What can fairy tales possibly teach us?

I didn’t get to go to Disneyland until I was a grown woman – and I was wholly unprepared for the rushing feelings that swept over me as I stood there and watched the real-life incarnations of some of my childhood fairy-tale iconic images come dancing down the road in the parade. I was practically in tears watching Sleeping Beauty wave from her float, preceded by those three ditzy fairy guardians in their little pointed hats and color-coordinated outfits.

But the Disney princesses were just the most obvious, most prevalent, most visible and recognizable avatars of stories which, for me, had far deeper roots.

When I was young, I read the actual fairy tales. The fearsome, bloody, no-holds-barred, emotional ones. In my childhood fairy tales, Cinderella’s stepsisters sliced off bits of their feet to fit into the glass slipper. In my childhood tales Sleeping Beauty wasn’t just wakened with a kiss, but something far more visceral than that.

And in my childhood I wept over the tale of the Little Mermaid – and perhaps it was this that crystallized it for me because to this day I can’t watch what Disney has done to it. Hans Christian Andersen’s original story is full of power and drama and pathos and poignancy – and I simply cannot bring myself to accept a singing lobster sidekick with a Caribbean accent.

I read Oscar Wilde’s wonderful dark fairy tales, when I was a little older, and there were things in there that pierced me to the heart, just like the rose thorn did his immortal nightingale.

I think that fairy tales are a deep and visceral influence, and they are handed out to young minds which they then help shape. A famous paraphrase of a G K Chesterton quote applies – Fairy tales are more than true – not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten. The lessons of fairy tales start with that – with courage. They also teach wisdom, and strength, and compassion, and an obstinate refusal to give up hope, because in fairy tales even the worst possible things that happen work out in the end. In some way.

Maybe not the obvious way – not in Hans Christian Andersen, at least – but in some way. It might sound overblown if fairy tales are credited with the formation of the inner moral creature of the human adult by shaping the still malleable stuff that is the child, but in some ways that is exactly what they do. That is what they are for.

It has become fashionable to shield and shelter the child from many things and this is where the Disney Princesses come from, a sanitized and often saccharinised version of a more rough-hewn and visceral original tale. But there are generations who grew up with those older and rawer stories and who didn’t end up damaged by them. Children have far more strength and intelligence than they are given credit for. In some ways it is a regression when they grow up through all the Disney fluff and fairy dust and end up faced with grittier life realities afterwards, anyway, inevitably, as we all are.

When I was growing up with fairy tales I was not shielded from the bitterness and pathos of “The Little Match Girl” because some adult did not wish me to know that it was possible for a child to die cold and hungry in the street.

The best fairy tales had a hint of a happy ending, not just a happily ever after slam where everything just ended on a nice high note and nobody ever questioned the ever-after. I learned young to question the “happy ending” as such – because I had an early suspicion that somebody had to lose for someone else to win absolutely everything. Yes, every story has an ending and you have to be able to close the book in a satisfying way when you are reading the tale to your child and say, yes, here we conclude and here this story is ended.

But fairy tales, the best fairy tales, are not just pieces of cake which exist separately and are delicately snacked on one at a time. They are a part of a greater fabric of Story, and they are formative, when they are encountered at a young age.

We learn how the world works from inside a fairy tale. We learn that the world isn’t always fair. We learn what we are supposed to want in order to make us happy – but we also learn that on the way to that handsome Prince, the Princess-in-waiting first has to have friends and allies, be they a fairy godmother, a bunch of dwarves, or animals who can communicate only with her. It’s okay to be offered help. It’s okay to accept it. There are a lot of smaller moments of happiness on the way to the happily-ever-after.

I wept at the Disney parade because it brought fairy tales – their own versions of it, which I don’t always agree with but still – to life, and breathed existence, actual existence, into characters which had hitherto lived only in the imagination. But it is in that imagination that the real power remains. Those stories read by flashlight under the covers when you were very young – or were read to you by people who loved you – remain with you. Always.

You carry the fairy tales of your childhood into the adult world with you. And they will always be your friends – even the dragons which they have shown you how to defeat – because a fairy tale is a fundamental building block of the world. With them, we build ourselves.

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Faerie Magazine cover

This article first appeared in Faerie Magazine, a quarterly print magazine celebrating enchantment.

It’s website is HERE

 

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Women write? Really?

I don’t know why Flavorwire would run a story like this unless they think it is extraordinary that women actually, can you imagine, WRITE BOOKS!  What is the world coming to?

