Once upon a time in a land far, far away…

It’s hard today to find anything newsworthy to read bout besides the royal wedding over there in England, and while all the pomp and circumstance is enjoyable, I don’t fully understand the huge draw the ceremony has for anyone who has no personal relationship to the UK. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t watch the horribly cheesy, not quite so-bad-it’s-good Lifetime original movie, William and Kate last weekend. I mean. Um. I didn’t say that.

Regardless, I suppose that there is something to the appeal, whether or not these particular nuptials have any effect on my life. It’s the idea of princes and princesses. Despite that in reality modern monarchies are nothing like we read in fairy tales, the charming princess and dashing prince living in a palace in the middle of a valley with a drawbridge and courtiers fresh returned from battling dragons is the image that comes to mind. Especially in America, where there has never been a king, queen or anything of the sort ruling on domestic land, this idea is prevalent. And the allure doesn’t elude me, either!

Despite their non-importance in “serious” literary debate (they are specifically banned for entry for the National Book Awards, e.g.), I will always enjoy a good fairy tale. I had mentioned in a previous post the book, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, which is a modern retelling of fairy tales and a book of short stories that I read voraciously. There’s just something about the ethereal tone that always surrounds a fairy tale (I wish I could describe in words the voice that automatically plays in my head as I imagine them being read aloud—but probably you know it, or have one of your own, anyway) that makes it ever-appealing. Surely there is literary merit in the telling of a fairy tale just as there is in the creation of any story, but I’m not qualified to judge. It does have something to do with the fact that the sources of inspiration are, by definition, unoriginal—I would think, however, that the retelling itself would be proof enough of creativity and talent.

Loosely based on, or completely authentic, what are some of your favorite fairy tales? (I know the ones of my own that I’ve started to write (and abandoned, of course) nearly always have to do with princesses, but generally the fairy tale of inspiration is merely a backdrop to the story I want to tell.) Is there any serious writing to be found here?

Most importantly, who wore the best hat to see William and Kate tie the knot?

4 Responses to Once upon a time in a land far, far away…

  1. Ryan Field says:

    I think anything that gives people…readers…an escape, which fairytales do well, deserves literary merit. People crave escapism and some writers know this.

    And part of the reason people are so enthralled with the Royal Wedding, even those who aren’t royalists, is because it gives them a brief hiatus from what’s going on all over the world.

  2. I have always had a strange infatuation with Baba Yaga–the Russian witch who lived in a house on chicken feet–ever since the story was told in Jack and Jill Magazine when I was in elementary school. Then, when I was shopping at Elliot Bay Books in Seattle, I found that someone has taken the tale and re-written it for adults. Alas and alack, my arms were so full of books that I couldn’t pick it up to look it, but someday I’ll find that book and buy it.

  3. golden pen says:

    Between the lines of your post.
    The voice you can’t describe. The abandoned story writing.
    If you are writing a story, the job is too describe. Make yourself describe that voice, there are plenty of words in the language with which to do that.
    (assuming you accomplish that description) When next you try to write a story, remember it is your job to describe, remember you overcame in writing what you once gave up on, use this too haul yourself over your next sticking point.
    Now, so long as you have imagination, can craft a plot, and give depth to characters. I look forward to reading your story.
    No tips on how to acquire an agent, I’m guessing you got that covered.

  4. I love fairy tales! It’s hard to choose just one, but if pressed, I have to go with Little Red Riding Hood (the original and all retellings) for classic fairy tales. If we’re talking Anderson’s fairy tales, I LOVE The Snow Queen.

    Also, I really want to read My Mother, She Killed me, My Father, He Ate Me

    I don’t go for the princesses so much. When it comes to fairy tales, I’m all about the transition from innocence to experience. If that journey includes drunken grandmothers and horny wolves, so much the better.

    Have you seen Trick or Treat or read The Bloody Chamber?

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