Saturday, December 10, 2016

In Which I Emerge from My Haze of Depression to Ask You to Give Me Money

Sorry I've been AWOL - depression hit hard this time, and I haven't been able to keep words in my head for long enough to write them down. I'm doing a little better now, but no promises for consistent updates any time super soon.

I'm planning to do a whole bunch of fairy tales posts coming up, but I have to track down my Grimms first, and the house is a mess. In the meantime, I've been doing mostly nothing, but I've got a couple poems and a couple scenes from a novel floating around. If you support me on Patreon, you can see some of that.

And speaking of Patreon, I'm about a third of the way to my first goal, which is enough money to buy some ISBNs and start publishing my work for real, without relying on Amazon. So any help would be really appreciated!

thin is still a thing, available for Kindle and Nook as well as in hard copies. I'm going to print about 20 to take with me to Illinois over Christmas, so if you're interested and in the area, let me know - avoid those shipping costs. People in the Twin Cities, same deal. Everyone else, sorry, but there's no shipping charge for an ebook, and it's a little cheaper anyway.

Also, my essay "And He Became a Handsome Prince: Humanity and Human Relations in the Folk Tradition" is now available for Nook and Kindle. It's all available for free on the blog, but the ebook is better formatted, and includes an intro, conclusion, and bibliography. Not that anyone's probably dying of curiosity about my bibliography, but if you enjoyed the essay, a three dollar ebook is a great way to show your appreciation.

And as always, there's Avalanche and Goodbye. Plus the Redbubble stuff.

Stay tuned for a post about the Frog Prince, eventually.

Friday, November 11, 2016


I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year. And it's really weird for me, because it's been such a huge part of my life, every year since I was sixteen. I would never have started seriously writing, the way I do now, if it wasn't for NaNo. I could never have finished my first novel, and I probably wouldn't have tried.

This time five years ago, I was already finished with my fifty thousand words, and on my way to one hundred thousand. But right now, it's just not something that's useful in my life. The deadline doesn't drive me to work harder like it used to, because I know that I can do it. And it seems pointless to write a whole new book when I already have so many in need of revision.

The thing I didn't think about when I decided to take a break from NaNo, though, is the community. Once a year for the past seven years, I've been a part of something, not just during November, but during October and December, too, as we gear up and then wind down. I gave that up. And a part of me really regrets it.

I could start today and still catch up, still get to fifty thousand words. But I'm not going to. I have a story that needs to be finally finished, and if I'm focusing on a word count, I won't be giving it everything it deserves. I won't be making it as great as I know it can be.

So no NaNo. Not now. But I do miss my community this year. NaNWriMo jump-started my writing career, but I think the community, ultimately, is the most important part of it. So I just want to encourage all of you who want to write to do it. Take part. Start now. Who cares if you can't make word count, starting a third of the way in?

A lot of people are not enjoying how November is going so far, and I really get that. So let's just take a break from Political November, and spend some time with Writing November. Write a crappy novel, hang out on the forums, make new friends. It's an amazing experience, and I hope you can all enjoy it, if not this year, then some November soon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


You are a little girl. You are a little girl, and your mother is dead. Perhaps you are a child so young, you will not remember her when you grow. Perhaps you are on the verge, already, of being a woman. Did she know what torments she doomed you to?

It doesn’t matter. I mean, yeah, I’ve always been curious, but who really cares? She’s dead. Your dad is still alive and kicking, and spoiler alert: he seriously sucks.

Now, to be fair, your mom? She had a pretty messed up last request. Normal dying wishes include, but are not limited to: take good care of our daughter, try to move on, etc., etc. Normal dying wishes do not include “Don’t remarry unless the new chick is as pretty as me.” That’s not cool, lady. I mean, of all the things to make a priority on your deathbed. Seriously?

You aren’t scared to die. You aren’t worried about how sad your husband is going to be, or about how your daughter will grow up motherless. Nope. You just wanna be the prettiest. I mean, who cares? You’ll be dead. That ain’t changing. No point in envying the living.

So. Back to you, little girl. Your mom is dead. Your dad is sad. And you? You’re growing up. And you’re getting pretty. And prettier, and prettier, every single day.

And dear old dad is not enjoying this whole widower thing, but he respects the wishes of the dead, and sadly, your mom was smokin’ hot.

And you, honey, you look just like her.

So one day, you’re just minding your own business, doing whatever princesses do, and your dad comes up to you, and he’s all like, “Hey, kiddo, let’s get hitched.”

This is where things get seriously screwy.

“Um, Dad,” you say, “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

“Dad,” you say, “there are laws against that.”

“Dad, you changed my diapers. Do you really wanna go down…?”

Well. Daddy’s nothing if not stubborn, and he hasn’t been quite right since Mommy bit the dust. You try a different tactic. The spoiled brat tactic, specifically.

“Dad, I wanna have the prettiest wedding dress ever. I want a dress as bright as the sun, and if I can’t get married in that, I’m not getting married at all. So there.”

And Dad, impossibly, produces one. When you throw a fit about how it isn’t good enough, and demand one the color of the moon instead, he gets that too. And the one that’s all the colors of the sky.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. “Dad,” you say, “you know that donkey that poops the gold that’s the source of all our kingdom’s wealth?”

Your dad does, indeed, know that donkey.

“Well, if you really loved me, you would kill that donkey and make me an outfit out of his skin.”

And amazingly, proving once and for all that incestuous lust is indeed a more powerful force than greed, the old nutcase does it.

Only one thing left to do. You throw that donkey skin on your back, you rub some dirt in your face, and you make a run for it.

You, in your donkey suit, you take a job at the castle of a different king. Your coworkers point and laugh. Forget them. You’ve dealt with worse.

Still, it’s hard sometimes. You’re only just a girl. Sometimes, when you have time off, you lock the doors and try on the dresses your daddy gave you.  Sure, he’s a disgusting psycho, but he’s the only family you’ve got, and those clothes were pretty. You live in the skin of a dead donkey, hon. Sometimes you just want to look nice again. Like a princess. Like someone loved and taken care of.

And then you find the aviary. Pretty birds. Pretty dresses. No people. It’s such a good place to sneak away to, to feel like you again. You don’t know it’s the prince’s favorite place to hide away, too.

Of course you meet eventually. In a way. You’ve seen him before. Maybe you have a little crush. But you’ve been down this road. You know what you’re doing: nothing. Steer clear. Do not get involved in this crap again.

But the prince. You, honey, are new at this. You walk down a hallway, and then, well, you just chance to peep through a keyhole, you little pervent. And the girl you see, well, she’s smokin’ hot. She’s too smokin’ hot to just walk in on. That would be disrespectful, man.

