19 November 2003

It occurred to me last night, when I should have been sleeping (which is when things usually occur to me), that this novel that I've almost got a first draft of fits right in the tradition of stories about fairies requiring human women for success in childbearing. A while back, I read a novel called Fairy Tale by Alice Thomas Ellis. It was quite good, and I must remember to find a copy. Anyway, in the novel, the Welsh fairies need human women to bear their children. That reminded me of Charles deLint's The Wild Wood (still, for some reason, my favourite deLint novel), where the main character agrees to bear a child for the fairy folk, because their own queen is incapable. I was thinking of writing an essay on that theme in literature -- the need for a human woman to bear fairy children. In folklore, it more usually shows up as the fairies needing a human midwife, or sometimes a human wet-nurse (which is why women are in great danger of being taken right after childbirth). So I've been keeping a list of all the books I can recall that have those motifs as well. And now I've gone and written one. I guess it's an idea that's been haunting me. I wonder how many stories it'll turn up in. I still haven't exorcised shapechangers from my creative psyche. I think nearly every story I've written since I finished my Master's has shapechangers in it. I was about to say "Except for The Secret Common-Wealth, " but then I remembered the fox woman Maddy saw in the woods near her old house. Yikes! I thought writing was supposed to work out the haunting things, not keep bringing them up over and over. Oh well. It's fun to see what permutation comes out each time I start a new story. At least the main character isn't a shapechanger this time.

No comments: