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Posts Tagged ‘Grimm’

It breaks my heart sometimes that fairy tales aren’t taught as frequently in schools anymore. These amazing stories survived oral storytelling to eventually be culled and catalogued within so many countries, each putting their own spin on them. It seems though that here in America, we have no time for them unless they have been Disneyfied. There’s nothing overtly wrong with the Disney versions, but children, even adult children in college, don’t always realize that the stories are much older than the Ears would have you think. They didn’t make them up, and they usually change them to suit their needs, image, and marketing goals. What could be more American than that?

Without learning the old versions of the fairy tales, children miss out on learning about story telling, classic characters, and in some cases, a good fright. But I digress.

I did grow up reading fairy tales. I’ve read them to my sons, and not the watered down versions. I read the Zipes translations to my boys. I’ve taught the Zipes versions in one of the courses I taught for several years. I love fairy tales, particularly the Grimm versions. And as I have been trying to work through some pretty heavy shit in my life, I finally happened upon something that is helping me start to sort it all out. It is based in the archetypes and symbolism that run rampant in fairy tales, and while I’m no Bettelheim, it’s working for me.

HanselandGretel

Imagine if you will Hansel and Gretel. They are brought into the forest by their father and mother. They are poor, and the mother’s plan is to abandon the children in the forest. Not nice, I know. But we’re moving past that to another point in the story. The first try, the children outwit their mother and drop pebbles so they can find their way home in the moonlight. But the second time they drop breadcrumbs which get eaten by sweet woodland critters. No way to get home. Wander, wander, wander until a house made of candy, gingerbread, and delectable delights. The little old lady seems harmless enough. Plus, she wants to feed poor Hansel and Gretel and help them in their time of need.

Now imagine that H&G get trapped in the moment of being helped for years, decades. They know only the reality of what is told to them by the old lady, who is really a witch (and who some scholars theorize is also the mother). They completely buy into what she says because they know no “other”. It seems pretty cool, good food, light chores, she’s occasionally crabby, but still lots of sugar. They see snapshots of her in her true form, a witch, over the years, but they aren’t completely sure. They are also wrapped up in their own lives, as children tend to be. But she’s generally kind so they trust what she says to be truth.

Well, Hansel gets out. Not in the best way, but still he’s out. Over the years, he returns for a visit or two, but now the old lady/witch knows he knows “other” stuff, “other” truths. In her head, he can’t be trusted. He might tell Gretel that the old lady’s true plan is to eventually cook and eat Gretel. A plan that he escaped.

Now imagine decades later, Gretel escapes. She starts learning “other” stuff, “other” truths. Imagine the shock, imagine discovering that the old lady/witch was feeding her lies along with the candy for all those many years. Imagine her reconnecting with her brother, her family, and discovering the “other” life she could have had. How long would it take each of them to resolve all this new information? How long would it take to quell the “what if” questions and move forward from bitterness, anger, and regret for what could have been?

Hansel and Gretel would have two completely distinct realities that they had lived in. The one reality, the one of the old lady/witch, would be a false reality within the true reality. The strength of which was only ever as strong as the gingerbread house. Once they got out of there, the false reality starts to crumble, disintegrate. But so much damage was already done. Their sense of being and sense of value would be totally skewed. It would shape their perspectives for the rest of their lives. Each would have to work very hard to remember that not everyone is like the old lady. They can trust, they can love. They can celebrate their successes, learn from their mistakes, and lean on the rest of their family for support. Family who never gave up hope, always prayed to see them again, and always held love in their hearts for Hansel and Gretel.

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Life Moves Pretty Fast

so I’m stopping to look around.  Where is the year going?  It’s August.  Younger son is now eight years old.  Older son turns ten in a couple of weeks.  There are commercials worrying about gluten in pet food…really?  I get that gluten may be an issue for humans, but every dog I’ve ever owned has thought that cat poop was candy and I need to worry about gluten in the kibble?