She’s also so smokin’ hot you, like, can’t function because you’re so busy thinking about how hot she is. You gotta find out who this chick is so you can marry her or something. You ask around, and everyone’s like, “That room? Yeah, man, that’s where the donkey freak lives. I think you’re…confused.”

So you go to your room to waste away and pout, and when your mom asks what’s wrong, you say you need Donkeyskin to make you a cake.

And here you are, Donkeyskin, just minding your own business, and suddenly the prince is asking questions about you. So you make a cake, and you drop your ring in the batter, because, hey, maybe he’s not a creep like your dad, and it would be cool to be a princess again.

Dude finds the ring, and it turns out your fingers are freaking tiny, because we’ve got all this Cinderella crap going on now.

You guys get married. You live happily ever after. Your dad comes to the wedding and you forgive him, of course, because that’s what good girls do. And since this is Perrault, and he’s big with the lessons:

Moral 1: It’s better to endure hardship than neglect your duties. (And this would be the duty not to marry your dad? I guess? What about his duty not to marry you?)

Moral 2: Virtue is good. (Way to go, Donkeyskin. You didn’t try to hook up with your daughter, you didn’t look in people’s keyholes, you are rocking the virtue here.)

Moral 3: Love is more powerful than reason. (Hence the forgiveness for dear old dad?)

Moral 4: Bread and water are totally sufficient for a girl to live on. (Um…what? Are we not gonna talk about how trying to do your daughter is bad? No? Just focus on the diet? ‘Kay then. I guess we’re done here.)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Nook Books

Hey. So we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming really soon. I'm almost finished with a post about Donkeyskin. But in the meantime, I just wanted to let you know that all of my books are now officially available in Nook format. You can find them over here.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Impossible Tasks

You all know the drill, right? Standard element in a lot of stories. Chop down the forest with an ax made of glass. Sort out the different kinds of seeds. Empty a lake with a spoon.

This isn't actually a post about folklore. Sorry. I'm here to talk about impossible tasks in real life. That's right: it's another Shameless Self Promotion post. Sorry again. But only kind of.

Today I'm here to talk about the impossible task - the many impossible tasks - of being a writer. See, first you have to sift through all the different words, all the ideas, all the stories, and pick the right ones. Then you have to actually put them on paper, which is harder. They change, see, on the way from your brain to your hand, even when you've got them all thought out just right. It's like sorting out flour and powdered sugar. Like herding cats.

(Someday I will successfully herd my cat. But that's a challenge for another day.)

After you get things on paper, you still have to change the paper, again and again until it comes close, at least, to being the kind of thing you thought in was when it only existed in your head. It's weird, and it's hard. When I'm still in the process of writing, I tend to get scenes and fragments sort of stuck in my head, just running in an endless loop until I finally get down the whole story they belong to, just right. Sometimes it's nice, comforting, having a good scene as a background to your life. Sometimes I put off writing so I can keep a good scene.

But sometimes you get a bad scene, and it follows you everywhere for hours, and it's terrifying. Once, in high school, I nearly started crying in science class because in the back of my head, I'd been watching a character die over and over again for hours.

I got a few weird looks.

And here's the important thing: all of that is just the beginning. The easy stuff. You've gotten the words from your head to your paper. Now you've got to get them to other people. That's the hard part. Because it takes time, and it takes energy, and money, and a certain belief in yourself that can be hard to maintain. Forget emptying the lake with a spoon. This is where you walk into hell to get Persephone's beauty in a box. This is the final test.

And this, this is me asking all of you to be the ants that help sort seeds. This is me asking you to help me level a forest, to help me drain the sea.

I like writing poems, and I love that people like reading them, too. And the blog posts about fairy tales? Well, there are few things I enjoy more in life than screaming into the void about fictional people being idiots.

But I want to do more. I am doing more, actually, and I would love to get to a point where it can be a bigger part of my life.

I write novels. Writing novels has been the main thing I've done with myself, I guess, since I was about sixteen. And I'm not going to send these novels out to agents and publishers and the whole shebang. I love the publishing industry. I mean, I really love it. My big goal in life, since I was eighteen, has been to be a publisher, to have my own small press and to share stories with the world. My own stories, of course, but also everyone else's.

So here's the deal: I currently have three poetry collections out. One without an ISBN, two using ISBNs from Createspace. That means that when I sell a book, Amazon gets money too. And that's kind of where things need to be in my writing career right now. But I don't like it. I think that Amazon is pretty bad for the publishing industry, and I don't want to support that long term.

So as much as I want to write more, to publish more, I'm waiting. ISBNs cost a lot. But once you have them, you're in control. You aren't being published by Createspace or Lulu or whoever. You're really, entirely, being published by you. And that's important to me.

So I'm here, asking you to help me drain the sea. Because it's not the kind of thing you do alone. Help me to become an author and a publisher. Help me to publish my own books, help me to publish other people's books, and help me to achieve the financial security to devote as much time and energy to these things as I can.

I have three books out. Goodbye and Avalanche are available on And on Amazon, but if you can, I would appreciate you using Barnes and Noble instead. thin is available on Etsy. All three are available for Kindle, but I'm currently in the process of getting Nook versions too, and I'll let you know when that happens. I know a lot of people don't have Nooks, but if you do have any compatible device, the Nook versions will cost you less, and pay me more, than the Kindle versions.

Next, I have a Redbubble account. I haven't entirely gotten the hang of it yet, so it might be kind of lame, but if you want to see something, I'm definitely up for suggestions.

And then there's the big one. Patreon. And this is the simplest one for you guys, by far. It doesn't take a lot. Just a dollar a month, and you'll be helping and supporting me so much.

So here are the links:




Barnes and Noble


And finally, thank you for anything you can do to help. The thing about all the most impossible tasks in folklore is that they are possible, as long as you don't do them alone. And I believe that's true for the real world, too.  Together we can do great things.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Cinderella Girl

One of the poems from my new book, thin. Check out the rest here!

cinderella girl

it’s not just a shoe you have to fit
one quick cut at the heel or toe
no, it’s all of you
a whole damn body of too big,
of nothing right, of second place

you cut a thick slab from each side
but it only makes your hips look too wide

but heels are not made of fat—
you’ve cut through bone before

stop eating—you’ll get dizzy and hear
those singing birds
be beautiful as you faint at his feet

cindy, sweetie, you don’t need
to be this way
your stepmother loves you
she never meant to be mean
when she called it a mistake
falling for that boy
who remembered your dress size

but forgot your face

Saturday, October 8, 2016


I always love when Kristin from Tales of Faerie mentions me!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


So here's the deal. It's here. The book is here and ready to go. I'm still in the process of setting it up on Etsy, so that'll be a few more days. In the meantime, if you're local or expecting to see me in the near future, just send me a message, on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, whatever, and I can get it to you without the whole Etsy thing.

