In the shadows of mountains and fairytales…

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~ Neil Gaiman

on the hanging lake trail
I grew up playing in the wrinkles of the Rocky Mountains.

On winter ski lifts, the fierce contrast framed snow against evergreens as far as I could see, my lips frozen beyond speech.

In summer, rugged sun-spangled cliffs, slashed by falling rivers, danced in the light.

Too many times I hung over the rushing creek dangling my shoes from the thick branch that offered me a place to sit and memorize the earth, the clouds, the dreams alive before my eyes. Till one time my shoe leapt into the froth below. What was a girl to do? Kick the other one in to join its mate. Having ridiculously tender footsoles, I hobbled painfully home never regretting my loss.

Now, the remembrance of the footpath, the tree, the bridge over the wide creek throws me into clarity. And fairytales become real again. Dragons can be conquered, but I have to remember that.

Earlier than Neil Gaiman, G.K. Chesterton took it deeper. He said, “Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey….”

I didn’t get to read fairytales until I was old enough to read for myself. I didn’t have access to them until I was out of grade-school. (Maybe that’s why the bogeyman wouldn’t ever go away.) By then, I considered myself too mature for them. Finally, I grew old enough again to read them.  Beginning with Shel Silverstein’s ‘The Giving Tree’, like a pent-up wind released, they gave my imagination somewhere to go.

Then, I wanted to waste nothing in the making of tales. Poetry came first. I never thought I’d be able to commit to a novel, even though it ran through my brain over and over. Poetry is a quick glance, a smile, a nod, an embrace and then you’re done. Maybe a re-visit here and there to tweak it. But a novel, now that’s a marriage. Too many novels turn pretentious at some point, woody at others, and the risk to make every single word draw the story out, seemed so daunting. When I read “Fugitive Pieces” by Anne Michaels, I knew I had to at least try.

Anne said in an interview, “You spend your time when you’re writing erasing yourself. The idea is to get out of the way of it.”

I knew I could do that…get myself out of the way.

About poetry, she said…
“…it’s such a good discipline for a novelist: it makes you aware that even if you have four or five hundred pages to play with, you mustn’t waste a single word.”

Since poetry’s my practice, this, too, seemed possible. I was aching to try. In the folds of life, word by word, ‘Delicate‘ winked its way out. Part gothic, part myth, history, love and revenge, it’s a fairytale that brushes against the mystic. (But isn’t that the nature of all fairytales?)

Now it’s out there, and wherever it travels, may it ignite the facets of adventure in whoever reads it.

“I Knew You Were Waiting” ~ Aretha and George

©2022: Zoëtrope in Words. All rights reserved.

“Delicate: The Alchemy of Emily Greyson”…

…is published now and available!  

So, “make your choice, Adventurous Stranger,
strike the bell and bide the danger.
Or wonder, till it drives you mad,
what would have happened if you had.” (C.S. Lewis).

Pick your passion:

Barnes and Noble

Get a sample, and another…
then enjoy Anna’s romp through the Faeran Valley.
Until the shadows of legend begin to unravel…

The cover of Delicate: The Alchemy of Emily Greyson

©2022: Zoëtrope in Words. All rights reserved.

A Jungian type of Fairytale

~I’ve picked up C.G. Jung’s autobiography,
Memories, Dreams, Reflections, again and am, of course, entranced. He says, “Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away–an ephemeral apparition….I have never lost the sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.”

This, with the basic (and only the basic) concepts of his studies involving a mystical alchemy, I am astounded. My book, Delicate: The Alchemy of Emily Greyson, is a novel containing these mystic alchemies and unprovoked nuances throughout the story that create its own myth. And Emily, who doesn’t show up until a substantial way through, is the culmination of these mysticisms.

Maybe Delicate is a Jungian type of fairytale.  Fortuitous symbols, inadvertent mysticism, the “ephemeral apparition” and the concept, “…What we see is the blossom which passes. The rhizome remains”, begin to set the premise for my first book as I sit in the shadows of the masters, breathing in their craft.  

An unpredictable romp into a different mind, a different time.   

©2022: Zoëtrope in Words. All rights reserved.