The summer is definitely over at work.  Regular hours are back and the students will be back for the fall semester in about two weeks.  I really need to finish my syllabus.  This year’s theme for my class is Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  It’s going to be fun-if not for the students, at least for me.   These tales are not for the weak at heart.  Sex, violence, incest, anti-Semitism, and lots of gore.  As I’ve been exploring the influence the tales have had on our culture, I’ve become even more fascinated.  Please understand, since you may not actually know me, I am not an anti-Semite.  I did not know about that aspect of the fairy tales until I started my humble research for the class.  I had noticed clips of Hitler and the Nazis in Grimm, the television show, but I did not realize the significance of making them wesen.  Now I do.  I am sure the students will get uncomfortable when we enter the section of the course that looks at this aspect of these German tales, but I’m sure they will also be uncomfortable when they read about how in several of the stories the father, after being widowed, figured it would just be easier to marry his daughter.  And the original title of the book was Nursery and Household Tales…really?

Meanwhile, back in the day-to-day reality, I’m painting the living room and dining room mango.  It’s gorgeous!  It’s not done!  Doesn’t matter-I’m actually enjoying the process and decluttering as I go along.  I took pre-pictures and will take post-pictures and share them eventually.

I’m so dreadfully behind posting pictures from the summer.  But what’s new?  I did put up some new pictures on the wall though, as part of the whole painting process.  That’s right.  I’ve finally framed the boys’ kindergarten pictures and added them to wall.  Keep it down, I know they’re going into fifth and third grade.  I’m pacing myself, Sergeant.

The boys have been fish this summer and can’t get enough of pools.  They both had a blast at camp.  VBS went well too.  The years keep passing and life is good.  I just have to remind myself to stop and look around so I don’t miss it.  Have you stopped and looked around lately?

ferris-bueller

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I am hooked on two shows that have lovely literary connections.  The Following and Grimm.  The other show I’m addicted to offers me hits for my addiction to the 1980s-Psych.

I’ve been reading up on the Brothers Grimm in anticipation of my class this fall.  I am retiring Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption for a while (sorry, Uncle Stevie) and changing to Nursery and Household Tales by the Grimms.  I am having a blast exploring how much the stories have influenced the world, sometimes in not good ways.  I mean, really not good ways.  I plan on using some of the “classics” that most of the students should remember, but also will select a good number of the lesser known ones that the boys and I have been discovering over the past year.  Two other books offering critical analysis will round out the work.  As I keep learning more, I keep coming up with new questions and discovering how much I have missed in the television series Grimm by not knowing this stuff beforehand.  I love learning!

The Following is truly gory but Kevin Bacon evens that out for me.  And Psych, well, Psych is comedic brilliance.  I cannot wait for this week’s episode.  It’s based on Clue.  Enough said.

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I want to write this evening, yet I don’t know what to write about.  I’ve made lots of errors on social media today so I may have unintentionally given myself writer’s block.  My mind has been swirling the past two weeks or so.  First, I cannot believe we are already in March.  Where is time going?  I seem to miss it every day.

This evening I enjoyed time and threw the concept of bedtime out the window.  The boys and I spent some good, fun time together.  Older son and I read some of the Barnum Brown biography for his school project.  Younger son and I reviewed for his spelling test and discussed the book he is writing.  Younger son is holding a St. Patrick’s Day craft stand in the waiting room this week and he shared how sales are going.  Both boys practiced their baseball skills again this afternoon.  They are so pumped for Little League this year.  Don’t know what changed, but I’m loving it.

I have this incredible urge to watch Angels & Demons.  Ridiculous particularly since I’m not Catholic.

Not sleeping well lately.  Explains a lot.  Like the many errors I’ve made today in my humble writings.

Maybe I’ll watch Taken.  Always a fine choice.  Or Music and Lyrics.  Quite possibly the best fake music videos ever made.  Totally brings me back to the ’80s.

Did anyone else take a long time to realize that Grant Heslov was one of the producers of Argo?  Props to him.  I love him in True Lies and Congo.  I’m a happy couch potato watching Grimm, Psych, and  The Following.  But when the heck is Episodes coming back?

Had fun during a meeting today at work comparing punctuation to spices.