The cost is going to be $5.00, and you'll have to allow a week or so for me to get your copy printed and bound, as I'm doing them all by hand, one at a time.

As a reminder, the information I posted about the book earlier this month:

thin will be a collection of 21 poems, some new, some previously published elsewhere, about living with an eating disorder. These are poems that I've written in the year and a half or so that I've been struggling with this, from a few months before my diagnosis to about a year after I left treatment, and I'm publishing them primarily in the hopes that they can help others understand and process their feelings as they deal with similar issues. The books will be saddle stitched, all hand-bound by me, and will most likely be available mainly on Etsy.

Oh, and I turn 23 on Monday. Help me celebrate by buying a copy of my brand new book!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

*#@% You, Mary

This story is actually called “Mary’s Child,” or “Our Lady’s Child,” usually, and it shows up in the Brothers Grimm. And it will be a miracle if I can get through this essay without using some seriously bad language (but I’ll try, because my grandparents read this blog), because I am bursting with anger today, and the Virgin Mary deserves all I have and more.

Not the real Mary. Just to clarify. Fairy tale Mary. Fairy tale Mary deserves more anger than I have to give. I'm cool with the real life mother of God. No issues there.

Okay. So first of all, you got this baby. This baby’s dad is all broke, like everyone in fairy tales,  so one day when he’s out chopping wood, the Virgin Mary just appears all out of nowhere, like, hey man, you can’t afford to raise a kid. I’ll take her.

And this broke wood chopper dude, he’s like, yeah, okay. So the baby goes off with Mary to grow up in Heaven.

All good, yeah? Sounds fun.

Well, the crap is coming.

So the girl is like fourteen now, right? And Mary’s  gotta go on a trip. She decides—hello, Bluebeard—to leave all the keys to Heaven with this kid. Except of course one of the keys opens a door the kid’s not allowed to open.

Now this raises a lot of questions. Like, why would you leave these incredibly important keys in the charge of not only a child, but a living, human child—i.e. the only person in Heaven likely to make big with the sin and all? Or, like, where on earth does Mary have to be? Dude, you’re dead. Take a load off. Jesus came, Jesus went, your work is done. Naptime. Or, like, where exactly is God in all this? Or why are there locked doors in Heaven? Why are actual physical locks even a thing? Like, can’t the power of the Lord keep the special doors closed? And, most importantly, why is God putting up with all the crap that Mary is about to pull over the next several years of this child’s life?

So. Kid has the keys. Kid is hanging out with her little angel pals, and they’re all curious. There some arguing about how that would be wrong, we shouldn’t do that, it’s a sin, but you’re dealing with a high school freshman who grew up surrounded by the Sinless, and she is way past due for some rebellion.

Newsflash, Mary: Kids mess up. They can’t all be like your first one. Jesus was a special case, Mary. This kid is normal, Mary. She may be fully human, Mary, but she sure ain’t fully God.

Door opens. Mary returns, and it becomes obvious that the door opened—kid’s finger turns gold or something. Kid tries to lie about it, so that doesn’t help. Golden fingers don’t lie, kid.

So Mary dumps this child back down on earth, and she takes her voice while she’s at it. Recap: Girl, fourteen years old. Experience with other flawed human beings, zero. Experience with the trials of real life, particularly the wilderness, zero. Voice, none.

And here she is, smack dab in the middle of a forest, a child, and her clothes are all ripped and she’s tired and she’s hungry and she’s scared. And suddenly, a king.

I mean, you know where it’s going from here, right?  It’s not the first time. Big grown up king man marries the little girl with literally nothing, not even a voice to say no. And before you know it, she’s all knocked up.

And along comes Mary, in the middle of the night right after the baby is born, and she’s all like, hey, kid. You got a confession to make? Maybe one concerning a door you totally didn’t open?

And the kid says, “Nope.” (Her voice magically comes back so she can answer Mary's question.)

Okay. So, not the brightest. Not the most honest. She’s a stubborn girl. But, okay. She’s what, fifteen, now? And she can’t talk, and aside from the whole statutory rape thing, you really can’t say no to a king, especially when you have no voice. So I don’t think it’s all that much of a leap to assume this relationship was less than entirely consensual. And she’s a little girl, and she’s all alone in the world, and now she’s a mother. And she got kicked out of freaking Heaven. She has literally nothing left, and it’s all Mary’s fault.

And just thinking about it, I’m already all like screw you, Mary. So imagine how she’s feeling. I wouldn’t be about to admit defeat in the face of this crap either.

So Mary gets all pissed and takes away the newborn baby, and the next morning everyone’s saying that our girl ate her offspring.

But the king, he’s really into this whole child bride situation, so he decides to let the cannibalism slide just this once.

A year later, along comes baby number two. Mary shows up in the middle of the night, and she asks if the kid opened the door. And the kid is down a baby and the respect and trust of her people, on top of everything else. So she’s just like, “Screw you, Mary, I didn’t open your stupid door.”

Bye bye baby number two, hello continued rumors of cannibalistic infanticide.

Fortunately, the novelty of doing it with a little girl who can’t talk back has yet to wear off, so the king lets it go. Who needs babies for kids when you already got one for a wife?

Another year passes. Deceit and childbirth, take three. Mary asks, girl lies, baby goes away to Heaven to live with Grandma. And maybe a mute seventeen year old wife isn’t quite as fun as a sixteen year old, or fifteen, or fourteen, because finally, the king is like, “Okay, enough with the baby-eating. We gotta burn this chick at the stake.”

So apparently, the fire from the stake-burning melts the “hard ice of pride” around our girl, and she’s just thinking, like “Crap, I really wish I’d told Mary the truth.”

And BAM! The voice comes back, and she admits to God and everyone that she opened that stupid door when she was fourteen stupid years old.

The fire goes out, Mary descends from the heavens, returns the babies, and FORGIVES her. Girl makes one mistake when she’s young and stupid, and Mary torments her in every way imaginable for the next three years, and then MARY forgives HER.

It’s a problem.

So, in conclusion $#%@ you, Mary.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Writing Update

This has been a terrible month for blogging, but a really great one for all the other writing I do. I've just finished going through the final, final draft of my second novel this month - the last run-through to catch spelling mistakes and awkward wording, things like that. So I've got two books ready to go, though I don't intend for them to go anywhere anytime soon; more details about that coming eventually. But I'm also fairly certain I've finally worked out the formatting glitches in the chapbook I am releasing soon.

It will be a couple more weeks before it's actually available for purchase, but I figure it's about time to start telling people about it. thin will be a collection of 21 poems, some new, some previously published elsewhere, about living with an eating disorder. These are poems that I've written in the year and a half or so that I've been struggling with this, from a few months before my diagnosis to about a year after I left treatment, and I'm publishing them primarily in the hopes that they can help others understand and process their feelings as they deal with similar issues. The books will be saddle stitched, all hand-bound by me, and will most likely be available mainly on Etsy.

