Artist in Residence Quarantine Diaries Episode 17: Of Fairy Tales

As some of you might know, I”m running a kickstarter right now for a book of Fractured Fairy Tales, to be published via BVC next year (it’s here if you want to support it).

So let me speak of fairy tales, for a moment.

We all grew up on them, we grew older on them, some of us are growing OLD on them. They are so much a part of storytelling, such a backbone of it, that it is almost impossible to imagine any sort of fiction that did not begin “once upon a time” somewhere. The tropes and phrases and images of the fairy tale are so prevalent, so familiar, so recognizable, across cultures and borders and continents, common threads weave the tales we all know.

Some of us were privileged (if that is the word) to have cut our teeth on the original – often savage – versions. This was the world where the Evil Stepsisters cut off toes to fit into the glass slipper, and Sleeping Beauty wasn’t awakened by a kiss but by the birth of her twins (having been had a wicked way with by her prince, while still asleep, rather than him bothering to wake her up to pariticpate in any fun to be had), where the wicked witch in the woods had an oven she wanted to roast a little boy in… The dragons of these fairy tales were real, and the terrors lived – and we, the children, lived with them. The stories weren’t lulalbies. They were sharp lessons.Ones we would do well to learn, and learn well.

MY little mermaid didn’t have a singing lobster for a best buddy. She made me cry. The heroines of the Russian fairy tales I devoured made me look at things like wooden combs or chicken bones in a very different way; I also learned that the youngest child of the traditional three is usually the one who gets everything right in the end while his or her older siblings were really rather stupid and limited. One grew up wishing one was the youngest princess.

I went through the usual suspects – the Grimms, Perrault, Andersen – and I went into the Russian and Scandiavian and CHinese versions of fairy tales because I loved the music of them and the stories they told – and I discovered, eventually, Oscar Wilde and HIS particular take on things (I cannot read “The Nightingale and the Rose” without crying). And in the fullness of time I – of course – began to write them. Wasn’t it inevitable?…

The book I am putting together is a luminous one. You’re never too old for fairy tales – or, conversely, some day you will be old enough to read them properly. So I’m wrapping a whole sheaf of them together, with silver ribbons of magic and joy and pain and laughter, and I”m handing them to you. The grown ups. Because you deserve them.

Consider supporting the kickstarter. Remember, it’s all or nothing with them – and if I don’t hit my (modest) mark I don’t get any of the support. I suppose it’s fairly fairy tale in nature, at that, all or nothing; still, if you still believe, or ever did, in a “happily ever after”… consider supporting the kickstarter. You get fairytales in return, and that is no fairy gold. These tales, and any like them, are the truest of true gold that there is when it comes to story.

I thank you in advance should you choose to help this particular collection come into thelight. I am planning on releasing it on the occasion o fHans Christian Andersen’s birthday, next April. Come be a part of the celebrations!


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