But this is a decent list of classic genre novels, a couple you might not have read and can stuff in your canvas tote to take the beach, the pool, or just enjoy snuggled up in your armchair.

22 Thrilling, Imaginative, and Twisted Genre Books By Women

For example:
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters

Fingersmith, Sarah Waters

A crime novel set among Victorian-era lesbian pickpockets, this is the book that put Waters on the map as one of the creepiest and most compelling living writers.

 

 

 

 

See the whole list HERE

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ClutterLars Leetaru

Celebrating clutter

That’s the theme of an article by Dominique Browning in the New York Times. (Link below)

And why not? Define “clutter”.

I have in a glass-fronted cabinet a couple of porcelain animals which belonged to my grandmother – every time I look at them, I remember her and smile. Is that “clutter”?

I have on a bookshelf a collection of tiny pewter items which I picked up at various places I’ve visited in my life – a tiny Mermaid from Copenhagen, a highland cow from Scotland, a petite saguaro cactus from Arizona, a dolphin from Moorea, others. I have a handful of those Swarowski animals which were all the rage a couple of decades back which I haven’t seen around for some time. One of those is in its box because one of its little fragile glass legs broke off and I haven’t figured out a way to fix it, but the rest are out there, including the one I remember getting on my 21st birthday from someone I loved.

I have a large population of plushes, joined only this last Christmas by a black stuffed Toothless (from How To Train Your Dragon). They’ve all got names, and most of them have traceable histories.

I have books EVERYWHERE – some of them purchased a month ago, some decades ago, many signed by authors who are also friends. Some were published last year, some in the 19th century. None of this is “collectible” in the sense that it is intrinsically valuable – it might fetch a couple of bucks at a yard sale, probably, if it came to that.

Is any of this clutter? Why would I WANT to live in a house which was immaculately clean but had no past, no treasures, and no soul?

Read Dominique Browning’s essay HERE

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Clutter that we definitely don’t need is in our oceans, but someone, a kid just out of his teens, has a cleanup plan. Perhaps there is hope for humanity.

The world’s first ocean cleaning system will be deployed in 2016

There are five gigantic patches of swirling plastic throughout the Earth’s oceans, known as gyres, Ian Crossland writes at Minds.Plastic dumpsBecause of ocean currents, a great majority of the plastic that ends up in the oceans finds its way into these garbage patches, poisoning marine life and ending up in the food supply of the planet.

That the plastic lands in these rotating patches is a double edged sword. It is horrible, yes, and causes a multitude of problems, but it also localizes the pollutants and gives us a place to start when cleaning up.

Boyan Slat, at the age of 18, gave a riveting Ted Talk unveiling his plan to clean the pollution using passive flotation devices and the ocean’s own current. After all, “why move through the oceans, if the oceans can move through you?” In 2014, at the age of 19, he realized the plan was actually feasible, and now it’s going into effect off the coast of Japan.

Read the whole story HERE

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The other worlds of fairy tales

Take a tour of the British Academy and Folio Society exhibition of fairy tale illustrations from all over the world, exploring the idea of ‘other worlds’ from China to Native America.Oscar Wilde's The Selfish GiantIllustration by Grahame Baker-Smith from the Folio Society edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant and Other Stories. – Photograph: Publisher

See all the illustrations HERE

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The other day, I wrote about “Uhtceare: An Old English word meaning ‘lying awake before dawn and worrying.'”

It was in a Mental Floss list of “10 Old English Words You Need to Be Using

I decided to use them all:

After the second staddle of the night iI freed my pantofled toes and climbed back into bed yet again, to indulge in my customary bout of uhtceare. I must have dozed off eventually, though, because my usual feline expergefactor got me up at his accustomed hour, because he wanted breakfast. As usuall there was far too much to do and far too little time to do it in so I swallowed a few bites of breakfast on the sly and grubbled around for the car keys. It was just another day at work, with the boss mugwumping his way through the morning meeting and then the rawgabbit from the cubicle next to mine gleefully collared me to share completely idiotic gossip about things she could not possibly know anything about. It was a long time until lunch, when I could get vinomadefied out of that (but of course the idiot came with me, and then I had to stand the lanspresado her entire lunch because of course her wallet was back at the office….) Then it was back through the vomitorium and into the world again….

Read all the Old English Words HERE

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THIS ‘n THAT

Absolutely indispensable translation list you need while travelling. Never leave home without it.

My hovercraft is full of eels” in many languages, including Elvish and Klingon.