I hope that this book will be able to help a few people, and if it does well, I look forward to releasing more chapbooks in the future.

In the meantime, I need a bit of a break before I launch into my next major revision project, so let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like to see on this blog in the near future. Questions, comments, fairy tales you want to hear me complain about.

The Night the Mermaid Reclaimed Her Voice

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Night the Mermaid Reclaimed Her Voice

The night her prince said yes to another woman
The mermaid sat at the edge of the motel pool
Frozen by a late fall chill
The night he left her
The mermaid screamed into the burnt out streetlights
Testing the voice he’d once tried to steal
The night her prince said yes
She danced on broken ankles
Thinking how he never listened
All those days she used to yell
The night he left her
She plunged a knife in the pool to shatter the ice
She shucked off the trappings of the life he led
And dived naked into the ice cold chlorine
When the prince left the mermaid behind
The mermaid left man
With prayers for another soon-to-be-broken girl

When the prince said yes, the mermaid swam home

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Books Are at Barnes and Noble!!!!

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, because I somehow wasn't, but both of my books are available through Barnes and Noble! BN is way cooler than Amazon, and also it's where I work when I'm not writing, so you should totally order it here

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Monster, a Child

I know I’ve already written extensively on this subject (on a related note, stay tuned for next week), but last week I went to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, and, well. Here we are again.

The thing about the live action musical, first of all, is that it drives me nuts. I hate it. There’s like three new songs. The Beast is illiterate. Like, what? I know the matter of his age at transformation time is shrouded in continuity errors, but the most reasonable choice is that he was eleven.  Who doesn’t teach an eleven year old to read? Especially a royal eleven year old? This is Beauty and the Beast, people, not The Whipping Boy.

So I was, while mostly enjoying the experience immensely, stuck through the entire first half on that one little detail. Why couldn’t he read? He was eleven. He was eleven.

He was eleven.

He was eleven, in a gigantic palace, and he was the only one around to answer the door. Where were his parents? Where are his parents now? Why didn’t they teach him to read? Why didn’t they teach him to be kind to strangers?

He was eleven, and he was horribly cursed for being rude. Has this fairy never heard of stranger danger? Of course he wasn’t going to let her in. Newsflash: kids are rude. They’re also sensible, at least the ones not named Snow White. (Seriously, kid? The first two creepy old ladies you invited in when you were home alone tried to kill you, but surely the third is a nice one. I mean, come on. Really?)

When a creepy looking old lady knocks on the door, an eleven year old boy, home alone, is probably not going to want her to stick around. And who could blame him? He’s a child.

So now, having long since come to the conclusion that the fairy is the bad guy in the original novel, I’m beginning to have serious doubts about her in Disney, too. Fairy raises little boy, fairy wants to marry little boy, little boy says no. Bam! Little boy is a monster now. Fairy approaches little boy, late at night, in a creepy disguise. Little boy does not react with kindness and maturity. Bam! Little boy is a monster now. I’m noticing a pattern, and it has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with her. (And with his mom, because seriously, lady? You leave your child with a pervy old fairy for years so you can fight a war. You try to prevent him from marrying the girl who saved him. You don't teach him to read. You are not around when he is terrified and newly monstrous. Get your act together. Your son needs you.)

Even in the versions where they try to make the Beast look like he deserved it, we’re still seeing him punished, if not for nothing at all, then at least in a manner that is nowhere near proportionate to his crimes. And the Beast is a victim. And the Beast is a child. Again, and again, and again.

Never trust the fairies.

P.S. The second half of the play was pretty much the most incredible thing ever, and the Beast was awkward and adorable and displayed traits consistent with someone who had been neglected and abused since childhood and was still very young, and long story short I kind of wanted to marry him, and also got glared at by lots of people when I couldn’t contain my squealing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Workshop Recording

So I just discovered that my university posted a recording, over two years ago, of the final session of a writer's workshop I participated in, where we all read the results of the class to an audience. Or parts of the results, in my case, since I sort of wrote a two hundred page novel.

So, here. Have a recording of slightly younger me awkwardly and nervously reading the first chapter of my unpublished novel Lindworm, a retelling of my absolute favorite fairy tale, which I will at some point rant about excessively.

It's quite a long video, as it was a decently sized class, but I start right at 44:00.

Hey Remember Back in October When Kristin Talked About Me on Tales of Faerie and I Was So Excited I Thought I Might Die?

(Over Here If You Don't)

Well, it happened again, and I'm still really, really excited about it.

Check out the link!

She's talking about my "And He Became a Handsome Prince" series, which is the essay that wrapped up my entire education, broken up into six pieces on this blog. You can find those pieces here, under the tag "Sem Paper."

Sunday, May 29, 2016

And He Became A Handsome Prince: Conclusion

            The focal point of the Beauty and the Beast story is always love, whether it be romantic or platonic, right or wrong, requited or not. Love, in all its forms, moves and shapes each character, both breaking them and putting them back together. When loving relationships take a turn in the wrong direction, the beast loses himself, his humanity, everything he once was. Clearly, he cannot be dependent on another relationship to return him to all his former glory, but neither can he do it alone. Humans are not solitary creatures, and it is the exile the curse demands, as much as the betrayal that causes it, which strips away the beast’s humanity. One cannot be a person when one has no other people to lean on. G. K. Chesterton is right in saying the great lesson of “Beauty and the Beast” is “that a thing must be loved before it is lovable” (3). Love is perhaps the most powerful force on earth, and this folktale type has demonstrated, for hundreds of years, how humans are shaped and defined by its use and abuse. To be a person, one must have love.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

