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Photo-reflections from Thailand

This week, Enchanted Conversation Magazine would like to thank, Kiyomi Appleton Gaines, for sharing her photos and thoughts from her recent trip to Thailand. We hope Kiyomi’s art and words can serve as story-inspiration for our readers.The old city is in ruins, falling down, overgrown with trees and plants. The forest is taking it back. Yet still…

via Story Inspiration – Photo Reflections from Thailand by Kiyomi Appleton Gaines — Enchanted Conversation Magazine: Folklore, Fairy Tales & Myths

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Blog · book club · Reading

Happy Women’s Day!

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Photo: Daria Głodowska

March is Women’s History Month, and today is International Women’s Day. This month we will #readmorewomen!

Right now, I’m alternating between Julie Dao’s darkly sparkling fairy tale Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, and Martha Hall Kelly’s The Lilac Girls, inspired by true stories of the horrors of Ravensbruck. Both are tales of strong women learning and navigating that strength, and finding their way in a world that seeks to overpower them.

If you’re looking for a shorter read, these are some of my favorite short stories that I’ve discovered in the last few months, all by women!
You can find more great reads at Enchanted Conversation!
Happy reading!
Kiyomi
I have a newsletter now! If you enjoy my stories, if you want to support my writing, please sign up. If you subscribe to my Tiny Letter, you’ll stay with me, wherever I end up writing in the future, and I’ll send you previews of what’s coming up here.
Reading · Writing

Happy Tell a Fairy Tale Day!

Cinderella

Happy Tell a Fairy Tale Day? While the origins of this holiday are not very clear, any reason to reconnect with our favorite stories and share them with others, is good in my book!

Today is also my birthday! In honor of both, I’m asking you to share one of my stories with one other person.

Find a complete list of my published stories on the blog here. But if you’re not sure where to begin, I’ve got some suggestions for you!

Like the tale of The Pied Piper? Read Hamelintown.

Here’s Snow Fell, my version of Snow White.

In more of an Anderson than a Grimm mood?

Check out my tale inspired by The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Frankenstein, John Soldier; or if you’re more in a listening than reading mood, you can play the audio version here.

Or my take on The Emperor’s New Clothes, Re-covered.

For stories from the perspective of the princess try:

How He Found a Wife, which tells the story of Godfather Death,

Or Moon Rising, a new story of Aladdin.

For a thoroughly American tale, read my take on The Prince and the Pauper, The Complications of Rule.

The Tale of Anchin comes from Japanese fairy tales, and Like a Preyer was inspired by the Mr. Fox story.

Check here for other ways to celebrate!

And be sure to check out Enchanted Conversation for many more stories, interesting articles, and to watch for my forthcoming tale, Travelers’ Sickness, inspired by the Thai myth of the krasue.

Thanks for reading!

Kiyomi

 

I have a newsletter now! If you enjoy my stories, if you want to support my writing, please sign up. If you subscribe to my Tiny Letter, you’ll stay with me, wherever I end up writing in the future, and I’ll send you previews of what’s coming up here.

Writing

How to Save a Village — Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine

“She will give you what you ask for,” they warn each other, “exactly what you ask for.””If you’re a very good girl,” Mother said, “they won’t get you.”Yet she taught me things day to day. How to grow living things, plants and insects, and how to harvest them. The ways to read a person’s face, and flesh, to…

via Story: How to Save a Village by Kiyomi Appleton Gaines — Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine

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I have a newsletter now! If you enjoy my stories, if you want to support my writing, please sign up. If you subscribe to my Tiny Letter, you’ll stay with me, wherever I end up writing in the future, and I’ll send you previews of what’s coming up here.

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Cassandra of Troy and Women’s Voices

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Cassandra by John Maler Collier

Cassandra was a princess of Troy whom the god Apollo fell in lust with. Being a nice guy, he gave her the gift of prophecy, and being a nice guy, felt he was entitled to her body. He wasn’t a drunk like Bacchus, after all; wasn’t a jerk like Zeus or a freak like Hades or a lech like Pan. He was a nice guy. Why wouldn’t she want to be with him? What was wrong with her that she didn’t want to be with him? She must be shallow, or stupid, or stuck up. When she wouldn’t have sex with him, he amended his un-requested gift so that she would never be believed, and was instead seen as a liar and crazy. She owed him, after all. She deserved what she got.

I didn’t change this story, that’s just how it goes, and it’s one that will ring true for so many women. We hear accounts every day of women being dismissed, disbelieved; accused of inventing fantasies for five minutes of fame at the expense of a “good” man; or of a colleague’s “crazy” ex. She wants attention, it’s said, or money; or she was stupid, should have known better. Always, whatever ill may befall her is somehow of her own earning.

