Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


If Ever I Were to Write Stories

An Inspiration:

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
by Christine Heppermann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fairy tales +
Poetry +
Contemporary suburban settings +
Teen subjects and protagonists +
Biting commentary on popular, commercialized images of beauty and gender +
Bountiful atmospheric accompanying photographs
Disturbing (of unhealthily accepted assumptions),
Unsettling (of sad realities),
Representative (of far too many teen experiences),
Slim collection worth visiting and revisiting.


Blow Your House In

She used to be a house of bricks,
point guard on the JV team, walling out
defenders who could only huff and puff
and watch the layups roll in.

She traded for a house of sticks,
kindling in Converse high-tops and a red Adidas tent.
At lunch she swirled a teeny spoon in yogurt
that never touched her lips and said
she'd decided to quit chasing a stupid ball.

Now she's building herself out of straw
as light as the needle swimming in her bathroom scale.
The smaller the number, the closer to gold,
the tighter her face, afire with the zeal of a wolf
who has one house left to destroy.


Author's Note

If you find the dividing line between fairy tales and reality, let me know. In my mind, the two run together, even though the intersections aren't always obvious. The girl sitting quietly in class or waiting for the bus or roaming the mall doesn't want anyone to know, or doesn't know how to tell anyone, that she is locked in a tower. Maybe she's a prisoner of a story she's heard all her life--that fairest means best, or that bruises prove she is worthy of love.

But here's a great thing about stories: they can be retold.

Traditionally, fairy tales appear on the page with male names attached. The Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault get credit for writing them down. Yet was scholars have shown, the original tellers were, in all likelihood, women. And those women were sneaky. They understood that including fantastical elements in their tales--golden eggs, singing harps, talking frogs--worked to mask a deeper purpose. According to folklorist Marina Warner, it made the stories look on the surface like "a mere bubble of nonsense" within which it was possible to "utter harsh truths, to say what you dare" about the state of women's lives. Because they were
just stories, right? Harmless little fantasies?

I have never been particularly brave. But when I put on the mask of fairy tales and started writing these poems, I felt powerful. I felt free to poke around inside stories that scared me or saddened me or made me mad. The more I explored the darkness, the more I realized that the forest only looks impenetrable.

My advice? Retell your own stories. Keep pushing your way through the trees, and I promise that, eventually, you will come to a clearing. And then you can dance.


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