And He Became A Handsome Prince Part V: The Transformation

            The most important thing to understand about the climax of every transformation story—the transformation itself—is that it does not apply only to the monster. There are many kinds of transformation, not all of them physical. In fact, even the most important changes undergone by the beasts are not physical. The previous three points in the story have been about the healing process, which has everything to do with deep emotional hurts inflicted by loved ones, and very little to do with growing unexpectedly froggy or furry. The beasts must learn to truly be human again; looking the part is merely a pleasant side-effect.
            Bettelheim points out that “The story’s essence is not just the growth of Beauty’s love for the Beast…but her own growth in the process” (308). The growth of the Beast, from happy child to broken monster to free man, is essential, but so is the growth of the Beauty, into someone who can love something like a Beast. It is clear that this transformation effects more than one person, whether it be physical or not.
            One of the most dramatic transformations actually occurs in a story with no literal monster—that of “Cupid and Psyche,” in which Cupid is merely mysterious enough to be suspected of monstrosity. Here, in this story with no beast, the physical transformation happens to Psyche, the beauty character. After the many trials she must endure in order to find her way back to Cupid, she is offered a sip from the pot of immortality by Jupiter: “drink to the end thou mayest be immortal, and that Cupid may never depart from thee, but be thine everlasting husband” (Apuleius 96).
            In both of the Scandinavian transformation tales used in this paper, “Kong Lindorm” and “East O’ the Sun, West O’ the Moon,” the final transformation is laden with religious imagery and implications. The white bear has technically already been transformed, maintaining his true form after his beauty’s betrayal with the candle. His trials, however, are not over until a final confrontation, in which she attempts to reverse all effects of that betrayal. The bear—or the prince, now—is about to be married to his troll step-sister, and it all comes down to proving skill in wifely matters. Specifically, he makes a deal with his stepmother that he will only marry whoever can clean a certain piece of dirty laundry for him. The beauty wins by washing tallow from his nightshirt when none of the trolls are able to, thus literally cleaning the mess she made when she violated the terms of his curse, the tallow having dripped onto the shirt from the candle she used to see his face. This has been described by Mitchell as a move that strongly echoes the Biblical scene of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, but also evokes popular hymns about all stains/sins being washed away. This association can perhaps be offered as an explanation for the few translations suggesting that only Christians are capable of laundry.
            The story of “Kong Lindorm,” following a Biblical pattern as it has all along, ends with the transformation and complete redemption of the lindorm. He killed and ate two women, so there’s no denying that he’s a sinner, but after his curse is broken by his wife walking him through the steps of the sacrament of penance, he gains not only a human form, but immediate forgiveness for all previous sins.

            In “The Beauty and the Beast,” the beauty agrees, after returning just in time to save him, to marry the beast. Her change of heart is not, as in many cases, due to having made the connection between her nightly visitor and her daily captor. Instead, she lets go of her dream prince, choosing to join herself with a creature who clearly exists, and has some affection for her. As she searches the palace for him upon her return, she realizes that she has missed him in her absence, and when she finds him passed out in the hall, she tells him, “I had resolved in my mind to kill myself if I had failed in reviving you” (Zipes 190). This is one of the greatest examples of a transformation in the Beauty figure; unlike those with forbidden lamps, she rejects her night prince in favor of a hideous monster who is there for her, really and tangibly, throughout the day, making her one of the only heroines who truly learns to see beyond appearances. Her emotional growth and development is impressive, much more so than the rather baffling twist that she has been a princess all along (197). Thus, the Beauty is transformed into a woman with new maturity, wisdom, and kindness, and the Beast is restored to his true form, in mind and body, fully healed. In fact, when the prince’s marriage to her is brought into question, he begs that his fairy godmother not “allow Beauty to depart! I’d rather you make me into the monster again,” proving that the healing he underwent through their transformative love was hardly about the physical transformation at all (196). Through loving and being loved, he has won back his humanity; it no longer matters what monster he looks like, so long as that remains.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

And He Became a Handsome Prince Part IV: The Return

            It is not enough, that a monster simply learn to love. Emotional healing will lead to physical healing, but he must also be forgiven for hurt he inflicted during the healing process. Monsters have loved before, and they have been hurt—damaged beyond recognition, and turned into something that should be unlovable. The real challenge is to prove to everyone that this is wrong. They can still be loved. If they cannot, there is no meaning to the story.
            The beast has expressed true love by releasing the beauty, but what really matters is that the Beauty be able to do the same. He has set her free; if a happy ending is to occur, she must choose to return. In the case of Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” the prince does not return the mermaid’s selfless love, a move which results in her death.
            At this point in the story, a new antagonist is often introduced. In the Curse section, the villain is a figure who cannot properly love the beast. Now, in the Return, comes a figure or group of figures who should love the beauty, but instead set out to betray her. This figure is often a sister or a mother-in-law, though in the cases of the mother-in-law, the two antagonists may be merged.
            In Villeneuve’s The Beauty and the Beast, after being released, the beauty returns to her father’s home—a home greatly improved by gifts from the beast—to reunite with her father, brothers, and sisters. The beast has mentioned that he will die if she leaves him for over two month, and so she makes it clear to her family that this is a temporary visit. But her sisters are jealous—yes, she was kidnapped by a horrific monster, but the horrific monster is rich. They pretend to have missed her desperately, and convince her to stay past the deadline.
            In other variants, an additional element is often added. Having betrayed the beasts, under the influence of their own malevolent loved ones, the beauties must now embark on a quest to save them. This is the pivotal difference between the story’s heroines and the figures who love the monsters before cursing them. The first lover to betray the beast does so spitefully, in a fit of jealous rage. The second does so mistakenly, and goes to the ends of the earth, sometimes literally, to rectify said mistake. Bettelheim claims that “[in] each of these stories—as in so many others—the rescuer demonstrates his love for his future bride in some form. We are left in the dark about the feelings of the heroines, however” (277). This seems blatantly wrong, regardless of which figure one casts as the rescuer and which as the rescued: if the beast did not love the beauty, he would not send her home, and if the beauty did not love him, she would not return.
            The betrayal in “Cupid and Psyche” is very similar to that in The Beauty and the Beast, brought about by jealous sisters. In this story, Cupid brings Psyche’s sisters to visit her when she grows homesick, though he warns her several times that it is unwise. The sisters, over the course of their visits, grow increasingly jealous, convincing the pregnant Psyche that she sleeps with a monster, and that “when the time of delivery shall approach, he will devour both [her] and [her child] as a more tender morsel” (Apuleius 76). Though Psyche, unlike some heroines, has been specifically warned against looking upon her husband’s face, she too is led astray. When he wakes and sees what she has done, Cupid leaves her, fleeing the wrath of his jealous mother.
            This leads Psyche into the next stage of the story; in order to return to him, she must undertake several impossible tasks set for her by his mother Venus. Cupid will appear on occasion to help her carry out these tasks, but they cannot be truly together again until Venus is either satisfied or subdued.
            “East O’ the Sun, West O’ the Moon,” as always, closely follows the pattern of “Cupid and Psyche,” although here, the girl is convinced to look upon her lover’s face by a concerned mother, rather than by wicked sisters. In order to return to him, she sets out for a land that lies east of the sun and west of the moon, unwilling to be thwarted by mere impossibilities.
 She travels to the hut of one old woman, who directs her to another old woman, who sends her to another, who sends her to the winds. She rides on the back of each wind to the next, until finally the North Wind is able to take her all of the way to the land she seeks. Here, she offers gifts, collected from the old women, to the white bear’s troll bride. In exchange, she is given three nights in his bedroom, though he sleeps through the first two, having been drugged by the trolls. On the third night he wakes to see her return, which will make his freedom possible in the morning.
In the Grimms’ The Six Swans and its variants, both antagonists, though sometimes by accident, are often mothers. Asbjornsen and Moe’s The Twelve Wild Ducks features a mother who unwittingly trades the birth of a daughter for the humanity of her twelve sons. Andersen’s version, The Wild Swans, has eleven princes turned to swans and their sister sent into exile by a wicked stepmother. The brothers Grimm themselves actually have three different variants of this story. The Six Swans also features a wicked stepmother, while The Seven Ravens and The Twelve Brothers are cursed by their father, who values the life of his one daughter over all of theirs.
The sister begins questing to save them as soon as she learns of their predicament, but is hindered, in all of these variants, by her mother-in-law. The terms of breaking the curse on her brothers are generally that she must remain completely silent for a period of time, varying by story, and that she must create shirts for each brother, made out of flowers, nettles, and other such materials. Often blaming herself for their transformations, she will do anything to save them. Though her mother-in-law frames her for increasingly outrageous crimes, such as eating her own children, she displays love for her brothers by refusing to speak a word in self-defense, even as her husband prepares to burn her at the stake.
Fortunately, her brothers love her as much as she loves them, and return to save her from burning, though this often prevents a full transformation—with the final nettle shirt unfinished, the youngest brother will spend the rest of his life with a wing instead of one arm.

