Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thirteen Reasons To Love Fairy Tales

I have an inordinate fondness for fairy tales and mythopoetic literature. This evening I've spent several hours at SurLaLune, pouring over annotated fairy tales and their histories, not to mention many, many absolutely gorgeous illustrations. It's an incredible site.

If anyone knows of a graduate program that focuses in on mythopoetic lit or fairy tale lit or literature of the fantastic, drop me a line. Until then, here are thirteen reasons to love fairy tales.

1. Magical powers.

2. Wise women.

3. Brave princes and princesses.

4. Unbearable suffering.

5. Perserverance.

6. Long, flowing hair. (Yes, I know it's terribly girly, but...I'm a girl!)

7. Scary monsters. (See here. If you get this joke, I will write a poem for you of your very own.)

8. Small children being eaten.

9. Good overcoming evil.

10. Forests and thickets and rivers and lakes and thorns and flowers and mountains and castles and cottages.

11. Otherworldly kingdoms.

12. Talking beasts.

13. Journeys of the exterior and interior.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On Mother's Day...and Easter

Someone I'd consider a cyberfriend of sorts asked what I was given for Mother's Day this year. That would be these teacups. I've got a thing for hot tea, and Great Scott is kind enough to indulge me.

For Easter, he gave me the coolest apron ever.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Hidden Vision

"The virtue of those [respected literary] writers is precisely that they have refused to do what their imitators do so humbly. Each of them has had a vision of the world and has set out to transcribe it, and their work has the forthrightness and vigor of all work that comes from the central core of the personality without deviation or distortion."

--Dorothea Brande
Becoming a Writer

What one has to bring to one's writing, to share with the world, is one's own way of seeing. Especially in my blog writing I usually hide my vision, my way of seeing, rather than drawing my readers into it with me. Instead of honesty, I present a false vision, a substitution, a deceit. It is possible, I suppose, that the masking vision is born of the self that serves most often in my interactions with the outside world. (Ah, the joys of being an INFP, whose deepest convictions and being are most naturally held in reserve!) If so, then the word "deceit" may not be entirely accurate, since my public self is still a genuine, a true representation of my whole. Isn't it?

The other night I began looking over the language arts courses of the online certification program I've begun. I took the quizzes over the various sections, cold, to try to get a sense of where I am in terms of what I'll be expected to know. It's been 18 and a half years since I graduated with my BA, sixteen since I left graduate work. My quiz scores were not as high as I'd hoped. In spite of the fact that my scores had been higher than the average scores of people who take the quizzes after having worked through the courses, I went to bed discouraged and worried, and I woke up feeling worried and overwhelmed.

Out of irritability that morning I scolded The Older Daughter over something inconsequential and caught myself on the verge of tears. Then on the way to school the girls and I were laughing together when a wave of premature nostalgia hit me, choking me up, and I also got sentimental about the terrapins that are beginning to cross the highway, an annual occurrence.

When I realized what was going on and stopped to consider, it struck me that the underlying cause of both the morning's irritability and predisposition to tears was fear. Surprised, I began considering some of the most emotionally volatile periods of my life--high school, college, early marriage, early motherhood. How many of those wild moodswing rides originated from the same material: fear of failure, fear of not measuring up, fear of finding myself utterly unequipped and inadequate for the task at hand?

True vision, it would seem, is not only hidden from others.