Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mission Statement. Sort Of.

so I've been thinking about my latest project --yeah thinking about more than working on. Hopefull that will change between now and when next semester starts -- and what its main purpose is.

Well Ok, its MAIN purpose is to be awsome but WHY it is going to be so awsome.

Appart from the fact that it has knights in it. I like knights a lot. Hard to have something with knights in it and it not be awsome.

But I digress.

Actually not. That flows rather well into my next point.

Except that I just messed it up.

Oh well. Moving forward.

I like old books. A LOT. Shakespeare. Chaucer. Sir Walter Scott. Spencer. BEOWULF. I am pretty much salvitating here as I type. Any combination of poetry, knights, complex language, people fighting with swords --I'm repeating myself a little here aren't I? Sorry. But you get the idea. Old legends. Old myths. The more obscure and less identified author the better.

Unfortunately most people don't. Or they don't have time to sit down and decipher them or maybe they just haven't heard of them (No really. You would be surprised). The versions people do know are typically --well Disney-ified or hollywood-ified. For example fairy tales. It took me a long time to figure out why Collodi's Pinochio is in the new ABC show Once Upon a Time when that is actually a victorian children's allegory rather than a folk tale. Then I realized it's a Disney movie and for most people that is synonimous with fairy tale. Yeah they recognize who the Grimm brothers are. They might even know who Charles Paurault is. But to them fairy tales are princesses and pixie dust and happy endings.

Not like a real fairy tale at all.

The original fairy tales were DARK. People in them cut off their own toes and heels to marry a prince or got blinded falling off a tower. They were punished by being rolled down a hill inside a barrel enbedded with nails or forced to dance in iron shoes heated in the fire place. Princes saw dead girls and decided to take them home to decorate their palaces. They were forced to marry ogres and locked inside towers with no walls or windows for decades at a time.

And Little Red Riding Hood? There was no huntsman in the original version. She didn't listen and she got eaten. The end.

But sometimes --if a kind stepdaughter or resourceful youngest son were kind and resourceful enough--they might make it through the dangers and mysteries alive and reach a happily ever after.

I love the one with the seven swan brothers whose sister has to spend seven years without talking while she weaves shirts out of nettles to return them to their human state. And the one brother who's shirt isn't quite finsished and spends the rest of his life with a wing instead of an arm.

And the Goose Girl who talks to the head of her dead horse while under cover at the castle of the prince she's supposed to marry and bears her soul to an iron stove in the hearing of the king because she is sworn not to tell a living soul what happened to her.

To me these are Fairy Tales. Not that silly pixie dust stuff.

So what does this have to do with my writing? My current project is an Arthurian piece. But not just the typical Arthur becomes King or Lancelot and Guenivere fiasco that we usually hear about. I'm going back further than that. To the older legends. The once we might read in school but hardly ever encounter for entertainment purposes. I want to stay as true to the legends as possible while still making them accesable to a modern audience --the audience that might not understand why a knight would travel through the countryside challenging every nobleman he saw just for the heck of it.

And that --for the time being --is why I am writing. To share a world of legend and mystery with this world. To show them that the next new exciting thing just might be ancient and sweltering in time.

So do you have mission statement for your current project?


dolorah said...

I never thought of it that way . .

You bring up a lot of good points here; ones that I have often "thought" about, but not on an entirely conscious level. You know how those things go?

But yeah; I've watched Disney, and enjoyed the fairy tales, but I'm just not a fan of happily ever after, and until now, I really didn't "get" my attitude.

You've perfectly explained subconscious thinking.

And maybe this is why I'm so taken with "the villain". I like darker writings, and especially in fairy tales/fantasy.

I'm writing a sci-fy take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, and it's not all roses and princess fluff. In fact, the princess is a minor character, and the "prince" is a conniving cyborg not easily recognized as the MC.

Rambling; I know . .

Anyway, you just helped me settle a niggling question (for myself) in my mind. Perhaps I can move forward with more confidence in my own darker writings now.

Thank you Taryn :)


Keriann Greaney Martin said...

"And Little Red Riding Hood? There was no huntsman in the original version. She didn't listen and she got eaten. The end."


I am slightly ashamed to admit, but I've never read the original fairy tales. I like happy endings in the Disney versions. But I also love learning what the original stories were. It's interesting to see how the same story could be so upbeat and warm and fuzzy, and also dark and cold and more like reality.

I love your WiP, by the way! I wish I knew more about those old stories, but unlike you I don't have the patience to read decipher the complicated language. You do a marvelous job at making it accessible without losing its integrity!


Unknown said...

Yay! I'm glad I helped you figure out questions in your mind Donna! And that sounds like a fascinating WIP. One I would definitely pick up in a bookstore.

Thank you Keri! That makes me so happy that I am completing my mission with my WIP!

Paul Tobin said...

I agree with you about how the original tales were more bloody/gruesome. I think they survive the test of time because they speak to us on an unconscious level, they tell us some thing that chimes within us. I can't stand Disney they are so vacuous and sanitised, plus he was not a nice man.