It is the beauty’s return, as a display of love, that technically breaks the curse; usually it is a romantic commitment on her side, such as a kiss or a positive response to a proposal, that the terms demand. But the beast’s display of love, though not spelled out in the terms of the initial enchantment, is no less necessary. Before she can return and break the spell, the beauty must have a reason to do so.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

And He Became a Handsome Prince Part III: The Release

(Part One)
(Part Two)

            There comes a turning point, in each of these relationships, which makes the ultimate breaking of the curse possible. This happens when the beast, moving past his own hurt to see what he has inflicted, comes to love the beauty enough to let her go.
            By the time the beauties dare ask for an escape, relationships have drastically improved. The beauties are still enamored with the men they meet at night, but in the daytime their relationships are friendly. One might, perhaps, cry Stockholm Syndrome, but the beauties are eager to escape, and often return only from some sense of duty, or, perhaps, an interest in the trappings of captivity, love and devotion coming slightly later. Dreams of princes and lives in palaces, however, are not enough to cure homesickness.
            In The Beauty and the Beast, Beauty begs for a two month visit with her family, promising to return at the end of that time. He responds, “I can’t refuse you anything, even though it may cost me my life” (Zipes 181). He explains that he thinks he will die without her, but though he asks her to return, and though she promises to do so, the matter is left entirely in her hands. He presents her with a wishing ring which can transport her to any location she chooses, and she wishes herself away. He makes no attempt to follow her or summon her back when she passes the two month line, but sits quietly in his castle, dying of sorrow. He has seen that she deserves the freedom he was denied, and he has given it freely, no longer expecting anything in return.
            The heroine of “East O’ the Sun, West O’ the Moon,” too, has expressed some homesickness, “[so] one Sunday the White Bear came and said, now they could set off to see her father and mother” (Asbjørnsen 12). She rides his back to her parents’ home, and he leaves her there, with a promise to return and a request that she not speak to her mother alone.
            Of course, this is only the first act of the story, so things cannot go too smoothly. She does speak to her mother alone, and her mother raises admittedly reasonable concerns about the unseen figure her daughter is sleeping with every night. This will significantly complicate the story arc and the traditional pattern of Release and Return. After the bear sets her free, the Beauty will respond with a betrayal—worried by the conversation with her mother, she will light a candle to see with whom she sleeps at night. This violates the terms of his curse, a curse of which she was never made aware, and sets off a chain of events in which she is once more released. Left to her own devices after he is swept away by his troll stepfamily, she must make a much more serious decision to return to him, described in the following section, in order to set the story back on its natural path.
            The white bear was to last one year without the girl succumbing to curiosity, and failed a month short of the goal. Had he not returned her home for that one month, the curse would already have been broken by that time, but he chooses to put her freedom before his own.
            In Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” one can see one of the greatest examples of sacrifice for the beloved. The mermaid—the beast of this story—has already given up her family, home, and voice for a chance to be with her prince, but now her life is at stake. There is no chance for a happy ending with the prince; he has already married another. She has a choice, now, having failed in her mission to win his love. Either she can die, or she can take his life instead. Provided with this escape clause by her sisters, “she looked at the sharp knife, and again fixed her eyes upon the Prince… and the knife trembled in the sea maid’s hands. But then she flung it far away into the waves” (Andersen 558). The mermaid chooses a beauty who cannot even return her affections over herself, and she releases him from any expectations or obligations by sacrificing her life for him.

This section begins with monsters loving in the same way they have been loved: selfishly, possessively, with little concern for the feelings of the beloved. Until they move past this, toward a purer form of love, the story is stalled. The beast must heal emotionally before he can be healed physically, and he must learn to love others not as he has been loved in the past, but as they deserve to be loved, freely and unselfishly. The beast must learn not to act like a monster before any transformation can occur. Then, “[having] truly become himself, the hero or heroine has become worthy of being loved” (Bettelheim 278).

Monday, May 2, 2016


For the next three days only, the first edition of my book Goodbye and Other Words I Should Have Said will be 25% off, using code MYBOOKSALE25
You can get the book here, for the next three days only. After Friday, it will no longer be available, but you can still get the second edition here.
Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity, act now, etc, etc.

