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Author Comment
Laura McCaffrey
Registered User
(5/11/01 4:26:47 pm)
Storytelling and Life
Iíve been thinking a lot about the power of story in the last day. Three years ago I was terrified to actually do what I wanted to do, to write. I come from a family where both parents have worked at the same jobs for 20 years, get benefits, get regular pay checks. I married an artist, but he just seems so brilliant - of course he would succeed.

Then I was rereading Lloyd Alexanderís Prydian series, _The Black Cauldron_ I think, and I was suddenly struck over the head with the realization that the heros and heroines, when they are on the quest or journey, arenít sure theyíll succeed. They really think they might fail, and risk a great deal anyway. Because I knew the end to the stories, I knew the characters would find their way. I trusted in the taleís formula. Then in one flash moment I saw not the formula, but the depth of the storyís meaning. I really believe thatís the moment when I truly committed myself. I signed up for a writing class. I started writing regularly several times a week, at nights, during my childrenís naps, in the early mornings. Yesterday I got a phone call from my ideal publishing house and was offered a contract on my first chidrenís novel. I donít think I ever would have received that call without realizing the dangers, the truths, the disappointments, the triumphs of the kind of stories we discuss on this board.

Anyway. I donít know what else to say, except please keep writing and reading and dreaming and speaking of those stories. Laura Mc

Midori
Unregistered User
(5/11/01 5:19:08 pm)
Congrats
Laura,

Many congratulations on this first book contract! How wonderful for you and here's to many more!

tlchang
Registered User
(5/13/01 5:20:02 pm)
Re: Storytelling and Life
Congratulations Laura!

It's amazing how life works.

I had a reaction to the Prydain chronicles a number of years ago. I was reading "Taran Wanderer" and was struck by his experiences. He was skilled in a number of areas, but when he came across the craft that spoke to his soul (in his case, pottery), he found he didn't have the 'gift' for truly excelling in that area.

I felt that ways for years. I've gone a number of different directions in numerous disciplines and can apparently carry them off - but when I felt I came to my hearts desire - which was art work and illustration, I felt I didn't have the 'gift' to really communicate from my soul in that arena.

I still struggle with that one - though not as much as I used to. I've worked really hard at it - it does NOT come easily and freely to me. Every time I contemplate giving up on it however, the Universe intervenes. I get a new freelance job from out of the blue or some other validation. I was just thinking this week that illustration is NOT my soul's work - as much as I enjoy it - I am not ever able to pull it off the way I would like - and too many other things pull at me for attention. When I was at my most serious musings on Thursday when I got a package in the mail from "Highlights" magazine (whom I do a few jobs for every year) that informed me that I had been awarded the "Illustration of the Year" in the Science Corner category: complete with an engraved pewter platter and request for press release info....

Now, I know this is not a major award - but it is typical of what God or the Universe continues to throw at me whenever I consider not following my heart and dreams.

I am trying to continue to 'trust' and follow the quest with no absolute knowledge of the outcome.

Best luck to all following their hearts and dreams.

Tara

XYZ
Unregistered User
(5/13/01 10:48:42 pm)
congratulations
hello Laura,

congratulations with al my best wishes to you as well

XYZ

XYZ
Unregistered User
(5/13/01 10:54:09 pm)
congratulations
hello Laura,

congratulations with all my best wishes to you as well

XYZ


Laura McCaffrey
Registered User
(5/14/01 10:46:24 am)
Re: Storytelling and Life
Hey all,

Thanks for the congratulations and best wishes!

Tara, I know what you mean about fearing you don't have the "gift" for your heart's desire - such a terrifying feeling, and beautifully described in Taran Wanderer. Congratulations on your award! I'll keep my eye open for your illustrations.

Have a great day. L. Mc

janeyolen
Unregistered User
(5/14/01 2:48:03 pm)
Magic
Laura--proving, of course, that there is magic in the world as long as you work hard, take the blows, and make nice to the little old lady in the woods!

Jane

Laura McCaffrey
Registered User
(5/16/01 3:57:27 pm)
magic
Jane -
Thanks for the words of wisdom. If you don't mind, these will go up beside the other snippits, poems, and pictures around my desk that keep me going. Laura Mc

janeyolen
Unregistered User
(5/17/01 2:25:06 am)
Words of Wisdom
Hey--words of wisdom supplied free. Remember--I AM one of those little old ladies in the woods!

