“A Hundred and Fifty Years’ Sleep” & Other New Publications

March 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Remember those 500 “new” fairy tales everyone was talking about in 2012? Now a selection of them have been published under the title The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Tales, and I’m excited to have a long-form review of the collection published this month in the Brooklyn Rail. Here’s a taste:

turnip cover“What the Schönwerth tales are, at their core, are artifacts, reminders of the humble origins of some of the most enduring stories in our shared imagination. The public interest in the tales, no matter how deserving they are of artistic acclaim, does denote something of a turning point for popular understanding of fairy tales. Fewer and fewer people may be surprised to hear that Walt Disney didn’t invent Cinderella and Snow White (yes, this happens) if more readers are turning an eye to the fairy tale of how a story is made, and how it endures. … Well, here is material as close to an original oral source as many folk tale collectors could hope to get. The irony, of course, is that such a thing as an authentic fairy tale scarcely exists. A fairy tale on the page is either a recording or a retelling of the ineffable original, the source and meaning of which lives only in an unreachable time, and in our imaginations.”

You can read the full review here: http://www.brooklynrail.org/2015/03/books/a-hundred-and-fifty-years-sleep

Since we turned the page on 2014, I’ve also published a review with Bookslut of Kelly Link’s new short story collection, Get in Trouble, and was thrilled to have a short piece of fiction inspired by three Grimm tales posted at Tin House’s blog, The Open Bar. Check them out through the links below, and as always, thanks for reading!

“I love a good ghost story…”
Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, Reviewed on Bookslut

“My wedding ring glinted on my finger: it seemed to belong to a different hand.”
A Grandmother in Three Tales on the Open Bar

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You Know You’re a Fairy Tale Blogger When…

May 30, 2014 § 3 Comments

you-know-youre-a-fairy-tale-blogger-when

Once Upon a Time bloggers Kristin of Tales of Faerie and Gypsy of Once Upon a Blog noticed that their blogging habits seemed to invade other areas of their lives. They started this round-robin of fairy tale bloggers to add to their lists of quirks and observations about being obsessed with fairy tales, and asked me to join in. I’ve been tagged by Megan at The Dark Forest, so here goes! I’ll do my best to not repeat things that have already been listed, but I can’t promise…

1. Puppeteers (like Layla Holzer, for instance) begin following you on Twitter. Inexplicable, but welcome.

2. You’re suspicious of apples and straight combs.

3. You know that when you have kids, the last thing you’ll tell them is to stay out of a certain room. Because you know that guarantees that they’ll go in. Every story, every time.

4. You’ll always be disappointed that your hair never turned out like a Trina Schart Hyman heroine’s:

Not even a chance.

Not even a chance.

« Read the rest of this entry »

“The Tale of the Boy Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was”

October 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Happy Halloween from Something to Read for the Train & A Grimm Project!

Illustration by Albert Weisgerber

Illustration by Albert Weisgerber

004. The Tale of the Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was

*This post is part of A Grimm Project, a series of short fiction pieces using each of the Brothers Grimms’ Nursery and Household Tales as writing prompts. For more information about the project, click here. For more about the story which inspired this freewrite, click here.*

When the bed stopped its bucking and the cats had gone to find milk, I straightened my suspenders and set off to explore the final wing of the castle. What fun I’d had so far—sheets askew and cards scattered, the castle had the look of a gaming den. One final hallway, one final door. I rapped my knuckles loudly, and the door gave way.

Ah, it’s you, someone said.

I could see no one in the dark. The voice was quiet and raspy.

Nursing a cold there, eh, sir? I said.

I heard a scratching noise near my feet. Fumbling in my pockets, I found the last match and lit it against my shoe sole. The small light flickered—two eyes looked up at me from the stone floor, reflecting the match’s dance.

Hullo, what are you doing down there? I asked. The man—for that’s what the speaker was, a very old man with a beard as long as his body, and pointed nails caked with dirt—extended a bony hand towards me and touched my cheek. Careful there, Granddad, I said. Those nails look sharp enough to scratch.

I had forgotten how full those cheeks were in my youth, the man said. Look, how healthy that hay-colored hair. So handsome, I was.

I didn’t much care for the smell of him.

See here, old dirt-nail, old fish-stink, which way to the treasure? Dawn’s a-coming fast, and if I don’t find it by then, we’re good as burnt toast, no use to anybody. Help me out, will you, instead of lying there?

There is no treasure, the old man said. His eyes had become very bright, this I noticed just before the match fizzled down and nipped my thumb and forefinger with a sharp little searing. There is only you.

I backed away, feeling around behind me for the door. You’re dotty, you are. If you’ll be no help to me, then fie with you. I’ll find it on my own, and by morning, too.

I’m sure you will, the man said, waving to me faintly as I left the room and faced the deeper darkness of the hall. Yes, I’m sure this time you will.

Old tosser, I thought.

Cate Fricke
August 2013

My Grimm Project

August 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve begun a little project.

It’s called “A Grimm Project,” and I hope you’ll click through and follow it.

A Grimm Project” is a prompt-driven romp through all 242 tales in the 1987 edition of Jack Zipes’s The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. I have been writing about other peoples’ work for a long time, and needed an impetus to create my own. So you all will need to hold me accountable, as I create a freewrite on this new blog in response to each fairy tale in the book.

You can help out, too! Each week over on A Grimm Project I’ll be posting on the next tale, in order, in the book, and then posting a short “response” to the tale. Some will be harder than others, but there will be NO SKIPPING. And if you feel inspired by a particular tale, please email me your freewrite in the email provided in the “About the Project” section, or post it in the comments. Each month, I’ll choose some favorites to be included in a special post. So please check it out, follow, and contribute!

You can already read my first entries, on the first tale in the Grimms’ collection, “The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich,” here.

Thanks,
Cate

painting by Albert Weisgerber

painting by Albert Weisgerber

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