Monday, April 25, 2016

And He Became a Handsome Prince Part II: The Romance

            As one should perhaps expect when dealing with monsters, relationships with them often get off on the wrong foot. The reasons for this are simple—love is hard enough between two humans. If people do not always know how to love one another, it is natural that adding a creature to the mix would further complicate things. Monsters often do not know how to love. After all, many of them became monsters due to some bizarre attempt at romance gone horribly wrong. Love hurts. If anyone knows this it is the beasts of the world, and so they find themselves showing it to their beauties, often quite by accident. Of course, the beauties are not so easy to start a relationship with, either. They have a tendency to judge one by appearances, which can be a bit difficult when one appears to be a bear.
            Beauty and the Beast begins with a rose. The next bit, where the Beast demands a life in exchange for said rose, is a little less romantic. Also unromantic is the way the Beast propositions her every night. They try, these creatures. They just don’t know how to get started. Bettelheim explains this well, saying that “[in] a way this story tells that to be able to love, a person first has to become able to feel; even if the feelings are negative, that is better than not feeling” (288).
Nightly proposals aside, the protagonist of The Beauty and the Beast is generally a decent suitor. Throughout the rest of the day he is kind, if not an excellent conversationalist. She feels some fondness for him, at least, though she always turns down his proposals. However, her real love develops at night, when a handsome prince visits her dreams, begging her to free him. This dream prince, of course, is the Beast in human form, allowed to reach out to her only cryptically in the dark. Night is an important time in folklore—it is when monsters regain their humanity or give it up for love, when spells are broken, when the secrets of the day are revealed. Confronted with two versions of their beast, beauties often fall first for the one they meet at night, even when they cannot see them.
            In “East ‘O the Sun, West O’ the Moon,” the story’s beast, a white bear, quite literally buys his beauty, telling her father that if he can have the girl, he’ll make him “as rich as [he] now is poor” (Asbjørnsen). The girl, like Villeneuve’s Beauty, goes along out of love for her father, who, though he works hard to convince her, will not actually sell her until she agrees, and for her starving family. Affection for the bear grows slowly—her relationship with him is friendly enough, it seems, but her real interest is in the man who joins her in bed each night, when all the lights have been put out. Telling her mother about this mystery man on a brief visit home, she admits to being “woeful and sorrowing, for she thought she should so like to see him, and how all day long she walked about there alone, and how dull, and dreary, and lonesome it was” (Asbjørnsen). 
            As if buying and selling and threats weren’t enough, sometimes the monsters begin by trying to eat their future lovers. Really, it’s amazing what a girl will forgive. In the Danish “King Lindorm,” a giant snake monster demands that his parents provide a wife, and then eats the two princesses they find on his wedding nights. Fearing war, the third time the lindorm demands a bride, the king picks a peasant girl out of the forest for him. Unsurprisingly, the wedding night is difficult. The lindorm was born already cursed—he has never been human, and he has never known love. Some echo of a human idea that getting married and falling in love is the thing to do, though certainly present, cannot overpower the instincts of a hungry snake. But the love of the girl will be enough—love for her family, her own life, maybe even what she knows this monster could be—and by morning he will be a man, full of love and forgiven of all dietary sins.
            The prince figure in “Donkey Skin” falls in love with, and sometimes nearly dies for, a shadow and a dream. This is where Cinderella comes into it—Donkey Skin, too, appears briefly and beautifully in the night, melting away into a world of servitude.

            Part of the process—perhaps the most important part of the process—of becoming human is learning to love, which for monsters usually means healing from hurts inflicted in the name of love. For the most part, beasts cannot be loved, not completely, in all their forms, until they have learned to love properly, without causing pain. When they can love selflessly, their beauties will return that selfless love, and finally they will be allowed their humanity again.

Monday, April 18, 2016

And He Became a Handsome Prince: The Curse

Stories of transformation, whether the subject be a husband, wife, sibling, child, or friend, must begin with the cause of transformation. The beasts of Beauty and the Beast tales are cursed, but this often goes beyond the act of a spell being cast—beasts are cursed with the love of those who cannot truly love them.
            Scholars such as Bruno Bettelheim will talk at great length of the Oedipal nature of, for example, the love of Beauty for her father. But what stands out far more upon closer reading is the opposite problem. Mothers and fathers, as well as a horde of other inappropriate figures, fall in love with their children with alarming frequency. Punished for failing to return romantic feelings in utterly bizarre situations, children are punished by transformation, a spiteful and childish reaction along the lines of “If I can’t have them, no one can.”
In the variant which our modern “Beauty and the Beast,” is most clearly descended from, a French novel by Madame Villeneuve titled La Belle et la Bete, the Beast’s back story is very clearly developed, and one particularly striking change has occurred over the years. Most recent tellings of the story show the Beast as cursed due to his mistreatment of some innocent. In Villeneuve’s version, as in many early variants of the story type, the situation is quite the opposite. The young prince is watched over for many years, in the midst of war, by an elderly fairy. Their relationship is always close, but shifts dramatically over time; telling his story later, when the spell is broken, the prince says, “Whereas she had previously permitted me to call her ‘mama,’ she now forbade me…She wanted me to love her not as a mother, but as a mistress” (Villeneuve 200). The prince has come to love her as a mother, his own being absent, and she has always treated him as a son, a child—certainly not a lover. He is punished for rejecting her advances, and for his mother’s description of the proposed match as “absurd” (201).
The fairy turns him into a monster, commanding that he seem as stupid as he is hideous, and remain in such condition until a beautiful girl develops “such tender love for [him] that she’ll agree to marry [him]” (203). In uttering this curse, she clearly exhibits her unsuitability as a lover; not only is she a maternal figure in his life, but she is unable to imagine that anyone would love him were he not intelligent and attractive, showing that her love for him runs no deeper than this.
In “East O’ the Sun, West O’ the Moon,” a popular Norwegian variant of the Greek “Cupid and Psyche,” the prince finds himself in a similar position with a stepsister. Having failed to fulfill the escape clause on his curse, he must finish what he started before his detour as a polar bear. Noticing his reluctance to marry the sister in question, his troll stepmother has cursed him. As a white bear, he was to live with a woman for one year, a bear by day and a man, in bed with her, every night. If he could make it this long without her seeing his face, he would be free. But if the woman failed to meet these terms, of which she was never informed, the prince was marry his stepmother’s daughter, a troll princess with a nose three ells long (Asbjornsen).
Even in “Cupid and Psyche” itself, one can see the same element. True, there is no other bride on hand, and no actual transformation occurs—it is merely a relationship that lives only in the dark. Bettelheim claims that Cupid’s relationship with his mother, before Psyche enters the scene, is sexual, but the text does not spell this out as clearly as he implies (293). Regardless, his relationship with his mother in undoubtedly overturned by his relationship with Psyche, and he is forced to hide himself and the relationship from her anger. The transforming love that these stories are centered on is consistently preceded by a love that is possessive, obsessive, and often utterly inappropriate and immoral.
            A particularly interesting case is that of Aarne-Thompson Type 510B, or “Donkey Skin.” Aarne-Thompson groups this story with the Cinderella types, and though that is sometimes accurate, it can also fit perfectly here. This is due to regional issues; 510B is a broad category, and the stories based in Northern Europe, where Aarne and Thompson worked, bear much more resemblance to Cinderella stories than those told elsewhere (Goldberg). In the case of the titular Donkey Skin, there is no literal curse. She is cursed only by her father’s romantic pursuit. Desperate to avoid an incestuous marriage, the princess tries first to set impossible conditions for her father, but when he meets them all, she is forced to flee, taking on a grotesque disguise in order to protect herself.
            In the French version recorded by Charles Perrault, the princess, based on instructions from her fairy godmother, asks her father to kill and skin an enchanted donkey that excretes gold coins. When he unexpectedly does so, the princess runs away wearing the skin of the donkey, which will protect her from recognition for most of the story. In the version told by the brothers Grimm, one of her conditions is “a mantle made of a thousand skins of rough fur sewn together, and every animal in the kingdom must give a piece of his skin toward it” (76). When she runs away, of course, the princess uses this as her disguise.

