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Rumpelstiltskin

  • Posted on April 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I’ve developped this idea for Rumpelstiltskin, that I intend to make a full-length novel out of, and possibly a series. So here’s a snippet of that, since I wanted to write something from it anyway. To explain, since one of the main characters doesn’t HAVE a gender, and is as such genderqueer, That character uses pronouns Xie/Xir In place of His/Hers or He/She. The book will also have this sort of preface, to avoid those whom might find confusion in such a thing.

As the Stillskin, Xie had always been obedient. The Stillskin had never been allowed to move without the Summer Lady’s absolute permission. But this new Lady, this Sweet Rumpel, she was never giving orders. She would ask. She asked if the Stillskin would be alright left home alone, and when the Stillskin had shook xir head, she had listened. She brought the Stillskin things to do, cloth to sew, new books to read, patient teaching to impart upon the faerie-lost one.

The Stillskin knew that Rumpel need not do these things, not after the trouble that Stillskin had caused. For some reason, Rumpel cared. She brushed the Stillskin’s hair, and helped xir bathe, and all of it as gentle as can be. None of the trickery. Xie still hadn’t gained xir words back, and Stillskin still wasn’t able to hide behind a glamour, like the pretty faeries who sometimes stole kisses from the maids in the market. Xie wished xie could.

Stillskin loved her. In a way the Summer Lady had occupied the Stillskin’s heart, now Rumpel did. If she asked, xie would give xir life for her. Like the Dullahan, Stillskin would serve Rumpel until the end of days. Perhaps this was enticed when Rumpel gave xir a spinning wheel, and enough hay to begin again. Xie always felt safer, happier, when spinning the straw. Spinning it to gold, like the Summer Lady had asked xir to. But now, xie spun for Rumpel.

Spinning was perfection, the hay passing xir fingers, calming and cool, and turning to gold. It was one of the only things that xie could still do. Xie thanked whatever powers let xir keep that gift. It was the only way xie could be useful to Rumpel now.

Jack and the Beanstalk

  • Posted on April 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm

To be quite honest, old Jack has tapped me out. I have no idea what to write about this particular fairy tale. So I decided to try something stream-0f-consciousness, to see if I can get to the bottom of what Jack and the Beanstalk means to me. You see, I never really liked the tale, even as a child. It made no sense to me. If you were going to sell a cow, why would you do it for a few coins? Cows make milk, right? So why not keep the cow, scavenge for food around the forests and stuff, and try and survive that way?

So, yes, even as a child, I wasn’t easily fooled. I knew that no giant beanstalk would grow from a few green beans. I’d tried. It didn’t work. Magic, or not, beans did not equal giants. This was clear to me from a very young age. But there was one part of the fable that drew me. I loved the idea of the Harp of Gold and the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs. These two prizes, seemed so very, very unreachable for me.

Perhaps it was because Harps always seemed so… elegant and rich to me. I tried very hard not to put myself down, but I knew I would never have that sort of beauty in my posession. And the goose? I wouldn’t even know how to care for it. So I envied Jack these few things. I wanted to have them, and he did, so I hated him. Amazing how easy it is to fall into sin that early.

The thing about these two prizes was, however, you had to pass by a giant to get them. And this giant wanted to grind your bones to make his bread. Clearly, the poor guy was calcium deficient and needed some kind of supplement.  I felt sorry for him! But at the same time, he was really, really annoying. All that fee-fi-foh-fum humdrum, it made no sense. Why let your prey escape by being so loud?

Also, the whole tale has no real conclusion. Yes, Jack cuts down the stalk, but what about the rest of the giants? Can’t they come down any time? Shouldn’t they be able to toss down some magic beans and then wreak revenge on the wayword Jack? Oh wait, I don’t remember THAT happening in the original story. Someone should tell Jack and the Beanstalk from the Giant’s point of view. That’d be nice.

