Yearning for a Fairy Tale

I grew up with fairy tales. Who doesn’t like a fairy tale? A good one usually (but not necessarily) contains within it a multitude of worlds: horror and history, romance and mystery. Even if you are not a fan of one particular genre, you can always find something to like in any given fairy tale.

Originally, fairy tales were not written for children, but rather for adults, and were rather gruesome at times, including torture and violent deaths. These tales were told around the home, around the fire and hearth — they entertained, they taught lessons, they passed on traditions and gave hope.

I have been toying with writing a fairy tale that takes place in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Not exactly the fun and light-hearted world of Walt Disney, is it? I have actually been told that the Holocaust is no place for fairy tales. Why the hell not? I overheard a fellow Jew say in a movie discussion that it had to be a non-Jew who came up with the alternate history of killing Hitler in Inglourious Basterds. What is wrong with us Jews, that we cannot even kill that monster in our imagination?!

I am not going there in my story — I am not killing Hitler. My fairy tale is on a much smaller scale. I am going to include some magic and spells. I just want to write a different sort of a fairy tale, perhaps something dark and dangerous, but still with hope. I have not worked out the details yet. I have been ruminating on it, and, even occasionally, putting pen to paper, but never completing much of anything. And then, came blogging.

Understand me — I am not blaming blogging for my lack of writing production. If anything, blogging is keeping me accountable for writing more. But what it is also doing is weirdly taking away something. My desire for fiction writing has been subdued. Or replaced. Now I am much more concerned with writing non-fiction, more about my family, my interests, stuff like that. But as for writing fiction, I feel less motivated and much less productive than I was before I started thinking about blogging. I find myself struggling for motivation to write fiction because I have become immersed in a world of the blog. I want to write my twice-a-week blog, I want to write the best stories I can, I want to do justice for my readers as well as myself.

Another problem with staying focused on just one story is that I enjoy all sorts of writing. Writing in long hand, I love even watching the miraculous way the ink comes out of the pen and leaves its trail on paper. At times, my nose gets so close to the paper, I can smell the ink and I love that smell! I love the sound the pen makes when it scratches the paper, I love the sounds the keys make when the fingers tap away on the keyboard. There isn’t an aspect to writing I don’t love — I even enjoy the actual work, the editing, even the criticism, going over the same paragraph and sentence again and again, finding a better phrase, a more correct word, or just deleting it and starting afresh, anew; seeing and appreciating the difference. Oh, it’s like watching a jewel being sculpted from a rough stone, until it is faceted, until it is polished, until it shines.

This work, writing, is the reward in itself. To get paid for writing (someday) is just frosting on top of frosting (I’m only saying that because I assume you love frosting as much as I do).

But wait. The fairy tale beckons me. It disturbs me. It worries me, not like a sore tooth, but like a grain of sand inside of an oyster. I was thinking about it one way, but then, in describing the basic plot to one of my closest friends (my sister-in-law) mentioned the key characters in another way. So, I began thinking about it completely differently. What if … what if …

What if, after I complete this fairy tale, I write it in this blog, in one sitting, if it’s small enough, or two parts if it runs longer? My audience isn’t very large, but at least I could release it into the wild, give birth to it and see if it has legs enough to stand on its own. If is any good, I’ll see if I could get it published elsewhere. If not, at least I’ll know it sooner rather than later. It’s decided! Wish me luck.