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Showing posts from June, 2011

Welcome to Volume Two, Issue Two

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It's June according to the calendar, but in the land of Enchanted Conversation, it's cold and treacherous and filled with revenge. It's the "Snow White Poetry Issue," and it's very clear that our poets have read, and were inspired by, the ancient, dark versions of "Snow White."

We let our chosen works speak for themselves, but we have some treats coming up in the next few weeks, including a paper by scholar John P. Pazdziora.

But for now ...

Diary of a Mad Dwarf, By Katrina Robinson

Forging the Iron Clogs, By Sarah Stasik

Snow White in Russia, By Ace G. Pilkington

Reflections: The Mirror Speaks, By Julia H. West

Snow, Blood, Ebony, By Rachel Ayers

Beauty on the Lam, By Candace L. Barr

Remember Winter, By Deborah Walker

Three Glass Shards, By Lorraine Schein

Night of Snow, By Mary Meriam

Pale Quarry, By Frances McQuillan

The Magic Mirror's Reflection, By Adina Rosenthal (at Diamondsandtoads.com)

Diary Of A Mad Dwarf, By Katrina Robinson

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They all got it wrong -
every book, movie and play.
That’s what happens
when someone else tells your story.

They had us
whistling and working,
smiling and bowing,
shucking and jiving
- a minstrelsy of midgetry.

They grasped our truth in their hands,
stripped away our dignity.
Then, re-covered us in colorful, comical garbs,
re-christened us with colorful, comical names.

No one cares how it really was.
How we worked from dawn to dusk
carving out a livelihood
from harsh, unforgiving stone.

How we found a large, pale child
lounging in our beds
and eventually, looming over our heads.

How each day we looked up to her
and felt her presence in every crevice.
How she made us not fit
in our own home.

No one cares about the difficulty of keeping
a stubborn, mule-headed girl alive
when she ignores every warning
and opens the door
time and time again.

But, don’t listen to me.
Read the books,
watch the movies and plays.
Look at how they portray us –
Tiny people only…

Forging The Iron Clogs, By Sarah Stasik

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It’s always the blacksmith who does these things, as if metal and magic go together.

You learn to be quiet and hear no evil--only the ping-ping bang of metal on metal, and the hiss of the boil in the water.

But when pale to-be queens with ebony eyes commission such objects with hatred, you can’t help but hear the history that’s spilled through apple red lips with a whisper.

And you know that you’ll tell, not today, but tomorrow… how the fairest of all in the land ordered the clogs to be made for a dance that would last ‘til the wearer was dead.

Sarah Stasik writes from a crooked mountain in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and son.  Visit her blog at http://www.letters-to-the-cosmos.blogspot.com/ to read some random thoughts and find out more about her writing.

Snow White In Russia, By Ace G. Pilkington

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They weren’t dwarfs but heroes,
So Pushkin said, and he should know.
With horses leaping high and far, touching
Earth so seldom that even Pegasus
Would be lost in their inevitable dust.
Bogatyrs, heroes, knights without the baggage,
Of castles, jousts, and generations of inherited rage,
They were power and honor, truth in a sword’s thrust.

Now, a Queen should know better than to trust
Her face and fate to a magic mirror. What do
Mirrors know of beauty and its inexorable passage
From bud to bloom to petals blown by age
Into nothingness, to fragrant memories of lust
And love and all the flowerings gone too soon:
Like silver ripples in water, a mirror for a moon
That changes as it sweeps through night’s star fields.
Leaving only a yellowed memory of the light it yields.

That must be why she became jealous of a child.
Snow White’s face was only the promise of beauty; reality
Was still a decade away, and all the fierce and wild
Chances of growing up waited to stain and scar that lovely
F…

Reflections: The Mirror Speaks, By Julia H. West

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The wizards who created me,
From rare electrum, polished sleek,
Made also my fair twin
That through us they might speak.
Then manufactured two-score more,
The size a lady's hand might hold,
To scatter through the realm
And watch events unfold.

I hung upon one wizard's wall,
Learned secrets of his arcane trade,
And watched the scenes my kin
Reflected and displayed.
Until my wizard's colleague fell--
Killed in some petty noble's scheme.
That day my mirror twin
Was given to the Queen.