Okay, I’m going to end this most random post and smartly choose to go to sleep.  I’m going to be a wild woman and not even proofread the post.  Sorry for any errors.

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What a difference a day makes.  Also walking away from the problem offers such wonderful perspective.  That and a few friends commenting on fb that they know exactly how I feel.  And chocolate.  I can’t forget the chocolate.

But you know what the best thing I reflected on today was?  I ate supper with my family yet again this week.  We’ve been rocking the dinner time lately.  Doesn’t matter what the dinner is, it’s the time together.  My sons have finally gotten the swing of sharing something fun about their days.  And I’m going to admit it…write on virtual paper…we use the convenience stuff to make dinner.  Yes, there are fresh veggies (asparagus at the moment since it’s in season-though I don’t eat it).  But the main entrée was one of those skillet dinners.  If I didn’t have to work, I’d be cooking home-made stuff.  Ah, well…do the best you can with what you have where you are.  Teddy Roosevelt, not me.  I wish I could write something as pithy as that.

Perspective comes in many ways.  You just have to be open to it coming in and opening your eyes.  Be open to the other side of things and examining the issue with other eyes.  Turn it over and over.  Challenge it, question it.  Pray on it.  Focus on simplicity and grace to rise above the feeling of mediocrity.

So what am I going to be when I grow up?  I have no idea and realized today that part of the reason I feel like I’m floating and looking for my thing is that I refuse to grow up.  I still love learning and have a thirst for new experiences.  If a particular experience, idea, or goal doesn’t materialize, no biggie.  There will be another.

And until another shows itself, I have buckled down and examined what is on my plate and what I can do with it.  How I can do each project.  Why I am doing each project.  I asked myself if I still feel each one is fun.  Theater had become not fun, but when I gave it a whirl this past fall, it was a blast.  Why?  Because I was just an actor.  So I now know I’ll never be on a theater board again.  Takes the fun right out of it.

A very fun project coming up in the summer are the dino digs we’ll be going on for fossil hunting.  I think I may be more excited than the boys.  Older son still wants to find more substantial fossils than what we should find on these digs, but we’ve been talking about the fact that you need to start where you’re at and grow from each experience.  We talked about how he needs to learn how to dig and these three trips will help him do that.

I’m sewing again.  Other than Halloween costumes, I haven’t done that for a while.  It’s a costume for a friend who is going to a film-fan convention.  So far it seems to be going well.  I enjoyed making the patterns and they are working nicely.  We’re having a fitting this Saturday.

Of course, I’m in VBS prep mode.  We’re going to Babylon this year.  Oh yes, there will be a hanging garden.  I’ve been working on that for the past month.

Prayer, meditation, studying my Shakespeare and Grimm, reading some Uncle Stevie, it’s all good.  Just need to get off my arse and work out the issues in my legs.  This week’s been a less than stellar week, but it is still so much better than it had been for the past few years.

And it’s almost summer.  Now I do not do the beach thing.  There is sand at a beach and I don’t do sand.  We will go to the lake, and yes, there is sand there, but it’s not overly crowded.  There are pools we’ll go to and the boys will do a lot of swimming.  Maybe they’ll teach their mom.

I do attempt the garden thing, but have been horrible with it the past few years.  However, sons and I have already weeded and cleaned out two of them and are working on a third.  But I really need to trim the bloody holly trees.  They are a mess again.

What most of these have in common are my family.  Which reminded me that I’m not doing that bad if we’re doing all these somethings and even some days of nothings together.

Salieri, if only you had known to step away.  To reflect and take inventory.  To count your blessings.  And to not take it all so seriously.

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In tonight’s episode of Grimm, Nick came closer to some closure about his parents and aunt.  Only a bit closer to closure since we can’t cover everything in one season.  What would they do in season two if they covered it all this year?  I myself have been thinking a lot about life events.  I crave closure to certain events in my life.  I don’t like things left with loose ends.  Forgive the morbidity of the next statement, but I need to see a dead body to believe they are really gone.  It gives me closure that I need as part of my grieving process.  When that doesn’t happen, it takes longer for me to work through the whole situation.  That’s just what I need to do.

