Posts Tagged ‘Fairy Tales’

Or, in the words of Jamie Bogert in “The Disturbing Origins of 9 Beloved Fairy Tales,” on THE-LINE-UP.COM:  Bedtime is often sweetened by stories of handsome princes and beautiful princesses, comical witches and lovable forest dwellers.  But what happens when we follow the breadcrumb trail to a fairy tale’s gloomy origin?  From the Little Mermaid to Little Red Riding Hood, the sugarcoated renditions we know and love come from much darker places.  If a Disney-themed wedding is in your future, beware:  The disturbing origins of these classic stories are anything but sweet.

And so it goes, in some cases only that the Disney versions we may know and love often leave out the, um, interesting parts; in others perhaps that dark actual events may underlie what we read as children. In addation to the two already noted, the fairy tales discussed are Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White, and the neat thing is that I’ve written my own versions of, or inspired by, every one of these (disclaimer: that doesn’t necessarily mean every one of these has sold), though Cinderella and Snow White are probably my favorites.  E.g., did you notice Sleeping Beauty in TOMBS?  But in any event, for a quick update on the lore of our youth, one need but press here.

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Sunday morning, Easter, was sunny and if not warm not too cold either.  Quite pleasant all in all.  Then now, a bit after 10 p.m., it’s snowing outside along with some rain, with the Weather Channel predicting as much as three inches by dawn.  That for us April fools.  Then, in between, it being the first of April, up DisappearingProse-150x150to twenty of us gathered for the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic,” hosted this time by downtown coffeehouse Soma.

The featured readers were all “First Sunday” veterans, starting with Abegunde (cf. August 30, May 7 2017 et al.) with an essay/memory piece realting to earlier days as a poet, specifically citing a pair of letters from summer 1993; then followed by Alisa Alering (May 1 2016 et al.) with part of a story podcast on CAST OF WONDERS this February; and finally Wendy Teller with excerpts from her soon-to-be published historical novel BECOMING MIA (August 7 2017, but going back as far as 2015 and 2014).  After the break these were followed by only three readers from the audience, me in third place with an as yet unpublished fairy tale variant, “The Mouse Game,” the story of Cinderella from the viewpoint of one of the mice turned into horses to draw her coach.

The crowd wasn’t the hugest, even including the homeless guy asleep in the back row, but was gratifyingly enthusiastic for this month’s “First Sunday Prose Reading and Open Mic”(cf. August 7, et al.), co-sponsored by the Bloomington Writers Guild and Boxcar Books, and anyway it had to compete with a lovely late-summerish afternoon outside.  And, yes, this was October.  Be that as it may, it was also our starting-the-buildup-to-Halloween special, with featured readings beginning with Frida Westford and two short shorts, “That Which Remains” about a displaced bog spirit paired with a fairy tale brought up to date in “The Eve of All Hallows,” and ending with Joan Hawkins and Tony Brewer performing brief excerpts from the screenplay for Ken Russell’s never-produced film version of DRACULA, with the title character an aesthete who specializes in biting artists about to die in order to give them eternal life to continue producing.

My reading came in between these two with a presentation from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH somewhat paralleling that of the previous month at the Bloomington Arts Festival “Spoken Word Stage” (see September 3), this time with the book’s back-cover blurb plus the ghoul-poet’s tale from Section III to introduce the chapter-story “Carnival of the Animals,” and seemed to me to be well received (snoring homeless guy in the back notwithstanding).

Then after the break, with banana bread and ginger cookies, four readers, all of whom we’ve met before, offered open microphone presentations to cap the afternoon:  Tonia Matthews, Shayne Laughter, and (this time separately) Tony Brewer and MC Joan Hawkins.