Translations HERE

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Quote of the dayQUOTE Mark Twain~~~~~
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20 Serial Killers?

Unh… 20 Killer Series?

It’s satisfying to have a stand-alone book. When you are writing it, that’s the story, and when you’re done you’re done. You can go onto something else without a qualm of conscience.

But series are something else again. They don’t let you go. With the first book, they open the door just a crack. But when you come inside, you realise that there are more doors waiting for you, and it’s irresistible, you can’t NOT open them to see what happens next.

My first series was inadvertent – a 250,000-word novel was picked up by a publisher who demanded that it be split into two more manageable volumes. That became “The Hidden Queen” and “Changer of Days”.

After that, I wrote what was essentially two stand-alone novels which were set in the same world, but 400 years apart – “Secrets of Jin-shei” and “Embers of Heaven”.

And then I stepped into the series world.

The Worldweavers books were born in the aftermath of the Harry Potter mania, and happened when I heard Jane Yolen say that she wasn’t at all sure that she liked the way the Potter books treated girls. And I was off and running with Thea Winthrop and her adventures. That series was a trilogy for the longest time and then I wrote the fourth and final book in the Worldweavers canon. “Dawn of Magic” was published in 2015.

My latest series, also YA, is The Were Chronicles – “Random”, “Wolf”, “Shifter”. The genesis of these books was an anthology about the Were creatures for which I sat down to try and write a story… and discovered that my idea was far too big to fit into a short story mold. It wanted to be a novel. And then it wanted to be THREE novels. And it is possible that the ramifications of those three novels may mean that it eventually becomes SIX novels.

Series. They never let you go.

The Book Depository has come up with their list ofTop 20 SeriesIt rounds up the usual suspects: Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Harry Potter…

What would you add, or subtract, from their list?

Best series ever? HERE

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Wolf Cover

 

WOLF, Book 2 in The Were Chronicles, is now available as an ebook on Amazon.

Other online vendors to follow.

 

 

 

Buy it at Amazon HERE

 

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My first book – the very very first book I sold – was a collection of new-minted fairy tales which were a cross between Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde. The three stories eventually became “The Dolphin’s Daughter”, a book that went into NINE PRINTINGS and still gave me a trickle of royalties more than ten years after it was first published, which speaks volumes about the power of the fairy tale. So I do have a vested interest in the area.

At io9, Charlie Jane Anders offers
10 Books That Will Change How You Think About Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are everywhere these days, she says. They rival superheroes at the movies and TV, and novelists rush to create their own darker, more relevant versions. But how well do you really know fairy tales? Do you know this one?

e.g.
Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Girls by Jane Yolen
Jane YolenThe prolific Jane Yolen has been called America’s Hans Christian Andersen, and with this book she hunts down great folktales from around the world and presents them for young readers.

Read the whole story HERE

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25 Genre Novels That Should be Classics

At Flavor Wire, Emily Temple notes that there’s a stigma that keeps worthy works of genre fiction (mostly SF/fantasy, with a little historical, mystery and crime thrown in) from reaching classic status: being taught in high schools, appearing on all-time best-book lists, etc.

Some genre novels have already crossed the border into pure classic territory — Brave New World, Slaughterhouse-Five and 1984, for example. Here are 25 genre novels that should be considered classics.

e.g.
Solaris, Stanislaw Lem

Solaris

 

Lem’s weird, surrealist space novel is a classic of sorts for those in the know, but epidemically under-read.

The book vacillates between beautifully ruminative and action-packed exciting, as the inhabitants of a space station deal with the clones of their loved ones that the sentient planet they’re on continually sends their way. Also, best depiction of an alien sea that has ever been committed to print.

 

 

Read the whole story HERE

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THIS n THAT

Uhtceare: An Old English word meaning ‘lying awake before dawn and worrying.’

9 other Old English Words You Need to Be Using

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Literacy Falling From The Sky In Brazil!

In a part of the world where most adults don’t have books, it’s highly unlikely the kids will as well. Enter the “Stories In The Sky Project”. Brazilian writers donated stories and the stories were than printed on kites and handed out to kids. They would fly the kites and at some point, would cut the string and let the story kites fall to the ground where other kids could pick them up and enjoy the stories. Then those kids would start the process over again. What a brilliant way to give kids the opportunity to read!

See video HERE

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Quote of the DayQUOTE Nietzche~~~~~
Alma Alexander      My books      Email me

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Which would you buy?

