Yearning for Wonderland

There is such a place as fairyland - but only children can find the way to it...until they have grown so old that they forget the way. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again...The world calls them singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland. ~ L.M Montgomery

Five Sentence Fiction: The Library’s Whispers

I almost missed this week’s Five Sentence Fiction by Lillie McFerrin. That would have been a real loss, as she chose this week’s theme – my favorite, Faeries – and mentioned me and my Faerytaleish board most graciously.

The Library’s Whispers

All she’d said was “I never want to leave this place.” – a simple, childish wish, but someone had heard her.

Years passed and her beloved books crumbled to dust from the rain that pattered through the sunken skylight. She splintered every piece of furniture in her rage but one, though she never sat.

The wind rattling through the eaves sounded like a whisper, sounded like a giggle.

She pressed her face against the chill glass of the window and watched as yet another twilight faded from the sky.

A Room of My Own: Tracy McCusker

Today we are featuring writer, poet and artist Tracy McCusker (aka @dustyjournal on Twitter). Her first book of poems, Letters from Nowhere, is now available on Amazon (free through 6/27/12).

Q) Please describe your space, describing any features that make it extra special to you.
A) My creative space is a dual art and writing area. It is part of the living room/dining area in a tiny apartment (isn’t it fun to live in the city?) and takes up at least half of the room. My desk is half a card table, and my art area is a sheep skin throw where I can sprawl out and trip anyone heading to or from the bedroom. I use a Dell Studio XPS desktop with a fairly monstrous amount of RAM to run all of my digital art pizzazz.

In the morning, the sun beams directly onto my monitor and directly back into my eyes. In fits of pique, I will tape the blinds to the wall to keep the sun rays out. Both areas are usually scattered with ink-smeared paper towels to blot my fountain pens and clean ink spills (not pictured above). I keep several sets of books around my space, including a stack that forms at the foot of my computer chair. These books form a barrier that is physically hazardous to pass. I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by creative junk!

Q) What is your favorite/most inspiring object in this room?

A) The most inspiring object in the room is a piece of my own artwork in its specimen case, “Layer Mask”. It’s one of my illuminated journal pages that’s pinned up with insect pins to make a physical layer mask. It’s sitting next to a gaudy little neon London Underground sign which I never plug in. Looking at it reminds me that a little effort every day can result in incredibly beautiful, unplanned things.

Q) What rituals do you go through when you want to write in this space?

A) I will collect all of my writing pens together (not an easy feat, I have over fifty of them in the apartment), select three or four to line up my desk in a neat row. I’ll grab whatever journal I need for the task. I have a general journal, a poetry archive journal, and at least two active sketchbooks / Rhodia dot notepads.

When I feel comfortable with what I am writing, I will switch to typing on the computer. I open Notepad and type up what I’ve written, revising as I go along. Pens are still important at this stage, as I like to fiddle with one when I’m working on particularly difficult lines.

Q) Any other details you would like to share about your special room.

A) My space usually has a giant Wacom Cintiq sitting next to my monitor. It’s currently in its box because I discovered that I *like* having writing space next to my computer.

Thanks to Tracy for sharing her Room with us. Want to share your Room? Email me at annabbps AT gmail.com with a photo and answer the above questions.

Keep an eye on this space for more writers/artists and their inspirational spaces!

See the spaces of other creatives in “A Room of My Own”!

* Steven Watson

* Daniel Swensen

* Angela Goff

* Angie Richmond

* Ruth Long

* Lillie McFerrin 

Five Sentence Fiction Entry: Jeff Tsuruoka

This flash fiction entry is by Jeff Tsuruoka for Five Sentence Fiction, which is hosted over at the blog of the lovely Lillie McFerrin. The theme this week is Faeries, which is a rather favorite topic of mine.

Brother’s Keeper
Rogen slipped out of his shirt to reveal an intricate tattoo which glowed bright red in the candlelight. 

Daragh stood in the doorway and did not watch as Cait laid her lovely hands on Rogen’s chest and then disappeared into his body in a wisp of bright red smoke.

“Do not be sad, dear brother,” sneered Rogen, “for she was lost to you the moment she set eyes upon me.”