Though the trappings may have changed, in some ways, so little has since the time of the ancients. For those of us who see equality as a fundamental truth, and fair treatment as paramount, reckoning with the world as-is can at times be incredibly disheartening.

Surely we are making strides though, and there’s cause for hope. The #MeToo movement rocked our nation in the best way; powerful men were called to task for their behavior in many fields, and women were heard and believed. #MeToo and the women it represented were Time Magazine’s 2017 People of the Year, and #TimesUp dominated the Golden Globe awards. Yes, we’re making strides, even amidst what can feel like huge steps backward; and even this tale points toward its own redemption.

If Apollo’s punishment for denying him access to her body is that Cassandra should never be believed, then his undoing is in simply believing her. Continuing to speak truth; listening to and believing women when they speak; making the space for that to happen, is a radical act of courage and strength. It’s a simple act of resistance against those forces that would silence women’s voices, deny equal and fair treatment, dehumanize; yet it is powerful.

Though not all fairy tales fall into the sphere of women’s tales and women’s instruction and women’s work, many of them do. We use the phrase “old wives’ tale” to dismiss an old story or a bit of folk wisdom as something foolish, untrue, unworthy. Yet even in the most oppressive circumstances mothers and grandmothers, and aunts and old wise women, have shared their foolish little stories with the daughters of the next generation.

This is how you survive, my dear; you keep on spinning these little tales, and it makes the labor easier, and it makes a way for truth to be told, even if they don’t listen outside. We know. We hear. We believe.

It’s tiring and it’s hard, so we can take it in turn, to speak and to listen, to support and promote female voices. To listen and believe, and not just accept that the clean-cut guy in the nice clothes and the nice car and the nice job is being so nice when he talks over a woman who disagrees with him to call her “crazy.”

This is why I try to – and am trying to get better at – privilege female voices, and especially women who represent minorities, or immigrants; to follow and buy and read and share and boost their stories. It’s a simple act, yet I believe it is powerful.

After all, in failing to heed Cassandra’s warning, her society precipitated its own destruction. May this madness of women, this anger, not be disheartening, but burn pure and bright, and light a beacon for others to come, too, to a place where they can tell their stories, and be heard.

 

So here is my exciting news promised last week!

Part one: you may see I’ve redecorated, and to the right (or below) there’s a little link that says “Tiny Letter.” I have a newsletter now! If you enjoy my stories, if you want to support my writing, please sign up. This can be part of your simple act of resistance!

You already get an email, you say? Well, the difference is, when you followed my blog by email before, your information went into WordPress, and they own the list of subscribers who follow my work here, not me. So if I move to a different platform or change domains, you stay with WordPress instead of coming with me. If you subscribe to my Tiny Letter, you’ll stay with me, wherever I end up writing in the future, and I’ll send you previews of what’s coming up here.

Part two: and this would definitely go in my Tiny Letter – I’m now a Contributing Editor at Enchanted Conversation! I love this publication and I’m so thrilled to be part of it on the production side now. Be on the lookout for more of my stories and articles there in the coming months! You can read my introduction here.

Writing

A Consideration of Fairy Tales in Context of Memento Mori

A new article I wrote for the Thanksgiving 2017 Special Edition of Enchanted Conversation, looking at fairy tales in light of memento mori in the early modern era.

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Art by Amanda Bergloff
 Memento mori were objects common in Medieval Europe, through the Victorian era, designed to remind one of death, and perhaps, relieve anxiety or guilt over good fortune, since many were luxury items. Although we now talk about stories being sweetened with bloodless conflict and happily-ever-afters, in the early-modern era virtue might be added to otherwise frivolous entertainment by invoking Death.

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Find my version of the Aarne-Thompson-Uther tale type 709 here.

Be sure to check out Beloved, too!  It’s a lovely flash fiction piece by Amanda Bergloff, with a character named after me! Read Here
Beloved by Amanda Bergloff

 

Blog · Writing

Three Tales in Celebration

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Photo: http://www.cgpgrey.com, via Wikimedia Commons

I’m so glad to say that Enchanted Conversation made its fundraising goal!  As I’ve said before, it’s a publication that I love, filled with all the magic of fairy tales, and offering short story writers a place to share our work! – which is a kind of fairy tale in itself! (Really! Remember to support your local, and not-local, artists!)

In celebration, I’m sharing the three stories I’ve had published there!  I hope you’ll read the other wonderful stories and poems in each theme as well.  It’s a real delight to see how different each tale, written after the same original, ends up!