On a pleasant near-summer’s night, the Bloomington Writers Guild co-sponsored “Second Thursday Players Pub Spoken Word Series” (cf. May 12, et al.) started off comparatively noisily with a trumpet performance by local musician Kyle Quass, followed by two poets and one fiction writer.  The fiction was by Tom Bitters with a quiet romantic tale of himself, his wife, and a local benefit performance by John Mellencamp; with Nashville Indiana full-time poet Andrew Hubbard next with four or five self-described “cross[es] between character studies and short-short stories”; and, after a musical interlude by Kyle Quass again, a group of more conventional poems by local writer Antonia Matthew.  These were followed by seven open mike readers of which I was fourth — square in the middle — with a fairy tale variant originally published in RAPUNZEL’S DAUGHTERS (Pink Narcissus Press, 2011) called “The Glass Shoe,” or, translated to modern political terms, alternative facts meet Cinderella.

This was a first, the Players Pub Spoken Word Series (see January 29), premiered Thursday night from 6 to 9 by the Bloomington Writers Guild in conjunction with local bar and music venue Players Pub in off-downtown Bloomington.  This will continue on second Thursdays every month, combining musical interludes with readings of various sorts.  This time, for instance, the readings were prose, with the musical guests the group Urban Deer, while next month’s will most likely feature poetry and, from out of town, the group Shakespeare’s Monkey.  The name of the series is not necessarily fixed yet either, but a flavor is already being established, more freewheeling and possibly “adult” in nature than, say, the more formal First Sunday Prose and Last Sunday Poetry programs.

That said, the first reading ever for this was by . . . me.  The piece read was my story “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS, but with a brief introduction from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (“River Red” being set in the “Tombs” universe, even if not in the latter book) to help set the mood.  And also . . . well, maybe . . . as a sort of commercial to push both titles.  This was followed by Shayne Laughter, who we’ve met on several occasions before, with a tale called “Incident at Grandmother’s Cottage,” a part of a fiction work in progress; Arbutus Cunningham (a.k.a. Hester), a Saturday morning radio star on local WFHB with four brief and mostly funny (the exception, the third called “After the War,” combining survival and sadness) semi-fictionalized, off-the-wall reflections; and triana3c2001playwright and comedy performance artist Stevie Jay with longer excerpts from a newer work, “Falling Through the Cracks:  a homeopathic remedy for the New Millennium in one dose.”  The audience totaled some 15 to 18 people (not counting bar personnel), most of whom seemed to stay for the whole nearly three-hour period, and once warmed up seemed quite enthusiastic.

Then another note on new goth kitten Triana, who has momentarily held still and in the light long enough for a new photo portrait, this amongst the jumble and clutter of the printer corner of the computer cave.  But the thing is, missing from all other pictures thus far, she has lovely golden-brownish eyes, now seen here for the first time!

DARKFUSE MAGAZINE Managing Publisher Shane Staley announced today that the print edition of DARKFUSE 6, including my steampunkish tale “The Candle and the Flame” (cf. January 13, et al.), has been given a May 30 publication date.  Information and advance ordering can be found here.  “The Candle and the Flame” is a variation of sorts of Hans Christian Andersen’s story of “The Little Match Girl,” sans angels conveying one’s soul to darkfuse6Heaven.  Because there are other uses for souls, more practical ones as one might say for those who can afford it — or maybe not.  With eight stories in all, DARKFUSE 6 is planned as a “mini-hardcover” collectors edition, including several signing options, and the following contents:

“Mommy’s Little Man” by Brian Hodge
“The Friday Special” by Renée Miller
“Dare To” by Bruce Golden
“Night of the Dog” by Brian Knight
“The Candle and the Flame” by James Dorr
“Fear” by Ben Pienaar
“Where They Belong” by Aeryn Rudel
“Instant Swimmers” by Ronald Malfi

So go the news cycles, days in which nothing happens at all, then periods where it all piles up, one or two happenings every day.  And so, today, a twofer the first of which is by William Herkewitz via POPULARMECHANICS.COM, “Behold Bat Bot, the First Flying Robot Bat.”  Yes, really, but not necessarily intended as an aid for blood drives, but landscape-1485967968-batbotrather activities where drones might otherwise be used, except they’re in close proximity to people.  That is, if there’s an oopsie, even mechanical bats are softer than something with four little whirling, sharp rotors.  And besides that, they’re cool!  But a robot bat does provide, it seems, some unique design problems, for more on which one can press here.

