Saturday, August 14, 2010
The quote on the sidebar comes from the introduction to my new book. Yes. I bought a book this week even though I swore, after the move, that I had to cure myself of this particular addiction. Hello, my name is Reya and I am a bookaholic. It could be worse.
The book is a great collection of not well known French "wonder tales" as the editor calls them, stories that were told in salons and at dinner parties throughout the eighteenth century. These stories (usually called fairytales) were not intended for children, oh no. I love very old and very new translations of stories we heard as children - my my these tales were dumbed down when they became children's stories. Wow.
The eighteenth century was (in Europe at least) such a bizarre and fruitful era. It was a great time for music as well as all the other arts. Revolutions brought down old paradigms - it was a pretty dynamic century. The high fashion of that time puts 1980's spandex, shoulder pads and glitter to shame, don't you think? What in the world were they thinking with the white wigs and powder and all those foofy blouses? (Of course you know I'm talking about men's fashion, right?) It is no wonder that the folktales of that century are so psychedelic. I imagine the rich people sitting around in their tricked out fashions, sipping absynthe and spinning stories all night long. What an image. Wow.
In Reclaiming we worked a lot with folk/fairy/wonder tales. Witch camp was almost always a seven-day intensive shaped around such a story. We explored the plot lines and characters through ritual and spontaneous performance art, by channeling the essence of the characters and themes. We dove deep into those stories because we thought they contained archtypal patterns that would help us transform ourselves.
Marina Warner says that wonder tales begin (of course) with wonder.
After wonder, consolation; after inquiry, resolution; after shape-shifting or metamorphosis, the happy ending. Happy endings characterise the wonder tale, and a happy ending, in this collection, means a certain strain of exalted, heartfelt, hardwon love.
This is the perfect book for me to be reading at this moment in time, and a great addition to my enormous library of fairytales. And it was only $3 on the table at Riverby books. You see how I justify my addictions?