Thursday, August 31, 2017

PSA: Our Fairy Tale Newsroom's 2017 Summer Operating Schedule

Just a brief notice to let our regulars know that our Fairy Tale Newsroom will be open but not running at full capacity for the next little while.

Never fear: we will still post regularly during the week -as we can manage- from various locations.

We will resume our mostly-daily-or-more postings as soon as we all return to the OUABlog Headquarters, and our Fairy Tale News Hound is back in the office fulltime, for the per diem routine of news sourcing, sorting, researching and reporting (which we expect to coincide with the new school year/next semester commencement in late August... -ish).

Please note: Answering mail, however, is likely to be more delayed than usual.

Monday, August 21, 2017

To-tal Eclipse of the Sun! (♪ ♫ Da-Doo ♪ ♫)

We had to pop back to the newsroom to comment on the inciting/climactic event of many fanciful stories, which is happening TODAY (August 21st, 2017), that is, the once in 100-ish year event (in North America) in which there is a ♪ ♫ To-tal Eclipse of the Sun! ♪ ♫
Solar eclipses... remind us, in a striking, purely visual way we can't ignore, that even something as basic as the sun shining in the middle of the day can get ... tweaked. 
It's unsettling. 
Films are a visual medium, and several Hollywood movies have employed solar eclipses as a kind of shorthand to signal to audiences that the normal rules have temporarily lifted, and things are about to get weird. (NPR
A notable fairy tale appearance would be the total solar eclipse in the underrated fairy tale 'Ladyhawke'. (Just put up with the 80's soundtrack. The story is totally worth it and we're not the only ones who think so. Want a fairy tale rundown on why this movie should rank high in your fairy tale movies list and could even be considered revisionist? Take a look at this awesome article, Is Ladyhawke the Best Fairy Tale of Them All? by Leah Schnelbach over on
The other two main fantasy stories are:

'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court' (in which the 'Yankee', having a knowledge of the future, thanks to his fortuitously-handy, modern almanac, threatens to blot out the sun in Camelot, unless they release him, which they hurriedly do when the eclipse makes itself apparent...)

... and, of course, the odd appearance of the legendary Audrey II during a ♪ ♫ To-tal Eclipse of the Sun! ♪ ♫ ('Little Shop of Horrors'), which changed Seymour's (and Audrey's) life, and, in the director's alternate version, the lives of a whole city's worth of people, and more.

Also of note, since eclipses are all the rage today, is the possibility of a Lunar one being referred to in the Grimm's 'The Hare and the Hedgehog'. (See the paper proposing the idea HERE.) It is, perhaps, a little bit of a stretch (at least from our perspective) but an entertaining theory, nonetheless (and a good reason to take another look at a lesser known fairy tale).

Interestingly, while we find tales including an eclipse preclude the breakings of curses, and turns of fortunes to the better, as well as rare (and often supernatural) opportunities, folklore generally sees them as foreboding, with common mentions of dragons and giant beings (wolves, jaguars etc) swallowing the sun or being released to do their worst on the earth. (See the Smithsonian folklore roundup on eclipses HERE.)
And there's more interesting eclipse folklore HERE via

Those of fae circles and magik disciplines however, encourage the approach that an eclipse is more about a portal - an opportunity to bring about change and new beginnings (see NPR's roundup on those HERE).

And then there's the animal reaction, which is wonderful fodder for tales old and new. Check out this really cool simulation courtesy of CNN:
Whichever approach you take, it's a dramatic opportunity for 'something', especially when it comes to tales.

However you mark this event, take care of your precious eyesight and practice safe viewing! Happy Total Solar Eclipse 2017 folks!

NOTE: It is suggested that you keep your cats and dogs (all pets actually, chickens included) indoors so they won't damage their eyes or go blind during the eclipse as well. Stay safe and bright eyed everyone!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Only One Week Until...

Timeless Tales Rumpelstiltskin Submissions

...Timeless Tales Magazine will open for Rumpelstiltskin submissions! On August 18, they will begin accepting retellings of this classic trickster tale. Short stories or poetry welcome. Pay is a flat rate of $20 per piece. Writers should read the Timeless Tales Submissions page for full details. 

Some musings from from TT's editor, Tahlia: 

Ah, here we are again, gearing up for another issue. What's funny is that we received an astonishing number of poems for our King Arthur issue, but something tells me that a dude with a funny name might not inspire quite as many sonnets as romance and chivalry (SO MANY longing glances and melancholy sighs!). Personally, I believe there's a great deal of potential in the straw-into-gold imagery as a metaphor. We shall see what people come up with. 

If you need inspiration, one of my favorite authors, Vivian Vande Velde, wrote a hilarious book called The Rumpelstiltskin Problem that is devoted solely to picking apart this tale's many plot holes (Why the heck would someone who actually could spin straw into gold do so in exchange for some small pieces of jewelry???). It's a short book and you can probably whiz through it in an evening. 

Most Recent Cover
The cover on my copy of the book

Looking forward to reading everything that gets sent my way. Ready, set, WRITE!

Timeless Tales Magazine