Let’s address the Rumpelstiltskin in the room.
Nostalgia creeps up on me. I recall the early days of Disney and reading fairy tales, searching to find meaning and the ‘lesson’ to learn, as I’m thrown into the shadows of a new world and exposed to some grand adventure.
Whether it be Cinderella, that good things happen to those who are truly kind, patient and work hard, Beauty and The Beast which focuses on who a person is versus what they look like and self-forgiveness, Sleeping Beauty, where if you get enough beauty sleep a handsome dude will come whisk you off to eternal bliss on his enormous white stallion…
Oh wait, I forgot. Sleeping Beauty doesn’t really have a point. Never mind that one.
By the way, giant white stallion… No symbolism there at all, eh BMW drivers?
Second “By the way”: What’s up with writers constantly putting women into comas? Is this to cover a dreaded plot hole to state the “fact” that women have had so many head injuries, I figure at least if I fall under the duress of another concussion I can say they’ve accomplished something in my life by saying I got married and have a good-looking dude who will catch me while they continually fall unconscious?
Sorry sweetie. Apparently I don’t just have a headache, I feel a coma coming on.
It seems like we’ve seen it all in decades past, where we’re shown several tales of the ‘damsel in distress’ and the dazzling hero come to save her, to modern day stories such as Twilight where there’s a mousy girl who is in love with a sparkly anti-hero and wants to drink her blood. (And I am a Twilight fan. Sorry Twi-hards, but even though I’m a fan of the series, we have to admit this is true.)
Generations before me and my generation grew up with the Daphne’s of Scooby Doo, the girl who was notorious for being captured by the monster. Daphne being the one you want to root for and emulate. While Velma, the girl who always figured out how to capture and defeat the monster, was the homely, ambiguous, sort-of girl with butch voice who could never get a date.
At least in some fashion, today’s world is much more embracing of a real HERO-ine, (though I do believe entertainment has a looooong way to go on supporting feminist views, again I am mentioning Twilight here). I’m mostly refreshed to see the women who fight for what they want. They’re not just lazily sitting in towers, twiddling their thumbs, singing about their dream men.
By the way, what is it with assuming that all princesses are musically talented? I appreciate the Shrek films addressing this issue with not having Fiona be particularly gifted in this, instead being well trained in hand-to-hand combat.
One of my all-time favorite tales has Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. To me they have always been a tale about survival. That no matter what obstacles are put in front of you, resourcefullness and knowing when to ask for help can help you through even the worst of times. Alice’s tales to me were more focused on the concept of believing in impossible things.
Or, my personal sub-theory: A somewhat-rational person is dropped into a land which is chock full of crazy.
The author made Alice a warrior and free-thinker. She also made mistakes, wasn’t afraid to express her emotion, face consequences and continued with grit and determination to fight for what she believed in, even if her beliefs changed. Isn’t that really how life is anyway?
Today’s DWC is a loose blend of these two concepts, survival and being thrown into a world of unknowns, danger and impossibilities, the foundation being Alice’s tale. I think I’ll store this idea in my pocket for a rainy day.
Which let’s face it: in Seattle is pretty much every day from October through June.
So tell me readers: What do you think about fairy tales? Which heroines you favorites, or which do you despise? Do you prefer the classic “damsel in distress” or the kick-ass fighters and do-ers?
Opinions? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Daily Writing Challenge
Day 16: Your character is going on a trip. Where to? Who with, if anyone? Why are they going on a trip? Write a scene of them either getting ready or departing on their journey.
Looking out the window at JFK airport, a woman settled into the uncomfortable plastic seat at the airport, listening to other prospective passengers mill around chatting and shopping at duty-free stores. As she turned on her laptop, a man in a nice business suit collapsed in the seat down next to her.
Letting out a large whoosh of air, he turned to her. “Phew! I never thought I’d get here in time! This is the 105 flight to Sea-Tac, right?”
She gave the man a polite smile.
“Yup. You’re in the right place,” she replied turned her head back to the monitor.
“Great!” He rubbed his hands together and sat down in the seat next to her, leaning back into the chair. “So, is this your first time going to Seattle?” he asked. Just give a quick answer and go back to work.
Barely turning her head slightly to glance at the expectant face. “Nope, I’m going home.”
“Ah, I see. I’m from Seattle too” he nodded. She gave a noncommittal response and turned back to her laptop. Exactly two seconds passed.
“So which part of Seattle? Actual Seattle or another area nearby?”
Warning bells started going off in her head. “Around.” Stay calm. Just leave quietly and find another chair.
“I’m Jared,” he said giving her a slight wave. He leaned in slightly, “What might your name be?”
She excused herself saying she needed to make a personal call, gathering her things and began to walk away. She felt the gentle grasp to her hand suddenly become an iron grip. She gave a cold stare to the hand on her hand, slowly saying in a low voice to the Jared’s face which was no longer smiling, “Let go of me now, or I’ll scream so loud they’ll lock you away, giving you a cavity search in places you didn’t even dream were possible.”
Jared bowed his head low and whispered to her in a serious tone. “Rachel Iverson, real name Alice Wendell?”
A chill ran down her body as she heard her real name used for the first time in six years.
No, not again!
NOT AGAIN! She screamed in her mind.
“My name is Jared White. I’m a U.S. Marshall for the Witness Protection program. I’ve been assigned to protect you during your travel from New York to Seattle. Now it’s very important you listen carefully and not make any sudden moves, as it’s possible we’re being watched.”
Her eyes were round as saucers as she watched the man flash his badge. Recognizing the same seal, the same colors from the last time her life was shattered into a million pieces, and she knew the words to come next. He’s found me¸ she thought.
“Quentin Carmine has escaped from prison and we have reason to believe that he has figured out your identity. I’m here to make sure we get you get safely into hiding. Please come with me while we escort you to the precinct.”
Her heart stopped. Her lips suddenly dry she couldn’t move. Fear had taken over and completely shut down her ability to think or respond.
“He found me,” she whispered. Her heart stopped as the statement echoed in her mind.
She barely heard Agent White’s voice, it sounding as if coming from far away. “I’m sorry. I know this is a lot to take in right now, but we have no time. We-“
“What happened to Agent Mallory?” Alice asked quietly. Pain laced Agent White’s eyes for a moment, then he steeled his face back to a neutral expression.
“I’m afraid Agent Mallory was killed this morning. I’m sorry.”
“We have a safehouse called The Rabbit Hole, and need for you to come to the precinct before getting you to a safe house. Now, pretend I’ve just arrived to greet you. We’ll turn around and be on our way. I have a team of unmarked vehicles ready to escort you. Please nod if you understand.”
She slowly nodded. She remembered The Rabbit Hole. That’s where she was forced to stay until Quentin was incarcerated.
The only thing that could go through her mind now was a phrase repeating itself over and over. I’m dead. He found me. I’m dead.
Jared paused to hold her hands safely in his.
“Look at me.”
She tilted her gaze into his dark brown eyes which were serious and warm with concern. “We have time. I won’t let him find you. But we have to go now. Just stay calm, walk slowly and we’ll be out of here in under three minutes, I promise.” She nodded again as he grabbed her two tiny carry-on suitcases.
Alice shouldn’t have let her guard down. The first two years were tough, always looking around her shoulder, checking in with her protection officer. Sometime during the third year, she felt safe. Well, that wasn’t really true, but she tried to start her life again.
After six years of peace, she was at ground zero all over again.