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?


Angela said...

I love fairytales, too, Reya. Your book sounds as if I should try to get it for myself. Me being a book-addict as well. And fairytales, Märchen, told by a real storyteller (or a witch) can open our eyes for the wonder behind every veil we lift along our way.

Tom said...

sounds like a good book to fall off the wagon with. i've got an old book of those ancient fairy tales--they're kind of a hoot, some of 'em.

steven said...

reya i love old fairy tales because so much is tucked aay inside them. nursery rhymes are similar that way. they are like little hidey holes for the devious, the deviant, the defiant ( and those are just the "d" words!).
the words of marina warner - well wow!!
"dread and desire...fascination and inquiry; it conveys the active motion towards experience and the passive stance of rapture." oh yeah! steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh yeah! Her introduction is spectacular! Looking forward to diving deep into the hidey holes of these tales later today.

Tom, which book do you have?

Angela, the name of the book, Wonder Tales, comes from Wundermärchen according to Warner. Very cool.

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

I'm fairly shameless in my addiction to books, so you'll get no "Incorrigible!" from me on this one. :-)

If you enjoy good fairy tales, wonder tales, or the like, I highly recommend ballets and operas, most of which are built on those historical, regional tales.

Ballets like Swan Lake, The Firebird, The Humpback Horse, Les Sylphides, and Giselle, and many others are nothing more than beautifully constructed tales of magic, sorcery, and authentic folk tales. I love them so much.

For the most powerful, extraordinary,supernatural plotline you'll ever see, I recommend the opera, Il Travatore. My goodness, crazy fantasy doesn't begin to describe that one!

Reya Mellicker said...

Jo I LOVE the opera! If I could afford it, I would buy season tickets every year. In San Francisco, my ex husband and I always went. In NYC it's often possible to score good matinee tickets for the Met. I LOVE OPERA!! Yet something else we can do when you come visit. Notice the use of the word WHEN ??

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

"Il Trovatore" Sorry for the misspelling.

When I come, I'd love to go to the opera, the ballet, the museum, the neighborhood tavern (especially if there's live music), the café, the art gallery, the park, the discount shops, and....the bookstore.

Can't wait!

Liza said...

I am interested in your addiction Reya. Any chance of a shot of your collection? I would love to see the perspective from the lens of your camera.
Wonder tales....I love that!

Reya Mellicker said...

Hey Liza. Currently my books are stuffed into every nook and cranny of my new apartment - under the bed, under the dresser, couch, behind chairs, into the one small bookcase I have, stacked up in the hall ... it's kind of embarrassing, especially considering the fact that I got rid of HALF my book before I moved.

It's a sickness. But as I said - it could be worse!

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Well good on you for finding a steal at $3. I've given away so many books to our local library for their book drive that it's ridiculous. As a children's librarian I love the old fairy tales and will have to look for your book... if it's still in print.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Also, I love the reflection of the tree & buildings on the red auto. Cool.

Nancy said...

I have the same addiction. Also for cookbooks. I have one on the way, as we speak. Geeze.

Reya Mellicker said...

LOVE cookbooks!! Which one did you order, Nancy?

lettuce said...

thats a particularly great photo Reya, perfect reflections

I do like marina warner's writing
Also, what Angela Carter did with fairy tales

Val said...

I am also a bookaholic - havent read a fairy tale in years - as such; have a wee book of celtic tales for children which i love; but this book of Wonder sounds fabulous. I shall look for it! I loved that thing about wonder that you wrote on FB too.thanks

Kat Mortensen said...

You're a bookaholic too? I can't go to Goodwill without coming home with at least 5 new books! (I'm supposed to be packing up the ones I already have and I'm collecting more.)

I saw your comment at "The Bug's and I thank you. If you'd like to add my volume of poems to your collection, I'd be honoured!


Tom said...

Reya, the book is
The Junior Classics
volume I, Fairy Tales and Fables...quite the odd assortment from story tellers all over the world.