Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day #74 & #75: Do fairy tales exist?...Sort of

"A Sorta Fairytale"
By: Tori Amos

on my way up north
up on the ventura
I pulled back the hood
and I was talking to you
and I knew then it would be
a life long thing
but I didn't know that we
we could break a silver lining

and I'm so sad
like a good book
i can't put this day back
a sorta fairytale
with you
a sorta fairytale
with you

things you said that day
up on the 101
the girl had come undone
I tried to downplay it
with a bet about us
you said that-
you'd take it
as long as I could
I could not erase it

and I'm so sad
like a good book
I can't put this day back
a sorta fairytale
with you
a sorta fairytale
with you

and I ride along side
and I rode along side
you then
and I rode along side
till you lost me there
in the open road
and I rode along side
till the honey spread
itself so thin
for me to break your bread
for me to take your word
I had to steal it

and I'm so sad
like a good book
I can't put this day back
a sorta fairytale
with you
a sorta fairytale
with you

I could pick back up
whenever I feel

down New Mexico way
something about
the open road
I knew that he was
looking for some indian blood and
find a little in you find a little
in me we may be
on this road but
we're just
in this country you know
so we go along and we said
we'd fake it
feel better with
Oliver Stone
till I
almost smacked him -
seemed right that night and
I don't know what
takes hold
out there in the
desert cold
these guys think they must
try and just get over on us

and I'm so sad
like a good book
I can't put this
day back
a sorta fairytale
with you
a sorta fairytale
with you

and I was ridin' by
ridin' along side
for a while till you lost me
and I was ridin' by
ridin' along till you lost me
till you lost
me in
the rear
you lost me
I said

way up north I took my day
all in all was a pretty nice
day and I put the hood
right back where
you could taste heaven
feel out the summer breeze
didn't know when we'd be back
and I, I don't
didn't think
we'd end up like
like this

I was listening to Tori Amos' song today, "A Sorta Fairy Tale" (one of my absolute favorites) and it got me thinking about the idea of fairy tales. I remember as a little girl watching Cinderella and dreaming of becoming the princess with the beautiful ballgown, matching glass slippers, and a handsome prince to round out the package. But do fairy tales really exist? And if they exist, what exactly is a fairy tale?

A fairy tale is the English equivalent of a type of short narrative corresponding to the French phrase conte de fée, the German term Märchen, the Italian fiaba, the Polish baśń and the Swedish saga. From a recent class I found online from the University of Georgia, fairy tales are fictional stories that are not believed to be true, hence fictional, occur in generic timeless setting, with one dimensional characters who are even really good or really bad. My favorite definition, however, comes from the Oxford dictionary:
*a children's story about magical and imaginary beings and lands
*[as modifier] denoting something regarded as resembling a fairy story in being magical, idealized, or extremely happy:a fairy-tale romance
* a fabricated story, especially one intended to deceive

Well, I don't know about you, but I kind of feel deceived. You mean to tell me that my fanciful days of reading the Brothers Grimm, longingly searching for my prince and my dreadfully drafty castle do not exist? Hmmm...interesting, very interesting. OK, so maybe a fairy tale is not to be taken literally. Maybe they function to inspire us, enlighten us, and provide a little bit of a hope in an oft bleak world. I like what Albert Einstein said, "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."

So life isn't all rainbows and butterflies, and beautiful princesses and princes and fairy godmothers. It's so much more complex and so much more three dimensional than that. Life is as complex as the molecular make up of a cell's wall. Intricately linked together, allowing the good, the bad, and the sometimes really ugly to pass in and out. So then what do we do with all of these "fictitious" stories that have flowered our childhoods and created unrealistic expectations for a perfect adult world? Hans Christian Anderson once wrote, "Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale of all."

So maybe we need to rethink the definition. Perhaps we create our own fairy tale, and like the ever fixed artist, the definition of fairy tale remains one of our own making. A white picked fence with 2.2 kids and a dog may be someones fairy tale, while the designer pent house in New York City with the driver and "purse" dog is another person's ideal. Whatever it may be, the "inspirational" stories of our youth are stories that remain a guide. Then we grow up and realize that all of the complexities and matrices of life really make it all worth living and create our very own fairy tale. Bruno Bettelheim wrote in "The Uses of Enchantment," "For those who immerse themselves in what the fairy tale has to communicate, it becomes a deep, quiet pool which at first seems to reflect only our own image; but behind it we soon discover the inner turmoils of our soul - its depth, and ways to gain peace within ourselves and with the world, which is the reward of our struggles."

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