Jane

Kate
Unregistered User
(5/17/01 10:42:29 am)
Congrats
Laura, Congratulations. That is simply wonderful news. Please post something near publication time.

And Tara, you shouldn't downplay your own good news. That's great.

And finally, Jane, wise one, how do you define old?! I do not think of you as old. (I should say that just the other day, a friend told me someone she knew had called me "a real nice lady," in a Nevada drawl. That made me feel old, too.)

Midori
Unregistered User
(5/17/01 11:48:04 am)
"old"
Kate,

I've discovered that the older I get, the older, "old" gets. But oh, where of where is the role for the permanently middle aged woman in the fairy tales? Have I banished myself to an identity in the tales as the dreary "patient Grieselda", the hapless wife of ogres and giants, the quietly suffering Queen, the nag and the scold of trickster husbands, the avenging mother (wrecking hell on her children)....aish. I'm going to have go now and look for some middle aged heroines...

janeyolen
Unregistered User
(5/17/01 12:32:12 pm)
"Old"
Some of us on another list have been talking about Mrs. Brown on a science fictional trip.

But I have wondered this very thing myself as I move through that moveable feast called middle age. Maybe, Midori, you and I should write some kind of braided novel about two middle age fairies who have moved to the city, close to good transportation and daily newspapers that are delivered on time, looking back on their lives and what they have accomplished and how well or not well, they have been regarded. Call it OUT OF THE WOODS.

He he he.

Jane

Kate
Unregistered User
(5/17/01 12:45:53 pm)
Old/Novels
Yes, Midori--it's a relative thing, you're absolutely right. When I go out to a bar, I think now "Gosh, what are all these kids doing here?" (And I'm sure they're thinking "What's that old lady doing here?")

That sounds like a good novel to me.

Speaking of novels (not of age), I am going to start reviewing books for the main newspaper here. If anyone wants to put me on their review lists, I would love it. I'm trying to focus both on fairy tale/folklore books, and on small press/university press publications (novels or stories).

Heidi Anne Heiner
ezOP
(5/17/01 6:56:27 pm)
Re: Old/Novels
Congrats, Laura. Publication is always good news. Please let us know more about release dates and such when the info is available.

And as a survivor of another birthday last week (please, no belated wishes are necessary!), I think that age is only a relative thing. It's what you are in your head, to sound completely cliched. Although my husband is managing to keep me young, I will never be as young as my mother at heart. I think the same phenomenon exists here on the board.

In the the never-ending search for birthday cards that don't carp on burning cakes, my most recent favorite has been one with two very wrinkled nuns, one wielding a paddle ball. The inscription simply says:

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

--Leroy (Satchel) Paige

I would choose 25 myself. : ) Although it only keeps getting better except for the creaky bones.

Heidi

Laura McCaffrey
Registered User
(5/18/01 4:00:21 pm)
Old/Novels
Thanks Heidi - I know that the release is tentatively schedualed for spring 2003. If the board is still going by then I'll certainly let you all know about exact dates.

As to age, I'm hitting a "9" birthday in another week - facing a new decade - and have been trying to pretend I'm not a bit troubled. Of course I hated my teens, in general, and the twenties started off rocky but have gotten much better. When I work with teens, I enjoy their energy, but I never think - oh to be seventeen again. So why worry about growing older if I didn't love the much-lauded youth I am thankful to have survived?! Still I do worry now and again.

Anyone who wants to take up the guantlet of writing about those triumphant middle and older years, please do! The fairy tale from the point of view of the powerful witch or the wise woman or the trickster by the side of the road would be much welcome. Laura Mc

Midori
Unregistered User
(5/19/01 8:44:25 am)
age
My favorite age quote was from musician Eubie Blake, who when he hit his 90th birthday (which was celebrated with much fanfare, adoring young women and well wishers) looked around and said "If I'd a known I was going to live this long, I woulda taken better care of myself."