And another thing! There are NO female parts in that story, except for the ‘naggy mother’. Really? Maybe Jack should be Jill! Girls can climb giant beanpoles too! Although to be honest, I can’t think of a woman who’d sell a cow for a couple of magic beans. …Well, not off the top of my head anyway. That isn’t to say there aren’t any, just that I don’t know any. Perhaps Jill could climb the stalk and then make peace with the giant?

Well, now I’m getting into territory of a new novel, and that really can’t happen, so I’m going to end this respectable five hundred some odd words with this. Don’t sell your cow. Feed it grass. Milk it. Live. Be happy.

Cinderella

  • Posted on April 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm

The dress Aunt Eugenia held out to her was sparkling and blue and made of layers upon layers of such light material that it looked like glass or moonlight. It felt like silk under Ella’s fingers, and the tiny pearls sewn along the off-shoulder-neckline drew a soft breath of awe from her. She swallowed, and when she turned her eyes up to her godmother’s face, all she saw was pride and joy.

“It was your mothers. She wore it to her prom, you see, when she was only a few years younger than you are now.” Aunt Eugenia explained, smoothing the dress over Ella’s chest, as if to press it onto her. “Now, get dressed, and we’ll do something about your hair and makeup, too. After all, we’ve got a prince to catch, don’t we?” She winked, not surprised by Ella’s blush.

It was like a dream, Aunt Eugenia swooping in like this, and taking Ella away from her dreary nine to five call center job. She’d known that her godmother was rich, that she didn’t spend much time in the US, but this was different. Something… Something strange was happening, but Ella really couldn’t understand it. The dress flowed like water down her frame, her latin-brown skin complimented and turned to caramel next to the blue of it. Looking in her Aunt’s full length mirror showed her a curvy woman in a gown far too sumptuous for her.

Beauty and her Beast

  • Posted on April 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Beauty and the Beast Vs. Taming of the Shrew

Both iconic tales, although for very different reasons. Long, well-known, articulate, and fascinating, both tales are considered love stories, usually of the romantic variety, with sweet connotations, underneath everything else. The humor in Taming of the Shrew is considered a finer point of William Shakespeare’s works. The “song as old as time” of Beauty and the Beast is famous for it’s sweet romance, persisting through the ages as a love story to be emulated.

However, both stories have deeply troubling issues within them that few enjoy looking at. Truthfully, I don’t enjoy looking at it. Like any little girl, I absolutely adored Beauty and the Beast, wanting nothing more than to find that kind of adventure and love so easily. And my teenage self really enjoyed Ten Things I Hate About You, which is roughly based off of Taming of the Shrew. Both were funny, quirky, beautiful stories that made me think that maybe, just maybe, love was out there for everyone.

Now, break it down, by role. Let’s start with the women of each example.

Beauty, whose name literally describes her both inside and out, is a sweet, dutiful girl, who is obedient, intelligent, and (in the original tale) respectful. The disney version added a firey backbone, which was quite nice, actually. Her role in the story was to meet and be enslaved/captured by the beast, and then, despite being cruelly abused, verbally, and physically (he occasionally throws her around even in the disney movie) is supposed to fall in love with the Beast, once he exposes his true, good heart.

Katherina, the infamous Shrew, is an obstinant, firey woman with a temper. She is determined to have her way, and will not be told what to do. She chooses not to marry. During the course of her play, she is psychologically tortured by her soon-to-be-husband, through various methods such as removing her clothing and food, by saying it isn’t good enough for her, and deliberately misinterpreting what she says. She, in the end, also falls in love with a rude, obstinant man, whom has proven to be a rather cruel fellow.

Both women seem to be intelligent, well-thought out women, for all that they’re a little… one dimensional. Beauty is beautiful in all that she is, and Kate is well… a shrew.  But both women are forced, quite against their will, to be in the company of a man who is downright brutish.