My twin hung in the king's great hall;
I witnessed balls and trials and courts.
My wizard noted all,
Impatient for reports.
Those secrets, overheard, brought wealth:
The wizard died from his excess.
I passed then to a witch--
Great beauty she possessed.

"Am I the fairest of them all?"
She watched the kingdom's ladies preen.
With spell and potion's aid
Her beauty was supreme.
Thus I could state most honestly
(For I was made to never lie)
That she was fairest still
Of all…

Snow, Blood, Ebony, By Rachel Ayers

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He found her dead
and woke her.
Snow, blood, ebony:
these evoke only the
lifeless child he beheld.
He reimagines his bride.
Her lips are posey red,
rosy red,
for although flowers are fleeting
they live
as he brought her back to life.
Her skin is milkpale moonglow.
And black is:
the deep pool
of his horse's eye
or:
the well
of night sky
or:
the depths of earth
from which all life springs.
These gifts he gives her as they wed:
a second chance,
and his heart,
still beating.


Rachel tells us: "I have a Creative Writing major from Pittsburg State University.  My novelette "Sister and Serpent" won Honorable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, and my story "Job Hunting" won First Prize in the 2010 HarperCollins Radiant Prose contest.  My work has appeared or is forthcoming in: Isabelle Rose's Twisted Fairy Tale Anthology volumes 1 and 2 (Wicked East Press), Bull Spec, Living With the Dead: Year One, Death Rattle, and A Thousand Faces."

Beauty On The Lam, By Candace L. Barr

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A lost child tramps through the woods Delivered from death by her executioner Perhaps into the waiting jaws of a beast And a more gruesome end. No mother to care, and what of her father And his supreme power over the land?
Seven harborers cannot save A young fugitive from herself; Childish innocence and pretty trinkets Outweigh safety and self-preservation.
Twice she trusts in the beauty of objects. Twice her diminutive saviors Bring her back from Paradise Third time's the curse!
Dirt cannot cover vanquished beauty, And all must see her to mourn Until morbid fascination moves her From one resting place to another And accidentally dislodges the fatal fruit.
The young nomad is restored To her former place in a new society, And vain curiosity punishes a failed murderess With deadly footwork.
Candace is a graduate of the Howard University Spanish program who enjoys mythology and other forms of didactic storytelling.  When she isn't reading and writing, she is playing with yarn and fiber.

Three Glass Shards, By Lorraine Schein

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Author's note: This poem was inspired by the “Ten Partings” poems of the medieval Chinese woman poet, Xue Tao.

1.  The Window Shard

The Queen looked out the window and sighed--
she was waiting still for her lover to come by.
He’d throw a pebble at the pane when he arrived.
She hoped to have a girl with his dark eyes.

When the King was traveling or with court matters occupied,
they would sweet tryst in this high room all the while.

She knew she was bearing the Huntsman’s child.
His hair was as black as a forest night,
his knife at the hip, red with blood shiny as glass,
as he’d come to her in the white moonlight.

Now the window she used to sit by to await him is broken.
A heavy tree branch shattered it in a violent snowstorm.
One pointed shard lies on the floor of the boarded-up tower room--
no more a medium for reflections on his love,
or daydreams of her child to be;
and unable to show the face she once yearned to see.



2.    The Mirror Shard

When it told her Snow White wa…

Remember Winter, By Deborah Walker

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The lean hare leaping across the white sky. The sun riding high and small and bright, shine on layers of snow, flakes accumulate, into this old,this deep coldness
I never knew I would feel this. Spring, summer, autumn, and then the winter. I fell though time, my fate a rolling, turning ball of ice.
Three times I bound my daughter. First with coloured strings, tying her to her childhood, so tight she could not breathe, Then I pulled the shell comb through her hair, My teeth were poison-needle sharp I'd get into her head, if I couldn't have her heart. The third was the offer of flesh, red-ripe with promise. She bit it eagerly remembering Eve, the taste of sweet, awaiting knowledge. Forgetting that old Eve now sits with her raven, in the cave, alone.
I knew you then, my daughter, maid of spring. Innocence and dreaming. Pure and perfect. Monumental maiden preserved in glass. I knew that that all things turn on the cycle the seasons bring White-armed Persephone leaving behind the four seeds in the barre…

