soon turn into something even more magical. The tweets that she received were almost exclusively in support of her decision to keep the dragons up and the people loved that she edited them to have halos and presents.
Get More Dragons
Remember when she said that a good idea would be to get even more dragons and fill them everywhere? Well, people started asking the question, ‘why not?’
They wanted to know and see what that would look like and they asked her if they could send donations to make sure that she would not run out of reason to buy more dragons. Suddenly, a thing that started about a neighbor no longer was about a bad neighbor.
J. K. Rowling
Yes, she showed up in the middle of this. She saw the post which had gotten to her as if by…magic. She helped this small movement gain even more traction and they decided that they would give to penguin chicks in South Africa.
They did a lot of good work out of this one thing that started with inflatable dragons. The one true magician was actually part of this.
Good VS Bad
Between 300 and 500 penguin eggs and chicks will be saved in South Africa so, that is a good place to end a story. Rowland is convinced that it was someone new to the place who sent the letter and that people who had been there since she was there have never been bothered by her dragons display.
She says that ‘there’s a fine line between getting back at the awful neighbor and becoming the awful neighbor. So, she will take down her dragon display when it is not the holidays.