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Posts Tagged ‘Fairytales’

That felt like a very short week away, but involved enough food for about a month!

I am still catching up with washing, housework, sleep etc so I tonight I’m just going to share a picture from my travels.

Late one afternoon we went for a walk into a nature park area, and just out of sight of the parking area, beyond some trees, was a little hotel.

In The Woods

There was a wedding party at the hotel, the tables all lit with candles shining through the windows, and it felt magical.

When I think of the stereotypical German village it’s very much from fairytales – a leftover from a childhood reading The Brothers Grimm, no doubt – and this scene seemed to fit perfectly.  There was such a romantic feeling to the place, and a sense of timelessness that is almost impossible to define.  It felt like I had fallen into a storybook, for just a few moments.

And doesn’t that seem fitting for a couple celebrating their own love story?

Until next time – happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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This week I started Gulliver’s Travels but due to lots of busy time I’ve fallen behind in reading it, so I had to read something else instead – this is becoming a pattern 🙂

Book 31 – Japanese Fairy Tales by Yei Theodora Ozaki. This is as the title describes, a collection of Japanese fairy tales. The ideas and meanings behind them are very much as with all fairy tales – morality, sin, punishment, repentance and so on – but with a distinct flavour. There are sea dragons, underwater castles, magical cranes made of paper and so much more.  But equally, there are very common themes from fairy tales I heard as a child; things like evil stepmothers, fairies, magic trees and deception.

I’ve talked about fairy tales before, and I think they have a great influence on the way I viewed the world growing up – I’ve always believed there’s more to life than what we see, as though there’s a hidden world just out of the reach of our perception.  As an adult I guess that’s spirituality or fate, but as a child I think fairy tales spun their own magic in my imagination.  It’s really lovely to revisit that feeling and the sense that what was good, and right, was passed on through the storytellers (even if our morality is a little different nowadays!).

This was not like reading a novel, but I would say that the content of the stories was equivalent to the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson in tone.   I could imagine these stories being read to a child even now.  I am glad I read them – I have read folklore and fairytales from many cultures but never Japanese before so it was an interesting exercise in comparative myth and storytelling.

If you enjoy this kind of reading, or are looking for something for a child (some stories are probably less appropriate than others!) this is definitely worth a visit.

Until next time,

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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Welcome to the first of my new Thoughts on a Thursday, which replace my old inspiration posts.  Some will be more different from those posts than others!

This week is about fairytales.  You probably think of them, if you think of them at all, as children’s stories.  They begin with the words ‘Once upon a time’, those words are like a doorway into a far off magical land, a long time ago.

I love the freedom of ‘once upon a time’; it allows the writer to right the wrongs of society, which you can’t do in realist books.   This may explain my enjoyment of the fantasy and magical realism genres too, both of which allow the reader to suspend their disbelief very admirably!

But there is a huge amount of material within those stories that goes well beyond the happy ever after of some fairytales.   There is danger, violence, cruelty, beauty, goodness, salvation.  There are life and death struggles, persecution and freedom.

And there are outcomes too: fairytales are a form of morality tale, when actions and inaction have consequences.

For example, in the non-Disney Cinderella we see Cinderella abused and mistreated; her step-sisters in their turn were crippled (cutting part of their feet off to fit the golden shoe) and then blinded.

from Childhood’s Favorites and Fairy Stories; Project Gutenberg etext

Of course, not every fairytale is like that, but it is true that they are often quite bleak in tone.  There are blindings, poisonings, immolation, stabbings, imprisonment and many other horrible things – and although most of the time the ‘baddies’ pay for their mistreatment of the ‘goodies’, before this happens the ‘goodies’ suffer greatly.

The book I’ve been reading talks about updating these ideas in paranormal tales, but actually I’m more interested in bringing the morality concepts into realist writing.  The Mysteries of the Greek Detective novels do this really well (well the three that I’ve read so far, anyway!); there is often no legal remedy but there is almost always punishment.

I’ve said before that I like a sense of justice in books and maybe that’s a side-effect of reading The Brothers Grimm as a child!

All in all, there’s a lot of ideas, themes and motifs in fairytales that are worth investigating from a variety of angles – find the right one and your writing ‘once upon a time’ might be much sooner, and much closer, than you think!

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I have decided to refer to my reading challenge on separate posts from now on, as they make these posts far too long – I was at about 1000 words with this week’s books covered as well, which is double my intended maximum!

Look out for ‘Challenge Tuesdays’ instead, where I’ll tell you what I’ve read and what I thought of it, and hopefully you can suggest some more things for me to try.

So, until Tuesday, happy writing!

EJ

🙂

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