Night of Snow, By Mary Meriam

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She lives, more lovely than sweet dreams, Red berry lips, black hair that streams In tender breezes through the night Lit by starlight and pure snow white.
Meanwhile, her mother sits and schemes Suffocating in her screams At her own beauty’s furious flight, Old age’s creeping, seeping blight.
She is the Queen, and her regime’s A bloody plot of swift extremes. Her daughter’s heart would taste just right. She opens wide and takes a bite.
Through woods and thickets of thorny themes, Snow stumbles through a night that teems With lurking lowlife. Shot by fright, She runs, and running, learns to fight.
Finally through the gloom there beams The warm and friendly homelike gleams Of seven gems. They are polite; Snow’s safe and snug at last? Not quite.
The lonely door has lost its seams, Squeaks open for a witch who seems Kindly, but murders with all her might, To be the only belle in sight.
The tables turn again. Fate deems The daughter live. The mother steams In oven shoes, dancing her spite To death, ever bitter and…

Pale Quarry, By Frances McQuillan

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When he catches her, he finds that she is greatly under-fed. There are no roses on her cheeks although her lips are bitten red.
Great are her foes; she has not bled. For all their spite, she is not dead.
He kills a deer in Snow White’s stead. Her death undone remains unsaid.
Knowing not where she’s been led, far from the paths that hunters tread the child away from home is fled. Pale and dark and apple-red.
Frances McQuillan is currently studying English and French at University College Dublin. She once named a dog Chaos, which had consequences which were narratively appropriate.

And The Enchanted Conversation Mini Writing Contest Winner is ...

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Pam! Here is her winning entry:

“Idle hands are useless hands.”

How many times had the king said this? The prince had lost count long ago. In his father’s mind, everyone stayed busy. A poor man worked to feed his family. A wealthy prince worked to help others.

The prince thought differently. Why work, when he could spend his days laughing at the court jesters, or drinking mead with his knights?. Life was too short to fritter away with labor.

And those hideous dwarfs! One morning, the king woke him from his slumber and dragged him to the tower window, where they could see the entire kingdom below. The seven mini-men were trundling along, tools swinging at their sides as they sang their happy tunes.

“Off to work they go.” The King would nod sadly.

“They’re so … short,” the prince replied, stifling a yawn.

He hated those dwarfs.

So when the beautiful woman who dwelled with them in their stumpy little cottage bit the apple and took a nap, the prince leapt into action. He kissed her …

Judging on EC Mini Contest Will be Done In A Few Days

We plan to pick the winner as soon as possible. The contest is closed.

Thanks for the great entries. It will be a tough decision.

You Think We've Forgotten 'Snow White," Don't You?

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We haven't! The chosen poems are just about set up, and the cool things we have planned for the look of the issue will be worth the wait.

Plus, a couple more fun and exciting events and changes are in the offing. But I can't tell you yet, because I don't want any fairy jinxes.

Also, something else writers, poets and fans should know: Our submission windows are based on teaching duties staff members have. So often, we require submissions long before we plan to release an issue, so we have time to read, select, find art, find money, pay people, format, etc. I will add that to our submission info!
KW

Guest Post: Fracturing Fairy Tales For Fun And Profit, By Heather Talty

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Editor's Note: Fracturing fairy tales is one of the most amusing and enjoyable ways to recast the stories. Heather Talty does a terrific job of explaining fracturing in this guest post. Her site is linked to below. Do visit it. It's worth the time.

n some ways, fracturing a fairy tale is just like fixing a car or performing surgery (though the stakes may not be quite as high): you take some things out, put some things in, or just tweak what’s already in there. When you’re done, you’re left with something that looks and acts like the original but isn’t entirely the same.

Of course, this act of altering a traditional story has been done for centuries, by oral storytellers, collection building folklorists, and enterprising animated mice alike. But why fracture a fairy tale? Why take something that clearly works and break it apart and rebuild it with the risk of getting it wrong?

Well, for a laugh. That’s one reason.

Here’s another. Fracturing fairy tales can be a way to engage …