Thursday, January 9, 2014

For the love of fairytales

Once upon a time… this phrase has become so synonymous with a fairytale that you cannot imagine one beginning without those words nor can you imagine the story ending without the phrase and they lived happily ever after. So it really shouldn’t come as any kind of surprise, that fairytales permeate every part of our existence including our fiction well maybe most specifically our romantic fiction.

But why do we love fairytales? I asked my Mini Me this question not long ago. She gave me a rather peculiar look when asked the question. When I told her it was for a blog, She took a moment to think about her answer and finally she simply shrugged.

“Mom,” she said. “I love fairytales because they always make me think of you.”

It took me a moment to overcome the emotion generated by her response. When I pressed her to clarify her answer, she simply said, “fairytales are what you read me, the stories you told me. When I see one or hear one I think of you and I feel closer to you. Fairytales are like going home again.”

I cannot begin to come up with a better response to this question about why do we love fairytales than what my daughter said to me. After all, one of the reasons I have always loved fairytales is because my grandmother read them to me in the form of romance novels.

Going Home Again
So what is it about our fairytale that takes us home again? In most stories, we are thrust into a story we don’t understand. We don’t always know who are the good guys or the bad. We don’t know what’s wrong. We only know that something is wrong and that there is going to be a price to pay, but we don’t know why we should care.

Yes, This does sound a lot like going home sometimes.

We know there is a hardship and a conflict. We know that there’s an underlying tension and it is going to get stronger and stronger. And we know if someone doesn’t do something… it will get worse.

Very often, someone in the midst of all of this is innocent. Whether it’s a child, a gentle maiden, an awkward youth, or lonely dragon… this person or being is stuck in the middle.

Going Home is Hard
One truism about life or fiction is that it’s hard, and it will likely get worse long before it gets better. Everything in a fairytale is about struggle, fear, loss, defeat, failure… it’s about what doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger.

Overcoming life’s trials is the heart of any good fairytale. These complications are often so much greater than you imagined, and they can make or break your life. While our lives are not obviously complicated by a super villain, or haunted by wicked witch—our problems may feel like they come from one. Weirdly, this is the part of the fairytale I think nearly everyone can relate to, because it is the part that must be survived.

Who hasn’t stood there and thought “good God, now what?” as one thing after another goes wrong? Add up a lot of little events, and you don’t need a major catastrophe to feel like you will collapse under the stress.

We survive a lot of things: childhood, high school, first love, broken heart, marriage, death… living requires pain and being able to assign that pain to a name or title. He who cannot be named is far more terrifying than Tom Riddle. The fairytale clearly defines who the bad guy is.

Making Our Home

By the end of the fairytale, we know who the good guys are and who the bad guys, And we know what must be done. We know to achieve “happily ever after,” our home must be safe, a great rescue must occur and we must have a resolution. All that which was messy in the beginning, must be neat and organized. We will have made our home.

Considering our lives are never that neat or organized, this has and vast appeal. Because no matter how hard, or challenging, or difficult (yes I know they’ll mean the same thing) the fairytale will get a happily ever after and when we go home… at the end of the day isn’t that what we all want?

Writing Some Like It Royal
When I first began writing this book, but didn’t truly think about the idea that I was writing fairytale. But it’s a story about finding your way home, about overcoming challenges and obstacles to not only discover who the heroine is, but she and the hero can be. 

In some ways, I truly believe Some Like it Royal is the best of what a fairytale can offer: because it’s a story of hope.

Why do you love fairytales?

You are cordially invited...

Dust off your tiara and don't miss the upcoming release party on Facebook kicking off January 13th! 

You can also pre-order Some Like It Royal today!

1 comment:

Diane Burton said...

Awww. Your daughter's response is so cute. Fairy tales do give hope that you can overcome adversity. I just wish they had more girls solving their own problems than lying around waiting for Prince Charming to rescue them.