Daragh walked out of the house without a word and did not look back when his brother began to scream.


He found a comfortable-looking stump and sat down to wait for Cait to return to him from his dead brother’s house.

Book Review: Lies, Knives, And Girls in Red Dresses

There’s a dark, twisted underbelly to fairytales that modern parents generally do not acknowledge.

Early fairytales were often moralizing, cautionary tales with very real messages: do not walk into the woods alone, do not always trust the honeyed words of strangers, not every fair face is your friend.

In the original tale, the Little Mermaid feels like she is walking on swords when she uses her legs and dies in the end of a broken heart, returning to the sea as foam.

Edmund Dulac

 Our contemporary, sanitized and Disneyfied stories are pastel-colored and always have a happy ending. While there are dark moments (notably Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty terrorized me), we are comforted and secure in the knowledge that our protagonist will succeed in their quest, often accompanied by crooning crabs.

Failure, ruin and despair don’t have much play in modern fairytales, except in books like Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge (illustrations by Andrea Deszo).

Koertge makes no bones about his dark retellings; he writes on the first page:

“Do you want to sleep? Find another storyteller. Do you want to think about the world in a new way?

Come closer. Closer, please. I want to whisper in your ear.”

Even the cover promises dark dreams: a lascivious red tongued wolf threatening to gobble a girl in a red dress.

These are true retellings. Do not look here for many happy endings. At best, his characters end up with their expected version of happiness, which isn’t so permanent after all. At worst, maiming, suffering and beautiful death.

If you enjoy the original Grimm Brothers stories, if you like your tales with a razor’s edge, Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses will be your cup of tea. The finely designed laser-cut illustrations from Andrea Deszo give the look of old-world woodcuts, adding a perfect punctuation to the dark-rimmed stories.

Here are twenty reimagined tales, written in free verse ranging from poetic prose to rhymed couplets. It reads like stories rather than poetry, though, and is quite easy to slide into.

My favorite is a series of five stories on Rapunzel, from the point of view of the mother, the father, the witch, the prince and Rapunzel. It will make you rethink Happily-Ever-After.



Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses is available for pre-order on Amazon. It releases July 10, 2012.

Thanks to Candlewick Press and Raquel Matos for the advance copy to review.

A Room of My Own: Steven Watson

 
Today we are featuring flash fiction writer and general good guy, Steven Watson (@ashviper on Twitter). Steven was actually one of the winners of the Fairy Ring Contest. He has a blog called Stuck In My Own Mind – be sure to check it out!

Q: Please describe your space, describing any features that make it extra special to you.
A: Extra geeky with all the books, comics, statues, figures, autographs, art, etc. Most of the stuff that makes me, well me. One day I hope to have an actually office where I can fix it to display stuff of the sort instead of all grouped together in one place.

Q: What is your favorite/most inspiring object in this room?

A: Everything is inspiring in its own way, but the most important thing to me here is the shelf which you can’t see the contents of in the picture. Within is a notebook (one you get your senior year in high school that I never actually filled out) filled with cards, notes, pictures, etc. All stuff I’ve accumulated from I believe as far back as my freshman year in high school.

If it/someone is of some importance to me or made an impact in my life there is a chance there is something about them there. And greeting cards, not many, just the ones that mean something. Back up disks of writings, pictures, etc. And several notes given to me over the years and any little item of importance to me and my past. One day I may take and actually scrapbook all the stuff together.

Q: What rituals do you go thru when you want to write in this space?

A: Music. It motivates me and I’ve found with my head phones on I’m able to block out any distractions when I go to write (well, except facebook/twitter, they still get in).

Q: Any other details you would like to share about your special room.

A: Nothing really special about it. It’s just me.:)

Thanks to Steven for sharing his Room with us. Want to share your Room? Email me at annabbps AT gmail.com with a photo and answer the above questions.

Keep an eye on this space for more writers/artists and their inspirational spaces!

See the spaces of other creatives in “A Room of My Own”!

* Daniel Swensen

* Angela Goff

* Angie Richmond

* Ruth Long

* Lillie McFerrin