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I have a quick question... [Feb. 17th, 2006|03:13 pm]
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Maybe ya'll can help me with this...

I recently came across another telling of The Frog Prince, and it reminded me of something...

I don't get the point of this story.

The Frog helps the Princess, the princess is forced to honor her promise after trying to avoid it, and eventually she throws some hissy fit and acts out in violence. (the Kiss is a later change)

This breaks the spell (why??) and the prince/king/former-frog is *grateful* and decides to marry her. Personally, I'd want to smack her for her whining as soon as I had arms to do so.

Any insights?
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(no subject) [Dec. 7th, 2005|05:38 pm]
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Cabinet des Fées is pleased to announce that as of our second issue, we will be going to print under the imprimatur of Prime Books. We will now be paying $5.00 per story upon publication. We will continue with our quarterly publication schedule and the reading periods remain unchanged. Please see our updated submission guidelines, including our Call for Papers. In the spirit of our original intent to provide online content free of charge to our readers, Cabinet des Fées will continue to offer treats and tidbits on the website. Look for story excerpts, personal essays, poetry and other fairy tale related ephemera from our editors, contributors and others.

We'd also like to announce the creation of our own livejournal community, cabinetdesfees, where we will continue to provide updates and announcements concerning Cabinet des Fées.

crossposted to erzebet, cabinetdesfees, sing_the_bones, sfandf_writers
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Cabinet des Fees [Nov. 2nd, 2005|03:02 am]
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The first issue of Cabinet des Fees, the project which has had our own dear erzebet so busy of late (well, one of them), is now officially up and running.

I am currently reading through the fabulous stories there, and so far I find it absolutely delightful.

There is a wonderfully moving story by snowy_owlet included in the collection, as well as artwork by arianadii.

If you haven't, go and take a peek... but don't blame me if you find yourself putting off things you were planning on doing because you couldn't tear yourself away. (Not that I think you'll mind. Go and see if I'm not right.)
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Sisyphus is the absurd hero [Oct. 11th, 2005|10:21 am]
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Many thanks to carpdeus, who posted this on his LJ this morning. It just seemed a tale that belonged in sing_the_bones.

Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

If one believes Homer, Sisyphus was the wisest and most prudent of mortals. According to another tradition, however, he was disposed to practice the profession of highwayman. I see no contradiction in this. Opinions differ as to the reasons why he became the futile laborer of the underworld. To begin with, he is accused of a certain levity in regard to the gods. He stole their secrets. Egina, the daughter of Esopus, was carried off by Jupiter. The father was shocked by that disappearance and complained to Sisyphus. He, who knew of the abduction, offered to tell about it on condition that Esopus would give water to the citadel of Corinth. To the celestial thunderbolts he preferred the benediction of water. He was punished for this in the underworld. Homer tells us also that Sisyphus had put Death in chains. Pluto could not endure the sight of his deserted, silent empire. He dispatched the god of war, who liberated Death from the hands of her conqueror.

It is said that Sisyphus, being near to death, rashly wanted to test his wife's love. He ordered her to cast his unburied body into the middle of the public square. Sisyphus woke up in the underworld. And there, annoyed by an obedience so contrary to human love, he obtained from Pluto permission to return to earth in order to chastise his wife. But when he had seen again the face of this world, enjoyed water and sun, warm stones and the sea, he no longer wanted to go back to the infernal darkness. Recalls, signs of anger, warnings were of no avail. Many years more he lived facing the curve of the gulf, the sparkling sea, and the smiles of earth. A decree of the gods was necessary. Mercury came and seized the impudent man by the collar and, snatching him from his joys, lead him forcibly back to the underworld, where his rock was ready for him.

You have already grasped that Sisyphus is the absurd hero. He is, as much through his passions as through his torture. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life won him that unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing. This is the price that must be paid for the passions of this earth. Nothing is told us about Sisyphus in the underworld. Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them. As for this myth, one sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it, and push it up a slope a hundred times over; one sees the face screwed up, the cheek tight against the stone, the shoulder bracing the clay-covered mass, the foot wedging it, the fresh start with arms outstretched, the wholly human security of two earth-clotted hands. At the very end of his long effort measured by skyless space and time without depth, the purpose is achieved. Then Sisyphus watches the stone rush down in a few moments toward that lower world whence he will have to push it up again toward the summit. He goes back down to the plain.

It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus interests me. A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock.

If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him? The workman of today works everyday in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious. Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory. There is no fate that can not be surmounted by scorn.

If the descent is thus sometimes performed in sorrow, it can also take place in joy. This word is not too much. Again I fancy Sisyphus returning toward his rock, and the sorrow was in the beginning. When the images of earth cling too tightly to memory, when the call of happiness becomes too insistent, it happens that melancholy arises in man's heart: this is the rock's victory, this is the rock itself. The boundless grief is too heavy to bear. These are our nights of Gethsemane. But crushing truths perish from being acknowledged. Thus, Edipus at the outset obeys fate without knowing it. But from the moment he knows, his tragedy begins. Yet at the same moment, blind and desperate, he realizes that the only bond linking him to the world is the cool hand of a girl. Then a tremendous remark rings out: "Despite so many ordeals, my advanced age and the nobility of my soul make me conclude that all is well." Sophocles' Edipus, like Dostoevsky's Kirilov, thus gives the recipe for the absurd victory. Ancient wisdom confirms modern heroism.