Jane...your idea is hilarious...mostly fueled by my imagining how my family view my role with a mixture of anguish, resignation and occasional tenderness. (being that I am a creature prone to quoting other middle aged heroines like the Baroness Edith Summerskill. "Nagging is the repetition of unpalatable truths," has become something of a mantra when replying to grumbling)

janeyolen
Unregistered User
(5/19/01 4:44:51 pm)
Middle Age fairy novel
My dearest Meteora:

The view from my window is nothing like the deep woods: a few spindly trees sending out fervant prayers for a spring that never quite comes. The pigeons crowding my windowsill hoping for a blessing of crumbs. How I wish they could understand that with middle age has come a loss of magic, something I have never quite understood but feel full well. In my head I am more powerful than ever, making swift connections, understanding life as never before. But evidently the body is the source of fey energies.

Except for the queen.

Always except for the queen.

Who knew that bitch would go on forever?

My fondest wishes (oh that I could really grant them still)

Serana

Helen
Registered User
(5/21/01 1:07:20 am)
Please, write it!
Dear Jane:
Due to the end of the semester crunch (I type this as I study for what I am not so fondly calling "the final Final", the last obstacle between me and my diploma) I've been lurking more than I've been posting. This is the first thing that's dragged me back to "reality" (as 'twere) in quite a while ... I would love to see more!
A despondant girl in the forest,
Helen

janeyolen
Unregistered User
(5/21/01 3:27:51 am)
fairy novel <or novella>
Well, I am waiting on Midori who is the other middle age fairy.

Unless she doesn't want to play.

Then I shallhave to write it myself, but probably not on line.

Jane

Terri
Unregistered User
(5/21/01 6:26:44 am)
middle aged fairies
Sorry I've been off-line so much lately -- I'm in a deadline crunch, but I'll be back. I just had to write in quickly (wearing my editor's hate here) to say that a Yolen/Snyder novel about middle ages fairies sounds wonderful to me....

Midori
Unregistered User
(5/21/01 9:45:32 am)
Serana
My dear Serana,

It took a while to receive your letter. The child in the postman's costume who comes once a day can scarely read well enough to deliver mail. Today a neighbor's bills were cluttering my box and when I went to redeliver them at the flat downstairs, I discovered that the tenant had received all of my precious mail. A scruffy boy with one of those indolent faces and as he handed me the lovely lavender envelop of your letter I winced at his dirty fingernails. Remember how we use to amuse ourselves by turning those kind into runnaway dogs? Oh how my body twitched to do the same again.

I shall tell you of my living situation only if you promise not to feel anymore sorry for me than I do for myself. I found a charming place this spring, an attic apartment on the third floor of an old duplex not too far from the lake and signed a years lease. Except for the crows which have taken residence outside my window (it's my own fault, I tossed out left over pasta and now they think me a diner) my summer was quiet and uneventful. Alas, this fall the house erupted with college students and my head now aches from the constant din. Were we ever that noisy? That loud in our passion? our play or mischief making? Do they never study these students? I light candles, mutter the old words, thump around the house and when all else fails, as well you know it does, I bang my broom against the wooden floor and wonder how I could have become so powerless. At least Baba Yaga had teeth.

As to the Queen...you know why she still rules. As girls we gave away our wishes like kisses. We were giddy and happy to be squandering power, giving it away to lovers, to children, to friends never thinking for a moment we might be emptied out of our power like an upturned bushel basket of seed corn and that seed would scatter away, away leaving us behind, over cultivated land turned fallow. But not the Queen.

Nimue was always more clever than us. She used her sex, clamped her wishes tight between her thighs and made those boys cough up their treasures before bestowing one small brush of her lips. Even old men like Merlin made fools of themselves and she took him for everything he had. She has made a life time of stealing and hoarding power. And don't get me started on the things she's done to herself: the lifts, the tucks, the frozen smile of stiff skin. It's all wretched and awful. Unseemingly youth in an old nag.

Oh dear, I can hear the girl crying in the flat below. She's really sobbing. Remember when our hearts used to break like that? I think I shall go down there. I may not be able to give the cad a face full of warts, but I can still make tea and offer a comfortable shoulder.

my best to you as always,

Meteora


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This is an archived string from the
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©2001 SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages

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