I’ve always loved fairy tales, so I cannot resist A Fairy Tale Magazine, formerly called Enchanted Conversation. “I want to be published there,” I said as soon as I saw it. Now you can meet the editor, Kate Wolford.
As part of my Kickstarter for The Shapes of Wrath, I’m interviewing interesting people about anger. Let’s go!
Melissa Yuan-Innes: What makes you angry?
Kate Wolford: I’m not an especially angry person as I think it’s almost always an unproductive emotion, but, of course, I do get angry. One thing that makes me furious is the way people condescend to those of us who live in the world of fairy tale writing and retelling. I mean, fairy tales focus on power, love and money, the things that motivate humans the most. They deal with loss and family trauma and transformation. Why is it so funny or lightweight to write fantastical stories that plumb the depths of human needs? Or to study those stories? Why is that trivial? Yes, this makes me mad, and even after more than 15 years at this, I get angry and hurt when people laugh at what I do. Who wouldn’t?
MYI: Unfortunately, anything connected to women gets trivialized, even today. I’m glad we can tell our own stories more easily nowadays. How do you deal with that anger?
KW: I usually read. That’s how I cope with everything—I read my way out of it. I don’t have a specific genre that I read, I just pick up a book and focus on the story, and let the feeling pass. That’s probably not the greatest way to do it, but it’s the method I have.
MYI: 100%. I wish more of the world had this response. Instead of invading other countries or beating people up, start reading! I love it. Would you like to add anything?
KW: I loved that the voices in Chinese Cinderella, Fairy Godfathers & Beastly Beauty: Feminist Fairy Tales from Ancient China to Contemporary North America were fresh, yet familiar. The book reconnected me with the important truth that people experience the same emotions the world over, no matter where their family tree first grew.
At the same time, in the West we do not see nearly enough fairy tales with Chinese protagonists, so the stories felt new. I read a lot of fairy tale retellings and fairy-tale inspired stories, and it’s hard for me to find something fresh, but these stores feel new even though they deal with very old ideas. Plus, I liked all of the characters (even when I didn’t).
MYI: Wow. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions about anger and fairy tales, and compliment my new collection of fairy tales!
For any writers, you can see how editors yearn for new interpretations and voices. A prosaic but memorable expression I’ve heard is “Old meat on new forks.” Make sure you submit and publish your work, especially if you have a perspective the world doesn’t usually hear. Innovative readers want exciting interpretations they’ve never heard before.
Readers, please do check out A Fairy Tale Magazine. They’re always innovating. I especially like the article about enchanted fridge magnet poetry. They’re also building a community, including Solstice celebrations and Zoom meetings.
I do love Chinese Cinderella, Fairy Godfathers & Beastly Beauty. Four pieces were originally published in FTM, including “Death and the Mother,” where Snow White’s mother plays a key role in holding Death at bay, and “A Half Century of Beauty,” where we visit Beauty and the Beast on their 50th wedding anniversary.
As for wrath, dudes, please stop trivializing fairy tales to try and make your dick look bigger. It doesn’t work and it’s not a good look.
Agree or disagree below. 🙂 And please check out my Kickstarter for The Shapes of Wrath! Not only does Dr Hope Sze explore a haunted hospital in the first thriller in a brand new series, but we’re unlocking cool goals. Today we unlocked the mini wrath cookbook!