So I’ve been digging my Grimm and have been reading the Grimm stories to my boys.  They didn’t want to hear the “girly” stories.  I explained to them that the stories were originally more grim.  I went to the library at work today and got a wonderful edition of the Grimm stories.  I have to admit I did not know how many stories the Brothers Grimm had penned.  In this edition (claiming to be the complete works, but I’m too early in my research to be able to verify that claim), there are 210 stories.  Little Red Riding Hood is called Little Red Cap.  Cinderella’s step-sisters get their eyes pecked out by the birds…vicious pigeons that had not helped clean and make dresses.  Snow White is Little Snow White and the story ends with the queen wearing burning iron “shoes” and dancing till she dies.  Good times.  Good times.

As Nick has quests for closure on Grimm, I have my own quests.  One quest is to develop my sons love of fiction, hence our focus on Grimm.  I also let them read Creepshow by Uncle Stevie.  It’s a comic book, yes a creepy comic book, and they loved it. My quest for a less cluttered home, my quest for grace and simplicity.  My quest for closure on past troublesome events.  I’m a regular Don Quixote.

My sons are still so carefree.  We were discussing something one day-can’t remember what and the details don’t matter-and the next morning on the way to school, I told them that it wasn’t a topic to discuss at school.  I asked my youngest if he heard what I had said and his reply was pure and honest.  “Mom, I don’t remember what we talked about last night so I know I won’t talk about it at school.”  They don’t hold onto things, grudges, hurt feelings, and all the gobbily-gook we learn to hang onto.  I am fascinated watching them as they grow up to learn when it happens.  When do we start to hold on to emotional responses and events?  My sons already hold on to physical stuff…sadly, they are pack-rats in training.  I do try to teach them that is okay to let go of stuff sooner rather than later because you don’t really need it.

I now gauge whether or not to keep things by wondering if my sons would look at it and ask why I saved it for so many years before tossing it in a trash bag without much fanfare when cleaning out my stuff. Again, forgive the morbidity.  Lord willing, I’ve got many more years to clean out my stuff, but I want to make each day as full as possible and you can’t do that when you’re worried about saving crap.  I had a period of time when I so was obsessed with capturing the memory that I missed making memories.  I’ve gotten better at being in the moment.  But I still have years of old crap to purge.

Some of the crap is mental crap.  And you, dear gentle reader, get to read as I purge some stuff from my brains.  Let things go out into the void of the internet to finally be released from my heart, soul, or brain, whichever it’s been stored in for too many years.  This has been a week of purging things from long ago.  I didn’t plan it that way, but it worked out that way.  And I am thankful to move forward in several of my quests.  It makes the load lighter and the lighter the load, the quicker I can move.  Though it’s not really about how quickly I get through this stuff.  The stuff is the little bits and pieces that make up life.  To quote the lullaby I sing to my sons, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.  Take some time for life in between your plans.

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My oldest son and I were watching last night’s episode of Grimm on demand today.  He asked a lot of questions.  Many of these questions would not have been asked if he was older and more well read.  He’s rather well read when it comes to non-fiction, but the classics, like Grimm, have not stuck to his schema.

I wonder if it is simply lack of repetition or if it is because of his preference for non-fiction?  I have loved Grimm and the like since I was a little girl.  I suppose I figured everyone did or that my sons would at least inherit it.  My youngest son certainly embraces the macabre as I do, but will the Grimm stories and other dark literary classics stay with him his whole life?  Will my oldest connect with them over time?  I enjoy wondering about these things, even knowing that these answers won’t come until they are “all grown up”.  That’s a long time from now.

It also has to happen naturally because you can’t make a kid like anything they don’t want to like.  I’ll see if I can find some graphic novels of Grimm stories.  The boys loved the Beowolf graphic novel.  October is always Poe month, maybe we can make March Grimm month.  In theory, it’s still supposed to be a grim and bleak winter month.  Again, in theory.

He did enjoy the episode.  Perhaps he will like revisiting the stories.

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