QUIZ: Classic Houses In Literature on the Imaginary Real Estate Market

Anne of Green GablesBright, colorful farmhouse in rural Canadian townThe Western canon is having a real estate sale: All the settings of your favorite novels are now yours for the buying, Maddie Rodriguez writes at Bustle, from gorgeous English estates  to rural Canadian farmhouses.
See them all
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The other day we  looked at the grim original Grimm fairy tales. Now take a look at this:
The secret history of Maleficent
Sleeping BeautyHenry Meynell Rheam, “Sleeping Beauty,” Public Domain image.
iPinion Syndicate talks about murder, rape, and woman-hating in Sleeping Beauty, and then asks why women should care.The answer, it explains, is because reclaiming women from the stereotypes of fairy tales can empower real-life women to defy the roles too-long proscribed for them by men
 
.Interesting read
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8 Wicked Women From Grimm’s Fairy Tales You Probably Don’t Know
At Bustle, Laura I. Miller tells us that for thousands of years, fairytales reigned as the preferred mode of storytelling. Today we see these stories as simple-minded and didactic — kids’ stuff. But women in these stories prosper under the most gruesome circumstances. If you’re looking for inspirational heroines, these dark, magical, powerful ladies — not their watered-down, guileless Disney counterparts — certainly top the list.e.g.
The Girl With No HandsThe Girl With No HandsAfter making a deal with the devil, the girl’s father chops off her hands with an axe because they are too clean for the devil to touch. She cries her stumps spotless, thwarting the devil’s advances, but decides she must leave home — with her maimed arms strapped to her back — to find her own fortune. Eventually, a king marries her and fashions her a pair of silver hands, but her bad luck is far from over. Read the rest of the tale to find out what adventures befall her next!

Read the article

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And speaking of scary…

THE 10 scariest books of all time
Piercing, Ryu Murakami
Piercing, Ryu Murakami

This novel isn’t “boo” scary; it’s more like “set your teeth on edge for days and make you never want to be close to anyone for the rest of your life” scary.

Read the article

 
 
 
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THIS ‘n THAT
35 Gifts book lover will want to keep for themselves
So it goesoutofprintclothing.com, Poo-tee-weet, mofos
See them all
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Masai told to leave homeland so it can become a hunting reserve for royal familyIt never ends. A desire to shoot a trophy animal, to stick a decapitated head on your wall, or put an animal’s skin in front of your fireplace ALWAYS trumps the right of people who can’t afford to buy what should never have been for sale – their own heritage, their own past…
Read the article
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I will send free (ebook) copies of my new book, Random, the first book in the YA series The Were Chronicles, to the next 10 people who ask for it and pledge to leave a review (on Amazon, Goodreads, their own blog, what have you…)Send an email HERE with the subject line “Free Random Offer” Include:
(1) a valid email address to send the ebook to 
(2) a single sentence in the body of the email acknowledging that a review will follow.

Random, The Were Chronicles

 

“Random isn’t just a story about shape-shifters, it’s a story about humanity. It’s about what it means to be a member of a family, a culture, a race.” ~ Angela’s Library review

 

 

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Quote of the Day

“Closing libraries is endangering the future.” ~ Neil Gaiman

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Alma Alexander      My books      Email me

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Based on Real People

When Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road, Stacy Conradt tells us at at Mental Floss, he was really writing about his own cross-country exploits with his Beat Generation buddies.

Cassady and Kerouac

Neal Cassady, left, with Jack Kerouac in 1952. Photograph by Carolyn Cassady.

 

For example, the selfish Dean Moriarty represents Neal Cassady, close pal of Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Ken Kesey.

But that’s not the only character Cassady inspired: Kesey, Hunter S. Thompson, and Tom Wolfe all took inspiration from Cassady.

 

Little women

Similarly, as a neighbor of the Alcott family in Concord, Mass., Elizabeth Hoar served as the model for Beth March in Little Women.

Hoar was also good friends with Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who liked to call her “Elizabeth the wise.”

Real people behind literary characters

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51 Delightfully Geeky Language Facts

At BuzzFeed, Ailbhe Malone has collected some rather amazing language factoids. For example, he tells us that in Japan…

Four (shi) and nine (ku) are considered unlucky numbers, because the words sound the same as those for ‘death’ and ‘pain or worry’.

And because of this, some hospitals don’t have room numbers 4, 9, 14, 19 or 42. Forty-two (‘shi-ni’) means ‘to die’, 420 (‘shi-ni-rei’) means ‘a dead spirit’ and 24 (‘ni-shi’) is double death.

