Tag Archives: Fairy tales

He said what??

In case you missed this as it made the rounds on Facebook last week: Treat yourself to the mean-spirited pleasure of reading the 30 harshest author-on-author quotes in history.

Some choice examples:

Friedrich Nietzsche on Dante Alighieri

A hyena that wrote poetry on tombs.

Lord Byron on John Keats

Here are Johnny Keats’ piss-a-bed poetry, and three novels by God knows whom… No more Keats, I entreat: flay him alive; if some of you don’t I must skin him myself: there is no bearing the drivelling idiotism of the Mankin.

Vladimir Nabokov on Ernest Hemingway

As to Hemingway, I read him for the first time in the early ‘forties, something about bells, balls and bulls, and loathed it.

W. H. Auden on Robert Browning

I don’t think Robert Browning was very good in bed. His wife probably didn’t care for him very much. He snored and had fantasies about twelve-year-old girls.

Read them all.

John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats talks about writing

From an interview in Mother Jones magazine, supporting his latest album:

MJ: One thing you’re known for is being incredibly prolific; All Eternals Deck will be your eighth album in as many years. How do you maintain that pace? And do you have any advice for would-be writers?

JD: I think it’s mostly that I am a person of high energy. [Laughs.] That, and I sit down and I write when I get an idea—I put other things aside. Most of All Hail West Texas was written during orientation at a new job I had. I had basically worked this job before, I knew this stuff, so I was writing lyrics in the margins of all the Xeroxed material. I would go home at 3 o’clock, and my wife was out of town up at hockey camp in Vance, and I would sit down and bang out a song and then make dinner. Part of it is recognizing that while writing is a mystical process, it’s also work. If you show up to work five days in a row, nobody’s going to pat you on the back—everyone does that. Well, do that with your writing. Just show up. Be there for it. When you get an idea, write it down somewhere and then be a steward of that idea.

When I was kid, they always used to tell me to keep notebooks. I look at my shelves now and it’s just nothing but notebooks. And if I haven’t gotten an idea but I have time to work, I’ll pull one out and I bet there will be five or six sentences that will kick me off. This whole album, all the titles came from that—I just started writing down phrases I’d hear with three words because they looked so orderly on a page. And then I would look at them after six months and be like, oh, Outer Scorpion Squadron, wow, what is that? What’s that mean? What does that conjure up? At some point of distance it becomes like you’re taking inspiration from elsewhere, which is a nice feeling: Instead of making the demand on yourself that you be inspired right now, you have this phrase that’s a little distant from you.

From my very good friend David Adam Edelstein.

Fairy Tale Generator

Every once in a while it happens: You’re sick of all the old fairy tales, but you’re too tired to write a new one. So what do you do then?

You use the amazing Fairy Tale Generator, of course. Based on Vladimir Propp’s basic rules for fairy tales, this handy widget can sate your hunger for new stories without all the trouble of actually writing them.

Jim Henson’s “Storyteller” series

Fairy tale fan Lisa tipped me off to this amazing Jim Henson series a while back, and all I could think as I watched the videos was, “WHY have I never heard of this before? This is GENIUS.”

One of the most genius parts of the whole genius endeavor, in fact, is his version of one of my all-time favorites, “Hans My Hedgehog.”

Thanks, Lisa!

Summon Wolves with Your Mind

So maybe it’s a little bit of a stretch to say this is related to fairy tales. But you know what? Making connections between seemingly unrelated things = creativity calisthenics.

See if you can write a story outline about a man whose nagging wife drives him to desperate measures: a deal with the wolf king!