Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Guest Post: Why Do We Speak in Fairy Tales?

Today I am turning the blog over to the fabulous Danyelle Leafty, author of The Fairy Godmother Dilemma.

Sixteen-year-old Breena never thought anything could be worse than being forced to leave the faerie realm. Then she got stuck with a fairy godmother. But if she has to choose between the two, she’d leave the Faerie Realm over getting bossed about by a faerie with a pointed stick any day. Unfortunately, her attempt to evade her fairy godmother gives her growing pains in the form of fur, whiskers, and a tail.
Turning into a cat is the least of her worries, though. The potion wasn’t meant to bring out her inner feline, it was meant to put her to sleep. Forever. If Breena wants to make it to her Happily Ever After, she’ll have to accept that sometimes a fairy godmother really does come in handy, after all.

Sounds great, huh? Take it away Danyelle!


Why Do We Speak In Fairy Tales?

All it takes is four little words—once upon a time—and readers are immediately transported to a place where magic really does exist. Where there are dragons to be defeated, maidens to rescue, princes to enchant, and where good always triumphs because they all live happily ever after.

Fairy tales have been told for hundreds—and I’m guessing thousands—of years. Even in our modern times full of high tech gadgets and fast paced lifestyles, fairy tales are just as popular as ever.


There are a lot of theories, and this is mine. We tell fairy tales as a way of sharing the very things that make us human so we don’t drown under the weight of humanity. We also share them to remind us to hope, because sometimes the world can be a very bleak, dark place. Fairy tales remind us of the sun and give us the promise of hope. Fairy tales also remind us of the wonder we had as children when the world was a brand new place, bursting with possibilities.

G.K. Chesterton said it best, “Fairy tales do not give a child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.” And “Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."

Children, probably more than most, know that dragons exist on a very personal level. Some dragons are small, annoying things that gnaw on your ankles. While others are giant, fire breathing behemoths that devour their souls. In our world, sometimes the only power a child can have comes through stories.

And adults are not immune from dragons. Some dragons rage without, while others gobble us up from the insides. Stories, fairy tales, empower us—if only into realizing that we have a choice to act or not act. To offer mercy or to withhold forgiveness. To help another or lead them to an iron cage. Fairy tales remind us that not only can we choose our response, but there are consequences for our actions. Things are a little less black and white in real life, but the same concepts apply. How we choose to act creates ripples that affect those around us. Nothing we do is without consequence.

An excellent article that discusses the relevance of fairy tales today was published in the NY Times. Practicing Medicine Can Be Grimm Work is an excellent read. Fairy tales explore the darkest and brightest aspects of human nature—something we all share.

Fairy tales also remind us what it was like when we saw the world for the first time.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Chesterton again, "Fairy tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water."

Do you remember how fascinating everything was when you were little? How a sunrise could hold you breathless, and discovering new animals and plants delighted you?

Sometimes, in the path that leads to growing up, we forget that we are surrounded by daily miracles. Granted, they’re small as a child’s laugh or the first bloom of spring, but things don’t have to be flashing and big to be miraculous. In a world with a short attention span, where the weight of the world hangs heavy on your shoulders, and there’s never enough time to do it all, it’s good to be reminded that we are drowning in wonders. If only we have the eyes to see.

And fairy tales, as well as other stories, serve as excellent bifocals.

What about you? Do you speak in fairy tales?

(Leave a comment on this post for your chance to win a free e-book subscription to The Fairy Godmother Dilemma!)

Danyelle Leafty writes MG and YA fantasy. In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She can be found discussing the art of turning one's characters into various animals, painting with words, and the best ways to avoid getting eaten by dragons on her blog. Her serial novel THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA can be found here. You can contact her here.

Don't miss the rest of the stops on the tour:


Amie Borst said...

i definitely speak in fairy tale!!

i'm so excited about your blog tour, danyelle!

all the best to you!

tiffany said...

aww tahnk you yes i do speack in fairy tale im a HUGE SUCKER for fairy tales they are the best

Stephsco said...

Some great quotes. I like some of the modern retelling of fairy tales coming out, and in general, spins on fairy tales. Best wishes with your book!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! For as long as I can remember, fairy tales have opened my eyes to the real world.

I love modern retellings of these stories, partly because it delights me to see the characters brought to startling life, with real feelings and real voice. Your story is another one that's doing this very well.

skie said...

The hard thing is when people try to squash us as we support our kids in finding their own magic within! We all have it, it's just a matter of finding it.

Krispy said...

Exactly. I couldn't have said it better. <3 Fairy tales.

Larry and Cindy said...

I love fairy tales, they help you escape the real world for a time and that is fun!!!

ali said...

Wow, I hadn't ever really thought about it before, but this makes perfect sense!

Angie said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Danyelle is pretty fantastic, isn't she? =)

Nisa said...

I understand Fairy Tale loud and clear! Ah, I just love them. Excellent thoughts!

Rochelle said...

I practically live in fairy tales. Since the first Grimm fairy tale I read, I've devoured every original and retelling of these marvelous stories that I can get my hands on.
Slight obsession? Maybe. :)

Danyelle said...

Hi Angie! Thanks so much for hosting me! I really appreciate it! And thanks for all the kind comments. :D Yay for so many lovers of fairy tales!

Thanks, Amie! I have some amazing hostesses. :D

And thanks, Marlene! I'm glad you're enjoying the story. :D

Taffy said...

Loved this post! Speaking in fairy it!

Angie said...

I know! Terrific post, isn't it? =)

K.M. Weiland said...

Very enjoyable post. Love that Chesterton quote. Fairy tales, in so many ways, are an allegory of real life. Just as much as they're about fantasy, they're also about reality.

Maeve Frazier said...

Terrific post! I loved reading it. Thanks for sharing Danyelle with all of us.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wonderful post! I love fairy tales and I love how Danyelle writes about dragons within and without. Fairy tales are wonderful way to take real world problems into a fantasy setting, and shed light and hope back into reality.

Jackee said...

<3 Dany! And her book sounds wonderful. She has a way with describing why fairy tales are of such cultural importance. Love that!

Thanks for sharing Dany with us, Angie! I almost missed the tour I've been gone so long!

Angie said...

I am more than happy to share Danyelle with all of you. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you'll check out The Fairy Godmother Dilemma too!

Christina Farley said...

I really think that fairy tales are my favorite types of stories. They are so timeless and of course, magical!