And then there is this fascinating curse:

“Así te tragues un pavo y todas las plumas se conviertan en cuchillas de afeitar” is a Spanish curse, meaning ‘may all your turkey’s feathers turn into razor blades’.

Geeky language facts

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The Romance of Beginnings

Beginnings Cate Campbell talks about the first story glow.

There’s nothing like that first moment when a writer has a new idea for a story or a novel.  It’s like falling in love, when the object of our infatuation has no faults, no complications, only endless and enchanting possibilities. Character, setting, plot . . . they all glow with promise. The first lines flow, the first scene intrigues us, and visions of success draw us into this new project.

It’s been said that being in love is no assurance of happiness in a marriage, but that attempting marriage without it is a doomed effort.  There’s a strong analogy with a fictional concept.  Those first pages are easy.  The work begins when we try to make a cohesive whole, building a good strong fire out of the spark of imagination that got us started.

Beginnings

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How to Write a Believable Happy Ending

As author Ted Thompson learned from John Cheever, a redemptive resolution doesn’t erase the darkness of a story, but instead finds the light within it, Joe Fassler writes in The Atlantic.

EndingsHappy endings are famously rare in literature. We turn to great books for emotional and ethical complexity, and broad-scale resolution cheats our sense of what real life is like. Because complex problems rarely resolve completely, the best books tend to haunt and unnerve readers even as they edify and entertain.

Writing a happy ending that feels meaningful is probably one of the hardest tricks in literature. There’s a lot of comedy out there (particularly in movies and television) that follows that ancient structure of the world falling apart and then being put back together again, but so much of it feels like, okay, those problems were solved and now I can forget about them. You don’t want a literary story to have that effect—you want it to have a resonance with the reader beyond the last page, and I feel like it’s a lot easier to do with tragedy than comedy.

Endings

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15 Breathtaking Illustrations Of Fairy Tales From The 1920s

Long, long ago, things were really beautiful, Ariane Lange tells us at at BuzzFeed, and has collected some wonderful examples.

A happy ending was just behind the brilliantly green curtains.\

Happy endingVia archive.org, Sleeping Beauty awakens to her prince. (John Austen, 1922)

Fairy tale illustrations

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Quote of the Day

Honesty is what you do when no one could ever find out; nobility is what you do when no one can stop you; bravery is what you do when there is a choice; goodness is what you do when the recipient can’t do anything useful for you.” ~ C. J. Cherryh

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Alma Alexander

Check out my books

Email me 

Comments welcome. What do you think?

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Do you know what love is?

What is love?Maria Popova has assembled famous definitions of love from 400 years of literary history in a Brain Pickings article just in time for Valentine’s Day.

They range from the profoundly cynical:

Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage ~ Ambrose Bierce in The Devil’s Dictionary

to the truly profound

What is love but acceptance of the other, whatever he is ~ Anaïs Nin in A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953:

See all the quotes.

What is love

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Best Bookstores In The World

Ashley Lutz tells us at the Business Insider about 18 bookstores every book lover must visit at least once.

From Venice to Mexico City, check out some of the most interesting book retailers out there.

Boekhandel Selexyz DominicanenBert Kaufman on Flickr

Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, Holland.

This epic bookstore is a converted Dominican church from the 13th century. The serene alcoves of the church now serve as reading nooks.

A superb example of adaptive re-use, the Selexyz Dominicanen infuses rich and historic architecture with plentiful shelves ripe with information,” writes Diane Pham at inhabitant.com.

El AteneoWikimedia Commons

El Ateneo, Buenes Aires, Argentina.

This bookstore is housed in an ornate theater building from the 1920’s. Customers can sit in still-intact theater boxes to relax and browse their books.

While the selection of books on offer is standard chain store fare, bibliophiles will find the staggeringly opulent display of books to be reason enough to pay El Ateneo Grand Splendid a visit,” according to Atlas Obscura.

Bookstores around the world

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As I’ve always argued, ALL fiction is fantasy, damnit.

J. R. R. Tolkien on fairy tales and the language and psychology of fantasy

In 1939, J. R. R. Tolkien gave a lecture titled Fairy Storie, defining what a fairy tale is, Maria Popova writes in Brain Pickings:

A “fairy-story” is one which touches on or uses Faerie, whatever its own main purpose may be: satire, adventure, morality, fantasy. Faerie itself may perhaps most nearly be translated by Magic — but it is magic of a peculiar mood and power, at the furthest pole from the vulgar devices of the laborious, scientific, magician. There is one proviso : if there is any satire present in the tale, one thing must not be made fun of, the magic itself. That must in that story be taken seriously, neither laughed at nor explained away.

