Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Modern Glossary of Common Fairy Tale Terminology





Princess: Every girl who has drawn hearts around someone's name in a notebook, and worn thick purple eyeshadow at least three times in her life. Each girl that has read a Bronte or Austen novel when she was sick, and also Little House on the Prairie or Harriet the Spy or Nancy Drew in rotting old book bindings, pages all brown and yellow, with mummified hardcovers dirty and mottled, with crackling remains of flies between the chapters, from grandmother's house, from her mother's old bedroom. Some girls that are obnoxious, with too much hair product and flowing chiffony blouses and chunky jewelry, dressing like secretaries on lunch break. Other girls that don't buy new clothes hardly ever, and regularly leave the house with no makeup. Every girl that plays music at home when she's alone. The definition of princess is broad. Mostly it means the girls who someone loves, even if it makes no sense and even if they are really the ugly stepsisters. Get it? Because someone has to love them in order to appreciate the girly side, the paper dolls and the love of sparkly things, and the ability to get passionate over My Little Ponies but also abortion.

Magician: The lurking skinny man at the bar, and sometimes in pictures from unknown cities, blurry pictures from inside cars and at random unknown street corners. The one who used to quote Dylan lyrics on the insides of his journals in high school, and the other one who used to drink at the dive bar on Wednesday nights, beer and singing along to old 80s songs on jukeboxes. Sometimes he takes you back to his apartment, some nights, not too often, and you sit on his mismatched furniture and he talks about bands he used to listen to and then some stuff will happen and your glasses will fall off and get bent, and there's always something breaking or getting lost when you hang out with Magicians. Sometimes, when they get older, they go crazy for good, and then everyone feels bad for thinking they were so "quirky" before, when really they were just crazy assholes, and they end up squatting in warehouses and sometimes scrounging money for beers, where people that used to know them will run into them, and feel bad, and also wonder how someone so attractive could have gotten so ugly. This is what magic does to some people.

Dragons: The sign of insecure people who think if they pretend to be good at something, people will like them more and overlook the fact that they have the charisma of a sea urchin. Dragons like to wear flashy clothes and talk to you about muay thai, which in any good and decent world would mean "more thai food" but instead stands for a lifetime of having to protect themselves from being discovered. If you can find a dragon's hoard of gold, and destroy it, sometimes they become better people. Other times they become alcoholics.

Witch: The woman who has a power you want, that you don't quite understand. But she's good at "things". And simultaneously, miraculously, she sort of wants what you have. Witches have spells too. Like digging up dinosaur bones and writing screenplays and talking to strangers and always having the right thing to say and wearing clothes that make you think she is beautiful, even though she is quite normal and a little crooked. Witches also throw things. Sleep with best friends. Get along without you. They live in perpetual states of doing something you wish you were into. They are terrible.



Prince:
a boy with the wrong kind of confidence, but often the right kind of common sense. Has worn a fake mustache at some point. Sometimes he gets turned into a dragon, like all enchanted like. Sometimes he turns out to be a hero, all rescuing and galloping and cunning. Sometimes he instead turns out hapless, drugged by an old queen and kept prisoner in a tower by the North Wind/The Man.

Ogres:
the old people, the old people with crippling things and twisted noses and shaky hands, or the people who smell, or who are really unfortunately ugly, or who dress awfully, or who make noises when they shouldn't. The people you look at and automatically feel a shiver of repulsion that you subsequently hate yourself for and fight against, but it doesn't stop you from always judging, always stepping a little away at first, you horrible excuse for a human being you sad pathetic sack of immoral shit. There are a lot of Ogres on the bus.

Shoemaker: Your mom, or dad, or whoever gives you money when you really need it. Builds robots and then feels bad about when they turn on humanity. Builds bombs for the government in order to fund their propulsion research. Fixed your bike for you that one summer. Lets you move back in when you come back broke.

Fairy: The thing you want that is not actually a good idea.

The Castle: The bar you go to when you just want to sit in the corner with your friend, whose eyes always crinkle now that he's older, and you talk about shit like girls and old presidents and feelings of disconnection, small social anxieties that stray into our words. A constant lilt of this is what I want, this is what you need, advice. Always order a pineapple and vodka in the Castle. In castles, when you walk back from the bathroom, there will be a song playing that will make you strut, and slide back into your bar stool with confidence, replaced quickly by a desire to lay your head on your arms, and just listen and sip.

Monsters: Everything around us swallowing us whole. Like snow and buildings and cars and cargo ships and mountains and lakes and people in mass. The thing that hovers above our thoughts, burns into our brains a feeling that we can't quite articulate, this concept of huge and unknown that sits like a shadow on our brainstems and whispers superstitions. The multiple aspects of living that give us the uneasiness of being small. The creature living in a dark place just past the horizon that is complicated and orchestrated and beyond our control. Everything is a monster if you look at it closely enough, really stare at it. The atomic bonds of monsters glisten with beauty.

Unicorn:

16 comments:

  1. ahAA. now i'm introduced to the cast, i understand the world a little better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, oh, I call dibs on Fallen Angels.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nan- Really, I feel like I understand it less and less.

    M - You mean hedgehogs?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The last sentence of Princess is pretty damn thought provoking.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Loved this. Love. Even if you called me a broad. And this? "There are a lot of Ogres on the bus." *swoon*

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bill - Princesses argue a lot and watch too much television. They are not inherently lovable.

    Ells - oh the bus. oh the BUS.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What are you trying to say about Magicians here. What are you trying to do? You wanna fight? I'll fight all day long!

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's not like you don't know the dangers of magicians, you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You're a goddamn genius, Callahan.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't know. I didn't take that picture in the video of my dog as Space Unicorn. I don't think I can beat that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Some ogres were once magicians. I suppose we are all headed towards ogrehood-shoemakers, witches (except Demi Moore, who will become someone else much younger), princes and queens alike. I've known a lot of fairies.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I mean, I think you have to be born into witchhood. I've seen people try to become one, and it's never pretty. The whole point of witchhood is effortless. I've stopped trying.

    There is a fairy right now, on my shoulder, telling me more coffee is a good idea.

    ReplyDelete
  13. so, as i was reading, i was thinking i am a magician, and i felt pretty good about that, seeing how things were going for magicians generally, and then those things took a turn for the worse, and i realized, since i am now gone mad with the diminishing choices, that i really am a fucking magician, and there's not very much i can do about it except to become invisible.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have to wonder why so many guys I know identify with the magician and not the prince. Or the dragon. Which quite frankly, there are more of.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Just letting you know that I stopped by... don't have anything witty or clever to say... I am whipped...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Actually I think you were meaner to Ogres than you aughta have been. We're just gigantic murderers.

    ReplyDelete

Who wants to fuck the Editors?