So Fairy Tale

I saw Snow White and the Huntsman this weekend. Of course. It’s a fairy tale, after all.

I liked it, too.

In the film, I saw images that reminded me of many other films. No, not much reminded me of Disney. Thank goodness. While I love many Disney films, Snow White’s singing hurts my ears.

One review mentioned this new Snow White had a Lord of Rings moment. I suppose. I won’t argue.

What surprised me was when it reminded me–for only a few seconds–of Krull. Remember that? (Yes, I came of age in the eighties.)

Near the end, this new Snow White reminded me of Willow–and not because of the dwarves (which weren’t played by dwarves anyway).

Oh. And part of it reminded me of Princess Mononoke.

The movie, Snow White and the Huntsman is new, but Snow White is an old story. Seems fair to me. Countless stories have borrowed from fairy tales, why shouldn’t a new fairy tale borrow things back?

What influences a writer or a filmmaker anyway? Do they even fully know?

three arts in a tub,
and who do you think were there?
The writer, the painter, the modern filmmaker,
and all of them gone to the fair.

Perhaps they spend all their time at the fair to beg, borrow, and steal. Don’t you think so?

Why do you think fairy tales appear popular again? Just this evening I watched the final episode of the BBC’s new Sherlock. Moriarty plays his crime as a fairy tale complete with bread crumbs and an apple (Snow White, anyone? Anyone?). Not to mention those fairy tale based TV shows I keep hearing about (but have not watched, must confess).

Will fairy tales ever go away?

Why do I even write them (such as mine are)?

my castle

Do you have a favorite fairy tale? Which fairy tale should filmmakers re-imagine next?

Once upon a time there was a writer, and her Muse kept her locked in room because the writer had claimed she could spin words into gold. The Muse waited, taunting the writer with bright and pretty ideas.

One day an agent appeared before the writer and said, “If you can find the magic words I’m looking for in all the dross you’ve piled high around you, I’ll publish your writing and you’ll be free.” The writer knew in her heart this was a trick, but she was under a spell and had to do as she was told.

She’s locked away in that room still, writing and writing, waiting for a publisher to call her name.

“That’s a fairy tale.”

“Aren’t we all?”

Where’s my time machine?

When you think time machine, don’t you imagine the chance to go anywhen. And probably anywhere, but there’s no promise that a time machine will move through space as well as time. (Unless, you know, you’re a Time Lord.)

But why is that our idea of a time machine? That the machine would move us from one point to another. Like a Delorean.

Maybe a time machine could be fit on a desk, and when you need that extra hour in your day, you turn it on, and presto! Out comes your hour. Maybe you could feed time you don’t want into it too. Is that hour dragging by? Let the machine handle it. You could get that time back later when you want the party to last a little longer.

Would you want your own time machine?

Though it may cause trouble with different machine creating different amounts of time. There might be huge time differences from one house to the next.

Now there’s a story idea…

My Miss Havisham

I met Miss Havisham late at night when I was 14 and alone in the house. I lived with my father, and he, as he was wont to do, was out for the night. Perhaps he’d be home at 3am or Sunday afternoon. He never promised any particular time.

from Great Expectations

We lived far from everything, fields around most of the house, a lake in front of the house, a highway in the distance. An only child, I had to find my own way to forget that the neighbors might not actually be close enough to hear screaming.

I’d curl up on the sofa and watch television. We got 5 channels, but two of them required going outside into the dark to turn the antennae, so after a certain hour, we really only had 3 channels.

On one of the channels I met Miss Havisham and fell in love with Charles Dickens. Perhaps you know his 200th birthday was the other day?

I watched the movie Great Expectations, and afterwards couldn’t stop thinking about Miss Havisham and Estella. They seemed to confirm my 14 year old perspective on love, and while I felt I was supposed to feel bad that Estella was being raised impervious to love, I also suspected this was not all together a bad thing. I rather wished I was Estella.

She was not afraid of boys.

But I feared I had far more in common with Miss Havisham–unstable and most likely to be left at the altar. Years later on my wedding day, when I was 27, I walked to the church in my wedding dress, my father at my side, with the slight nagging notion that my soon-to-be husband was going to change his mind.

I didn’t tell anyone Miss Havisham was at my wedding, but she was, quietly sitting in the corner of my mind, rather disappointed I wouldn’t be joining her.

Still, back when I was 14, having watched the movie, I went and read the book. The book was even better, and so I fell for Mr. Dickens.

Yes, he was flawed–seriously so–and not everything he wrote was perfect by any means, but how perfect does a writer need to be?

What if I could write one character that could stay with someone all of her life?

Is there any character like that for you?

Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens. Glad you’re still with us. You know, in the way great story-tellers always are.