            Another French variant, this one by Henriette-Julie de Murat, is called “Bearskin.” This story is slightly different from those above, in that it does involve the princess actually changing into  bear to escape unwanted marriage, rather than just donning a disguise. In her analysis of this tale, scholar Marina Warner notes that for female beasts “shape-shifting also shifts the conditions of confinement…[she] acquires more freedom of movement than as a young woman, and more freedom of choice” (283). While it is noteworthy that most female characters choose their own transformation, ultimately they have no more real freedom than their male counterparts. They, too, were forced into this position against their will in the aftermath of false and wicked love.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I'm back!

So I've been AWOL for nearly 2 months. Oops.

General Update:
Graduation in 5 weeks. Work to do in those five weeks: tons. Including but not limited to 25 page research paper on human relations in folk traditions, ten page paper on book banning and first amendment rights, cleaning on the apartment, and locating of new people to live in the apartment with me.

In other news:
Between work and school almost no writing has been done, but I did finally finish a novel I've been working on forever, and I've begun tentatively revising a novella I finished in high school. Gotta say, not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

So my fantastic solution to the problem of having no time to rant about fairy tales right now: I'm gonna post pieces of my paper-in-progress, which is basically me just ranting academically about fairy tales for a grade.

And guys. Oh my goodness. The incestuous undertones I have uncovered in the last few weeks. Yikes. Maybe Freud was onto something after all, although in these cases all the ickiness lies firmly with the parents. Those poor, poor kids. How do you get turned into a beast? You turn down your parents' and parental figures' sexual advances.

Anyway. Academic ranting coming soon. In the meantime, as an apology for my disappearance, have a slightly grainy picture of my cat.

His name is Alfred Lord Tennyson, Alfie for short, and he is the best thing.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Screw That

Sometimes love hurts. Maybe most times. Maybe all times. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, the way it has to be. Because love means change, and change is never easy. It’s even harder when you have to change from a monster into a man, and I guess that’s what I was planning to write tonight, but screw that. We’re tangenting. We’re tangenting hard.
Because it isn’t fair. Why should he have to learn to be a man? He never asked to be a man, or a monster. He’s just some poor little boy who got used, and it isn’t fair. And the little mermaid? Screw that prince, girl. You should have stuck that knife in his chest when you had the chance. Girl, you should have lived. He didn’t care about you. He didn’t care about anything. Girl, he killed you long before he said yes to another woman. You fought hard for your humanity, girl. You sacrificed everything you had for it, and he still consigned you to the stupid doggy bed in the stupid hallway. You deserved better, girl. You deserved to live.
So forget about love and all its pain. Screw that. You fight, and you live, and you don’t put everything you have into someone who will never give anything back. That beauty will never see that you were never a beast, boy. She’ll never understand how that fairy hurt you, and no matter what you, she’ll always believe that everything you are is only your fault. So rip her throat out while you have the chance. Those fangs are all you have left, boy. You better fight to keep them.
And stick that knife in him now, girl, now before it’s too late. You loved him, and you gave him your life. And your sisters loved you, and they gave you the chance to take it back. Screw him, girl. All he ever gave you was a pillow outside his door.

You deserve more. You deserve so much more. Don’t let them hurt you. You have to live. You have to fight for what’s yours.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Jenny Rants About Dolls and Life

So I flipped out a little on Tumblr. About Barbies.

See some lady was calling the Curvy Doll an Obesity Barbie, and well, the whole thing is over here.

"Kids need representation. Kids don’t need eating disorders. So maybe you should venture out of your stupid Barbie Dreamhouse for a while, and live with the rest of us in this world where there’s actually a middle ground between obese and literally dying of skinniness, and there are worse things around than double chins and fat ankles."

Also it's one in the morning and I'm exhausted but my cat has decided to take a nap on top of me, so obviously I can't dislodge him by getting up and going to bed. Life is hard when cute things use you as pillows.

Also also, I know I'm totally blog-neglecting, but in my defense I'm really focused on trying to wrap up this novel I've been working on forever. Except for right now. That part of my brain is dead right now. Though I think I might have been channeling some of my MC's rage on Tumblr just now.

Monday, February 8, 2016

London on a Tuesday Morning

It is a Tuesday, sunny, and she is walking the streets of London alone. She is walking along the Strand, and does not want to be. She is not entirely sure where she does want to be, but she knows it is not along the Strand. She knows this because she has walked up and down it three times now, and has found nothing remotely interesting.

It has been unusually sunny since her arrival in England, two months ago, in the company of a man called John who propositioned her in a chiropractor’s office. She bought an umbrella, polka-dotted with a handle that curves, especially for this trip. There has been no occasion to use it, and she is angry.

John is long gone. It began when he chipped his tooth on a bit of hard candy, two weeks in. She had seen the end the moment he smiled at the girl in the dentist’s waiting room. The girl was of an average height, with mousy brown hair, a poor complexion, and unremarkable eyes. Plain, but John has never gone for the remarkable. Their elopement to Europe, three days after meeting, is proof enough of that; her back problems are the most elegant thing about her.

Alone in the city, she buys clothes she can’t afford and can’t quite fit in, and frequently becomes lost. Somewhere within a hundred miles is a hotel room containing all of her bags, her computer, and her passport. She knows, distantly, that this is important, the passport at least, but cannot find the energy to care.

She did not love John, or does not think she did. She does not miss him, certainly. But without him she is lost, adrift in a foreign land. Her new skirt from Harrod’s is riding up, and there is a tear in her stockings. She has no money for a plane ticket home, but is certainly the best dressed backpacker in the UK.

She wishes it would rain.

Her mother had still tried to call her, five or six weeks ago. As she no longer has a phone card, she cannot be sure when the last time was. It may have been this morning, but she will not allow herself to feel guilt over that. She is an adult; they can hardly launch an international search for her, and she has assured them many times that she knows what she is doing.

This is completely true. She knew that running away to the other side of the world with a man she’d just met, even flightier than herself, would not be the stuff of fairy tales. She had not wanted it to be. But a whirlwind romance with an attractive man is a small price to pay for the freedom of a whole new hemisphere.

The heat is unbearable, and there is a run in her stockings. There is one pair left, in a golden bag on the dresser of her missing hotel room, and her wallet holds six pounds. There is also the matter of lunch.

She ought to get a job, but that would require a work visa, and she is not sure that avoiding homelessness is worth all the trouble. Perhaps she could become a street performer. Digging through her wallet again, she ponders the price of a guitar.

Guitar lessons, too, she adds to the list. A case for the money to be dropped in, a microphone, a sensible outfit for street performing. Then lunch, and three new pairs of stockings. The hotel room is reserved for five more nights, at least, assuming she can find it.

Sighing, she looks toward the red phone booth across the street. Her mother, perhaps, would wire her some money.

She yanks down her skirt again, and walks purposefully toward the department store behind it.