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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Changing the Rules Can You Outgrow Fairy Tales?

Do we ever outgrow fairy tales? I don't think so. For one thing, it's arguable that we never really grow up. We get older, we get wiser, but somewhere inside we are all the ages we ever will be. There is a  four year old who sits next to a wise old lady in my head. They both respect each other's strengths and knowledges. They don't necessarily believe the same things or know the same things. But they both support each other endlessly. We need that child and that crone. They are both who we are, and are never the whole picture alone.

So this little skit warmed my heart. Who hasn't run from the world as it unravels? What I love is that she changes the rules. She stops running, takes it on with what she has and knits a blanket. How fabulous!

We too have our days where it unravels. Where the wolf sits in the forest in wait. Where it gets darker much earlier than we planned and we find ourselves sitting in the woods, afraid and unclear as to where the bread crumbs went. There was a study in a country where they stopped reading fairy tales to children. The kids got quite strange. You really do need to know what to do when you're lost in the woods. 

My grandmother self knows better. She's cautious and smart. But she has no idea where the wildflowers are. She doesn't know that the mushrooms on the stump are an amazing pink. She does remind my four year old self not to put them in her mouth.

Butterfly Garden was done in response to my garden woes. In many ways, it was changing the rules. I still think that's the best way to float over and above so many of the heart's hurts. The flowers are nothing but lollipops. They're the flowers of my four year old self. They also echo flowers I had on my favorite dress when I was 16, and the floral prints coming out lately that just turn my heart over.

I changed the rules. Do I have to be real? Accurate? Embroider them onto my quilt surface? Use real colors? I'm so sorry. Those are your rules. I don't think they apply to me. Not unless I say so.

Now my caterpillars are as real as I could make them for the most basic fact: YOU CAN'T HAVE BUTTERFLIES WITHOUT CATERPILLARS.

So I pick my rules, just for me. I told this story to clear my head and to entertain. Like all fairy tales, it is not what it seems.

 I believe in  fairy tales. I believe they're vital to our hearts and health. I tell them to adults as well as kids and watch my grandmother and child inside nod wisely. 

Today I sent The Town of Torper and the Very Vulgar Day Lily off to the printer.
I expect it ready to ship in two weeks. You can order your  signed copy at
The Town of Torper on my web site at www.ellenanneeddy.com.

It's the best garden fairy tale I could tell.


Judy said...

Dear Ellen, I loved this post. The little video of Dot is gorgeous!!(clever technology too). I went to Teacher's College when I was 30, so I was 10 years older than most students there. The "fashion" then was NO Fairy Tales.When I had a class of my own, I read loads of Fairy Tales to the children. They are REALLY needed by all ages- but particularly children who need to know not all stories end happily, how to face BIG Fears, and conquer the dragons.....I can't wait to get your next book. This year you and Nancy Eha(wonderful beader), are going to be my inspiration. I am going to work through your work-books, and I will send you photos when done...I might have to e-mail you..this is too long for this space!!

bohemiannie! art said...

This is a most wonderful train of thought. I always thought you were wonderful and now even more so.

(the one that missed your class in FL and then later met you in Houston)

norma said...

What a charming video. Thanks for sharing it and, as always, your words of wisdom and art are terrific!

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