Sure, I also read Laura Ingalls Wilder and Gone with the Wind, but those were my public books. Fairy tales were my secret, guilty indulgence.
I loved fairy tales and the world they created. What could be more awesome than a cannibalistic witch, a beautiful heir cheated of her fortune, or a murderous second wife? According to most kids my age, ANYTHING would be more awesome, but to me those fairy tales were captivating stories that just didn’t exist in books based in reality. I think it was those fairy tales that first inspired me to become a writer, I wanted to create magical stories where true love could change everything.
The last time I curled up in a chair with those stories, I was on the verge of turning eleven. I can remember the way the pages felt under my fingers, slick and familiar, and the way the first letter of every story hid in a sea of ivy and flowers.
It was summer and I had my first serious crush on a boy. For the first time I pictured myself as one of the beautiful princesses and this boy as the ever perfect Prince Charming.
It was perfect.
Years later, I was packing my things to move out. I came across that faded and tattered book. I flipped through
the pages, remembering the dreamy kid that I used to be, and then threw it in the donation pile.
You see, I was an adult by then, or at least I thought I was. By that time I knew that happily ever after rarely happened and if by chance Cinderella did end up with her prince, it was only a matter of time before he was screwing around with Snow White.
That mindset tainted my life and thinking up until my daughter was born. By reading to her, I rediscovered fairy tales and through her eyes began to see the world as full of possibilities. Once again I was lost in the stories of possessed puppets, a gang of runaways living together in the forest, and yes, even true love’s kiss waking a
princess from death.
Now there is nothing shameful about fairy tales. At eight years old, she will still crawl up next to me for a story. There is no need to hide. Fairy tales are the hot new thing.
I guess I should be thankful for that. Because fairy tales and fantasy are enjoying a comeback, my novel Spiritus had some success when it was released and it’s sequel Haunted might do just as well, but what I’m most thankful for is that the new popularity of this genre has brought a whole new audience to the stories I loved as a child.
While my daughter and I were watching Once Upon a Time last night, I looked over and saw that dreamy look on her face. She was lost in the romance of Snow White and Prince Charming, on the edge of her seat wanting them to kiss so that everything would be okay. I recognized that look; it was that same look that I’m sure I had all of
those years ago.