Tuesday is family night at the house. A single father, through both death and divorce, and blessed to have three of my children still at home with me. The other is blessed with her own house, husband and children. I usually make a better than average meal on family night, and then we watch a show or spin some vinyl and discuss and talk. These are some top quality kids I have here.
Finding anything worth watching has become difficult, so family night was becoming briefer, some nights being just the meal and conversation at the table. Watching marginal cinema and talking about its obvious faults is only so satisfying. Last week though, I walked into the living room, after tending to the mess in the kitchen a bit, to find my eldest son reading from Grimm’s Fairy Tales to his lovely girlfriend. ‘Snow-white and Rose-red’, a story I had not heard before. It was both new and familiar. It had many of the archetypes you find in these tales: a disguised prince, fair and virtuous maidens, and an evil dwarf. In this case, though, it was a widow mother, no evil step-father, as head of the house.
Because the story was new to me I listened carefully. And listening I began to see our own day in code. I will elaborate this epiphany in a future essay, but for here, I heard in this story the plight of our European folk, and was comforted that we are not in unfamiliar circumstance. Recognize that many of these tales speak of cultural decay and clouded vision and a precarious future. But each tells of a surprising revival of body and spirit, of healthy fecund communion between men and women, and of happy days to follow. We have been poisoned by cynical wordsmiths who continually pull the rug of trust and hope out from under us. We are sullied by pornography and all that demeans and every hateful doubt in our potential for true goodness. Without our own words in tale and fable and myth we are powerless to these tricks.
This insight is the kernel of my intention for this website. I invite others to submit content in the form of new work in storytelling and music and all media. As well, I hope there will be others inspired to write essays as comentary or as response to existing European cultural content, old and new. This work should be upward tending– ascendant. We may call out our enemies of course, but we must begin envisioning our new and healthful becoming or we are lost.
Image: by Jessie Willcox Smith