The Beast is just that, a monstrous beast both outside and in, with claws that have rended the entire castle. Belle must have lived in fear, for I know I would, were I surrounded by stone gauged by such talons. Not only that, but he treats her as though she were a servant, a slave. He yells, demeans her, and as illustrated before, throws her a few times. He is brutish, boorish, angry, frightening, and supposedly, deep down, has a heart of gold. Belle just has to endure until it begins to show itself. Meanwhile, Beast is just waiting for the right woman to come along and teach him proper manners. How demeaning is that, as an allegory for the male gender? Hear that guys? You have no choice but to be an ass until the right woman comes along and *FIXES* you.

Petruchio, meanwhile, had the benefit of being raised in Italy. Meaning he’s an ass too. Also, he’s psychologically manipulative, and uncaring of Katherina in a personal sense. All he wants, as is stated in the play, is to marry a bride. He too is cruel, wooing a woman who obviously doesn’t want marriage, and basically talking her into marriage with the most backwards sweettalk in existance. He knowingly enters the relationship set to break down Katherina’s spirit and make her docile, accepting, and obedient.

Both men are the worst sort of examples of mankind one can think of. I personally am embarrassed to even call them men, for I’ve MET good men, and they do not act this way.

Now, you ask, at what point do these two stories even coincide with each other? Well, think about it. Beauty and the beast is a story about a woman taming a man. Taming of the shrew is about a man taming a woman. They’re the same story, only with the genders reversed.

What’s worse is, instead of the man showing the woman kindness, as Beauty showed Beast, and finally revealing the heart of gold inside, in Taming of the Shrew, Katherina is instead browbeaten, psychologically tortured, and in general treated as a problem, something to be beaten down and changed.

Both stories have problematic elements, Beauty with her stockholm syndrome and Perchutio with his cruelty, however, when looked at, it is clear what the commonality is. In both stories, women are clearly a means-to-an-end. Nothing more. Katherina is refused her personality, changed by the man in order for him to gain a bride and her sister to be eligible for marriage. Beauty exists for her father to trade off, for the Beast to gain back his humanity. Nothing more.

THIS is the problem with these two stories. When you are writing, consider the women in your story. Consider what they do, who they are, WHY they are in the story. If they are nothing more than a means-to-an-end, then you are doing them, and yourself, a disservice. After all, Misogyny is often internalized, and it’s time that women became women, and not just a catalyst.

A-To-Z Theme Challenge

  • Posted on March 21, 2014 at 1:29 am

I am here to announce my theme for this year’s A-to-Z theme challenge, which I know you all have been anticipating with bated breath! As you all know, for the challenge, each participant must choose a theme for the entirety of April, and then post once each day with a post related to their theme. So, without further ado, my theme for April:

Fairytales

  • A is for Alice (in Wonderland)
  • Beauty and her Beast
  • Cinderella
  • Darling Mother Dearest
  • Eggs of the Golden Variety
  • Fairy Godmothers
  • Greener Pastures (for Goats)
  • Hansel and Gretel
  • Is He or Isn’t He (Human)?
  • Jack and the BeanStalk
  • Kraken in the Deep (or monsters just out of sight)
  • Ladies Locked in Towers
  • Milk Maid’s Dreams
  • Nightmares in Human Shape (Villains who do not seem villanous at first)
  • Open Mic Night at Disney
  • Princesses Dancing (Twelve of them!)
  • Queens: Are they so evil?
  • Rumpelstillskin
  • Snow White
  • Tristan and Ysolde
  • Under the Bridge
  • Vassilissa the Fair
  • Why the Youngest Son?
  • X-Rated Endings (not always the sexy kind)
  • Your Best Friend (the Mouse)
  • Zoloft for Fairytales

So join us for a romp through the themes and practices of Fairytales, and the minds that created them. You might learn something from my musings, or perhaps you’ll find a few of my little retellings interesting! Please leave comments and make sure to subscribe so that you can keep track!

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