Then, actually a day before, what should be met in the computer cave mailbox but my authors’ copy of MEET CUTE (see December 31, 11, et al.), with my own tale of flying beings, “Butterfly.”  This is a small book of flash fiction concerning unexpected encounters between pairs of people, some romantic, some not so, but all with a touch of the unusual to them.  In this case, my story met up as well with an illustration by Marge Simon, but that wasn’t necessarily surprising — Marge and I being friends for some years, I had told her about it.

Edited by Kara Landhuis, MEET CUTE can be found on Amazon by pressing here.

A few loose ends as the year winds down.  Proof sheets went back Friday to Editor Kara Landhuis for MEET CUTE (see December 11, November 26, 23), the illustrated anthology of eccentric meetings scheduled for early 20splatter217.  My part in this, “Butterfly,” is a rather gentle tale as stories by me go and will be, I understand, illustrated by Marge Simon.

Then later in the evening Grey Matter Press weighed in with an announcement that their nouveau splatterpunk anthology SPLATTERLANDS:  REAWAKENING THE SPLATTERPUNK REVOLUTION (cf. October 22 2015, et al.) can now be obtained free by both new and old e-readers with Kindle Unlimited.  My tale in this one is the far less gentle “The Artist,” for more on which, and the book in general, one may press here.

The Amazon Publication date listed was March of this year but, due to the kinds of mixups that happen sometimes, my copy of DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS (cf. March 11, et al.) only finally arrived in yesterday’s mail.  But what wonderful timing, the day after dystopianexpressThanksgiving, and special thanks to Hydra Publications Editor Tony Acree for sending it Priority Mail!  So all’s well that ends well — or, in that it’s a book about dystopias, maybe not that well.  My mutt in the melange, in any event, is a tale called “Invisible People” of a near-future society where everyone knows his or her place, or else . . . nobody cares.  Post election blues anyone?  Or more to the point, while as of yet I’ve only glanced at the contents, there’s probably a story that will fit the bill however you voted!  (But to make extra sure you might want to press here.)

Then in other news, due to the holiday I had to wait to use the cave computer’s library annex machine today, but this afternoon I e-sent back the signed contract for MEET CUTE (see November 23).  This is the one about unexpected or otherwise amusing meetings between pairs of people in flash fiction settings, in which my offering is one of forests and fairy lore titled “Butterfly.”

MEET CUTE was born out of a love for several things, most notably:  Storytelling and connection.

I wanted to create a book that celebrates human connection, and I thought there was no better way than to invite writers and illustrators to collaborate.  MEET CUTE will include 25-50 short stories (very short — fewer than 1000 words each) written by different writers.  There will also be 10-20 black and white illustrations that enrich the stories. . . .

Note:  While a “meet cute” may traditionally be romantic, this is not a romance anthology.  Many of the stories involve encounters that are odd, intriguing, awkward, and entertaining — but not all of them are romantic.

So has said Editor Kara Landhuis and, not too long ago, I sent a 900-word story about an encounter in a forest through which a highway is to be cut, an ecological fantasy of sorts — or is it a fairy tale?  And, in this evening’s email, the reply:  “I would like to include your story, ‘Butterfly,’ in the anthology.  I enjoyed your interpretation of the theme, and I am excited about what your story will add to this collaborative work.”

Then two other things, first that Editor Landhuis has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help with the project, which can be found here.  It can also serve as a pre-order opportunity ($15 for the paperback version, with free shipping in the US included), though other pledge options are offered as well.  And the second, MEET CUTE is still open for submissions until December 16 (including payment which, while modest, is guaranteed regardless of the kickstarter’s success), for more on which one may press here.




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