One does not discover the absurd without being tempted to write a manual of happiness. "What!---by such narrow ways--?" There is but one world, however. Happiness and the absurd are two sons of the same earth. They are inseparable. It would be a mistake to say that happiness necessarily springs from the absurd discovery. It happens as well that the felling of the absurd springs from happiness. "I conclude that all is well," says Edipus, and that remark is sacred. It echoes in the wild and limited universe of man. It teaches that all is not, has not been, exhausted. It drives out of this world a god who had come into it with dissatisfaction and a preference for futile suffering. It makes of fate a human matter, which must be settled among men.

All Sisyphus' silent joy is contained therein. His fate belongs to him. His rock is a thing Likewise, the absurd man, when he contemplates his torment, silences all the idols. In the universe suddenly restored to its silence, the myriad wondering little voices of the earth rise up. Unconscious, secret calls, invitations from all the faces, they are the necessary reverse and price of victory. There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night. The absurd man says yes and his efforts will henceforth be unceasing. If there is a personal fate, there is no higher destiny, or at least there is, but one which he concludes is inevitable and despicable. For the rest, he knows himself to be the master of his days. At that subtle moment when man glances backward over his life, Sisyphus returning toward his rock, in that slight pivoting he contemplates that series of unrelated actions which become his fate, created by him, combined under his memory's eye and soon sealed by his death. Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling.

I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

---Albert Camus---

Translation by Justin O'Brien, 1955
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Spindle's End - thoughts on everyday magic. [Oct. 9th, 2005|12:57 am]
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I read Spindle's End by Robin McKinley, last night.

It is, as you may have guessed, a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale. The twists it gives this story are not what really caught my attention, though (not that they were bad).

the book opens like this:
"The magic in that country was so thick and tenacious that it settled over the land like chalk-dust and over floors and shelves like slightly sticky plaster-dust."

She means this literally. Everything has to be weighed against the presence of magic and its possible results. You have to make a special effort to make sure that things stay what they are.

This seemed to me to be alot like the world as viewed from inside my head.

It brought forward the need to live by the rules we know from our Stories, and as I read through the book, it occured to me that many of these rules make alot more sense than the ones Society has come up with on its own, without a knowledge of magic to weigh the consequences against.

I think this might explain alot of my obsession with Fairy Tales and their themes. If there are going to be rules in life, I like for them to have a good Reason behind them. It is hard to identify with an accepted code just because it is accepted, when very little of it actually makes sense.

Fairy Tale rules are based on an understanding of how the world works, and part of that Understanding is based on the idea that some things are outside of our ability to Explain.

This makes complete sense to me.

And on that note, I leave you with some Instructions...
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Just a Heads-Up... [Oct. 6th, 2005|04:47 pm]
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I found myself wandering into Half Price Books last night, and the sections I ended up browsing most will not surprise anyone who knows me.

The Clearance Price Gods were with me.

I picked up Spells of Enchantment: The Wonderous Fairy Tales of Western Culture (ed. Jack Zipes), The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales (ed. Angela Carter), Old Wives' Fairy Tale Book (ed. Angela Carter), and Spindle's End (by Robin McKinley).

I'm not sure exactly what it says about me, but I think I am as excited about reading some of the Introductions as I am the stories themselves.

Anyways... because much of this has to do with retellings and with approaching tales from a slightly different angle... expect to see some odd thoughts from me soon. You have been warned.
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Ooooh [Oct. 2nd, 2005|10:58 pm]
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I found this link while poking through BBCNews.com:

In Pictures: The Magic of Stories. I thought the lovely folks here would enjoy it, so here it is! :D
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Thought I'd try my hand. I've owed wisper a desert fairy prince that rides a snake story 4 forever [Oct. 1st, 2005|01:09 pm]
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[mood |tiredtired]

Long story. Very long story.

Read more...Collapse )
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(no subject) [Oct. 1st, 2005|08:32 am]
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This is not related entirely to the question at hand, but I hadn't seen it mentioned before and thought folk here would appreciate this.

If you don't already own it, no DVD collection is complete without a copy of Jim Henson's Storyteller series. John Hurt gives the performance of his career. The narration is wonderful, lilting, with turns of phrase that leave me burning with envy.

Some of my favorite stories get the Henson treatment: A Story Short, Sapsorrow (one of the oldest versions of Cinderella), Fear Not, the Heartless Giant, but the prize of the bunch is the Three Ravens. I shudder just thinking about the delivery that story gets.
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My Fav Fairy Tale [Sep. 30th, 2005|07:40 pm]
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[mood |workingworking]
[music |Crappy Work Muzak]

A fairy tale, in a sense. The Elf King is actually a poem, set to music later. It is the story of a wild ride through the woods. A father and son, the son is telling his father about the elf king who is attempting to lure the child away or snatch him, while the father insists that there is no elf king and that the kid was just imagining things due to the moonlight and shadows. Of course, since it's a story I like, the ending isn't really all that happy. The father rides up to the door of the house only to find that his son is dead in his arms.

What classic theme is this? Well, it is the argument of logic vs fantasy, Apollinian vs Dianysian, Science vs Art. The Elf King vs the father, with the child as the battleground and prize. Think of your life, when young you are assaulted on all sides by differing things, fairy tales, scientific method, school lessons and old wives tales. As a child figuring out what to believe can be a daunting and sometimes terrifying thing. As we get older we tend to limit our options enough that we can make these decisions without much thought. The fact that the child in the poem dies is merely an indication that he chose the Elf King and fantasy over his father and the father's rational world where there are no elf kings only tree branches. Not the choice I made, but an understandable one.

Well, that's my initial noise in the community. Hope it made sense.
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