 

John Soldier was inspired by The Steadfast Tin Soldier, which is a story I didn’t like in the least!  It’s a story where everybody dies, and not even a feel-good story where everybody dies like In Bruges.  I tried several different approaches to writing that one, it was a real challenge to get inside of and reimagine, and I’m happy with where it finally ended up.

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John Soldier

The following contains a personal record relating to experiments performed by an unnamed scientist believed to have been in the employ of the British army at the time of the Crimean War.  This journal was discovered among records of the 18– theater disaster in a private collection and was donated to the university library on condition of anonymity.  The other documents mentioned in this text have not been located.  Attempts made to discover the historic location of the Godwin or Goodwin Street Laboratory have thusfar been unsuccessful.

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I had an easier time with Re-Covered, built around the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.  It’s one I’ve thought a lot about, in terms of power and fashion, and that everything in a culture – in our society – only is because we all agree on it. I’ve often thought about what would happen if society changed its mind about what it agrees to see and to allow.

Re-Covered-GAINES-Art by Amanda Bergloff

Re-Covered

The king had stood naked and vulnerable before his people. The only person who acknowledged the exposure was a small child, and he was quickly hushed. There were rumors that to directly look upon a member of the noble family would render one a fool, or blind, or unfit for service; it would cause one’s deepest shame to be revealed, would cost one’s inheritance, or render one sterile and heirless. He exposed himself to them all.

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Most recently I’ve been so pleased to share How He Found a Wife, about Godfather Death, who has long been one of my favorite figures in story.  I wrote all about it here, so I won’t belabor the point.  Suffice it to say, I’m glad to be adding my own shades to the psychopomp, and he also appears in Snow Fell.

HowHeFound-GAINES-Amanda Bergloff

How He Found a Wife
There was heat and pain. There was nothing else. There had never been anything else.
The cool rag over her eyes, the drops of water spooned into her mouth were of Paradise. When it withdrew, she tried to call back that gift of mercy, but no sound came through the fires that baked her mortal coil.
Her vision was blurred, but she saw there, at the end of her bed, an old man, gaunt, gray-skinned, his eyes sunken so deep she could not see them, in a Benedictine robe. Last rites, she thought. She must be dying. She felt relief and sank into it.
I hope to have more to share with you soon!  I love to hear from people, so please feel free to share comments below.  And thank you for reading!
KAG
I have a newsletter now! If you enjoy my stories, if you want to support my writing, please sign up. If you subscribe to my Tiny Letter, you’ll stay with me, wherever I end up writing in the future, and I’ll send you previews of what’s coming up here.
Writing

How He Found a Wife

Two days, rather than two weeks.  I’m happy to present my newest work below!

HowHeFound-GAINES-Amanda Bergloff

Art by Amanda Bergloff

There was heat and pain. There was nothing else. There had never been anything else.
The cool rag over her eyes, the drops of water spooned into her mouth were of Paradise. When it withdrew, she tried to call back that gift of mercy, but no sound came through the fires that baked her mortal coil.
Her vision was blurred, but she saw there, at the end of her bed, an old man, gaunt, gray-skinned, his eyes sunken so deep she could not see them, in a Benedictine robe. Last rites, she thought. She must be dying. She felt relief and sank into it.

Read More

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New Story Coming Soon!

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Photo: Daja Gellerova

I’ll have a new story out for you at the end of this month in Enchanted Conversation! This is the Godfather Death issue, and I can’t wait to read the new stories!

Read the original story here.

Watch for How He Found A Wife in just a few weeks!

 

I have a newsletter now! If you enjoy my stories, if you want to support my writing, please sign up. If you subscribe to my Tiny Letter, you’ll stay with me, wherever I end up writing in the future, and I’ll send you previews of what’s coming up here.

Blog · Reading

Keep Enchanted Conversation Going

As you know, I love Enchanted Conversation!

This publication is full of wonderful stories and poems – twists on all your old familiar favorites that surprise and delight! EC also provides a place for new, and not so new, writers to share their work and be paid for it, which many publications are not able to do.

My first published piece appeared on its pages back in March, and when the second one appeared in August, it gave me the encouragement I needed to launch my blog and pursue my writing with greater focus! Now they are trying to expand the number of such opportunities they can offer with each issue, and increase the amount their writers are paid.

If you have enjoyed my stories, or the others published there, and if you can, I hope you’ll consider supporting them, and continue putting magic into the world, which desperately needs it right now!

KAG

 

Hi All:The campaign to raise funds to keep EC going has officially started! Amanda Bergloff (contributing editor and art director) and I have worked hard to make this campaign as easy and rewarding as we possibly can, so we hope you’ll donate. The fundraiser is open until October 24.The donations are one-time, and they start…

via EC Fundrazr Campaign Kicks Off! Please Donate! — Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine