When Katherine Langrish announced several days ago that Fairytale Reflections would be returning, I was quite thrilled. And then she announced it was returning with a contribution from Terri Windling, well, I was even happier if that was possible.
Fairytale Reflections (22) Terri Windling is now up and ready for your reading and fairy tale fulfillment. As always Katherine shares a wonderful introduction followed by Terri's personal essay about the impact of fairy tales in her own life. Terri has long been a champion for fairy tales and has led the way into making it a regular fantasy subgenre. The fairy tale series she edited as well as her fairy tale anthology series coedited with Ellen Datlow fed my hungering soul before Harry Potter and Twilight made fantasy bestselling and "normal."
Here are the first few paragraphs and then you can simply click through and read the rest.
I've been asked to reflect on fairy tales – which, as it happens, is something that I've been doing my entire professional life: thirty years of championing re-told fairy tales as a literary art form. I've reflected so long, and written so much, on the fairy tales that have meant the most to me that my difficulty now is in finding a new approach, a new pathway into this old, old territory. And so I'm going to start by telling you a story. It begins, of course, Once Upon a Time.
Once upon a time there was a girl who was forced to flee her childhood home. Why? Let’s never mind that now. Perhaps her parents were too poor to keep her. Perhaps her mother was an ogre or a witch. Perhaps her father had promised her to a troll, a tyrant, or a beast. She left home with the clothes on her back, and soon she was tired, hungry, and cold. As night fell, she took shelter in a desolate graveyard thick with nettles and briars. Beyond the graves was a humpbacked hill and in the side of the hill was a door. The girl walked towards the door and saw a golden key standing in its lock. She turned the key, opened the door, and crossed over the threshold….
I can still remember that moonlit night, but I don’t remember how old I was -- only that I was past the age when a girl should still believe in magic. Cold and quietly miserable in a childhood that seemed never-ending, I sat hunkered down in the grass among the gravestones of my grandfather’s church, trying to conjure a portal to a magic realm by sheer force of will. Like many children, I longed to discover a door to Faerie, a road to Oz, a wardrobe leading to Narnia, and I wanted to believe that if I wished with all my strength and all my will then surely a door would open for me. Surely they would let me in.