Hans Christian Andersen
Tolkien on fantasy

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And then we have the incomparable Ursula’s thoughts.

Ursula Le Guin on fantasy

What is fantasy? On one level, it is a game: a pure pretense with no ulterior motive whatsoever. It is one child saying to another child, ‘Let’s be dragons,’ and then they’re dragons for an hour or two. It is escapism of the most admirable kind–the game played for the game’s sake.

On another level, it is still a game, but a game played for very high stakes. Seen thus, as art, not as spontaneous play, its affinity is not with daydream, but with dream. It is a different approach to reality, an alternative technique for apprehending and coping with experience. It is not anti-rational, but para-rational; not realistic but surrealistic, superrealistic, a heightening of reality. In Freud’s terminology, it employs primary, not secondary process thinking.

It employs archetypes, which, as Jung warned us, are dangerous things. Dragons are more dangerous, and a good deal commoner, than bears. Fantasy is nearer to poetry, to mysticism, and to insanity than naturalistic fiction is. It is a real wilderness, and those who go there should not feel too safe. And their guides, the writers of fantasy, should take their responsibility seriously.

From the essay, Elfland to Poughkeepsie, a speech to the second annual Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop.

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Shelter Encourages Kids to Read to Cats

Book Buddies
Fascinating
Olivia B. Waxman at TIMENewsfeed tells us about the Book Buddies program in which children in grades 1-8 can read to homeless cats at The Animal Rescue League of Berks County in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania.

Once youngsters complete five books, they receive a prize like stickers or pretzels. According to the shelter’s website: ”The program will help children improve their reading skills while also helping the shelter animals. Cats find the rhythmic sound of a voice very comforting and soothing.”

Reading to cats

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Quote of the Day

Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. ~ Siobhan Harmer

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Alma Alexander

Check out my books

Email me

Comments welcome. What do you think?
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My Roy Batty moment

31-Day Blog Challenge, #30

WHERE HAVE YOU TRAVELED

Oh, it’s almost a Roy Batty moment, this. “I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe… All those… moments… will be lost in time, like tears… in… rain.

I have seen the savannahs of Africa and grave slow elephants melting into the shadows of an African sunset.

I’ve swum amongst the coral towers and played with dolphins in the islands of the South Pacific.

I’ve ridden an airboat in the Everglades, gazed on the Grand Canyon, and walked the streets of New York City;

I’ve flown a small plane over the fjords of New Zealand’s South Island; I’ve seen both Niagara and Victoria Falls; I walked by the Seine and climbed the Eiffel Tower; and I’ve been to both Land’s End and John o’Groats, the ragged edges of the British Isles.

I’ve been to Dublin, and seen the Book of Kells. I’ve watched albatross hatchlings shiver in their nests in an Antipodean hatching ground. I’ve seen two oceans meet at the Cape of Good Hope, and stood on top of Cape Town’s Table Mountain looking for Halley’s Comet.

I’ve been to the Vienna woods, the Acropolis, the Colliseum, and the canals of Amsterdam. I drank young wine at Grinzig, and skated on a magical pond in the middle of the woods in Banff on a dark winter evening.

So many stories. So many stories to tell.

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America’s most surprising banned books

From Invisible Man to Little Red Riding Hood, these books have all fallen afoul of censors

waldo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s Waldo? rose to popularity in the mid-1990s, challenging young readers to find the lanky, bespectacled Waldo in various crowded scenes. The problem wasn’t the perpetually lost protagonist; it was a sunbathing woman suffering a wardrobe malfunction the size of a pinhead in a corner of one of Martin Hanford’s drawings. The exposed breast got the book banned in Michigan and New York.

Banned books

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Quote of the day

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.  Anaïs Nin

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Fairy tales are the soul of the world…
    
I can get behind that. Or at least behind ‘Little Mermaid’ as told by Hans Christian Andersen,

There’s a lot of fun in singing lobsters, but I”m not sure how much soul. Disney versions of beloved fairytales are those stories seen in a mirror, one that takes deep and fundamental truths and sorrows and reflects them back as entertainment.

And I say this as one who grew up with the Disney versions of Snow White and Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and loved them with a fierce love when I was young.

Introduction to Fairy Tales, video

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Alma Alexander

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