Thursday, March 13, 2014

old enough for fairy tales

"That's not really my thing, but it's neat that you wrote a book!"

It's always said with a smile, and I'm sure the people saying it are genuinely being nice, but every time I hear those words it stings a little. There's a tiny place in my heart that breaks just a bit more.

We start out on fairy tales--cut our teeth, so to speak, on stories of magic, sword fights, and adventure. They are the stories that fuel young imaginations, that bring a hopeful twinkle to bright, eager eyes. Tales of fantasy inspire dreams and encourage dreamers.

Why, then, do we have such an aversion to them when we "grow up"?

I know I don't help matters any. When someone asks me about my story THE PROPHECY I stammer and stutter. I mutter out something along the lines of, "Oh, it's just a fantasy--you know, kings and sword fights and magic and that sort of thing." Then I change the subject as quickly as possible.

Mostly it's because I am incredibly uncomfortable talking about myself, but part of it is because I expect whoever I'm talking to to say, "I don't read that sort of thing, but good for you for writing a book!"

I'm sure the pictures on the covers of most fantasy novels go quite a way toward driving people away from fantasy. There's only so many books with half-naked people on the front that you can comfortably display on your bookshelf, especially when the scantily-clad people are always holding weapons and facing monsters. In my experience, though, fantasy stories are definitely one place where it's true that "you can't judge a book by its cover."

Besides the covers, you usually find those unpronounceable names; names without vowels or with four vowels in a row (I'm guilty of that a bit myself with names like Paodin, Syndria, and Tundyel). Besides the superficial, I can't really say why so many people avoid reading fantasy. What I can say, though, is what I see in fantasy...

Fairy tales are the stories of dreamers. They are tales of magic, epic adventure, friendship, and loyalty. They are the tales that pull you out of this world and into another, one in which everyone has a destiny to fulfill. They are fulled with sweeping landscapes and people chasing dreams. They are stories of people learning how to become who they are supposed to be, who they need to be.

Fantasies remind us that everything always comes back to the ultimate struggle: good vs. evil, right vs. wrong. They are the stories that tell us to fight for what we believe in. In them we see flawed, imperfect people trying desperately to do what's right.

In fairy tales we see our hopes and dreams. We find encouragement to face the monsters, even when they seem impossible to face. In fantasies we find ourselves.

“I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again." ~C.S. Lewis, in the dedication of THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE to his goddaughter Lucy



****If you haven't gotten a chance to read it yet, THE PROPHECY will be available free for the Kindle Friday and Saturday! I would love for you to pick up a copy and let me know what you think...maybe even if it isn't really your "sort of book." :)

1 comment:

Thoughts? I would love to hear them!
~Mandy